iPad Mini Supertest Verdict

We took the iPad Mini and paired it up against some of the most popular 7″ inch tablets available today!

The Touchpad 7 was the budget entry but unfortunately it somewhat lower price couldn’t convince due to an inferior screen and somewhat shabby build quality. The Galaxy Tab 2.0 7 is a solid tablet as we’d expect from the Galaxy line of tablets, but unfortunately didn’t pack enough of a punch to justify its significantly higher price tag. The Fire HD is ideal for media consumption, but most power users would find it impossible to work with the heavily modded version of Android and the constant integration with Amazon’s shop interface.

Whilst the iPad Mini was able to stand its ground against most of these fine competitors, it finally found its match in the excellent Google Nexus 7. Whilst the iPad Mini is a stunning piece of kit, its somewhat under powered screen and the hefty price tag made us maintain our rating on the Google Nexus 7 as the best tablet of 2012, and our clear winner in the iPad Mini Supertest.

Google Nexus

★★★★★

Pros: Great Performance; Jelly Bean OS; quality design; Tegra; price
Cons: fewer apps than iPad

Apple iPad Mini

★★★★★

Pros: stunning design; 7.9″ screen; light; apps
Cons: pricey; dated OS; lower-res

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

★★★☆☆

Pros: Vibrant; great sound; perfect for media
Cons: heavily modified Android; Amazon heavy; limited apps.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 7

★★★☆☆

Pros: microSD; good screen
Cons: pricey; heavy; dual-core processor; Samsung apps

Versus Touchpad 7

★★☆☆☆

Pros: very cheap; vanilla ICS
Cons: build quality; low-quality screen; tacky finish; low battery life

iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7

With a killer combo of performance, price and portability, the Nexus 7 dominates the 7inch battlefield!

Google Nexus 7 Specs
Display: 7″ IPS LCD, 1280×800 (216PPI)
OS: Android 4.2 JellyBean
CPU: Quad-Core Tegra 3 @1.3GHz
Camera: 1.2MP, 720p [front]
Connectivity: WiFi, 3.5mm, NFC, microUSB
Battery: 10hrs

Asus once again delivers with a solidly made slate, with a solid finish and rubberised back so you can carry it in your bag without too many worries about scratches. The bezel is slightly larger than on the iPad Mini and the Nexus as a whole is taller than the Fire HD. On th inside however, the Nexus 7 houses a quad-core Tegra 3 beast that fires up even the most demanding Adnroid apps, plus a 1280×800 screen to deliver any HD blockbusters in super-sharp colour and clarity.

The 216PPI also ensures that high-res images and text are displayed with razor sharp edges and texting and emailing even though the Fire HD handles movies slightly better. Software wise, it’s all good news though – the native Android Jelly Bean is the most up-do-date version on any tablet currently available and is sure to be kept up-do-date with future patches imminent. This means the Nexus 7 has full run of the Google Play store and will delight gamers who can noe enjoy the more crunchier titles in the TegraZone.

And finally there’s the price! Depending on where you buy it from, the Nexus retails for about R 3200 – or almost half of the iPad Mini and at similar prices to the Fire HD, but without any of the latters restrictions! So while the iPad Mini is still a better tab overall, the Nexus 7 is the tab that we would buy in a heartbeat.

The Verdict
★★★★☆

At just slightly over R3 000, the Nexus 7 is the tablet for the people! Make sure you get your hands on one for 2013.

Whilst the Nexus 7 scrapped the rear facing camera to keep costs down, its front 1.2MP camera is better than the Kindle Fire HD’s and is definitely more than enough for video calls.

The Nexus 7 runs the latest version of Android Jelly Bean and since it belongs to Google’s flagship Nexus range of devices will always be first to get new updates.

If the lack of 3G was pushing you towards the iPad Mini, its worth noting that the Nexus 7 is now also available in a – slightly more expensive – HSPA+ version.

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iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD

Obviously geared at putting media consumption first, the Fire HD has a gloriously clear 1280×800 screen, super-fast WiFi and comes with plenty of Amazon offers.

Kindle Fire HD Specs
Display: 7.9″ HD LCD, 1280×800 (216PPI)
OS: Android 4.0 ICS
CPU: 1.2GHz Dual Core OMAP
Camera: 1.3MP [front]
Connectivity: WiFi, 3.5mm, miniHDMI, microUSB, Bluetooth
Battery: 11hrs

The Kindle Fire HD is definitely no e-Reader that’s been given a splash of colour! The build quality is very good, with a reassuring weight, an exception screen and amazingly clear stereo speakers. It also comes with plenty of ports and dual-band WiFi for superfast downloads. All in all, not much to complain about in terms of hardware.

From a software perspective, it isn’t quite as impressive however. Whilst the Kindle Fire HD does run Android, it is so heavily modded that you can’t really tell. Amazon’s app store is still very much behind Google Play and Apple, and without access to Google Maps, Dropbox or most of the apps you’d take for granted, the Fire HD is a bit to narrow in its application. It’s quite clear that Amazon has prioritized access to its media over basic functionality such as email or simple web browsing.

