Is the iPad mini all that great?

Published: November 18, 2012

So grab some pop corn and come along with me as I take you to a trip inside the mini tablet world and introduce you to the three best mini tablets in the market. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The global market is responding to the seven inch mini tablets better than to any of the 10-inch standard tablets and are flooding the stores worldwide. While Apple’s Ipad 4G is still the best tablet by a mile, it is the mini tablet that is proving to be the game changer in the business. The mini tab is a cross between a smart phone and a tablet, more portable and makes a better eBook reader than a standard tablet.

So grab some pop corn and come along with me as I take you to a trip inside the mini tablet world and introduce you to the three best mini tablets in the market.

Google Nexus 7:

(Price 25, 499 for the 8 GB version)

With a 1.3 GHz quad core Tegra 3 processor and a 1280x 800pixel seven inch screen, covered with gorilla glass, the Google Nexus 7 is the rock star of the mini tab market. CNETTechRadar and Digital Trends have all declared it as the best in the market. As an icing on the cake, it is affordable and packs in features that rival even the standard 10-inch tabs in the market.  Nexus 7 has the latest Android Jelly bean 4.1 Android system installed with eight GB internal storage (although a 16 GB version is also available in the market for a higher price), one GB RAM and a 1.2 MP front facing camera, which is adequate enough for video chats.

The tab can be charged with a USB and has a decent battery the QWERTY keyboard looks more like its smart phone counterpart. I feel that it should have been changed to suit the seven inch screen.  Applications support is surprisingly decent, given its small size, it allows most Android phone apps to work on this tab.

My problem with tab, however, is the absence of 3G and 4G connectivity (only wifi) and no expandable memory.

Kindle Fire HD:

(Price PKR 28,500 16 GB version)

If you have ever used Blackberry’s Play Book, you will find that Kindle Fire HD’s interface would look familiar, as the team at Quanta that designed the Play Book for RIM was also approached by Amazon to work on the design of the Fire HD. Extremely easy to use and with a gem of an interface, Kindle Fire HD is decent device for a budget user.

It sports a one Ghz TI OMAP four dual core processor, 512MB RAM and eight GB of internal memory (16 GB version also available). The screen is 600 x 1024 pixels and is ok for a device that is so low priced. The interface looks like a bookshelf so you can choose an app from the rows, which are like book sections, and is a modification of Android 2.3 software. The inbuilt Amazon Silk browser works fine but nothing about it is superior to other browsers out there in the market.  The battery life is a decent eight hours.

Here’s a thing to surprise you.

Kindle Fire HD has no camera!

Another negative was the absence of Bluetooth and the fact that you are only allowed to charge it using a wall charger. Bit of a let-down for me, but if you are new to tabs, a minimal app user and don’t care much about photography then Kindle Fire HD is a good option for you.  But the lack of Bluetooth is a major disappointment, even if you are four-years-old. Just saying.

Ipad Mini:

(Price PKR 43,499 16 GB version)

And now the Mini. In the years to come much would be written about why Apple charged premium for a product that was more or less similar to its Google and Amazon counterparts. But each to his own.

The screen is an average 1024x 768 pixels, yes, no retina display this time, the A5 chip is basically the same as Ipad 2 and which ironically is a Samsung make.

The Ipad Mini does have some good features like front and rear facing cameras. The rear camera is five mega pixels, something which the Nexus 7 doesn’t have. The Mini itself is very light. In fact, I found it too light for comfort! The screen colours are not as crisp as Nexus 7 but the bigger 7.9 inch screen makes it easier to read e books and magazines. The iOS 6 interface is as usual brilliant and more mature than the competitors.

Apart from that, it is almost similar in specs to Nexus 7.

The Buying Decision: 

Although the buying decision depends on one’s personal requirements, in terms of what one tab offers and most importantly at what price it offers those features, I reckon the Google Nexus 7 is the best of the bunch. Other mini tabs in the market you can consider are Toshiba Excite 7.7, the BlackBerry Playbook and the Samsung Galaxy tab 7.0 Plus.

PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

Read more by Jamaluddin here or follow him on Twitter @einsjam 

Jamaluddin

Jamaluddin

A student of Information Systems Management at Latrobe University, Melbourne. He tweets @Einsjam (twitter.com/Einsjam)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Deen Sheikh

    I used the iPad 2 for a year before i got myself a nexus 7, its really an awsome tab, only let down is no external memory support, the android jelly bean is a stable and very flexible os, there is so much more one can do, and setting and getting started much simpler, no credit card required just a gmail id amd your good. And it offers a pure android experience hence quicker updates.Recommend

  • Max

    At the current price levels, the IPAD mini is overpriced in Pakistan. For that much money one can easily get a slightly used ipad3.Recommend

  • Rizwan Liaqat

    Nexus 7 is the clear winner in this category, hands down. And with the Nexus 10 there will finally be a challenge to the iPad in the bigger tablet category.Recommend

  • laughing stock

    Android is far better then iOS…hands down. Quick and flexible. And yes..nexus over mini ipad…any time.Recommend

  • Ar

    @laughing stock:
    how far better??
    No!!! u cant say that andriod is better than ios, both r good at there places!
    you can do so many things with android but u can also do alot of things equally (to some extent) with ur ios device once u jailbreak it! Recommend

  • Atta

    I am selling my apple mini tab over priced and quality wise substandard compared to nexus which my cousin has. Recommend

  • http://www.cdncc.com ck

    Blackberry Playbook best OS of them all. No need for 100 apps, just browse the web, their browser can’t be beat.Recommend

  • Fakhar Imam

    Thankyou to the writer for mentioning prices as well. Recommend

  • Doosam

    Nexus 7 32GB is now available in US, Canada, Aus/NZ, Northern Europe for the price of 16GB (US$249 or equivalent)Recommend

  • Saladin

    i m just used to google and it be logical to have a google device since at any time of the day we are using a google pruduct..plus they are cheap. the writer is right, apple charges premium on substandard products…its all power of steve jobs brand. nothing else.Recommend

  • Doosam

    With Nexus 32GB’s release earlier this month in US and other countries, the 8GB version is no longer being sold new by Asus/Google, 32GB is @$249 and 16GB @$199. In Pakistan though, the 8GB version is ridiculously priced, equivalent to $270, probably because of import taxes etc. Any idea when 32GB Nexus 7 is being released in Pak?Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    Not to forget, Android has google maps app and iOS maps put Berlin right in the middle of Antarctica (and that’s just a beginning)Recommend

  • Analyst30yr

    We have been using iPad II for last 15 months for business and personal use. The iOS interface is excellent when it comes to accessing the corporate data. We have an APP for our GIS system which is used 24/7 in more than 500 (iphones and iPads) devices. We looked at other tablets and none of them come even close for the serious users. We plan on purchasing a large number of mini iPads and some regular iPads. We are fairly new to iOS environment and believe me, this is brilliant and rock solid. Recommend

  • Techie

    My question to the writer: does it matter if the Nexus 7 doesn’t have 3G or 4G? I mean we don’t have both these services in Pakistan.Recommend

  • laughing stock

    @Analyst30yr: sir analyst…..the minitab is miles away from being a good tab…u cant compare an Ipad with its mini tab counter part….its a disasterRecommend

  • Intelektual

    No rear camera and no camera at all how are they even a compition then ? a good competitor would have been samsung’s galaxy tab not impressed.Recommend

  • Intelektual

    Apple’s the best even the galaxy tab 2 has a 3.15 MP camera and is round euro 350 without 4G.
    Jelly bean is available to be downloaded on China made devices as well iOS is not !
    Also all the basics like carrying weight and battery timings are unmatched to any of the other makes.Recommend

  • Intelektual

    Nexus 7 wid No rear camera,No sim support, No 3G/4G, No extandable memory, still slightly heavier, still less battery juice, a free over the internet available software a lower company make yet a market leader acc. to u peeps ?? Recommend

  • Saladin

    @Intelektual:
    u really r an “intelektual” Recommend

  • Saladin

    @Intelektual:
    minitab is over priced and display screen is bad. why would i need a cellular connection for a tab when i have my phone, so a cellular connection is meaningless. whereas nexus 7 has an excellent app support and does evrything the minitab at a cheaper price …..wait…………far cheaper price and excellent reliability..Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Deen Sheikh

