iPad Mini or Nexus 7, The frustrating luxury of choice.

The upside of being a Slider is the fact that you can choose. You can choose between different products and it is never a question of “OR”, it is always a matter of “And”. But sometimes that freedom of choice comes at a perilous risk : The risk of choice. While in some countries people are starving, It is a horrible first world problem to have, I know. But perhaps it will bring some solace to you on the crossroads of what tablet to get for the upcoming year.

 For the last three months I have been a privileged owner of a Nexus 7 and I must say, I enjoy the device very much. Being trendy and virtually unknown by the general public here in Belgium, the Nexus 7 (Currently the 32 gigabyte version) is available at 245 euro’s. But sightings of the device are rare since most consumers either slip into the Samsung universe and go for the low end Galaxy Tab 2 instead OR go towards the Apple universe and pick up an iPad mini instead.

 Since I got the Nexus 7 way before the iPad mini was launched, I was never faced with the peril of choice. Deciding between the excellent quality, high end specs and low price of the Nexus and the virtually non-existent competition was a doozie to say the least. Samsung tablets at that time were overpriced and their ‘brighter colors’ where (and are ) nothing more then pumped up contrast and saturation levels that make a everything look like something from a holiday catalog  Using my tablet to read eBooks rather then play games or watch nude supermodels, I was very happy with both the form factor AND the subdued enthusiasm of the Nexus 7’s color scheme.

 A couple of weeks later my wife sold her iPad2 just in time to get her hands on a new iPad mini. I remember being disappointed at Apple when they announced the pricing schemes of the new iPad mini’s, pointing out that they where a 100 dollars above a competitive market price and that they had brought zero innovation to the market (and it would be downhill for Apple from now on). I still stand by the latter statement, but the empty shelves in the stores do point out that , even at a high price point, apple’s iPad mini IS a raging success.

 As a slider I have the privilege of switching between my 64  gig iPad 3 (the not-the-new-but-the-one-before-that-one ipad) and can only say that when it comes to screen quality. While using my wifes iPad Mini I found a similar quality in brightness and crispness of images. Sure, it is no retina display, but on a 7 inch screen I don’t think you notice. The single handed grip I have around the back of my Nexus 7 could however not be acquired, I need the hands of a stone mason for that. But the iPad mini does have something to offer too. As the low growls of my better half started to turn into angry snarls, it was time to give her back her beloved device and go back to my Nexus. And then I was struck by doubt… Would I perhaps ALSO like an iPad mini ?

 Like a man torn between two lovers, I started to doubt my initial fondness of the Google Nexus 7 and wonder what life would be like with an iPad Mini. This was the dawn of an internal struggle I have been wrestling with for the last few weeks. Would I like to have an iPad mini instead. When it comes to size and form factor : Nothing can beat the Nexus 7. Its a little thicker then the “Kate Moss” iPad Mini, but the fact you can just “grab it” with one hand, or set down your thumb on the bezel while reading is a big plus. The screen however is not as high in quality then the iPad mini when it comes to color quality and contrast. The 1280X800 resolution on the Nexus 7 is higher then the iPad mini, offering up a higher PPI (pixels per inch) that DOES help when you are reading books. The downside of my current Nexus is however that it is a 8 gigabyte version, and something in my brain keeps telling me that’s a bad thing. When lustfully ogling the iPad Mini’s in the store I do lick my lips at the 32 gigabyte version because, (in my mind) it would be able to hold down my book and movie collection for those rare moments that i’m offline. It WOULD flawlessly sync with our massive iTunes collection so I also would have music on the go. It WOULD be able to give me access to some online magazines in the “newsstand” app. .. and then it hit me : My longing was not for the device per se, it was for the content.

 And that is where I stand today. A little torn between the iPad mini and my Google Nexus. My geek brain telling me that both have their ups and downs, that neither is the winner in this fight. One offers the flexibility of Android (Being able to arrange your home screen into something that does not resemble an icon-concentration camp) The other ties in with the Apple content eco-sphere (Who am I kidding, it ties in with my locked in iTunes music collection) One has storage, the other has a great form factor .. I am slowly losing it out here. My credit card angrily points at my iPad 3 on the kitchen table and tells me I cannot seriously consider buying ANOTHER device just like it (only smaller). The little kid inside me yells “ I want it mommy .. i want it ! ! ! “

 As I listen to myself argue I find that it is becoming more and more about the types of content you can consume on your device. About the freedoms you have and the ones you need to give up. About what you do with your device and not about what device you have. The only solution I can currently think of requires both devices and a roll of double sided duck-tape so I can stick them together. Ipad Mini on one side, Nexus on the other.. A true sliders tablet. Because if your philosophy is “ Its not about this OR that” .. it means its gonna be “This AND that” 🙂

 

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