Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3

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Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3


Introduction:

Since its inception, the iPad has long remained at the top of the tablet universe without seeing much threat from the competition. Of course, we can name quite a few devices that were poised to challenge its supremacy, but there has yet to be a legitimate contender that can slow its sales. On the Android side, we’ve seen tablets like the Motorola XOOM, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Asus Transformer Prime vying for their piece of the pie, but through it all, the iPad continues to stand head above water over its rivals. Well people, it looks like that might all change with the Google Nexus 7, as it seemingly employs all the correct ingredients for a major shakeup.


Design:

For $200, you really can’t knock the Google Nexus 7 for its humble design and decent build quality, but it’s obviously nowhere close to the meticulous standards held up by the new iPad. As we’re all familiar with by now, the higher price iPad boasts top-notch materials with its construction, and it continues to maintain the principle elements of what we expect out of quality tablet designs. Aside from smudges that accumulate over time on their displays, their bodies are mostly clean looking for the most part.

The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom)

However, when it comes to comfortability, there’s no arguing that the Google Nexus 7 is easier on the hands for the long-term usage. Whereas the iPad can become tiring to hold up over a period of time, the Nexus 7 is considerably easier to handle thanks to its smaller size and lightweight feel. Naturally, form factor preference will vary from person to person – so if smaller is your thing, stick with Google’s offering, but if not, go big with the iPad.

Thanks partly to their distinctive feel and springy responses, we prefer the dedicated power button and volume control of the iPad. Conversely, the buttons on the Nexus 7 are quite tactile as well when they’re pressed, but we have more difficulty in making them out with our fingers – primarily because they’re not as raised and the fact that they’re positioned at an angle.

The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The sides of the Google Nexus 7 (top) and the Apple iPad 3 (bottom)

As for the rest, they feature all standard components like 3.5mm headset ports, speaker grills in the rear, microphones, and power/data connection ports. With the latter, we prefer the micorUSB port of the Nexus 7 over the proprietary 30-pin dock port of the iPad, because it’s a universal standard.

Backs - The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Backs
 
The Google Nexus 7 (left, top) and the Apple iPad 3 (right, bottom
Display:

Visually, these two tablets flaunt some pleasant and sharp looking displays, however, the iPad’s Retina Display shows its superiority in many aspects over its rival. First and foremost, there’s the matter of resolution, which the 9.7” Retina Display of the new iPad redefines with its stunning 2048 x 1536 resolution – whereas the Nexus 7 boasts a still respectable 7” WXGA (1280 x 800) IPS display. Honestly, it’s almost difficult to discern which of the two has the sharper details from a far glance, but when we look up close, it’s undeniable that the iPad delivers the goods. In fact, we’re able to view fine text in a zoomed out view within the web browser a lot easier on the iPad.

Seeing that the two are using IPS displays, their color reproductions are mostly natural in tone – albeit, there’s a subtle cool appearance with the Nexus 7, which tends to make the color white appear a bit bluish in tone. Capturing our attention even more, the iPad boasts the better viewing angles and contrast levels to make it more visible in outdoor conditions, especially with the sun present. Conversely, it doesn’t help that the display of the Google Nexus 7 can appear washed out at certain angles.

Viewing angles of the Google Nexus 7 (left) and the Apple iPad 3 (right) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Viewing angles of the Google Nexus 7 (left) and the Apple iPad 3 (right) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Viewing angles of the Google Nexus 7 (left) and the Apple iPad 3 (right) - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Viewing angles of the Google Nexus 7 (left) and the Apple iPad 3 (right)

Interface and Functionality:

We’ve completed several iOS versus Android comparisons in the past, but it’s different this time around because the Nexus 7 is packing some serious heat in the form of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – thus, bringing forth some new refinements that solidify and deepen its experience. On one hand, we love that iOS is intuitive, simple, and basically easier to learn for nearly everyone, however, it’s lagging behind in the personalization department. Of course, that’s an area where Android shows off its worth, as its various widgets and live wallpapers help to define the look and feel of the platform.

The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

The iOS interface - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The iOS interface - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The iOS interface - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The iOS interface - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The iOS interface

Interestingly enough, both tablets make good use of various gestures to get around their respective platforms. For example, they both share the swipe down gesture from the top bezel to gain access to notifications. However, we find the iPad’s various gesture implementations to be more useful and effective than its counterpart. Specifically, we like how we’re able to easily swipe left/right to move in and out of various apps – while a pinch gesture with all 5 fingers get us back to the homescreen.

The notifications system in play with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7 really blows away what the iPad has to offer. In addition to being able to view various notifications, the Nexus 7 is blessed with more functionality from within its notifications tray – like the ability to share screenshots/photos and view snippets of an email.

Notifications system on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Notifications system on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Notifications system on the Google Nexus 7

Broadening its functionality over what the iPad has to offer right now, the Google Now aspect of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is a noteworthy and impressive offering, seeing it’s able to provide tangible suggestions based on our habits using the tablet.

Google Now of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Google Now of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Google Now of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Google Now of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Google Now of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Looking into the various core organizer apps with each tablet, there isn’t a whole lot different as the two share similar functionalities and presentations with items such as the calendar, calculator, and address book. Luckily, they’re tablet optimized and make good use of the added real estate, but when it comes to third-party apps, the iPad boasts more that are refined for the tablet experience.

