Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD

We stack up the small tablets to see which is most deserving of your money (and your respect and love)

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – fight!

With the iPad Mini having just joined the ranks of 7-inch-ish tablets, it’s high time to see how it compares to the two heavyweights already in this category: the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – build quality

The iPad Mini, like all Apple products, rocks an enviable level of finish and build quality. Thin, light and made of glorious aluminium, it rocks a tiny bezel. It’s 308g in weight as opposed to the Fire HD’s 394g and Nexus 7’s 340g. The Asus-built, rubber-backed Nexus 7 is a classy product to hold too, coming quite close to Apple quality in terms of build and design. The Kindle Fire HD, while far from shabby, is a notch below the other two, and some might take issue with the width of the bezel surrounding the screen. Well, at least it gives you plenty of space for your thumbs.

This round is clearly an Apple win. But then the iPad Mini is substantially pricier than the other two models, so we’d expect it to exude more polish and class.

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – screen

The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch, 1024 x 768 display, giving it a pixel density of 162 pixels per inch. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD both have 7-inch displays rocking a 1280 x 720 resolution, and therefore a sharper 216ppi.

So really it all depends on what’s more important to you: size or sharpness. Apple’s launch drew attention to the iPad Mini’s advantage in sheer display size: despite being less than an inch bigger diagonally across, the screen is actually around 30 percent larger than those on the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. And because the resolution matches that of the iPad 1 and 2 screens, all the apps will fit it natively.

In terms of brightness, colour reproduction and so on, the iPad Mini is the shining star here. Both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD offer great detail and clarity, but they appear dull in comparison to the Apple tablet's screen.

More after the break...

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – OS

The iPad Mini will come with iOS 6, which has its issues (mainly Apple Maps) but is generally pretty amazing: better Siri, FaceTime over 3G, tab syncing on Safari and tight Facebook integration are among the highlights. You’ve got access to hundreds of thousands of apps and games, too.

The Nexus 7 sports a stock version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it’s excellent: speedy and polished, it’s the closest Android has come to replicating the slickness of iOS yet.

The Kindle Fire HD is also Android-based, but Amazon has slathered its own UI over the top like cheese on nachos. It’s very stripped-down and simple, with virtually no customisation options. You also have to use Amazon for apps, rather than Google Play, and the selection is far more limited than we’d like.

The Nexus 7 and iPad Mini tie this round, but we could revisit it after we’ve had a chance to put the Mini through its paces.

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – connectivity

This one’s a no-brainer: the iPad Mini has speedy dual-band Wi-Fi with the option for 4G LTE, while both the Android tablets are Wi-Fi only (the Kindle has dual-band, the Nexus is single) in the UK. The 4G-compatible iPad Mini models are pricey, though: £100 more than the Wi-Fi only models.

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – camera

Another one where the iPad Mini crushes the opposition. Apple has fitted it with a 5MP rear camera and 720p-compatible 1.2MP front camera. The Kindle Fire HD has an HD-capable front camera, while the Nexus 7 has a 1.2MP front camera; neither has a rear camera.

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD – initial verdict

While we haven’t reviewed the iPad Mini yet, it does seem a cut above the opposition in many respects. The build quality, portability, camera and connectivity would all seem to outstrip the other models. However, it should be noted that the iPad Mini (from £269) is significantly pricier than the £160 Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD – so it needs to be better.

Read our full reviews of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7.

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