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Apple Ipad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD head to head review

Mon Nov 19 2012, 14:23

The absence of Google services is a problem for the Ipad Mini that is excarbated by the host of really nice new features Google has added to its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. Chief among the additions is the Google Now service.

Google Nexus 7 Google Now

Google Now appears the moment you open the Nexus from sleep mode and can also be accessed by pulling up from the device's home button. The feature houses a number of dynamic "cards" each containing information the device feels is relevant to the user based on information taken from their Google account. This includes location, search and purchase data.

Another key point to address when choosing between Android and IOS is that neither party has made it all that easy to jump from one ecosystem to the other.

While Apple's played a canny trick with Music and its Itunes Match service, it has yet to roll out an app equivalent. The same is true for Google, which likewise offers no app recovery features.

Because of this we have to concede, picking which OS is better is a very difficult task, with the answer really depending on what operating system you're currently using.

Winner: Tie between Nexus 7 and Ipad Mini

When it comes to performance the Kindle Fire HD is the clear loser. The Kindle Fire HD comes loaded with a modest Texas Instruments OMAP 1.2GHz dual-core processor that, while functional, makes the device noticeably slower than the Ipad Mini and Nexus 7.

We're thinking this is largely because of the Kindle Fire HD's software. Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, albeit a heavily modified version, the Kindle Fire HD doesn't benefit from Google's Project Butter.

Project Butter is code added to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The code removes a number of the frame rate and technical issues that caused older versions to occasionally chug and stall. The lack of Project Butter on the Kindle Fire HD makes the device feel a little more stuttery and less pleasant to use than its competitors.

Comparing the Ipad Mini and the Nexus 7, we found that the Google tablet was quicker. Putting the two tablets through their paces, loading videos, playing 3D games and surfing the web, we found the Ipad Mini's dual A5 processor, while still perfectly decent, was outperformed by the Nexus 7's quad-core Tegra 3 component.

The result surprised us, as usually, even with on-paper slower processors, Apple products have outperformed Android devices. This is because of Apple's closed development strategy, which allows it to optimise its software to get the absolute most out of the device's components.

Winner: Nexus 7


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