Sorry, iPad Mini Fans--Once Again, Google Has The Hotter Tablet Than Apple Jul 28th 2013, 04:45
As soon as Google announced its new Nexus 7 small tablet on July 24, the natural question emerged: How does it stack up against the Apple's industry-leading iPad mini?
The answer, according to a number of reviewers: Pretty darn well. In fact, several reviewers place the Nexus 7 ahead of the iPad mini, and at least one recommends it over the iPad mini thanks to a combination of features that beat its rivals':
* It's cheaper. That hasn't changed despite the slight price hike, from $199 to $229 for the base model. And if value matters most to you, the fact that this is a model with several noticeable improvements makes it an even easier choice vs. an iPad mini that costs a full $100 more.
* It has a better screen than the iPad mini. And that's not all. It also has more hand-friendly proportions, and snappier graphics and app switching thanks to new chips.
* It has wireless charging. This is hardly a deal-breaker, and you need to buy the charger for extra, but it can be awfully convenient.
* It has fixed some shortcomings. The Nexus 7 now sports a rear-facing camera in addition to the front-facing one, like the iPad mini. And the better-placed, better-engineered speakers have much better sound, a problem with the old one. Battery life seems to be quite good, too.
Just like last year, timing makes a huge difference in the attention and praise the Nexus 7 is getting. At that time, Apple didn't have the iPad mini, and it seems there was pent-up demand for a smaller tablet. This year, of course, the iPad mini is out, but it's nine months old while Google had the opportunity to use the latest screen and other technologies.
That may or may not change later this year. Recent rumors about the timing of a new iPad mini waffle between claims that there will be one in the fall and that it won't arrive until early 2014. But more rumors seem to agree that an iPad mini with a sharper Retina screen that would rival or exceed the Nexus 7′s screen won't be coming until next year.
And even now, the iPad has some advantages over the Nexus 7. At 7.9 inches, the screen is enough bigger that it might sway people. It's offered with a wider range of storage options. And it's hard to deny that the iPad mini still looks more polished from a design standpoint.
Those aren't the only reasons the Nexus 7 won't be running away with the tablet business. Apple still offers many more tablet-optimized apps, which may explain why it appears that iPad users account for a dominant share of actual tablet Web traffic. (MLB.tv keeps crashing on my new Nexus 7 model, even though it still works on the old one–nearly a deal-breaker until and unless it's fixed.)
And if you have an iPhone, you may want to stick with an iPad for compatibility, so you don't have to buy music twice, for instance. Not least, while Google's and its manufacturers' support of their older machines can be hit-and-miss after a new model comes out, you can be pretty sure Apple won't orphan your iPad for years to come.
Still, the bottom line is that Google has come out clearly ahead of Apple twice now with small tablets, and it doesn't look like the situation will change very soon. As a result, Google is posing a challenge to Apple that no one else, even Amazon with its credible but somewhat limited Kindle Fire, has done in quite a while.
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