[Ask The Readers] iPad Air vs. iPad Mini 2013 vs. Nexus 7 / 10 vs. Surface Pro 2

I have not one, but two primary computers. The first is your standard Windows laptop that, when connected with a nice ergonomic keyboard and mouse, along with a mid-sized LCD monitor, acts as a proper desktop. I create most of my content – whether it’s writing blogposts, typing long emails, or editing images – with this setup. The second ‘computer’ is my iPhone 4S that I use on the go, mostly for consuming content from Facebook, Reddit, and for reading emails. Whenever I think of buying a tablet, what I have trouble understanding is where does it fit in? My laptop is great for content creation and consumption, and for on-the-go basic computing my iPhone does all I need. With ever-decreasing tablet prices, that question – despite not having a clear, attractive answer – seems easier to dismiss as overanalysis.

iPad-mini-vs-Air-Nexus-7-10-Surface-2-Pro

The cheapest, but still the best Android tablet – the 2013 Nexus 7 – starts at a mere $229, which is just an excellent price to pay for a capable, portable computer. Apple, too, lowered the entry-level iPad price by introducing the iPad mini last year at $329.

It still didn’t make sense.

Now, however, I feel Apple has changed the equation. The new iPad mini with Retina Display has just blown me away. It’s more expensive than competing Android tablets, but the features it offers on top are, in my humble opinion, absolutely worth the money. A significantly richer variety of apps, impressive hardware (as is usual for Apple devices), and the high-resolution Retina Display are worth paying extra for.

Having played around with 9.7″ iPads before, I feel they are just way too big, heavy and generally just unwieldy. iPad mini with Retina Display has the same specs as its bigger 9.7″ brother, the iPad Air, while being a lot more portable. However, the latter is slightly thinner than the mini.


At this point in time, I have made up my mind. If I do buy a tablet in the future, it is going to be the 2013 iPad mini with Retina Display. There’s simply no competition if you want the best apps and the best hardware in your tablet.

Everything else has some major flaw. Nexus 7? Brilliant hardware and operating system but lacklustre third-party apps. This pretty much applies to all Android tablets out there, including the Nexus 10. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2? From my impressions, they combine the most unliked features of laptops and tablets, while of course having weak Modern UI third-party apps support. Lumia 2520 faces the same issue.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think about the current crop of tablets? I know quite a few of our readers – and people from our own team – are against Apple and its “needlessly expensive” products, so I’m interested in hearing why you think the iPad mini or Air is such a “scam” (for lack of a better word).

Before you head down to the poll, check the following device specs comparison:

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  • Rocketboy_X

    You forgot to mention the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It’s almost the exact same specs as the previous Nexus, has an SD card & HDMI out, and is just over $100. You know, about half of the Nexus 7.

  • kush

    I just don’t understand why people are not able to understand the fact that an Ipad is nowhere near as powerful as the surface pro……The only problem with the surface pro is its weight. Why is everybody moving towards a device which is actually a “dumber” computer. Apple may have revolutionized the way we interact with computers. But just the fact that ipads can’t multitask show that they still have a long way to go. All this aided by the developer community who are more or less ignoring Windows.

    • fuzzywuzzybear

      Because it is pretty. People that are using an iPad are not doing work on it. They could care less about Word and Excel. They could care less about some of the great functions that are available. Like I said It is pretty!!!

  • jes

    x86 vs 4 ARM processors. Surface pro shouldn’t be here. its a full laptop next to table / phone processors.

    Surface pro because it has a Gen4 intel i5

  • foggyflute

    If x86 is in the game, Transformer T100 is the winner.

  • Ocelotty1

    Surface Pro 2, That’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight :)

  • Christopher Rucinski

    ” A significantly richer variety of apps, impressive hardware (as is usual for Apple devices), and the high-resolution Retina Display are worth paying extra for.”

    I have the new 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1, and quite happy with it. But with your quote, I have to say that the Nexus 7 basically has the same Retina display! Only 3 less pixels per inch…..yeah, you will not notice that difference!

    The hardware is basically the same (you could argue the CPU speed), nonetheless, you are paying $170 more to get what you call “richer variety of apps”. That is for the 16GB, wifi only version

    Are the apps you are buying worth $170? I know I don’t come anywhere close to that.

    If you look at the 32GB Wifi + cellular connectivity versions on Nexus 7 and 2013 iPad mini – $349 vs $629 – that difference is $280.

    I would rethink why you are getting the 2013 iPad mini….the only reason is because it has – in your own opinion – “a significantly richer variety of apps”. What do you get that is worth that much?

    • waisybabu

      Writer here.

      Richer and better app quality translates into a better overall user experience which is worth the extra money.

      So you’re paying $170 for a better user experience.

  • Andrey Tass

    “lacklustre third-party apps” ? For android? What do you mean?