Apple has jumped headfirst into the smaller tablet game, a market the late Steve Jobs said was, “going to be DOA,” with its iPad mini and it’s already making a splash. But does that mean the mini is the best 7 incher around? To find out, we’ve broken down the specs of the mini as well as three of its most popular competitors to see how Apple’s latest iPad stacks up.
The iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch 1024 x 768-pixel display. That’s lower res than the Barnes and Noble Nook HD’s 7-inch 1440 x 900 display, the previous segment leader, and the Nexus 7′s 1280 x 800 screen. Apple wraps its display in a chassis that’s 0.3 inches thick and weighs in at 0.7 pounds, which is thinner than the Nook HD’s 0.4-inch 0.7-pound chassis. However, Apple says that the iPad mini’s display is 35 percent larger than the 7-inch Google Nexus 7′s 1280 x 800 display, and offers a 49 percent larger viewing area on websites.
On the inside, the mini is powered by an Apple A5 chip processor, while the Google Nexus 7, by comparison, offers a 1.3-GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The Nook HD offers a 1.3-GHz dual-core OMAP 4470 processor, and the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD includes a 1.2-GHz dual-core OMAP 4460 chip.
True to form, Apple is offering the iPad mini with three different storage options including 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. The Nexus 7 and Barnes and Noble Nook HD, meanwhile, come in 8GB and 16GB versions, while the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch is available in 16GB and 32GB versions. It’s also worth noting that the iPad mini does not come with a microSD Card slot, something the Nook HD offers.
From a connectivity standpoint, the mini is the clear winner, offering both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE options. The Nexus 7, 7-inch Fire HD and Nook HD are only available with Wi-Fi.
Pricing is obviously going to be a big part of how well each of these devices do this holiday season, and that’s where the iPad falls short of the competition. The base 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad mini clocks in at $329 , while a 64GB 4G LTE version will cost you $659. The 8GB base Nexus 7, on the other hand, costs $199, as do the base models of the 7-inch Fire HD and Nook HD.