    Android even supports torrentz, torrentz has an official android app, u can download movies etc direct onto your nexus 7, and it is good quality hardware manufactured by asus, if only it had expandable memory it would be awsome. Btw those complaining about lack of 3g they have a launched a mobile data variant also. Songs.pk also has an app.Recommend

  • Khawaja Muddasar

    Ipad Mini is clearly a better option. Closing android apps is the biggest problem & its disastrous. On the other hand apple apps usage interface is quite easy. I believe that firmware matters the most- gadget itself is a secondary thing. Android is making a good move in the industry but iOS has its prestigious place. I would prefer spending an extra 14 thousand for Ipad mini instead of buying Nexus. iOS is way better & also awesome-look wise.Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @Saladin:
    “minitab is over priced ” Based on what hardware specs.?? Can you tell me wats the price of Galaxy tab 2 with lower hardware specs??
    “cellular connection is meaningless” May be in your dreamland each and every place is a free wifi hub bt unfortunatly i still live in Karachi ! With the auction of 3G ’round the corner cellular connections have never been more important ! Not to mention it even has 4G !
    “display screen is bad” Display is by no means bad ! Its not a retina display nevertheless better than many a devices its still an LED IPS !
    Mini has almost every app supported !
    As far as all the things mini can do is concerned can you take 5MP superior images of ur nexus?? or access internet outside the range of your wifi hub ! I guess not ! So no it cant do all things mini !
    PS: A lower hardware brand make does not give excellent reliability guess u havnt used Apple as yet !Recommend

  • Intelektual

    If you want an affordable tab experiance and thats it go for Nexus 7 but let me remind you its limitations are gonna drive you Nuts at every turn ! no internet outside a wifi no camera being the top of the list But If you want a complete tablet device experiance on an stand alone respectable device with superior OS thats not available in china made devices and one that will be relevent even after 4 to 5 years to come go for iPad mini, although it always comes down to affordability.Recommend

  • Intelektual

    Also ipad mini wifi only is 250 euros still has a decent camera is much more lighter despite the bigger screen and gives more battery juice den nexus 7 !Recommend

  • Ayesha

    I thought the mini Ipad would be cheaper but hello.. no its not. Sad. I’ll wait a couple of weeks.Recommend

  • Doosam

    well it all depends on your needs isn’t it, if you want a high-end product and are willing to spend extra then the iPad Mini is there for all your needs. I haven’t held one in hand but just watching a couple of YouTube reviews comparing Nexus7 and Mini side by side, one gets the feeling that Mini has better screen quality and finishing, not to mention Apple’s superior range of apps. As for those who already have 5MP camera and 3G/4G in their cell phones and don’t want to spend the extra $150+, then Nexus7 (new 32GB version) is the one for them.Recommend

  • atta

    @Intelektual:

    The mini’s chip is made my samsung….dig that :))) …duh…lower hardware product phooeey

    The galaxy tab thankfully has more app support becuase of the fact that all the android phone apps can easily run on it….dig that !!

    Apple is overpriced …and why would i need a camera on my tab…sorry i am not 5 years old to be awed by irrelevant things …my recommendation….grow up please Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @atta:
    All apple’s products have something Samsung in it ! Thats why i said galaxy tab 2 would have been an appropriate competitor ! Lower hardware specs was a comment about Nexus 7 manufactured by Asus not samsung learn to read then comment !

    Y do i need a camera Y do u need a tab with the smartphones doing nearly all that ! these are high end luxry devices you are talking about and if need’s the word u choose to use you are the one who “NEEDS” to grow up ! And Y do i want a good camera on my high end tablet PC ! becuz i never knw wen i feel like snapping it and I want a complete experiance of my device ! Also galaxy has a camera although lower specs still it has one !

    Also what app is not working on mini ???
    Also if you cared to read the blog samsung was not even mentioned or covered !

    Lastly Android id a freeware iOS is not ! figure that into ur equation before declaring Apple over priced !Recommend

  • Magnum

    @Intelektual: argument for argument’s sake is non productive. All critics agree tht mini is overlriced and less efficient than galaxy. Although this cannot be said fir other ipad products which are superior.Recommend