7 Ways the Nexus 7 Beats the iPad mini

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The iPad mini may be making headlines, but it pales in comparison to the Nexus 7. While Apple's device is little more than a shrunken version of 2011's iPad 2, Google's tablet forges boldly ahead with innovative hardware and software that's designed with real power-users in mind. Here’s why the Nexus 7 beats the iPad mini, hands down.

A Much Lower Price

It almost goes without saying that Apple's product is pricier: the base model of Nexus 7 costs $129 less than the base-level Pad mini and, for most people, that's a significant difference. For that amount of money, you could buy a 128GB SSD that would dramatically speed up your computer, a new 21-inch, 1080p monitor or a fantastic smartphone like the $99 Droid RAZR M. Do you really want to donate that money to Tim Cook's retirement fund?

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Google Now – Siri for People with Friends

If you want to live like J.F. Sabastian, the “Bladerunner” scientist whose robots are his only friends, the iPad and its Siri voice assistant were made for you. Siri will follow you all the way into the uncanny valley, providing preprogrammed platitudes when you invite her to dance or ask if she likes hotspacho. However, if you have human friends and family to talk to, you’re better off with the Nexus 7’s Google Now voice assistant. Want to know what movies Russell Crowe has been in or who won the Giants game? How about making a call, sending a text or opening an email? Google Now will do all of that, without any of Apple’s anthropomorphic antics.

More:Google Voice Search vs. Siri

Real HD Screen

At the iPad mini press conference, Apple’s Marketing SVP Phil Schiller claimed that the iPad mini shows more of each web page because it has a larger screen and fewer navigation bars to eat up screen real estate. That’s a nice claim, but the reality is that the 1280 x 800 Nexus 7 has a lot more pixels than the 1024 x 768 iPad mini. By putting more pixels on a smaller screen (7-inches versus 7.9 inches), Google’s tablet achieves a density of 215 pixels per inch, compared to 162 ppi for the iPad mini. That means the Nexus 7 has sharper images and can show HD videos at their native resolution rather than downscaling them and tossing out details.

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Charging Over USB

If you’re like me, you have five drawers full of USB cables. And if you’re not like me, you could just buy one for 3 dollars online. Either way, you can use your USB cable to power up the Nexus 7, one of the only major tablets that employs a standard micro USB port for charging. The iPad mini, on the other hand, uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector. Lose the Lightning-to-USB wire that comes with the tablet, and you’ll have to pay a good $20 for a replacement.

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Better Parental Control Options

Apple’s famous walled garden of apps isn’t strong enough to completely protect your kids. Though the iPad lets you block some built-in Apple apps and restrict content by subject matter, you can’t block third-party apps, can’t monitor what your kids do and can’t restrict their use according time of day or amount of time. Because the Nexus 7’s Android operating system gives app developers greater access to core functions, there are apps like Kytephone, which creates a separate, walled-off environment for your children that only contains the apps you choose. There’s also Funamo, which offers parents the ability to block just about anything, from mature websites to dangerous apps, while limiting the hours their children can use the device.

More:Android Better for Kids Than iOS

NFC Support

The Nexus 7 is one of the only tablets on the market that has a built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) chip. With NFC on board, you can share contacts or other information with different Android devices just by tapping their backs together. You can also take advantage of new mobile-payment systems like ISIS and Google Wallet that let you tap your device at the register to check out. And a new generation of mobile headphones like the Sony MDR-1RBT can pair with the Nexus 7 automatically when you tap them against its NFC chip. The iPad mini, like all of Apple’s products, lacks NFC. Maybe we’ll see it when the iPad mini 2 launches sometime next fall.

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Share From Anywhere

Want to share this article with your friends on Google or LinkedIn? You won’t be able to do that directly from Safari, the default browser on the iPad mini. Apple’s iOS limits you to Facebook and Twitter. On the Nexus 7 and other Android devices, there’s one sharing menu that contains all your options and is available from any downloaded app that’s capable of sharing content. So, if you want to share to Pinterest from the Firefox browser, you don’t need someone at Mozilla to bless the transaction.

