New Nexus 7 vs iPad mini Featured

The new Nexus 7 has touched down in stores, and it’s a pretty compelling little device at $229 for the base 16GB Wi-Fi unit. It’s much improved over its predecessor in nearly every facet, and will likely become a thorn in Apple’s side as time goes on without a significant iPad mini (Retina) refresh.

With that all said, the iPad mini still has a few distinct advantages over Google’s latest offering. Its main advantage is readily apparent, as its screen size completely dwarfs the smaller screen of the Nexus 7. Interestingly enough, the bezel on the older iPad mini is still smaller on all four sides when compared to the Nexus 7. Lastly, the iPad mini is still thinner than the Nexus 7. By themselves, all of these advantages may not amount to much in the eyes of consumers, but when compared side by side, they all add up for a pretty intense debate regarding which is superior.

Make no mistake though, in terms of sheer power and screen prowess, this is no competition. After comparing the two, running benchmarks, playing games, etc, it’s evident that Apple has a legitimate competitor on its hands when it comes to the low end of the tablet market. Check inside as I compare both the new Nexus 7 and the iPad mini in our hands-on video walkthrough.

Video comparison

During my review of the original Nexus 7, I sang the devices praises on many fronts. It was a solid tablet, though a bit underpowered, a bit too thick and heavy, and featured a somewhat underwhelming screen. This new Nexus has fixed the majority of those issues and then some. I’ll be back with a full review of the new Nexus 7 from the perspective of a daily iPad mini user, so stay tuned for that. For now, I’d like to talk about some of the key differences between the two powerhouse mini tablets.


The Nexus 7 is super small when considering its width at only 4.5 inches wide. That’s smaller than the outgoing Nexus 7 (4.7 inches) and much smaller than the comparatively behemoth iPad mini (5.3 inches). This makes the Nexus 7 extremely easy to hold confidently with just one hand, but you do sacrifice a lot of screen space for that privilege. The fact that the bezels are still thicker than the iPad mini on all sides doesn’t help the cause.

With all of that said, the Nexus 7 is the far superior device when it comes to screen resolution. It’s a true Retina display with a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch. That’s 107 more ppi than the outgoing Nexus 7, and a whopping 160 ppi more than the iPad mini. The screen of the Nexus 7 is perhaps its most crowning achievement, yet there’s more…


This is where it starts to get a little depressing for iPad mini owners. Granted, Google has had two generations to work on this, but wow — the differences between the two from a benchmarking perspective is crazy. There’s simply no two ways around the reality; the Nexus 7 runs circles — multiple circles — around the iPad mini. Clocking in at a Geekbench score of 2,684, that’s three and a half times faster than the iPad mini’s 766!

Nexus 7 Geekbench

Obviously benchmark scores don’t tell the whole story from a performance perspective, but after testing out a few games between the two, I think they paint a pretty accurate representation of what end users can expect from real world performance.


The hardware encasing the innards of the Nexus 7 still pales in comparison to the Lexus like styling of the iPad mini. The iPad, and iOS devices in general, have set the bar so high here that it’s rare when any other device manufacturer can be mentioned in the same breath with regard to aesthetics. The Nexus 7 doesn’t do much to change this trend. It’s still comprised entirely of plastic, although it does feel better built than the device it replaces.

I didn’t bring up the point of build quality to bash the Nexus, but it’s evident that you do get what you pay for from a design and hardware perspective. Apple spends years and millions on research and development. It’s insanely anal about every minute detail, and would rather opt for better design than cost cutting strategies. Google is the opposite in this matter. They’ve undoubtedly cut all sorts of corners to bring such a device to market that’s sub $250. At $229 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, this device is near impulse buy status. Unless Apple changes its culture and mindset on design, I don’t see them ever being able to compete on the price front. For that reason alone, the Nexus 7 has, and will continue to garner lots of adopters. And hey, the Nexus 7 isn’t exactly last week’s trash, this is a very solid, and arguably cutting edge portable tablet in some aspects.

