The Nexus 7 (left), iPad mini (center) and Kindle Fire HD (right) are all gunning for a tiny inscription market.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The compact-sized inscription space — once a black hole for flawed efforts like a BlackBerry PlayBook — unexpected looks like a heart of that market. After Barnes Noble, Amazon and Google showed that we could qualification a quality, affordable inscription around a seven-inch screen, Apple responded this month with a new iPad mini.
How do a 3 highest-profile competitors — a mini, Google’s Asus-built Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD — compare? It’s not as apparent as we competence think.
Screen: Apple (Fortune 500) finds itself in an unknown position here: behind. ,
The iPad mini’s 7.9-inch screen, with a 1024-by-768 pixel resolution, is visibly reduction pointy than a 7-inch, 1200-by-800 displays on a Nexus 7 and a Kindle Fire HD. With a same Web page open on all 3 devices, calm on a iPad looked usually hairy adequate for me to wish to increase it slightly, while on a dual Android-based inclination we could keep it as-is.
Size and weight: The mini is a lightest option, during .68 lbs., nonetheless a Nexus 7 is usually about an unit heavier. Either one should work for standing-up use on a train. The combined 3 ounces of a Fire HD feel clearly heftier.
In a all-important “does it feel good in a hand?” category, a mini is implausibly nonetheless pleasingly thin–almost as if we could snap it in half. Its dual rivals seem corpulent in comparison, even nonetheless they don’t need to make room for a behind camera like a 5-megapixel hardware sported by a iPad mini.
On a Fire HD, we detected an additional issue: we kept holding it upside down. The chain of a front camera along a prolonged side (where your ride simply hides it in mural mode) deprives we of a common “this finish up” spirit of a lens atop a display.
Battery life: Apple has finished awfully well — in my usual test of nonstop Web-radio playback with a shade kept on, a iPad mini ran for 11 hours and 53 mins — nonetheless Google (Fortune 500) and , Amazon (Fortune 500) are no slouch. In that same routine, , the Nexus 7 lasted 9:40 and a Fire HD finished it to 9:23 in one exam and 10:27 in another. With standard waking hours, you’ll substantially need to recharge before your inscription does.
Both iPad alternatives are easier to replenish. The loaner units I’ve tested any charged, slowly, off general micro-USB cables and chargers. With a iPad mini, we need Apple’s exclusive Lightning cable.
Apps: Apple loves to surveillance a strenuous numerical supremacy of tablet-optimized apps for a iPad: 275,000 and counting. But a quantity-first proceed doesn’t tell we all — as Apple infrequently forked out in a late 1990s when a Mac struggled for courtesy from name-brand developers.
Both Apple and Google have finished good during tweaking their possess apps to fill out a tablet’s bigger screen. (Google’s wisely refrain from perplexing to impersonate real-world calendars or residence books). Some name-brand developers — Evernote, Facebook ( and )Pandora ( are among them — have finished a same bid on both platforms. )
Many others, however, apparently can’t be worried to correct their Android apps.
Apple’s advantage is strongest in apps to emanate content. If there’s an Android photo-editing app with a character and piece of Apple’s iPhoto, we haven’t found it yet. As an Android user, we can still find yourself watchful for iOS-only apps to make their approach to Google’s handling system.
The Fire HD compounds that debility by regulating Amazon’s apart Appstore instead of Google’s Play Store. That leaves Fire users with a diminished inventory, nonetheless there are exceptions: Amazon has an app for a Instant Video use on a Appstore (and on a iPad’s App Store) nonetheless not on Android’s Play Store.
Interface: If you’re a bustling person, Android will expected be a improved handling system. Multitasking is faster and some-more obvious. Instead of drumming a home symbol twice to see a quarrel of app icons, drumming a recent-apps symbol reveals thumbnail views of open apps.
Android also does notifications better, gripping an active count of that apps have new information for we during a tip of a screen. And we like being means to check things like my report or e-mail by Android’s onscreen widgets.
Apple’s iOS is easier overall, nonetheless some traits — like a need to open a Settings app to change preferences in many third-party apps — take some removing used to. For involuntary syncing of music, photos and videos from a mechanism to a tablet, iOS requires distant reduction tinkering than Android.
On a Fire HD, Amazon’s rewrite of Google’s handling complement erases a multitasking and widget advantages. And even some-more so than final year’s Kindle Fire, a Fire HD’s interface can feel like one large flue into an Amazon checkout screen, from a ads that seem on a close shade to a “Customers Also Bought” links on a home screen. Opting out of those will cost we $15.
Price: Yes, a iPad mini starts during $329 while a Nexus 7 and a Kindle Fire HD any offer $199 cost tags. Apple can make a good box that a aloft cost of a mini buys we that lighter, thinner design, dual cameras instead of one and a higher preference of inscription apps. (It can’t straightforwardly clear charging twice as most for a storage upgrade.)
But set those prices aside and consider of how you’d indeed use a tablet. If your answers revolve around reading, either on a Web or in e-books, a Nexus 7 should be your initial choice. If apps outrank text, go with a iPad mini.