Tablet Wars: New iPad mini vs. Kindle Fire vs. Google Nexus 7

Apple has just unleashed the iPad mini into the small tablet space, where it’s set to come up against some stiff competition from the likes of Google and Amazon, whose devices have already been extremely well received by punters and pundits alike.

The iPad mini represents quite a milestone in the history of Apple, for rarely has the Cupertino-based company been the last competitor to enter the fray. Now it’s trying to make up for lost ground with a device that looks every bit as capable as its rivals. The iPad mini’s storage options begin where most of its rivals max out, and it boasts 4G LTE connection capabilities. But – and it’s a big but – these features come at a cost. The cheapest iPad minis are selling for $330, making it by far and away the priciest seven-incher on the market. Question is, do its extra features justify the inflated price tag? Let’s find out!

Screen Size and Display

iPad mini: Retina Display with 2048×1536-pixel resolution (256ppi) with Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, LED-backlit, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating

Kindle Fire HD: 7” 1280×800 resolution  –  HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle

Nexus 7: 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi), Back-lit IPS display, Scratch-resistant Corning glass

Weight

iPad mini: WiFi 308g, WiFi+cellular 312g

Kindle Fire HD: 395g

Nexus 7: 340g

Memory

iPad mini: 16, 32 and 64GB; 512MB RAM

Kindle Fire HD: 16 and 32GB; 1GB RAM

Nexus 7: 8 or 16 GB; 1GB RAM

Battery Life

iPad mini: 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music

Kindle Fire HD: 11 hours continuous use

Nexus 7: 9 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of e-reading, 300 hours on Standby

Processor

iPad mini: 1 GHz Dual-core Apple A5 processor

Kindle Fire HD: Dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP4460

Nexus 7: Quad-core Tegra 3 processor

Wireless

iPad mini: WiFi only: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.0 technology

WiFi+Cellular: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 4G LTE (700, 2100MHz) US and Canada only, Data only, Bluetooth 4.0 technology

Kindle Fire HD: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks

Nexus 7: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth

Camera

iPad mini: 5-megapixel iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel VGA FaceTime camera

Kindle Fire HD: Front-facing HD camera

Nexus 7: 1.2MP front-facing camera

Input/Output

iPad mini: WiFi only: Lighting connector, 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack, built-in speaker, microphone; WiFi + Cellular: Lightning connector, 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack, built-in speaker, microphone, Nano-SIM card tray

Kindle Fire HD: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) port for connection to a PC or Macintosh computer or to connect to the Kindle PowerFast charging accessory. Micro-HDMI (micro-D connector) port for high definition video output to televisions or A/V receivers, 3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated stereo speakers with exclusive Dolby audio engine. Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) support for streaming audio to compatible headphones and speakers. Built-in microphone.

Nexus 7: Micro USB, Microphone, NFC (Android Beam)

Sensors

iPad mini: Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor

Kindle Fire HD: No Information

Nexus 7: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope

Location

iPad mini: WiFi Wi-Fi, Digital compass; WiFi+Cellular Wi-Fi, Digital compass, Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Cellular

Kindle Fire HD: No Information

Nexus 7: GPS

Operating System

iPad mini: iOS 6

Kindle Fire HD: Customized Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Nexus 7: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

 

So Who’s The Winner?

At a first glance of the numbers, the iPad mini doesn’t appear to be all that it’s cracked up to be. Going against it is the fact that it has half the RAM of its rivals, less processing power, and a much, much bigger price tag than the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7.

What the iPad mini does have going for it though is its content. Neither Amazon nor Google come close to matching the sheer number of apps that the iPad mini can pick and choose from (albeit at a cost, most of the time anyway).

Another nifty feature of the iPad mini is its new Lightning connector, just like the iPhone 5, which goes some way towards making up for its processing power deficiencies. Meanwhile, neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nexus can compete when it comes to connectivity (although Google is rumoured to have a 4G Nexus in the pipeline), and so the iPad mini wins in that category too.

Even so, the question remains, will consumers be prepared to shell out all that extra money for a device that in all honesty, isn’t that far ahead of its competitors? Apple die-hards will, but for everyone else, that remains to be seen.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is a senior staff writer at SiliconANGLE. He loves to write about Big Data and the Internet of Things, and explore how these technologies are evolving within the enterprise and helping businesses to become more agile. Before joining SiliconANGLE, Mike was an editor at Argophilia Travel News, an occassional contributer to The Epoch Times, and has also dabbled in SEO and social media marketing. He usually bases himself in Bangkok, Thailand, though he can often be found roaming through the jungles or chilling on a beach. Got a news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.