Final thoughts

I’m really interested to see what Apple decides to do next. Can they even afford to release a new iPad mini that isn’t donning a new Retina quality display? How long will it take for them to bring the refresh to market? These are all questions that Apple management will have to answer sooner than later. These are very difficult questions, and I’m not envious of Apple’s leadership team in the slightest.

Nexus 7 vs iPad mini

The only reason I wouldn’t consider using the Nexus 7 is because of the app eco-system and the operating system. I still think iOS is ahead of Android in more areas than Android is ahead of iOS. For me, Android still feels like a beta product in many regards; it feels sort of thrown together. Yet, Google continues to iterate, and iterate some more. Eventually, Google will get to the point where they get it all right, even down to the smallest details, and at its going rate, the only variable here is time.

The bottom line is that Google has officially laid down the gauntlet. Its made attempts before, but this is perhaps the first product from Google that I’ve used and have become a little jealous as a result. I know some people aren’t going to appreciate this statement, but the iPad mini just looks dated when compared to the Nexus 7, and who knows if we’ll get something from Apple that’s on the same wave length anytime soon.

What do you think? Will the Nexus 7 be the first device to successfully challenge iPad’s dominance?

  • TeddyBearStand

    Everything is remarkable, price, specs, etc…. its just that its android.

    • iamnotfan

      For me it is, remarkable because, its Android

      • TeddyBearStand

        Everyones different. I’ve just become accustomed to apples attention to detail.

      • Nvrhde

        “For me”

    • Jackson Grong

      It’s not Android the problem, I like Android, it’s the app support for tablets that sucks!
      On the iPad there are ~100.000 app that take advantage of the retina screen and ~400.000 apps designed for iPad.
      On the PlayStore, apps for tablets, are 5% of all the store, apps that take advantage of the hi-res screen, you are lucky it you find one!
      There is no way I’m switching to android if this does not change.
      And btw. The iPad is not that slow with a slower processor, take the Galaxy s3 vs iPhone 5 speed test, gs3 twice the benchmark, still the iPhone was faster at launching Asphalt 6…

      • mehrab

        Are you kidding yourself? In case you didn’t know the iphone 5 performs better then the octa core gs4 despite the geek bench scores

      • Sean Cua

        It’s common sense. Not all software support multi-threading and multi-core.

      • mehrab

        Idc. I need a fast smooth responsive expirience which ios gives

      • Joseph

        Ask yourself that question. Stop being a fanboy that clearly can’t see the advantages of Android that iOS doesn’t have, or why dsome people prefer it. You jade your own view of the devices by not giving it a legitimate try.

      • mehrab

        No. i do. People but tablets for apps they want to be more productive or just want a bigger screen to play/navigate there apps with thats the concept of an tablet. But android just upscales most of its apps. Which results in two things. Ugly layout horrible performance. Flip board,need for speed most aanted,nova 3,modern combat 4, facebook,skype,chrome all perform much much better then the original nexus 7 this is a huge HUGE UPDATE I”ll get it that but its not enough to beat the mini in terms of design,ecosystem,performance it clearly CLEARLY beats it on scrren sharpness and i just flrmat my movies to 4;3 to view on my ipad the nexus 7″s 16:10 is horrible on portrait you know that too. The only android i liked is the nexus 4. So yeah i do like android phones too so yeah

      • Joseph

        I’ve never seen a bloated app in the ones I’ve used. I must be lucky.

      • mehrab

        Its not bloated its just not optimised in soze and in performace thats why apps are laggy something as simple as flip board lags. I have to agree games are smooth but not as smooth as the mini

  • Valinor

    Still prefer the ipad mini. Nexus screen is way to small. they should release an 8 inch nexus.
    Also I like devices that look great and the ipad still looks better.

    yeah the nexus owns the ipad with its specs and price but for regular internet browsing The screensize of the ipad mini is perfect. Wont ever go back to 7 inch tablets.

