Spec Shootout: iPad Mini vs. Kindle Fire HD vs. Nexus 7

Earlier today Apple announced the iPad Mini, creating some competition in the small tablet space and going up against established competitors in the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. It's not surprising to see Apple's tablet retailing for significantly higher than the available Android tablets, but is it really worth the extra cash to get the iPad Mini?

Well, you can see so for yourself via this handy specifications table below which lists all the important on-paper information. We've highlighted in bold the best spec'd tablet in each area, but keep in mind this is just a comparison of the tablets' specifications and not a hands-on look and review.

  Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi) Amazon Kindle Fire HD Google Nexus 7
Display 7.9-inch IPS LCD at 1024 x 768
163 ppi pixel density
7.0-inch IPS LCD at 1280 x 800
216 ppi pixel density
7.0-inch IPS LCD at 1280 x 800
216 ppi pixel density
Processor Apple A5
~1.0 GHz dual-core CPU
TI OMAP 4460
1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9
NVIDIA Tegra 3
1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9
Graphics PowerVR SGX543MP2 PowerVR SGX540 "Kal-El" ULP GeForce GPU
RAM 512 MB (probably) 1 GB 1 GB
Storage 16/32/64 GB internal user storage 16/32 GB internal user storage 8/16/32 GB internal user storage
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band)
Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band)
Bluetooth
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
NFC
Camera 5 MP rear camera with BSI sensor and f/2.4 lens
1080p video recording (rear), 720p recording (front)
1.2 MP front camera
1.3 MP front camera 1.2 MP front camera
Ports Apple proprietary Lightning connector
3.5mm audio jack
3.5mm audio jack
MicroUSB
Micro-HDMI
MicroUSB
3.5mm audio jack
Battery 16.3 W-h non-removable "Up to 11 hours" 4325 mAh non-removable
Launch OS iOS 6.0 Android 4.0
Amazon custom skin
Android 4.1
Launch Date November 2012 September 2012 July 2012
Size & Weight 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm
308 g
193 x 137 x 10.3 mm
395 g
198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm
340 g
Price Starting at $329 (16 GB) Starting at $199 (16 GB) Starting at $199 (8 GB)

As a quick summary, the iPad Mini is thinner and lighter, and it includes a rear "iSight" camera for all the tablet photography you'll be doing; it also has a marginally larger display and a faster GPU. The Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 have a higher resolution and more dense display, and more RAM, while the Nexus 7 has the fastest chipset. At $199 for the 16 GB model, the Kindle Fire HD is the cheapest per-gigabyte.

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56 Comments

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Since i own an iPod Touch and i'm curently looking for a 7inches tablet i was really interested in the new iPad Mini.

But the price and the new connector is really a problem to me. I own an iHome ID83 and really don't want to pay for a new device since this one is still perfectly working.

I don't mind the slightly lower res if it means iPad 2 compatible apps will work with the iPad Mini. It actually makes a lot of sense and is a good decision imo.

At 299$ the iPad Mini would be a lot more interesting.

How good a product is no longer solely resides in it's hardware specs. I thought people on this forum got that by now. This is 2012, not 2004.

I've owned an Android Phone and a Windows 7 Mobile phone and now moved onto the iPhone. Yeah, there are parts of it which annoys me like not being able to send a TXT to my entire contacts, or attach a batch of photos to an email, but my phone has become such a dependance that I would take reliability, and hassle free use over extra Mhz or the ability to root it and change bits.

glen8
said,
I've owned an Android Phone and a Windows 7 Mobile phone and now moved onto the iPhone. Yeah, there are parts of it which annoys me like not being able to send a TXT to my entire contacts, or attach a batch of photos to an email, but my phone has become such a dependance that I would take reliability, and hassle free use over extra Mhz or the ability to root it and change bits.

Uhm - you do realize that you can do both things you mention on the iPhone...?

Should throw in the Galaxy Tab 7.7 for good measure, even though it's already on its way out. Looking forward to its successor.

now let's bash this piece's of **** resolution,because they all bash the resolution of other tablets,why is it 1080p and not retina?oh retina better,o fu

Better camera and lighter. But with poorer screen and generally less powerful hardware.
Literally nothing to justify the 65% (!) price premium over the competition.

Reckon Google is going to troll like a sir next week.

