The impossible has happened. The 7-inch iPad that Steve Jobs himself spoke against has come to the world in the form of the iPad Mini. In a world where price is ultimately king, can Apple persuade you into buying it’s option for over 50% more than its competition? Lets take a look at the specs and see how they stack up.
Apple’s latest tablet sports a 7.9-inch IPS (1280 x 768) display. This display is a far cry from the iPad’s Retina Display or even it’s top competitor’s in terms of pixel density as both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD sport a higher resolution on a smaller display. The pixel density (163 ppi) is half of the latest iPhone’s (326 ppi) and still a far cry from the Macbook display (227 ppi) as well. After producing such high quality displays with their last big releases, Apple has sort of left the iPad Mini out in the cold on this one.
Next, lets have a look at the second most noticeable specification when comparing these giants: processing power. The iPad Mini sports last generation’s A5 processor, which is the equivalent of the current dual core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. This processor is still somewhat underpowered when put next to the Kindle Fire HD’s 1.2 GHz dual core OMAP 4460 and really shows its age when matched with the Quad Core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 that powers the Nexus 7. Did Apple throw in last generation’s processor to save battery life? Possibly, but even then, it only matches the Nexus 7’s 10 hours of usage time.
Possibly my biggest gripe with Apple’s latest is the pricing. $329 is just too big of a pill to swallow for a 16GB tablet when consumers have the option of a $200 Kindle Fire HD with the same storage, as well as the 32GB Nexus 7 replacing the 16GB version at the $249 price point (note the chart above doesn’t show the upcoming 32GB version). Asking customers to pay an extra $80 to $130 for lesser specs just isn’t a smart game plan from Apple.
As for software, I really dont want to get too much into that since iOS versus Android has been debated time and time again, but I will say that the Kindle Fire HD’s custom Android skin is definitely the weakest of the three.
Of course the Mini packs cameras that match it’s competitors as well as Apple’s fancy new Lightning connector, but NFC is still nowhere to be found and the slight advantage in weight and size still dont justify buying an iPad Mini over a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire for now. As of now, I would still recommend a Nexus 7 as the best tablet on the market for most consumers and don’t see any major selling point besides “Its Apple” to justify purchasing the newest member of the iPad family over any of the other great tablet options on the market.