Core organizer apps of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Core organizer apps of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Core organizer apps of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Core organizer apps of the Google Nexus 7

Calendar - The Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Notepad - The Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Calendar
  
Notepad
The Apple iPad 3
On the surface, there isn’t a whole lot different with the layouts of their respective email apps. Still, there’s no arguing that the Gmail experience on the Nexus 7 is rock solid in providing us a very similar desktop-like experience.

Email on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email on the Google Nexus 7

Email app of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email app of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email app of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Email app of the Apple iPad 3

Typing isn’t that much of a problem with either device, especially when they’re responsive in keeping up with our rate of input. However, when it comes to portrait usage, we prefer using the Nexus 7 seeing that our thumbs are able to comfortably encompass the entire layout. Oppositely, the iPad is the ideal choice when it comes to landscape – thanks to its roomy feel.

The virtual keyboard of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The virtual keyboard of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The virtual keyboard of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The virtual keyboard of the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The virtual keyboard of the Google Nexus 7

On-screen keyboard of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
On-screen keyboard of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
On-screen keyboard of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
On-screen keyboard of the Apple iPad 3 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
On-screen keyboard of the Apple iPad 3

Processor and Memory:

To tell you the truth, there’s no need to specifically mention what kind of processors are running behind the scenes with these two wickedly fast tablets. Simply, they’re undeniably swift with their operations! For argument sakes, the iPad employs a dual-core Apple A5x processor, while the Nexus 7 chomps down with a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU. From basic to complex tasks, these two rarely exhibit any sort of major slowdown with their movements – though, we still experience a few delays popping up every now and then, but it’s nothing too terrible to dampen the experience.

If you’re big into storing a ton of multimedia content, you might want to check out the iPad since it’s available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB options. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be stringent on what you put on the Nexus 7 because of its quaint 8GB and 16GB capacities. Oh yeah, did we mention there is no expandability with either the two?


Internet and Connectivity:

Now that Adobe Flash isn’t supported by Jelly Bean, the playing field is somewhat evened out in the web browsing department. Actually, both Safari on the iPad and Chrome on the Nexus 7 offer nearly the same gratifying experience we’d come to expect – so it’s no surprise that we find ourselves enjoying the experience. However, we do notice that the Google Nexus 7 isn’t as fast as the iPad when it comes to rendering things when the zoom level is modified. Aside from that, there isn’t anything else different between the two. Oh yeah, there’s also a Chrome app for iOS!

The Chrome browser on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Chrome browser on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Chrome browser on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Chrome browser on the Google Nexus 7 - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
The Chrome browser on the Google Nexus 7
Web browsing on the new iPad - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Web browsing on the new iPad - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Web browsing on the new iPad - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Web browsing on the new iPad - Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Web browsing on the new iPad

Right now, the Google Nexus 7 is available in Wi-Fi form only, which means you’ll need to leech off a Wi-Fi hotspot for data connectivity. Meanwhile, the iPad is available in Wi-Fi and a variety of 3G/4G LTE options, which should cover a wide range of users. As for other connectivity options, they both pack Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, the Nexus 7 has aGPS while the iPad has it in the 4G version only.

Camera:

Some people vouch that they would never consider using a tablet to take photos, but it’s nevertheless a nice thing to have in a worst-case scenario. Sure, the iPad’s rear camera might not deliver the best shots, but it’s simply nice to know that the option to snap something is there – plus, it deepens its value over its rival. The Nexus 7 packs only a front-facing camera that’s accessible by specific apps – with no dedicated camera app to snap photos or videos.


Multimedia:


While playing music, there isn’t a whole lot different with their respective music players, but we do like the cool 3D carousel available with the Nexus 7 when browsing through content in landscape. Surprisingly though, audio quality is quite pleasant with the two, as the loudest volume setting yields some distinctive and pleasant tones. However, we like how the equalizer settings are all available from within the music player of the Nexus 7 – whereas on the iPad, its settings are found in the general settings menu.

Thanks partly to its snazzy looking Retina Display, we find the iPad to be the ideal device for watching high-definition videos on the go. Well, it’s not to say that the Nexus 7 isn’t good enough to get the job done, but rather, the bright looks of the Retina Display combined with its larger size manages to capture our attention even more.
Connection and Battery:


Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad 3
Connecting both tablets to the same Wi-Fi hotspot, we didn’t experience any major signal fluctuations or dropped connections during our testing.

When there are so many physical differences between these two, it’s comforting to know that they’re able to provide us with some exceptional battery life. Hands down, both are able to handsomely provide us a single day of juice with heavy usage. However, we find the Nexus 7 giving us more juice in the long run, which can be attributed to its smaller display, performance optimizations with Jelly Bean, and its battery friendly NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor.


Conclusion:

Seriously people, these are the two best tablets on the market right now. Indeed, it all boils down to personal preference to identify which is going to be the ideal tablet for you.


Although there is a huge price difference between the two, $500 for the iPad and $200 for the Nexus 7, it’s more than justified. Specifically, for the $500 you’d dish out to buy the new iPad, you’re getting something that’s on the cutting edge, which is evident by its quality choice of materials, meticulous construction, and polarizing Retina Display.

On the other hand, you get a ton of value with the $200 priced Nexus 7, as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean shows off its comprehensive offerings. On top of that, the Nexus 7 still manages to flaunt some admirable hardware under the hood to keep itself in good company with other respectable tablets.

Simply, if you prefer something smaller and less impactful on the wallet, the obvious choice for you is going to be Google’s pride and joy. Conversely, if you’re able to pony up more money and prefer something larger, the iPad is the logical decision for you. Therefore, you really can’t go wrong with either device!

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