Google Nexus 7 vs iPad mini – which tablet is best?

Google launched a brand new Nexus 7 yesterday that’s jammed pack full of impressive specs to rival Apple’s iPad mini. We judge how the two tablets compare on design, specs and price in order to find out which is best.

Tablet reviews – read all the latest tablet reviews from Which?.

How do they look?


Nexus 7
Google has gone for a sleek black-on-black design with the new Nexus 7, which looks smart. It’s also slimmer than its predecessor at just 6mm deep. It weighs in at 284g (50g lighter than its predecessor). Like the original Nexus 7, this updated model screen is seven-inches across the diagonal. All in all it looks better than the first iteration but the plastic casing makes it feel cheap.

iPad mini
The aluminium casing used across the iPad range ensures all iPads have a premium feel. Weighing 307g the mini is light enough to comfortably hold in one hand.  At 7mm thick, it’s slim too. Plus, its screen measures 7.9-inches across the diagonal – the perfect size for reading ebooks.

Expert verdict

The second iteration of the Nexus has over-taken the mini in terms of portable design. It’s both thinner and lighter – although not by much. The mini has a larger screen – the extra space providing a better movie experience. Overall the iPad just inches ahead in terms of looks thanks to Apple’s sleek taste in design materials.
Jessica Moreton, Senior Technology Researcher-Writer

Three Key Features – How do their specs stack up?

Stunning HD beats iPad
The iPad mini’s 1024 x 768 screen resolution is paltry when compared with the new Nexus 7. With a 1920 x 1200 the Nexus has significantly more pixels per inch meaning that films, ebooks and web sites will all look clearer and sharper. Plus the Nexus 7 now has an improved colour range meaning the screen should look both vibrant and true to life too.

Super speedy Nexus
Google claims that the new Nexus 7 is four times faster than the old version. Its 1.5GHz  processor certainly beats the mini’s 1GHz chip. The mini contains the innards of the iPad 2 which is significantly outdated when compared to the speedy tech contained within the new Nexus. This means that both web-browsing and gaming should be a faster, smoother experience on the Nexus.

Android vs Apple
The new Nexus 7 comes with the latest version of Android – Jelly Bean 4.3 which was released yesterday. Android has made some updates to its OS including the introduction of  multi-user profiles so that parents can now limit access to in-app purchasing – keeping their wallets safe from their children. This isn’t currently available as part of Apple’s iOS.

Despite these changes whether you prefer Apple or Android as an operating system is a matter of personal preference. Both are easy to use, well-designed with popular app stores. So we’ll let you decide which wins on that front.

Which is better value?

The Nexus will go on sale in the coming weeks for starting at £200 for its 16GB model. Even though this represents a £41 price increase from the last Nexus 7, it’s still cheaper than the mini, which starts at a pricey £269. The question of value for money is easy to answer – the Nexus offers higher spec at a much reduced price. The only area that doesn’t live up to the high standard of the mini is the looks department and again that’s a matter of personal taste.

Which tablet is best?

Jessica_MoretonOn paper the Google Nexus 7 wins hands down in a face-off against the iPad mini. It has a better screen, faster processor and it’s slimmer and lighter than the iPad mini. It’s also kinder on the purse strings. The new version of the Android Jelly Bean operating system heralds some interesting developments showing that Google is listening to and acting upon what consumers want with regard to contentious issues such as in-app purchases.

But having said all this you won’t be disappointed with the iPad mini either – it’s fast enough, has a good screen and benefits from access to Apple’s intuitive operating system.  Voting with my head – I choose the new Google Nexus but going with my heart, I still plump for the attractive little iPad mini.
Jessica Moreton – Senior Technology Researcher-Writer. 

More on this…

14 replies

  1. You should also do a “1 year later” review, as my original Nexus 7 slowly turned into a rather expensive coaster, slow and unreliable.

    1. The newest version of Jellybean (4.3) adds TRIM I believe to the flash storage in android devices helping with garbage collection, keeping your device faster. I’m sure that improvement will assist with slow devices too.

  2. When I but a computer / laptop / tablet I buy it for its price, how well it performs the tasks I put it through and how fast it operates. The last thing on my mind is how cool it looks. I don’t sit gaping at it thinking how lovely it is.

    Loyalty is a wonderful trait when dealing with people or well loved animals but to be loyal to a brand name I think is ridiculous. Especially when the Brand is charging you much more for everything it produces based on its previous innovative / world beating equipment.

    Come on Jessica! move with the times, stop living in the past. Apple loves people that blindly follow wherever it leads them and its share owners love you more.

    Google, Asus and Samsung are the new kids on the block and their sales record supports that fact.

    Cut the cord Jessica, get a Nexus and you’ll never look back (until the next NEW KID arrives) I cant wait (for the new kid) Innovation, creativity and breaking with tradition keeps alive and moving forward!

  3. Pedantic point maybe:-
    but when I went to school, we would have lost marks for “A vs B, which is BEST”
    It should be “A vs B, which is BETTER”

  4. Frank sums up Which reviews of computers very well. I trust your washing machine reviews but I look at Digital Trends etc reviews for laptops/tablets/phones, as I believe you have a partiality for Apple. Sometimes Apple products are best, sometimes not – get over it.

    1. I guess you haven’t read the articles around here, especially of late. Looks very much the opposite.

      Also, on the topic of Google, what’s up with all the Google and other marketing trackers (DC StormIQ) we get on this page? Doesn’t it count as advertising?

      Is this tracking really acceptable for an organisation focused on customers?

  5. Just a small point….. “Android has made some updates to its OS including the introduction of multi-user profiles so that parents can now limit access to in-app purchasing – keeping their wallets safe from their children. This isn’t currently available as part of Apple’s iOS.”

    You can turn off in app purchases on an iPad via the Restrictions settings….I have had an iPad mini for around 5 months now and that was the first thing I did after purchase!

    I expected better from Which? Please do your homework next time.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Jess was referring to the existence of multi-user profiles on iOS rather than the ability to limit in-app purchasing per se.

      In my opinion, multi-user accounts are a safer approach to the problem of app overspending. Not can only can the child create their own profile according to Google’s solution. Parents have much greater control over what can be seen by the child too.

      This greater flexibility is something I’d like to see replicated by Apple.


    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for commenting.

      The 16GB Nexus 7 (2012) is available to buy for £159 from the Google Play store.

      Best Wishes,

  6. you can see the Which? bias towards Apple as they only produced their app for IOS. Don’t they think it’s it worth a mention that the Nexus has GPS and the Apple does not

    1. That’s because it costs too much to make apps for Android.

      The BBC has three times as many Android developers and their app still pales in comparison to the iOS version.

      This means the return on investment for Android development is very poor.

  7. All that has been said does NOT raise the issue that the Android OS is open to virus problems were as ALL Apple products are not affected by virus problems!

    Please correct me if i am mistaken…

Create account

You can leave a reply without having a WordPress account, but if you do register you can upload an avatar. A WordPress account is not connected to your Which? login and cannot be used to login to or any other Which? services.

Sign up