  • Arthur Geron

    I think apple takes more advantage of system functionality/stability over smartphones, but android makes better use of the screen space/hardware space..

    iOS7 will make things a little better, but it’s already time for apple to invest in new processor architectures like snapdragon or else.. Some that doesn’t eat up all our battery and makes a good job preserving our battery

    • mehrab

      The processors they are using are better then androids. The iphone 5 is faster and smoother then the htcone or gs4 bcos of its powerful gpu and awesome optimization

      • Joseph

        It also helps that skins tend to bog down the performance. Run a stock HTC One and it’s amazing. Search for the website CPUBoss, and once you get there, input a comparison for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, the processor that the HTC One uses, and compare it to the A6X. The A6X wins by 0.1 points, but that’s close enough for CPUBoss to not call a definite winner, especially since in all of the benchmarks, the devices either outperformed each other an equal amount of times, or tied completely. Quite impressive and it shows that some processors are actually pretty much matching the A6X, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is expected to surpass the A6X majorly, and either surpass or be close to the specs of the predicted A7 for the next generation iDevice.

      • mehrab

        Stock android still is a bit laggy at parts. Ios (more optimized more refined and realiable) in terms of cpu (android wins) ios wins eventually in terms of gpu ios always wins. Another reason why ios wins is more optimized apps. Android always had great hardware etc cpu,ram (just not great gpu) its the software and app developers that bring it down. Benchmarks dont really matter unless they are battery drain tests and in some cases gpu tests and sunspider is good too

      • Joseph

        I got one of these yesterday. The device’s battery lasts somewhat longer than the original’s, as far as I could tell.

        I remember that at one point in a previous post, you compared the iPad Mini FPS on NOVA 3 to the FPS on the Nexus 7/10. I’ll put it out there that, yes, it didn’t feel as smooth as it could’ve on the original Nexus 7. On this one, though? It runs amazingly, and looks great on the 2G. That Geekbench score does actually translate over to real-life usage. Now, in the meantime, I’ll be right back to benchmark the device with 3DMark and some other benchmarks. Sunspider is a browser-based test to test the rendering power of the browser, which is up to the browser. Using Dolphin with Dolphin Jetpack (which is both a hilarious thing if you picture it in your mind and an Android-only feature to Dolphin Browser), it blows Chrome and Safari out of the water. But for completeness sake, I’ll benchmark that later, too.

        Anyways, I agree that iOS has some very good apps that are optimized for the device, which can explain why it can run it so well. However, even if the app isn’t optimized for the NExus 7 2G, it doesn’t need it, because it blows the app right out of the water (figuratively) with it’s raw horsepower.

      • mehrab

        Okay i got a nexus 7 like 13 hours ago. And i used it like crazy. Now i know why the price is so damn low first off its bcos google makes money with its services 2nd. The nexus one is now horrible slow and unusable but when it came out it was kinda fast and had the same gap from apples ipads in terms in benchmarks (just twice of apples mini/2) what i am saying is google is making us upgrade 200 per year like this nexus 7 2 will get super slow in 6-9 months and will become obsolete. Okay now. That display is very sharp its a rwa thing of beauty but it killed my battery when i had full brightness. Okay now performance (i compared it to my mini) in flipboard which is a optimized tablet app for android and iOS(apps like rdio look horrible on the nexus). And omg how horrible the nexus 7 performed it cant keep up with the pace of swipes the mini can take and as you prolly know scrolling is not smooth most of the time or vice versa. I tested facebook modern combat 4 and need for speed most wanted. The nexus launches facebook faster but isnt as smooth as the mini when you navigate the app. With games mc4 performed eye to eye on both perhaps the mini showed a bit more fps and graphics in nfs the nexus won in launching the app but higher graphics and fps on the mini. My conclusion:people buy a tablet for using their apps in the larger more beautiful canvas (apple takes advantage of that saying while android is doing the same but us light years behind apple) dont believe me fine compare for yourself oh and watch this on youtbe then you”ll see how far behind the nexus 7 2012 was to the mini ‘nexus 7 vs ipad mini gaming performance’ video by oode 15 mins long

      • Joseph

        You must have horrible luck with Android then. My experience has been the complete opposite. Way better battery and all of my apps have been buttery smooth.

        Or you’re, you know, lying.

