The initial specifications of Nexus 7 looked promising but how does it stack up against it main competitor from Apple, the iPad Mini?
Here is the breakdown of the specifications from both devices.
|Nexus 7 2013||iPad Mini|
|OS||Android 4.3 Jelly Bean||iOS 6|
|Processor||Snapdragon S4 Pro
(Quad core 1.5 Ghz Krait/
(Dual core 1 Ghz Cortex A9/
|Display||1920×1200 7 inch IPS||1024×768 7.9 inch IPS|
|Pixel Density||323 PPI||163 PPI|
|Rear/Front Camera||5 MP/ 1.2 MP||5 MP/ 1.2 MP|
|WiFi||802.11 a /b/g/n||802.11 a /b/g/n|
|GPS||Yes for all models||Cellular only|
|LTE||Yes (Optional)||Yes (Optional)|
|Battery Life (Claimed)||9 hours||10 hours|
|Dimension||200 x 114.3 x 8.7 mm||200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm|
Snapdragon S4 pro is the chip of choice for the new Nexus 7. It was released in 2012 and is found in many Android devices such as Nexus 4 and Sony Xperia Z. It is still a capable chip in 2013 though not benchmark-topping any more. The CPU in Snapdragon S4 pro is a Quad core 1.5 Ghz processor based on Qualcomm proprietary Krait architecture, running Armv7 instructions and manufactured in 28nm process.
In terms of instructions per clock (IPC), Krait performs somewhere between the aging ARM Cortex-A9 and the new ARM Cortex-A15. In other words, Krait should be faster than Cortex-A9 based architecture at the same clock.
Snapdragon S4 pro utilizes the Adreno 320 GPU, the same one found in Snapdragon 600 in HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 M919. It is currently among the leaders in graphics performance for Androids, trading blows with PowerVR SGX544MP3 found in Exynos 5 Octa . Besides, theS4 pro also includes 2GB of RAM, which is plenty even for a resource hungry operating system like Android.
The Apple A5 found in the iPad Mini is over two years old, as it was first released when the iPad 2 launched. The CPU in A5 is a dual core processor based on the Cortex-A9 architecture and the GPU is a PowerVR SGX543MP2. Both of these are quite a bit slower compared to the components in S4 pro.
Furthermore, there is only 512 MB of RAM available on the Apple A5’s chip. Given the fact that iOS memory footprint is generally smaller, a higher amount of RAM does not directly translate to performance advantage especially when comparing different operating system such as iOS and Android. However, having more RAM certainly helped to offer smoother multi-tasking experience.
In terms of raw performance, the new Nexus 7 should win handily in most benchmarks but overall UI smoothness are still subject to device optimization.
Display & Cameras
The new Nexus 7 features a 1920 x 1200 display using a 7-inch IPS panel. The iPad mini on the other hand, features a 1024 x 768 display on a 7.9-inch IPS panel. On paper, the screen of Nexus 7 should be crisper at 323 PPI compared to 163 PPI for the iPad mini. Although the pixel density of Nexus 7 is much higher, the iPad mini has a 35 percent larger screen to compensate. The viewing angle and color reproduction quality of the display for Nexus 7 is still unknown at the moment.
Bot the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini have 5 mega pixel rear-facing cameras and 1.2 MP front facing cameras. On paper, they should perform the same but image quality is subject to quality of the lens and image sensor. We will find out the answer in the upcoming review of the new Nexus 7.
Both devices support WiFi 802.11 a /b/g/n and optional LTE. GPS however, is only available on the cellular version of iPad mini but not the Wifi-only version. All versions of Nexus 7, on the other hand are equipped with GPS, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. In short, the Nexus 7 definitely has an upper hand in terms of connectivity options.
Both devices weight about the same but the iPad mini is thinner at 7.2mm vs 8.7mm of Nexus 7. The aluminum unibody of the iPad mini should still feel better than the all plastic body of Nexus 7.
Price & Conclusion
Nexus 7 starts at $229 for 16 GB storage option and iPad mini starts at $329 with the same storage.
Specification wise, the new Nexus 7 is the best of all 7 inch-plus tablets. The starting price of $229 for 16 GB represents tremendous value. iPad mini pales in comparison especially with a higher starting price. Apple desperately needs an update for the iPad mini to win this one.