Related pages
Kindle Fire 5-fact Summary

A review of our recommended slate PCs

Full Comparison Chart

Alex Fergusson Architects

The re-emergence of smaller tablets or...

The iPad Mini vs. the Nexus 7 vs. the Kindle Fire HD

RSS Feed Subscribe to news updates via RSS Feed

One of the most noticeable developments in the mobile computing world in 2012 has been the (attempted) exploitation of the demand for devices less bulky than full-size tabs, yet with a bigger screen than your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. After the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - 7", it looks like the smaller format is back with a vengeance. (Although, as you can see, no one has yet thought to apply any smaller formats to the gadget names!) With screen sizes typically between 6 and 8 inches, these tabs are just about small enough to cram into your trouser pocket, while big enough to feel like you're still getting a decent viewing experience of your favourite TV shows. With Apple, Google and Amazon all fighting it out for your cash with releases in the second half of 2012, it's useful to take a look at how this all happened.

The rumours that Apple would announce a smaller iPad of this type rapidly gathered pace throughout 2012. However, only 2 years ago such an announcement seemed unlikely after Steve Jobs was quoted as follows:

"The seven-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad... These are among the reasons we think the current crop of [seven-inchers] are going to be DOA, dead on arrival." (Source)

Despite this, only a year after Jobs' passing, the 7.9" iPad Mini was finally released this October . For Apple, it seems that the 0.9 inch difference is key - CEO Tim Cook has said that the "iPad Mini is a fantastic product, it's not a compromised product like the 7-inch tablets".

Regardless of Apple's view of the 'compromised' rivals of the iPad mini, such as Google's Nexus 7, these products have been enjoying public and critical acclaim since their respective releases in July and September. The Nexus 7 in particular seems to represent a much higher value for money.

Amazon have also made an attempt at the phablet market, by extending their Kindle range from simple e-readers to fully-fledged tabs. The Kindle Fire HD, released in September, is close to the Nexus in price terms and it has similar specifications, although the Kindle Fire is always WiFi-only.


Apple iPad Mini

Google Nexus 7

Samsung Galaxy 2 - 7"

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Screen Size






1024 x 768

1280 x 800

1024 x 600

1280 x 800


512 MB

1 GB

1 GB

1 GB

Memory Expansion





Price and Availability

Direct from Apple in the High Street or

Direct from Google online or

From Mobile Phone network providers or

From some High Street stores or

This basic comparison table doesn't seem to do Apple any favours (a more comprehensive chart can be found here). However, the mere fact of lower specs at a higher price didn't stop people buying normal-sized iPads, and it seems reasonable that this will also be the case for its little brother. Though no device-specific figures have been released thus far, the demand is clearly there - Apple announced that they sold 3 million iPads of all types in the first few days after the Mini's release, and it's also predicted that the Mini will face supply shortage issues until early 2013.

Now the new year is upon us and price-cutting might be tempting more people into the shops - or into their on-line browsery places. Will Apple be able to maintain their lead in this new niche of the market - or are the new rumours of more new models likely to herald more opportunities for buyers and more competition for - the competition?

blog comments powered by Disqus