Why I'm buying the new Nexus 7 instead of the iPad mini 2
The specs, price and Google services make me want the latest Nexus tablet
The new Nexus 7 is coming in about a week and I've decided not to even wait for what Apple has with the iPad mini 2. The new Nexus 7 is shaping up to be a fantastic mix of spec, price and services that the iPad mini 2 can't match.
I'm generally not one who judges based purely on specs because that can be misleading but the new Nexus 7 blows away the iPad mini. We're looking at a 7-inch 1920 x 1200 screen, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera and the option for 4G LTE.
The 4G LTE is interesting because you can buy one model and then use 4G LTE from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. With the iPad mini, you have to buy a carrier-specific version if you want to stay connected on the go.
Of those specs, that gorgeous 7-inch 1080p HD screen is what I'm most interested in. This is the most important thing on a tablet because it's what you're looking at and interacting with and the new Nexus 7 screen should be amazing.
I've used 1080p HD screens on smartphones and it's tough to go back once you've had one. Pictures are more vibrant, text is crisp and videos can be as good as you'd expect on other screens. Netflix is also promising to deliver 1080p HD video streams to the new Nexus 7 and I'd expect other video providers to follow suit.
Meanwhile, I use my iPad mini every day and love it but I stand by what I said in the review: "The iPad mini has a screen that's not as good as what we expect from Apple and it's not as nice as what you can get from some of the cheaper competition."
The iPad mini 2 could have a Retina Display and that would help Apple's tablet compare better to the new Nexus 7. The recent rumors suggest that we may not get a Retina Display on the iPad mini until the 2014 version.
Even if we do get a Retina Display on the iPad mini 2 this year, the new Nexus 7 just makes more economic sense. You can get the entry-level version for $100 less than what Apple is charging. Hell, you can get the 32GB Nexus 7 with built-in 4G LTE for only $20 more than the entry-level iPad mini.
I own an iPhone, iPad mini and Mac but I'm increasingly finding myself being a Google user. Whether it's Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, Google search or Google Drive, I'm consistently using something that originated in Mountain View. Many of these work well on Apple's products but the best mobile experience is with Android and that should continue with the new Nexus 7.
The app ecosystem does give me pause, as the iPad mini (and the upcoming iPad mini 2) does have a better selection of apps specifically built for that form factor. Android fans will insist that Android doesn't need that because the system is built to have apps automatically scale to the form factor you're using but there is something to be said for a program that was conceived and optimized exactly for the thing you're holding.
The Google Play Store is filled with tons of great apps, music and movies but it still is a tick behind iTunes and the App Store. For example, you're not going to find Clash of Clans on the new Nexus 7 and many startups will have their apps on iOS first.
Still, the combination of powerful hardware, fantastic pricing and the mix of Google services mean that I'll be plopping down my own money for the new Nexus 7 next week. Sorry about that, Apple.