      • mehrab

        I notice the slightest gliches or frame drops lol bro the gs4/htc one is not smooth to me and you”d think this is. just download flipboard and see for yourself. The games play smooth but not as smooth as my htc one if i had to rate then >nexus 7 2>htc one>ipad mini>iphone 5

      • Joseph

        I honestly could care less about your experiences.

      • mehrab

        Well okay good for you but i can gurantee you this. The nexus 7 2 will be obsolute like the orginal nexus within 6-9 months

      • Joseph

        12, actually, which is a good cycle time. The Nexus 7 was announced and released around June 24th, 2012. The iPhone tends to become obselete rather fast, too. Doesn’t Apple release an ‘S’ device every othet year, the years between that being the next generation devices.

        Noe, stop grasping. If a device can perform this amazingly, I won’t give two shits if it becomes obselete, because it works fine now and it will work fine later, usually at a good rate. And I’ll be damned if Android would actually need 2GB of RAM to function by then.

      • mehrab

        Please see theverges review of the nexus 72 then you”ll get what i mean about the cycle. An iphkne 3gs is running the current software and is compatible with more games then a galaxy s2 enuff said the a5 chip is 2 and a half years old and is still running super fast and playing games at the highest graphics with the most effects and plays at fine 50-55 fps which the gs4,htc one cant reach yet. So you are hardly mistaken as i said before just see and read theverges reveiws and see the comments there. A device that cant scroll smooth and cant run games as good a 2 year old chip is not amazing. The ipad mini im using can be still used for 2 more years

      • Joseph

        You’re forgetting that Android is Java-based and iOS is either C# or C++, if I recall. That actually makes a large difference.

      • mehrab

        Idc really…..i want a responsive device and dont care waht is it based on what its geekbench scores and bechmark scores are btw google search on your nexus 7″s chrome and then scroll up and down its jittery 😐

      • moo53

        You have a point about the nexus 7 1st gen getting slow after awhile and that was due to Android not dumping built up trash in the memory. Android 4.3 which has TRIM will now clean up unused blocks of trash in memory to keep the tablet running like new. One thing you are comparing when it comes to apps are 3rd party which I agree works better on iOS. The reason for this is because apps where built from ground up for iOS then ported and optimized for Android. Apps would be much better if they too where built from the ground up. I chalk this up to lazy developers. Apple forces you to make tablet apps Google doesn’t so if Apple didn’t do that I believe you would have less optimized apps like on Android. I chalk this up to being an open system vs a closed one.

      • mehrab

        Either way i want better apps ios is th answer

      • Joseph

        Did some benchmarks of both the original Nexus 7 (running Cyanogenmod 10.1) and the Nexus 7 2G (running Android 4.3). Here they are. I kept the formatting tags from the site I’m going to post this on. They probably won’t work on Disqus, though.

        3DMark Ice Storm Extreme (higher is better)

        Nexus 7 1G
        [b]Ice Storm Score[/b]: 1891
        [b]Graphics Score[/b]: 1573
        [b]Physics Score[/b]: 6468
        [b]Graphics Test 1[/b]: 7.5 average FPS
        [b]Graphics Test 2[/b]: 6.3 average FPS
        [b]Physics Test[/b]: 20.5 average FPS
        [b]Demo[/b]: 7.5 average FPS

        Nexus 7 2G
        [b]Ice Storm Score[/b]: 6719
        [b]Graphics Score[/b]: 6168
        [b]Physics Score[/b]: 9778
        [b]Graphics Test 1[/b]: 32.1 average FPS
        [b]Graphics Test 2[/b]: 23 average FPS
        [b]Physics Test[/b]: 31 average FPS
        [b]Demo[/b]: 26.4 average FPS

        AnTuTu Benchmark (higher is better)

        Note: The AnTuTu benchmark on the Nexus 7 2G refused to do both the CPU and memory tests, and the OpenGL 2.0 test, due to the fact that the benchmarking tool noticed that the device was running different hardware than the original Nexus 7 (the Nexus 7 1G and 2G are recognized as the same device by many apps, currently). Because of this, the results are inaccurate. The 2G actually had better FPS on the tests it could do by at least 13 FPS, yet it’s score is lowered because it couldn’t do those tests. I’ll have to redo them once this bug is fixed. These benchmarks are scores based off of all of the available benchmarks EXCEPT for CPU/Memory, since those don’t work on the 2G yet.