That being said, the Kindle Fire HD is great for people new to the world of tablets and simply looking for an excellent media consumption device. And since it ships at very much the same price as teh Nexus 7, it does boil down to what you want from your 7″ tablet.

The Verdict
★★★★★

The modified Android OS will be too restrictive for Android fans, but the Fire HD is cheap and packs enough quality hardware to make it one of the best media consumption tablets.

The original Anroid OS is hardly recognisable, and Amazon has cloaked it into a series of sparkly shopfronts and a 3D carousel of your recently viewed media.

With the free Amazon Prime Trial obviously designed to lure customers into Amazon’s rich world of movies, books and other media, the Fire HD makes it seductively easy to purchase content based on helpful recommendations.

Amazon also throws in a free Lovefilm trial, but the service so far only has 5000 titles on the Fire HD – more are hopefully on their way soon!

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iPad Mini vs Versus Touchpad 7

The Versus 7 Touchpad is the cheapest option into our 7″ tablet comparison – but the sub R 1500 tag does come at a cost!

Versus Touchpad 7 Specs
Display: 7″ TFT, 800×480 (133PPI)
OS: Android 4.0 ICS
CPU: 1Cortex A8, 1GHz
Camera: VGA [front]
Connectivity: WiFi, 3.5mm, microUSB, miniHDMI, microUSB
Battery: 4hrs

The somewhat underwhelming experience starts with its shiny, plastic back – clearly you won’t win many style points with this when compared to the elegant, matte finish version of its rivals.

The overall construction also bears witness to an eagerness to cut corners on quality in favour of price, something that unfortunately also extends to the low res, blue tinged 800×480 screen. Whilst we can excuse the design, the screen is almost headache inducing in that we couldn’t find one single good viewing angle!

But surprisingly, once we get past these – significant – drawbacks, the Touchpad 7 actually starts surprising on the upside! It comes chock full with some very useful ports such as miniHDMI, mircoSD and USB and is light and easy to hold. WiFi access works well and it streams movies easily from Google Play.

The bottom line is that whilst the Touchpad 7 might be an acceptable tablet, we find it hard to recommend it due to its somewhat lackluster display and the fact that the Nexus 7 is just R 1500 more. But, if you’re finding yourself strapped for cash or just want a budget 7″ tablet do handle the bare basics, the Versus Touchpad 7 is an acceptable choice.

The Verdict
★★★☆☆

The Galaxy Tab 2 builds on Samsungs impressive range of Galaxy devices and has plenty going for it – unfortunately the Google Nexus and the Fire HD both offer more, for a lot less cash!

A clean, vanilla version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich ensures the Touchpad 7 runs without hiccups or any unneeded mods eating into performance and memory.

Whilst it wont handle any TegraZone games, Angry Birds, iPlayer and Kindle all come pre-installed. Plus, you will probably have more access to additional apps than on the Fire HD.

The lower price does come at a cost – overall we felt the screen wasn’t responsive enough which was a total pain for gaming and more than a little annoying when scrolling, as it can sometimes send you the wrong way.

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iPad Mini vs Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2.0 was at the top of the 7inch tablet market, but then Google came along to ruin the party! And to be honest, there’s not much to set the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 apart from the – much cheaper – Nexus 7 aside from some some useful custom apps, a very handy microSD slot and a 3MP rear camera.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Specs
Display: 7″ PLS LCD, 1024×768 (170PPI)
OS: Android 4.0 ICS
CPU: 1GHz Dual Core OMAP
Camera: 53P, 720@30fps [rear]; VGA [front]
Connectivity: WiFi, 3.5mm, microUSB, SD, Bluetooth
Battery: 7hrs

To start off with, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0’s 1GHz OMAP processor seems a bit dated when comparing it to the raw speed of the Nexus’ quad core engine. And even though its running Ice Cream Sandwich – and ready for a Jelly Bean update soon – it’s likely that the Nexus range of devices will always be on step ahead in this regard.

On the flipside, the Tab 2 7.0 surprises with a screen that’s better than the 1024×600 spec might suggest. With excellent viewing angles and more punchier resolution. The speakers are also really good and on-par with the Kindle Fire HD‘s and the microSD slots is a major especially since the Galaxy Tab comes pre-loaded with a plethora of apps and non-essential hubs.

To sum it up – the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 provides a solid choice, but can’t compete with the speedier processors and sturdier designs of the iPad Mini or Google’s Nexus 7.

The Verdict
★★★★☆

The Galaxy Tab 2 builds on Samsungs impressive range of Galaxy devices and has plenty going for it – unfortunately the Google Nexus and the Fire HD both offer more, for a lot less cash!

Despite the Tab 2’s slightly low-res screen photos and HD mvoies still look great with vivid colours. Unfortunately the screens on the Nexus 7 and Fire HD are just that little bit better.

We’re big fans of Samsung’s music player and email app which the company introduced on the Galaxy Note 2. They pop up from the bottom of the display with notifications to keep you informed.

Whilst it could be mistaken for alumium from a distance the Tab 2 7.0’s chasis is in fact made from plastic.. It’s no iPad Mini, but it still manages to look like a classy, grown-up slate.