Apple, will go just like IBM & Xerox....people for a time, will buy on their brand name only. Once that wears off and people figure they can get "the same thing" for a greatly reduced price, it's over for them.

iPad Mini has Siri, and 3G/4G with Hotspot, GPS/GLONASS (on 3G/4G model).
The cost of a 4G Hotspot is $169 AUD, and a standalone bluetooth GPS which works with iOS is $99.99 USD, so the 4G model adds value which would be $270 to get separately (as these other tablets don't have 3G/4G) only if these features are important to you of course. Cheaper than an iPod Touch 5th Gen if you needed these features separately.

If you don't need these features then the other tablets look better.

Even my dad who is a big apple fan (has maybe a dozen of their devices/products) said he see's no point to this ipad mini.

"The unloved (and unneeded) middle child" to quote.

technikal said,
Even my dad who is a big apple fan (has maybe a dozen of their devices/products) said he see's no point to this ipad mini.

"The unloved (and unneeded) middle child" to quote.

I see it as the Apple tablet that is much more affordable. Unneeded? Naa, its a good middle ground between the Touch and the full-size and more expensive iPad 2,3,4.

statm1 said,
I see it as the Apple tablet that is much more affordable. Unneeded? Naa, its a good middle ground between the Touch and the full-size and more expensive iPad 2,3,4.

Except by placing it in this area of the market, apple is competing directly with the likes of the Nexus and Kindle Fire as mentioned in this article.

Given the >60% price markup for this mini iPad over those other devices, it's affordable by apple standards but a rip off compared to the competition. It's not like it's better specs wise. In fact, it's generally not as good besides the camera and weight.

Being more expensive than the competition is something Apple has always done. But having a tablet that will blend with your current ecosystem outweighs the slightly lower cost of the other brands.

statm1 said,
Being more expensive than the competition is something Apple has always done. But having a tablet that will blend with your current ecosystem outweighs the slightly lower cost of the other brands.

"slightly" ?

60% more expensive than the Nexus 7, with no discernible difference in features apart from the camera... Yep, it's definitely still Apple.

It's probably a better idea to compare the iPad Mini to the Kindle Fire Standard, not the Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire HD is a bigger Kindle Fire while the iPad Mini is a smaller iPad. You shouldn't compare opposites...

PaCpiS said,
Apple is used to overpricing all their products

Well, in reality the consumers decide of the price, by buying or not buying an iPad Mini.

rippleman said,
specs wise, Hyundai beats Lexus too in a lot of areas, does that means Lexus owners should change to drive a Hyundai?

It's more like Coke and Pepsi. If a six pack of Pepsi (or Coke) cost $2.49 would you pay $3.29 for the same six pack of Pepsi (or Coke)?

azure.sapphire said,

It's more like Coke and Pepsi. If a six pack of Pepsi (or Coke) cost $2.49 would you pay $3.29 for the same six pack of Pepsi (or Coke)?

Except Coke tastes horrible :-/

azure.sapphire said,

It's more like Coke and Pepsi. If a six pack of Pepsi (or Coke) cost $2.49 would you pay $3.29 for the same six pack of Pepsi (or Coke)?

That is more like the ipad/android tablet than you think. People who like Pepsi will pay what it costs, same with coke.

Say what you want about android, sheep and windblows but you leave coke out of this!!!!!

I iz coke luver

Fred 69 said,

Except Coke tastes horrible :-/

ramonsjc said,
Say what you want about android, sheep and windblows but you leave coke out of this!!!!!

I iz coke luver

I agree Coke does taste better.. But I like both..

wow lots of coke love and pepsi hate, can I chime in with I prefer pepsi as there is something in coke which tastes awful if you drink more than a couple of cans in a day

If I were in for a small tablet I'd go for the iPad even though I have an Android phone.

Why you ask? Because specs don't matter at all if the software experience is inferior. Android has plenty of good apps for mobile phones but I've experienced first hand (because I sell both iPads and Android tablets) that the Play Store just has a major lack of quality tablet apps, especially when compared to the App Store. It makes a HUGE difference in how you experience and enjoy your tablet.

Also, ecosystem. The iTunes Store is still the best and most internationally accessible when it comes to Music and Movies. Google Play only offers apps here in Belgium, and Amazon doesn't offer anything at all. Kinda sucks.

Ambroos said,

Also, ecosystem. The iTunes Store is still the best and most internationally accessible when it comes to Music and Movies. Google Play only offers apps here in Belgium, and Amazon doesn't offer anything at all. Kinda sucks.