        Nexus 7 1G
        [b]Score[/b]: 4064

        Nexus 7 2G
        [b]Score[/b]: 10029

        SunSpider Benchmark (lower is better)

        Note: Ran these in two browsers to see how they match up. Turns out Chrome runs faster than Dolphin Jetpack.

        Nexus 7 1G
        [b]Chrome Score[/b]: 1458.8ms average
        [b]Dolphin Jetpack Score[/b]: 1615.9ms

        Nexus 7 2G
        [b]Chrome Score[/b]: 1056.1ms
        [b]Dolphin Jetpack Score[/b]: 1397.1ms

        As you can see, these are actually pretty impressive, and I’d like to see the score from an iPad Mini for applicable benchmarks. On video, preferably? :p

  • Sputnik09

    “in more areas <> Android is ahead of iOS”… My dear Jeff, the correct ways is: “in more areas THAN Android is ahead of iOS”

    You got a C- in grammar, buddy.

    • GuiyeC

      Well that’s not an Objective-C, that is just your opinion, it’s an error in an entire article.

      Sorry for the bad joke.

    • Manu70

      This is not a grammatical error, but an orthographical error. You got a C in vocabulary, buddy.

      • Sputnik09

        Grammar |ˈgramər|
        the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.
        • [ usu. with modifier ] a particular analysis of the system and structure of language or of a specific language.

        Orthography |ôrˈTHägrəfē|
        noun ( pl. orthographies )
        1 the conventional spelling system of a language.
        • the study of spelling and how letters combine to represent sounds and form words.

        The words THEN and THAN are commonly misused in a sentence. In this case Jeff did not misspell “THEN/THAN” (i.e. ‘den’ ‘dan’) which would have been technically an orthographical error, he simply misused a word due to its similar pronunciation on a sentence, hence a grammar error.
        You sir… got a D-

  • dpacemaker

    We are comparing a brand new tablet to one that is nearly a year old. I would hope that the Nexus would be better. I think Android is a great OS, but my preference will always be iOS. The ecosystem is much more rounded and all of the products just work together.

    • Dan

      True, but when Apple comes out with their new mini, it will still be far more expensive and no doubt comparable in speed/screen resolution.

      • dpacemaker

        I’m sure it will, if it has retina that will be the only feature that will compete, other than size.

      • mehrab

        Are you serious? I have the nexus 72 and the mini. The nexus only wins on screen sharpness. And speed? No not really they are eye to eye the nexus 7 launches some apps quicker but the mini navigates ghru them smoother and plays games at higher framerates. Hopefully if you buy the nexus and compare it with your ipad 2″s performance you”d be scratching your head stop believing in specs please your note 2 performs somewhat smoothly bcos of its low ppi. Infact i have the note two and i can assure you the perfomance on the nexus is not even close to the note 2 source- these devices are laying right in front of me

  • Liam Whiteley

    I would still definitely go for iPad mini due to the whole build quality and OS quality. Yes it is slower but this is only the first iPad mini so lets wait for the iPad mini 2 which would be a fairer comparison. If the specs were increased, the iPad mini would be the definaty winner I’m sure!

    • n0ahcruz3

      Here’s the ipad mini 2 specs : PPI 264(retina according to apple), A5X 1GB ram, 5 mp rear,1.2 mp front, 3core GPU. According to my reliable source.

      • Sean Cua

        yea 3 core. Yeaaahhhhh *sarcastically*

      • n0ahcruz3

        Hahahaha it was a joke.

      • Sean Cua

        Lol. Based on the number of dislikes no one got that it was a joke! haha

      • n0ahcruz3

        Yeah, never had this many downvotes before even on BGR. Hahahaha

  • TesticularFortitude

    Not this time Jeff. You fooled me with your Kindle Fire and first gen Nexus 7 swooning. I went out and purchased those devices and they were complete and utter crap.

    • GuiyeC

      At least new Nexus 7’s box looks cool, huh?
      That is a given.

