Tablet market breakdown feature by feature
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 23:10
Everyone saw this coming: in what has been the worst kept secret in the technology world in quite some time, Apple Inc. announced their highly anticipated new tablet computer on Tuesday, the iPad mini. Now that we have confirmation of the iPad mini’s existence and imminent release, we are able to compare and contrast the three major small-sized tablets on the market for those interested in picking one up this holiday season. Besides Apple’s new behemoth, the other major players in this market space are Google’s Nexus 7 tablet and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.
The resolution of the iPad mini, touted as better than the iPad 2’s, comes in at 162 ppi (pixels per inch), far lower than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, which stand at 216 ppi.
The iPad mini, however, is both lighter and thinner than either of its competitors. Weighing only .68 lbs and .28 inches thick, Apple’s tablet is both lighter and thinner than the Nexus 7 (.75lbs/.41 inches thick) and the Kindle Fire HD (.87 lbs/.35 inches thick).
Standing at 7.9 inches, the iPad mini’s display is significantly larger than either of the other two tablets, which have a 7-inch display.
While all three tablets have a front - facing camera, the iPad mini is the only one with an “HD” front camera. In addition, the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 have no rear camera, whereas Apple’s tablet packs a powerful 5 mp rear camera.
The Nexus 7 has the best processor among the three. It features a quad-core processor, whereas the other two only sport a dual core processor.
Higher-end models of the Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini allow for 4G LTE coverage, whereas no model of the Nexus 7 does.
As far as software is concerned, the iPad mini, like the main iPad, will support over 275,000 apps. While music in your iTunes library can be imported to all three devices, only the iPad mini will sync with downloaded iTunes videos. The Nexus 7 only sports a few thousand Android apps designed especially for tablets; however, it is running Android, which unlike Apple has an unregulated App marketplace with numerous apps only appearing on Android devices. The Kindle Fire HD, while running a modified version of Android OS, does not allow access to the Android app store. Rather, a separate app store exists for the platform which is not nearly as robust but which does support basic apps such as Angry Birds, Netflix and Amazon Kindle/Instant Video.
Prices for the iPad mini start at $329 for the 16GB wifi model, the Kindle Fire HD starts $199 for 16GB wifi model and the Nexus 7 features 8GB and 16GB wifi models, priced at $199 and $249, respectively. (It is noteworthy, however, to mention that it is rumored that Google will drop the price of the 16GB Nexus 7 to $199 and will introduce a 32 GB model for $250 within the next few weeks. This would make the latter model a full $180 cheaper than the 32GB iPad mini, at $429).
In conclusion, the iPad mini is unquestionably the best-designed piece of hardware amongst its competitors, as far as portability is concerned. Its 5mp camera and dedicated iPad app library are unmatched by the competition. However, its higher price point and non-expandable memory (considering its already high price) will be sticking points for some, especially those with large iTunes music and video libraries.
For tech savvy computer geeks, the Nexus 7 is the way to go. Android’s open marketplace of unregulated applications and zippy quad core processor make it the choice for tech nerds.
The Kindle Fire HD is ideal for non-tech savvy people mostly interested in using their tablet for e-reading and video streaming (ideally with Amazon Kindle and Amazon Instant Video apps, both of which however are also available on the iPad mini). The Kindle Fire’s $199 price point makes it much more affordable than the $329 iPad mini; however, its modified version of the Android OS that doesn’t allow access to Google’s Android app store will probably keep tech users looking for a more robust experience.