iPad Mini or Nexus 7 - that is the question!
Anyway, we do realize that this whole article might turn out to be pointless, should those iPad Mini rumors turn out untrue, but considering that even some major publications like Bloomberg and WSJ have recently confirmed the existence of this device, we'll just go ahead with it. So, IF Apple does announce the iPad Mini this year, it's certain that it will be positioned as a direct competitor to devices like the Nexus 7. Still, that doesn't mean that a user's choice has to be difficult, the only thing one needs is to be well aware of their own needs and preferences - the rest is easy.
What makes us say that is the fact that even though we'll be looking at two similarly-sized and spec'd tablets, they'll still be very different from one another. Let's take a look at how they compare in some of the more important aspects:
If you are a person who appreciates it when a manufacturer puts immense effort into the appearance and construction of a device, then the iPad Mini will undoubtedly appeal to you. Judging by the other iPads and pretty much every other Apple product, the iPad Mini will be made heavy, high-quality materials and will look awesome. On the other hand, we can't say the Nexus 7 is bad, but one needs to have a very weird taste if they actually prefer its black plastic body.
In case you are one of those guys who are more concerned with the number of CPU cores rather than the actual performance, it's highly likely that the Nexus 7 will be the device for you. Don't get us wrong, we're not saying the Nexus 7 will be underperforming. Quite the contrary, we think it will be a beast, but when it comes to a cross-platform comparison (like this one here), benchmark figures don't mean much. We already know that the Nexus 7 is a very fast tablet, and we're sure that in typical Apple fashion, the iPad Mini will also run perfectly smooth. This means that with both devices, you'll be able to execute everything smoothly and seamlessly, as well as make the most out of the respective application ecosystem.
Still there are some differences with regards to hardware that we might want to take into account when deciding if we should wait for an iPad Mini, or get a Nexus 7 right away. The first is the screen size. As you've probably heard, the iPad Mini is rumored to have a 7.85" screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Nexus 7 will be a 7" tablet with a wide screen, which we already know is a good form-factor for holding with one hand and reading stuff. Although we know that the 9.7" 4:3 form-factor works, we guess we're yet to see how that experience will translate to a smaller, 7.85" display.
Next up is storage space. The Nexus 7 will come in 8GB and 16GB flavors, without the option for expansion with a microSD card. However, we won't be surprised if there's a 32GB or even a 64GB iPad Mini, which will probably cost significantly more than the rumored based price of $299. The other thing is that the Nexus 7 will be Wi-Fi-only, while there's a good chance the iPad Mini may also be available in Wi-Fi + 3G/4G variants, for those who don't always have a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby.
Probably the most important difference between the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 will be in the mobile OS running on them. In short, Apple's iOS is still the more polished of the two, with better-designed apps that make for an awesome user experience, while Google's Android Jelly Bean will grant you the freedom of accessing the file system and doing some things that you just can't do in iOS, because of its more closed nature. If any or all of the following are very important to you, then you'll be better off with a Nexus 7: accessing the file system, ability to customize many aspects of the OS's interface, tight integration with Google services, installation of some app types that aren't approved by Apple, like torrent clients. But if you are a user who's perfectly fine with lacking those, then you're probably a user who'd appreciate the centralized way of content and device management that Apple's iTunes provides for the iPad.
Always an important factor, it will be interesting to see what price-tag Apple's going to attach to the iPad Mini (if there's such a device at all). As we know, the Nexus 7 8GB will cost the alluring $199, while the 16GB will be $249. Right now, most rumors claim that the iPad Mini's price will start from either $249, or $299. To us, $299 sounds much more plausible, as Apple isn't really into that "affordable gadgets" thing. If the base model is equipped with 16GB, then it's safe to assume that the 32GB one will cost $399, and, if there is such, the 64GB one will cost $499.
But we guess we should stop it right here, until we actually get to see that elusive iPad Mini for ourselves. Meanwhile, why don't you tell us which mini-tablet you'd prefer? An iOS-rocking iPad Mini, or an Jelly Bean-sporting Nexus 7?