Google Nexus 7 vs New iPad 3
Can Google’s ultra-affordable Android Jelly Bean-powered Nexus 7 take on the might of Apple’s market-dominating new iPad 3? We take a look at the device’s spec sheets to find out
Like Apple and Microsoft before it, Google is now very much in the tablet game with the arrival of its Android Jelly Bean-powered Nexus 7 tablet. Aimed at the mass market, Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is priced aggressively and packed with top-end technology like Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor and the latest build of Android. In this sense it is quite a proposition.
But even with all these factors in place, does the Asus-built Nexus 7 slate have what it takes to defeat the mite of Apple’s new Retina Display-toting iPad 3? We take a look at the specs of both devices to find out which is best value for money.
New iPad 3: 241.2x185.7x9.4mm and 652g (Wi-Fi-only model)
Google’s Nexus 7 is significantly smaller and, as a result, a lot more portable than Apple’s larger 9.7-inch iPad 3. Apple’s iPad 3, being the more premium-grade slate out of the two, is finished to a higher quality with metallic backing and a smooth bezel.
Apple’s iPad 3 will, no doubt, also feel a lot sturdier in the hand too but with such a low asking price for the Nexus 7, we can’t see too many people being turned off by this. In the end, Apple’s iPad 3 is built to a higher standard but, crucially, you will have to pay a premium for this, which may put some users off, particularly when you consider the hardware you’re getting with the Nexus 7.
Despite really liking what Google has come to the table with in the form of the Nexus 7, we just can’t see the device beating Apple’s iPad 3 in the looks department.
Winner: Apple iPad 3
New iPad 3: 9.7-inch 1536x2048 pixel resolution display (264 ppi)
Nexus 7: 7-inch 1280x800 pixel resolution display (around 146 ppi)
Google was never going to beat Apple’s iPad 3’s Retina Display with its Nexus 7, and we don’t think it ever intended to either. We’ve talked at great length about the iPad 3’s Retina Display and the A5X GPU that is required to power it, so to cut a long story short we’ll simply add that nothing on the tablet market can currently hold a candle to it – end of.
Not everybody wants a Retina Display though. Some would settle for a suitably high resolution, like one present on the Nexus 7, at a vastly reduced price. In this context the Nexus 7 is a much more attractive proposition. Sure it’s got a significantly lower ppi and no way near the detail of Apple’s Retina Panel but, for the sub-£200 asking price, it is unbelievable value.
Winner: Apple’s iPad 3 – having said that the Nexus 7 is a lot cheaper and, therefore, better value for money in this respect. It just can’t out-do Apple’s Retina Display panel.
New iPad 3: Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 on Apple’s A5X chipset
Nexus 7: 1.3GHz Quad-Core Tegra 3 CPU
This is where it gets really interesting. With Apple’s iPad you’ve got some seriously powerful processing power combined with the company’s finely tuned iOS software. What this equates to is smooth performance, excellent in-game graphics, thanks to the quad-core GPU present inside, and silky multi-touch typing and gesturing. For this you’ll pay a minimum of £499.99.
With the Nexus 7 you a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 running on Android Jelly Bean, backed up by 1GB of RAM and a 12-core ULP Nvidia GPU. Sounds impressive, right? It really is and what makes it even more appealing is the fact that you get all this hardware for under £200 – that’s practically heresy.
Nvidia’s Tegra 3 on Android has been shown time-and-time again to deliver blistering performance and unparalleled gaming capabilities. We’ve tested both the Asus PadFone and HTC One X since MWC 2012 and have been bawled over by what this quad-core setup can do. It might lack the efficiency of Qualcomm’s S4 Snapdragon but it’s still one hell of a processer.
So while Apple’s iPad 3 might perform better in some benchmarks, you’d be hard pressed to find a tablet with as much clout as the Nexus 7 for the same price. In fact, scratch that, you WILL NOT find a tablet with spec as good as this for a similar price. For this reason, we have to go with the Nexus 7.
Winner: Nexus 7
New iPad 3: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Nexus 7: 8GB or 16GB
Storage is expensive, particularly the type used inside mobile devices, so if you’re looking to shave a few pounds of the price tag of a product and don’t want to inhibit the performance of the device, then safest place to usually start is storage.
This is clearly what happened with the Nexus 7, whilst Asus and Google were still busy at the drawing board, but the logic is sound – cut storage and beef up where it counts (processor, RAM, and display) whilst still keeping the price tag very low.
This is an easy victory for Apple with its iPad 3, which comes in a trio of storage varieties. Having said that, you can pick up a 16GB Nexus 7 tablet for less than half the price of an iPad 3. In this respect we’d be tempted to go with Google’s proposition. Unfortunately, however, the Nexus 7 just doesn’t cater for the needs of users that require lots of space on their tablet devices.