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iPad Mini Review

We’re going out on a limb here, but the iPad Mini is probably the sexiest tablet that Apple has built! From the outside, the iPad Mini beguiles with satin aluminium finished and diamond-cut edges and nicely packaged in a super-thin body and a feathery 308g.

iPad Mini Specs
Buy the iPad Mini Display: 7.9″ IPS LCD, 1024×768 (163PPI)
OS: Apple iOS 6
CPU: 1GHz Dual Core A5
Camera: 5MP, 1080@30fps [rear]; 1.2MP, 720p [front]
Connectivity: WiFi, 3.5mm, Lightning, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery: 10hrs

But don’t let first impressions bowl you over – a closer look at the insides of the iPad Mini unfortunately aren’t quite as good: first of, at a resolution of 1024×768 it’s no Retina device! Even so, colours are displayed in natural and vibrant 163PPI and the whites are crystal clear. Plus, at 7.9″, the screen is by far the biggest in the test, maximising the display for plenty of app fun.

Packing the updated iOS 6 and complete with Facebook integration and the infamous Apple Maps, it has full access to Apple’s industry-leading App Store. Apple maintained the same aspect-ration as the standard iPads, which ensures that all your existing apps will play perfectly on the smaller brother.

Performance is impressive, with the Mini inheriting the same A5 chip that’s fueling the iPad 3. It loads pages faster and offers accelerating movie streaming when compared to the Nexus.

To sum it up – the iPad Mini is awesome and we love the extra screen space! It’s much more than a pure media consumption device but unfortunately also comes at a much higher price…if it weren’t as expensive, the iPad Mini would be a clear winner in our 7″ Tablet Supertest

The Verdict
★★★★★

Beautiful, fast and capable, the iPad Mini is the near-perfect 7inch tablet! The only major fault is that its just too expensive.

The smaller screen might call for slightly more precise finger work but not by much. Even button filled apps were quite manageable on the iPad Mini.

The Mini’s thinner bezel makes your thumb more prone to stray onto the screen – this is where Apple’s Thumb Detection tech comes in very useful to avoid these unwanted interferences.

In typical Apple fashion, don’t expect any useful ports on the Mini. You get a 3.5mm socket as well as the new Lightning charging port – microSD is still just a dream.

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iPad Mini Supertest: iPad Mini vs The Best 7″ Tablets

Steve Jobs famously dismissed 7inch tablets as “tweeners” claiming that their screens were too small to display great apps properly. Now Apple has released its own shrunk down version of its flagship tablet – the iPad Mini. But is it too little to late for Apple to get stuck into the 7inch tablet market that is all but dominated by Android tablets?

Top10Reviews takes an in-depth look at the 7inch battlefield to find out whether the iPad Mini can survive our 7inch Tablet Supertest!

What We Tested

Apple iPad Mini (16GB)

Whilst Apple may be playing catchup against its Android powered peers, its biggest screen coupled with access to the App Stores host of quality riches, it still very much has a fighting chance at victory!

Jump to: Apple iPad Mini Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (8GB)

Can Samsung pull out another winner to go with the Samsung Galaxy S3? It’s 7inch Galaxy Tab features a great screen, microSD storage and a rear cam – will it be enough to make it through our gauntlet?

Jump to: iPad Mini vs Galaxy Tab 2.0 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HD (16GB)

Running on a fully bastardized version of Android, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD comes in at rock-bottom price for what is after all still a very capable media consumption device. Will this be enough to sway budget conscious consumers?

Jump to: iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD

Google Nexus 7 (16GB)

With a Tegra 3 heart and a Jelly Bean Brain, and stylish looks to woo the fans, Google’s super-cheap 7incher is still our tablet to beat!

Jump to: iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7

Versus Touchpad (8GB)

Super cheap at below GBP 100 it nevertheless serves up Google Play, web browsing and games in an attractive package. But where’s the catch?

Jump to: iPad Mini vs Versus Touchpad 7

What We Looked For

Apps

Although iOs is still running the show with its App Store, Google Play is racing to fill the gap! Be aware, that the Kindle Fire HD restricst full access to Google Play and the Versus Touchpad is limited by speed issues to make the best out of all the latest games.

Display

Since the released of the iPad 3 and it’s unique Retina Display, a lot of focus has been on screen resolution. But it’s not the only factor to consider – especially for more portable 7inch tablets, being able to use the tablet outdoors with good viewing angles can be just as important!

Storage

Whilst on board storage is restricts for most of the models in our test, we do look at what sort of expansion options are available – from larger models, to microSD and cloud storage.

Power

Our test includes quad-core monsters to single core contenders – depending on your needs you will need to select a tablet that can handle your requirements for speed and raw processing power!

How To Navigate The Supertest

Since this test will be quite substantial in terms of content, we broke it down into easy subsections. You can read through all the individual iPad Mini comparisons or skip directly to the verdict!

  1. Apple iPad Mini Review
  2. iPad Mini vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
  3. iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD
  4. iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7
  5. iPad Mini vs Versus Touchpad 7
  6. Supertest Verdict