November 13, 2013, 2:06 PM — With the newest iPad Mini ready for ordering, it's time compare it to the best 7-inch Android tablet, the latest incarnation of the Nexus 7. When it comes to productivity, which is the better choice?
The latest iPad Mini fixes one of the biggest problems with its first incarnation: It didn't have a Retina display. Now it does, and has the same resolution as its big brother, the iPad. The latest Nexus 7 has an impressive display as well, with 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. That's just about as good as the iPad Mini. But the iPad has a larger screen, 7.9 inches versus 7 inches for the Nexus 7. That's nearly an extra inch larger, and that means a lot when you're trying to get work done.
The verdict? When it comes to the screen, the iPad Mini is better than the Nexus 7 for the productivity-minded.
Apps and ecosystem
Both the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 have access to hundreds of thousands of apps, including many productivity-boosters. Both ecosystems have free Office suites, note-takers, to-do list creators, and more. But the Nexus 7 wins by a hair, because of Google's myriad services and apps, such as Google Drive, Google Docs and other. Although many of them are available as iOS apps and on the Web, Google will inevitably launch the newest improvements on Android first.
The new iPad Mini comes with the very fast 64-bit A7 chip that also powers the iPad Air and the iPhone 5C. That's more power than the Nexus 7's 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro. For today, as a practical matter, that likely won't mean much. But it does mean that you're more future-proof with the iPad Mini, because it is more likely to be able to handle anything thrown at it in the future.
Ease of use
The iPad Mini wins this one with ease. iOS is much easier to use than Android; you won't find yourself fumbling around through menus to find what you need.
The Nexus 7 clearly comes out on top here. Android is supremely customizable, while iOS has only the most basic customizations. If you feel the need to customize your tablet to boost your productivity, the Nexus 7 is the way to go.
Here there's no comparison: The Nexus 7 wins hands down. You can get a Nexus 7 for $230, while the iPad Mini will run you $400. That's close to twice the price.
If you don't mind paying an extra $170, then the iPad mini is a slightly better bet for productivity. A larger screen, more powerful processor, and ease of use add up to productivity gains. On the other hand, if you're hooked into the Google ecosystem, the Nexus 7 will be the better bet. And, of course, the extra $170 can go a long way. Is the iPad Mini worth the extra money? That's something only your wallet can tell you.