Not to mention the problem with updating Android tablets which is completely up to the manufacturer.
I have an Android tablet and I will never get Jelly Bean update.
Also last time I checked, Nexus 7 is still not available in Belgium. What's the point of a better tablet if you can't buy it?
All this makes me long for an Ipad mini

mankiki said,

I have an Android tablet and I will never get Jelly Bean update.

What tablet have you got? I've got a really cheap tablet and I know there is a JB update being worked on by the Custom Rom crowd, which to be fair I would rather use than a manufacturer one as they come cluttered with garbage

Same resolution as the non-retina iPad. What, you want them to come out with another new resolution that would require all developers to redo their apps again after they just did it for the iPad 3? Having 1024x768 means it is automatically compatible with all the iPad apps already out there.

Enron said,
And it has that blasted proprietary connector again!
And the 30pin connector is a industry wide standard????? It to is proprietary. Technology changes, that's not new.

statm1 said,
And the 30pin connector is a industry wide standard????? It to is proprietary. Technology changes, that's not new.

That's awful too.

statm1 said,

And the 30pin connector is a industry wide standard????? It to is proprietary. Technology changes, that's not new.

No. MicroUSB and HDMI are.

lexp said,
I remember comparison of Windows Mobile 6.5 and iPhone 1 OS. Anyone knows what happened with WinMo?

Microsoft dragged their feet not realizing people actually wanted smart phones then decided to put out a real OS that puts the rest of them to shame. That would be my first guess.

My second guess would be that Microsoft had its head up its bum and spent too much energy on the XBox.

Apps: Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi)
Appealingness: Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi)

That's all that matters when the average Joe buys a tablet. He doesn't give a sh** about specs.

myxomatosis said,
Apps: Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi)
Appealingness: Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi)

That's all that matters when the average Joe buys a tablet. He doesn't give a sh** about specs.

I think he'll also pay attention to the fact that he's paying $130 more for the iPad mini, and then asking why.

siah1214 said,
I think he'll also pay attention to the fact that he's paying $130 more for the iPad mini, and then asking why.

I didn't know Apple stocked android tablets in their stores. The average Joe isn't going to even see the other tablets because they are going to walk into an apple store, and they are going to buy an apple product. The choice is easy on the iPad side of things. Big or small/how much storage/ wifi or cellular. You get to the android side of things and you can get into choice paralysis. I'm already experiencing that trying to decide which Windows 8 tablet to get. Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro | Tablet, Laptop, Convertible, Detachable, All-in-one | NFC or not | pen input or not. Through 20 manufacturers into the mix, and you have a hard time making an informed decision. It is too easy to stick with the iPad unfortunately.

siah1214 said,
I think he'll also pay attention to the fact that he's paying $130 more for the iPad mini, and then asking why.

And then see the bigger screen, and figure that's why.

siah1214 said,
I think he'll also pay attention to the fact that he's paying $130 more for the iPad mini, and then asking why.

Apple fan boys don't ask!!!

threetonesun said,

And then see the bigger screen, and figure that's why.

The bigger screen that somehow has a lower resolution.

TheGeekNextDoor said,

I didn't know Apple stocked android tablets in their stores. The average Joe isn't going to even see the other tablets because they are going to walk into an apple store, and they are going to buy an apple product. The choice is easy on the iPad side of things. Big or small/how much storage/ wifi or cellular. You get to the android side of things and you can get into choice paralysis. I'm already experiencing that trying to decide which Windows 8 tablet to get. Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro | Tablet, Laptop, Convertible, Detachable, All-in-one | NFC or not | pen input or not. Through 20 manufacturers into the mix, and you have a hard time making an informed decision. It is too easy to stick with the iPad unfortunately.


this is a good point, and IMO apples biggest strength!

cybertimber2008 said,
It reminds of me a Dollar store. Lots of $1 ($0.99) apps.

The Dollar store is synonymous for cheap crap. Yes the App Store has cheap crap, but its not all cheap crap. Everything in a Dollar store is cheap crap.

@Leo said,
One word: AppStore.

Well, let's hope that AppStore makes up for half the amount of RAM and number of CPU cores for you then (at over 1.5x the price, too...).

Breakthrough said,

Well, let's hope that AppStore makes up for half the amount of RAM and number of CPU cores for you then (at over 1.5x the price, too...).


As a matter of fact, it does. Games (and software in general) are optimised and specifically developed for my iPhone and iPad first. Good luck with that on Android. And good luck with software period in Windows RT.