iPad Mini vs Nook HD Tablet
We are lucky to see another budget tablet coming around the corner for the thanksgiving season to make the competition better. It is also special when this new tablet is a budget tablet. However, the best thing about it for us is that we see new manufacturers coming in to an existing playground. The book selling giant Barnes and Noble has released their new Nook tablet for this year, and at the face, it’s directly competitive with Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire, priced at the same price point. It is widely acclaimed as the 7 inch tablet with the highest resolution, and that seems like a fair title. On the other hand, we have a tablet from a very prominent manufacturer Apple. They have also ventured in to the budget tablet market although $329 is not so much on budget compared to the $199 price points of the other budget tablets. However, it certainly is a budget tablet compared to Apple’s premium standards and hence ardent Apple fans may wholeheartedly go for the iPad Mini in this season. Let us look at both of these tablets and try to figure out what gives you the better value for your money.
Apple iPad Mini Review
As predicted, Apple iPad Mini hosts a 7.9 inch IPS capacitive touchscreen display that features a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a pixel density of 163ppi. It is smaller, lighter and thinner than Apple new iPad. However, this no way compromises the look and feel Apple’s premium grants you. It will come in several versions, which will be released throughout November 2012. There is also a 4G LTE version which can cost as much as $660. Let us look at what Apple has included in this mini version of their all-time favorite Apple iPad.
Apple iPad Mini is powered by Dual Core A5 processor clocked at 1GHz along with preferably PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and 512MB of RAM. This is the first reason that worries us about purchasing the iPad Mini given that it features a last generation processor of Apple A5, which went out in circulation two generations before with the introduction of Apple A6X. However, we can’t predict the performance without taking it for a lengthy test run given that Apple can now modify their processors in-house. It seemed to work seamlessly at light tasks, but games seem to take some time to initialize which can be an indication of the performance it can offer.
This miniature version of iPad has dimensions of 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.28 inches that can fit in to your hand very well. Especially the keyboard feels way more comfortable compared to the Apple iPhone line. The basic version only has Wi-Fi connectivity whereas the more expensive and higher end ones offer 4G LTE connectivity as an addition. It will come in different sizes ranging from 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Apple seems to have included a 5MP camera at the back of this miniature version that can capture 1080p HD videos which is a good improvement. The 1.2MP from facing camera can be used with Facetime for video conferencing. As speculated, it uses the new lightening connector and comes in either Black or White.
Barnes & Noble Nook HD Review
Nook HD comes from a lesser known tablet manufacturer who is a giant in selling books. Their strategy is the same as Amazon releasing Kindle Fire HD, and they seem to offer somewhat similar facilities, as well. At the face, Nook HD doesn’t quite look like a normal tablet. It has a bizarre bezel that you might or might not like. It’s there to keep your thumb out of the screen when you’re holding the tablet; however, it just seems heavily out of place. Nook HD is a 7 inch tablet where Barnes and Noble claims to have the highest resolution in any 7 inch tablet. It has 7 inch IPS HD display featuring a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels at a pixel density of 243ppi. This certainly is a better resolution than that is offered by similar tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire HD or Google Nexus 7. The images look brighter, and the colors were more vibrant with the new display panel which is a significant improvement. This slate also seems to claim for the title of the lightest 7 inch slate in the market scoring a weight of 315g. Then again, with the introduction of Apple iPad Mini, that title was blown away.
Nook HD is powered by 1.3GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset along with PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 1GB of RAM. It does seem like a decent setup that can make things work for you in the most astringent requirements. Nook HD runs on a heavily customized version of Android OS v4.0 ICS, and an update to v4.1 Jelly Bean is expected to be released soon. Unfortunately, Nook HD doesn’t host a camera, so if you have a requirement on capturing the moments, Nook HD may not be the best choice for you. Nook HD features Wi-Fi b/g/n connectivity that can keep you connected as long as you have a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect. This may be inconvenient at times, but Barnes and Noble doesn’t seem to have plans to release a 3G version any time sooner.
Nook HD fits in your hand perfectly with dimensions of 194.4 x 127.1mm and it’s somewhat on the thick side of the spectrum scoring a thickness of 11mm. However, its light body combined with the grip provided by the soft touch back plate enables you to hold it effortlessly. You won’t be able to have neither Vanilla Android or even near Vanilla Android experience with Nook HD because the UI is heavily modified and your default access would be limited to Barnes and Noble app store instead of Google Play Store.
A Brief Comparison Between iPad Mini and Nook HD Tablet
• Apple iPad Mini is powered by 1GHz Dual Core A5 processor with PowerVR SGX543 GPU and 512MB of RAM while Barnes & Noble Nook HD is powered by 1.3GHz Cortex A9 dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset along with PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 1GB of RAM.
• Apple iPad Mini has 7.9 inch IPS capacitive touchscreen featuring a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a pixel density of 163ppi while B & N Nook HD has 7 inch IPS LCD HD capacitive touchscreen featuring a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels at a pixel density of 243ppi.
• Apple iPad Mini runs on Apple iOS 6 while N & B Nook HD runs on a heavily customized version of Android v4.0 ICS.
• Apple iPad Mini has 5MP camera that can capture 1080p HD videos @ 30 fps while Nook HD doesn’t feature a camera at all.
• iPad Mini is bigger but thinner and lighter (200 x 134.7 mm / 7.2 mm / 308g) than Nook HD (194.4 x 127.1 mm / 11 mm / 315g).
In this comparison, we will primarily look at the differences in price and whether those differences can be justified. As you may already know, B & N Nook HD is priced at $199 while Apple iPad Mini is priced at $329. What does Apple iPad Mini has to offer more than B & N Nook HD? First off, the glamor and the loyalty factor are there with Apple iPad Mini because Apple always charges you a premium for their products. Other than that, the performance levels would be almost the same or better in Nook HD given it has a better processor and a new chipset with better GPU. Nook HD also features a better display panel with a higher resolution that is a significant advantage for a budget tablet like this. However, when it comes to apps, Apple iPad Mini will ace out Nook HD given that Nook would only feature their own app store which doesn’t have a strong eco system as Apple iTunes or Google Play Store. If you are brave and decide to root, this restriction will be lifted off. In any case, Nook HD has the value for your money, but the final purchasing decision is always yours.