Now that the iPad Mini has finally burst forth from a cocoon of rumors, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty and take a good look at which tiny tablet might be right for you. And of course, the biggest face-off is pitting Google's fantastic Nexus 7, against its new iOS analogue. Which one is for you?
No one really expected the iPad Mini to undercut the Nexus 7 on price, and it didn't. At $329 for a Wi-Fi only, 16GB model, the barest-bone iPad Mini is a whole $80 more than the comparable Nexus 7 model. And, rumor has it, new Nexus 7's could be on the way, which might knock down the 16GB Nexus 7 to $200.
When you're worrying about money, the Nexus 7 is your best bet.
With either the iPad Mini or the Nexus 7, chances are you're getting your books and streaming video from a 3rd party service. Kindle, Netflix, Hulu, etc. That being the case, your choice of OS here is pretty irrelevant. So let's talk screen specs.
Of the two, the iPad Mini boasts a bigger screen, 7.9 inches to the Nexus 7's (duh) 7 inches. You pay a price for that bigger screen though: the iPad Mini's got a 1024 x 768 resolution to the Nexus 7's 1200 x 800, and the iPad Mini 162 PPI pixel density doesn't hold a candle to the Nexus 7's 216 PPI display.
If you want to look at pretty things, the Nexus 7 has the screen for you.
Have you seen a Nexus 7 commercial lately? It's like all they do is aim for kids. Really though, this is pretty much an extension of the price question. Neither the iPad Mini or the Nexus 7 have anything like the Kindle Fire HD's built-in Free Time app, so your main concern is just going to be which costs less to replace when broken, so the Nexus 7. Android's Google Now is also a nice resource for the little'uns. Unlike the more personal-assistant-y Siri, Google Now specializes in just googling stuff, which is what Junior's probably going to want to do.
Arm your offspring with a Nexus 7.
If you're uncomfortable with the cloud and want to hold your media close, you're going to want to go big. The Nexus 7 only comes in a tiny 8GB and reasonable 16GB varieties, neither of which is suited to building a sizable stash. There may be a 32GB Nexus 7 on the way, but we'll have to wait to see. The being the case, the iPad Mini 32 GB or 64 GB is probably to go for enabling your totally inability to let things go, but it's going to cost you.
Serious horders will want a 64GB iPad Mini. Dabblers who make due with a little less might want to wait for an impending 32GB Nexus 7 to decide.
iBooks is the killer here. Both the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7 (and practically everything else with a screen) can make use of Kindle e-textbooks, but iBooks are for iDevices only, and you don't want to run the risk of locking yourself out. It's as simple as that.
For the student, the iPad Mini is the way to go, unless you want to consider its big brother.
The iPad Mini has a few advantages here. It's lighter and thinner, but the Nexus 7 is by no means a barbell, so take that for what it's worth. The iPad's Mini's width might make it a little less back-pocket friendly than the Android tab, but all that's nothing compared to one major detail: the iPad Mini has LTE options and the Nexus 7 doesn't. But a 3G Nexus 7 could be on the way very soon. 3G ain't no LTE, but you can bet it'll be cheaper, and this is rumor territory. So:
Hold your horses and just chill out for a few days. Seriously, just hold on. You can do it.