Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini

Yet another comparison between the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini. This is going to be my collection of notes to myself of stuff I notice as time goes by.

Physical Size

A number of people have commented that "its much bigger" (the iPad) seeing two devices side by side with their screens on, and it feels like the aspect ratio (width/height) of the iPad is more pleasing than the Nexus.


The screen on the iPad seems larger, which is no surprise because it is about 3cm wider and 2cm taller. However, I think the secret is that the iPad only shows 4 rows of 5 icons whereas the Nexus crams in 6 rows of 6 icons.

In terms of resolution, my old eyes aren't really picking a difference.

What is odd is that the iPad feels more natural to hold in landscape where the Nexus feels better in portrait.  Perhaps that's because it was only recently that Android coped properly with a portrait orientation launcher.  Or it could be the slight different in screen proportions.  The iPad Mini really feels like the bottom half of a "real" iPad, and for the most part, that feels like enough.


Both devices have context-specific keyboards that they flip in as required.  Only the Nexus is stupid enough to leave the '@' key off the URL keyboard, making it impossible to search for, say, in the Google Chrome browser.  This is still true at Android 4.2


Big win for the Nexus - because it has a GPS chip on-board, and Google Maps can make large chunks of the mapbase available offline, you can prepare for a days walk around Paris by pre-caching the map, then relying on the on-board GPS to let you know where you are.

Stop press:  I took it out for a walk today and it looks like the offline'd maps had un-offlined themselves.  I stood in the Camberwell Market waiting for the Maps app to wake up, and it never did.

And it looks like Apple have done something spooky where they seem to be able to get location *without* a GPS chip onboard, if you are in sight of civilisation.  This probably depends on how well they have mapped the area you are in, but for wandering Paris, I'm wondering if the iPod Touch won't be sufficient.


Comparing the iPad Mini against both my iPad1 and the Nexus, the Mini does not seem to have the same range as the others.  There are rooms in the house where the Mini sees no signal while the other two get enough to work.

Stop press: buying an Airport Extreme made it possible for the Mini to see the farther rooms in the house. However, the Nexus does not see the 5GHz bands, only the 2GHz ones, whereas the Mini is fine with both.

Calendar Application

To be fair, by the time I wrote this section, I don't own the Nexus any more, it moved on to my mother who is 80% happy with it, except when it goes stupid for no apparent reason.

iCloud synchronises all my contacts & calendars without causing any grief whatsoever across multiple devices. (iPod/iPad/iPad Mini)

Android has dropped all knowledge of Mums Google Calendar multiple times now, and Internet Wisdom suggests that the fix is to "delete the local calendar data, disconnect syncing, reconnect syncing and wait".  Not something that the novice user wants to do.  In fact, there are a disturbing number of posts that suggest that when these things go wrong, "reset the device and reinstall everything from scratch".