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • Roy Says:

    I have to agree with Brian. It seems odd to describe your favorite computerized assistant as being indicative of you having a better connection with other people than someone who likes another computerized assistant better. I'd rather hear a direct comparison of how each responds to the same question rather than a judgement of the type of person who would prefer one or the other. Some people like their alarm clock to play music, and some like it to beep. Can we say that if you don't like other people, then the clock that beeps is the one for you? Why not just tell people what it does and let them decide what they might like better?

  • Brian Says:

    I have to say I continue to be completely amazed by the Google Fanboys who always instantly declare their copy of someone else's innovation/features better, but this article's author is amazingly ignorant and obviously lazy in its claim that "Google Now is Siri for people with friends"! I have to say I was excited to maybe finally hear what Google now might have on Siri as I've read this claim in other places but usually don't find much substance behind the claim!

    Well, I couldn't believe what I was reading, "you want to find out what movies Russell Crow played in? Who won the Giants game, make a call or open an email?"

    By this I assume he's claiming Siri doesn't do these things when in fact she does all of them and many more, how about scheduling a meeting with 4 colleagues for tomorrow at 11:00 am about marketing plans and sending invites to the invitees along with adding it to your calendar all via voice! Or how about setting a reminder for when you arrive at work to complete a task? How about showing today's football schedule? Or how about showing you an email from your boss yesterday about marketing plans? Or how about sending an email to your boss about meeting today? Or how about showing you what's on your calendar for today?

    Well, Siri does all of these things and much more! For somebody who's writing a comparative review you would at least expect that they would know this!

  • rik Says:

    I have a nexus 7 myself,this article is about nexus 7,
    So to play up the fact Google now can instruct a device to call or text,
    Is not a factor because nexus 7 is a tablet it does not make calls or text.
    Nexus 7 is a great tablet though, but I'm giving mine to wife
    And get a man iPad mini.

  • Fandango Says:

    Good lord, anonymous.
    You sound like a starry-eyed coed.

    "Yeah the Nexus is totes better, but the mini goes with my Coach handbag!"

  • Carl Lawrence Says:

    As a senior, a key issue is the readability of the screen. I believe that Apple and Google understand this factor. The tablet market is maturing and we should see the following changes next year. Google will bring out a NEXUS 8" to 8.5" and Apple will have a retina display on their mini. The company that adds an SD Card will wipe out the competition. I know adding an SD card removes the profits made on memory however SKU numbers could be reduced.

  • Don Birdsall Says:

    As an owner of both an iPad and a Nexus 7 I would like to add an eighth advantage . Most Android devices including this one allow the installation of third party keyboards. Android keyboards such as Swype and Swiftkey implement features such as gestures and word completion. For writers, students taking notes and anyone else who needs to enter text data these features make a HUGE difference.

    The iPad mini owner is confined to Apple's walled garden. If you like the way it works out of the box, that's great! If you want to make it better, you'll regret not buying the Android device.

  • Not Phil Says:

    Status? If people are buying technology based products for 'status' they're a pretty sad bunch. If I see someone with an Ipod mini I just assume they're not educated or aware enough to not get ripped off by a name.

    Translation: Your 'status' is: not very smart.

  • Annymous Says:

    I just had a friend ordered one and now I am lusting for it more! Nexus 7 is just another tablet that is 16:9 form factor. It only good for watching video and TV; as a reader and internet surfing device; it secondary to a 4:3 form factor. Another consideration is what you are going to be using it for. I just order the black mini 64GB just out of impulse! I now hope Apple does not do a retina for a couple of years! LOL!

  • Annymous Says:

    I kind of agree with you if you compare technology with techology but you have to include thinks like: quality, design, looks, status, appeal, eco system, etc.....

    Just looking at the two together; Nexus 7 looks plain - kind of obsolete in looks compare to the iPad mini! I just have to wait for crap Apple to intro a retina version of the iPad mini and hopefully with a A6x and I will buy it with all the options. Love the look!