Apple iPad Mini Retina vs. the New Google Nexus 7

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By Vanessa Francisco | December 12, 2013 5:29 PM EST

It's a longstanding battle between the two giants of 7-inch tablets. It's Google's new Nexus 7 versus Apple's iPad Mini with Retina Display. While the Apple iPad Mini brings its best designed tablet with iTunes and App Store ecosystem power, the new Nexus 7 is feature-packed, pushing the tablet into a full HD display backed by a stronger Google Play Store. Both have a compact factor with powerful components that promise years of solid performance.

Many features separate one from the other but the most important is their respective software. Apple has iOS 7 which looks a lot better on the iPad Mini's 7.9-inch display than the bigger iPad Air. The Nexus 7 on the other hand runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, which is a major upgrade to Google's mobile operating system. The changes in Android 4.4 are less visual as opposed to iOS 7, but the improvement lies on application launch time, response time and overall battery life.

With a ratio of 4:3 at 2048 x 1536 pixels, the iPad Mini's 7.9-inch display gives e-books, web pages and other content more room both in landscape and portrait modes despite its modest dimensions. Two cameras, an improved WiFi antenna and two microphones make the device ideal for communication, especially with crisp and clear video calls. The only flaw is the small speaker at the bottom of the tablet which is not super powerful.

Apple also uses iCloud to manage web bookmarks across devices and iTunes Radio is expected to be available not only in the U.S. but also in Canada as well before the end of spring. Other advantages of the iPad Mini include the 64 or 128 GB of internal storage and 5 MP and 1.2 MP cameras. Starting price is at $419.

The more affordable and lighter Nexus 7 only suffers from a narrower display. With its 16:10 ratio, it's sharp and clear but is not well suited for creating or reading documents or going online. Its upgraded components make Nexus 7 more responsive and faster than its predecessor, even if it's a bit slower than other 5 or 6-inch phablets. Games and apps launch in no time.

Ease of use and versatility are superb with Swype and Swiftkey keyboards exclusive to Android. The price is a big differentiator at $230 for the 16 GB variant and $270 for 32 GB. It has the same camera features as the iPad Mini.

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