    • Joseph

      This device is definitely good though. You can’t blame the ecosystem for your problems, given that they’re two completely different ones.

      • TesticularFortitude

        What are you talking about? Performance degradation is what I’m talking about. After about 5 months, the first Nexus went kaput. And we won’t even talk about the Kindle Fire. Meanwhile, my iPad 2 still performs like a champ and so does my wife’s iPad mini. Performance and screen resolution are great, but will they still be great 6 months later?

      • Joseph

        The fact that I’ve never had that problem and I’ve had the original Nexus 7 for over a year now? Besides, even if it does happen, the recommended course of action is to restore the device to factory. You can blame NVidea on that, because they included two things in the Tetra 3, neither intentional; degradation over time (which apparently doesn’t effect all devices?) and Smart Dimming when you play videos, but it gets stuck until you lock and then unlock. These problems are both solved in the Nexus 7 2G because it uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip, which is only two generations behind and the device itself is actually 100 points behind the HTC One in benchmarks. In other words, it’s remarkably fast despite the fact that it shouldn’t be, and has no reports of degradation like the Tegra 3, as far as I’m aware.

  • Uzin

    Face-off between iPadmini and Galaxy Tab at: BRAND COLLAGE

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Nice video jeff

  • Altechi

    As I personally prefer to have the best of both worlds (iOS and android), and the fact that I will be planning on getting an Iphone 5S, this will be my tablet. It’s getting excellent reviews

  • Joseph

    Bought one today to replace my original Nexus 7. It runs amazingly smooth, and won’t degrade because it runs a Snapdragon S4 Pro instead of a Tegra 3. I have as lot of apps in this ecosystem as well as Apple’s, so I’m at home with either.

    • TesticularFortitude

      Thank God! I hope you’re right. The first nexus is a major disappointment in this regard. It won’t even turn on now.

      • Joseph

        Absolutely. I already mentioned that I’ve never had any degradation problems, but it helps when the Snapdragon S4 Pro is 80% faster than the Tegra 3. :p

      • TesticularFortitude

        I’m gonna pick one up today and put it through the paces. I was hoping for LTE and 802.11 AC… Certainly not a deal breaker though.

      • Joseph

        Looking around, it does have LTE. 802.11AC isn’t a standard in Apple devices or most devices yet, anyways, so I wouldn’t expect it to be supported yet.

        Anyways, if you have a Staples nearby, check their website. Chances are they have a $30 off coupon you can print which will bring the 16GB Wi-Fi only model to the same current price as the Nexus 7 1G 32GB, $200. Great deal given it’s normal price.

        Honestly? The only problem I’ve had so far is that the speakers like to give out some bad static when playing sounds. This definitely seems like a faulty speaker because of that, and if it isn’t, then that just sucks. Planning on getting that checked later today and get a replacement.

      • TesticularFortitude

        Cool… I wish stores were open now. I upgraded to the new AirPort Extreme which has 802.11 Ac. So I’m expecting the iPhone and iPad refreshes to support “AC”. The new MacBook Air does already.

      • Joseph

        Fair enough. But yeah, first day with this thing and the weight and size difference compared to the original Nexus 7 is substantial. In a good way. Anyways, they got rid of the freckled back from the 1G, making it feel like it has a higher chance of slipping out of your hand. To fix that, I suggest getting a case. :p

  • Reader

    “It’s insanely anal about every minute detail”

    Would it kill this blog to use some professionalism? Literally any synonym —
    “scrupulous” or “meticulous” — would be more appropriate.

    Also please hire some editors or something. This isn’t just targeted at Jeff but y’all should really learn how to use quotation marks and punctuation. And Christian needs to learn the connotations of words.

    And yeah, it’s okay for commenters to be anal. Take this as constructive criticism. KTHXBAI.

  • Dan

    Very good review. The objective standpoint is appreciated.

  • IEmmanuel Appleholic

    The Only thing Samsung is good at i.e Copying and Rethinking……..

    Yeah there u go i Just Said it

    • Chhan So

      But the nexus 7 is made by Asus.

  • Zach Ariot

    what about the battery life ?