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7 min read No comments

iPad Vs Nexus 7 Vs Lumia 2520: Platform tabs battle it out

You may have dozed through the Apple presentation last night and completely missed the Nokia World event too, but there's new players to take note of in the tablet landscape: the iPad Air (basically just the 5th generation iPad but lighter), the second generation iPad mini, and Nokia's first ever tablet, the Lumia 2520. These tablets will all try to take a piece of the pie currently being guarded by the Nexus 7, but how do iOS tablets and a Windows tablet stack up, spec-wise, against the current reigning champ, the 2013 Google Nexus 7?

AndroidPIT Tablet Comparison Teaser
How does the current crop of super tablets line up against one another? / © AndroidPIT

First of all, you have to note that besides the operating platform differences, these tablets are not all the same size. The Nexus 7 is, of course, a 7-inch tablet, the iPad mini is a 7.9-inch tablet, the iPad Air a 9.7-inch tablet and the Nokia Lumia 2520, a beastly 10.1-inch tablet. So the purpose of this hardware comparison is just that: to compare hardware, not crown a winner.

AndroidPIT iPadMini Nexus7
The Apple iPad mini (left) and the Google Nexus 7 (2013). / © AndroidPIT

The smaller guys: Nexus 7 Vs iPad mini

In the 7 to 8 inch range, the iPad mini has some tough competition in the shape of the Nexus 7, the undisputed star of Android tablets. But the new iPad mini is no slouch either. Apple has popped a brand new Retina display onto the mini tab and stuffed that little rectangle full of the same crazy hardware we saw on the iPhone 5s. Sure, there's not much in the way of groundbreaking stuff here, and the TouchID sensor and champagne gold color are, alas, missing entirely, but the iPad mini second generation will undoubtedly take the world by storm. So how does it's specs stack up against the Nexus 7?

  Apple iPad mini Google Nexus 7 (2013)
System iOS7 Android 4.3
Display 7.9'' IPS Retina, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, 326 ppi 7-inch IPS LCD, 1,920 x 1,200 Pixel, 323 ppi
Processor / Graphics

64-bit, dual-core Apple A7, 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based) /

M7 motion coprocessor /

PowerVR G6430 (quad-core graphics)

Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-Core, 1.5 GHz /

Adreno 320 (graphics processor)

RAM ? 2 GB
Internal Memory 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 GB  16 / 32 GB
Camera 5 MP iSight camera, 1.2 MP FaceTime camera, 1,080p HD video 5 MP (Rear), 1.2 MP (Front), 1,080p HD video
Connectivity Wi-Fi with MIMO (802.11n802.11n), Bluetooth 4.0, extended LTE (Cellular version) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 4G/LTE
Battery 23.8-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer 3,950 mAh, Wireless Qi
Dimensions 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm (7.87 x 5.30 x 0.30 in) 200 x 114 x 8.7 mm (7.87 x 4.49 x 0.34 in)
Weight 331 g (Wi-Fi), 341 g (Wi-Fi + cellular) 290 g (Wi-Fi), 299 g (4G)

$ 399 (16GB),

$499 (32 GB),

$599 (64 GB),

$699 (128 GB)

229 $ (16 GB, Wi-Fi),

269 $ (32 GB, Wi-Fi),

349 $ (32 GB, Wi-Fi + 4G)

As you can see, it's not so easy to compare without conducting tests due to the difference in linguistics between both manufacturers, but some things are plain to see. The displays work out at basically the same pixel density, meaning you'll likely get a very similar viewing experience on both tablets, despite the iPad mini's larger display size. Lengthwise, they're the same too, so the additional screen area on the iPad is made up by the 4:3 aspect ratio.

As far as weight goes, the iPad mini is marginally heavier because it is a larger tablet, but pound for pound, it's about 10% lighter than the Nexus 7. Connectivity is on par, batteries are impossible to compare at this point and processor performance will have to wait too. There's more internal storage options on the iPad mini, but the prices reflect that. However, the price difference between both base models with 16 GB and Wi-Fi tells the real story: revealing an unaccountable $170 difference. In fact, you can get the fully tricked out Nexus 7 for less than the cheapest iPad mini.  

AndroidPIT iPadAir Lumia2520
The Apple iPad Air (left) and the Nokia Lumia 2520 (not to scale). / © AndroidPIT

The bigger guys: iPad Air Vs Lumia 2520

In the 9 to 10 inch tablet range, there's another interesting comparison and this time between brand new iOS and Windows RT devices. The iPad Air is basically the fifth generation iPad with a new name, perhaps so Apple can split the iPad brand into Air and Pro models like the MacBook. There's not too much flashy new innovation on the iPad Air other than the fact that it's super light at only one pound (469 grams). The Lumia 2520, on the other hand, is 30 percent heavier at 610 grams and that may make all the difference in this comparison, other than the platform question. But what other differences are there?

  Apple iPad Air Nokia Lumia 2520
System iOS7 Widows 8.1 RT
Display 9.7-inch IPS Retina, 2048 x 1536, 264 ppi 10.1-inch ClearBlack AH-IPS LCD, 1,080 x 1,920 pixels, 224 pi
Processor / Graphics

64-bit, dual-core Apple A7, 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based) /

M7 motion coprocessor /

PowerVR G6430 (quad-core graphics)

Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.2 GHz /

Adreno 330 (graphics processor)

Internal Memory 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 GB  32 GB (microSD up to 64 GB)
Camera 5 MP iSight camera, 1.2 MP FaceTime camera, 1,080p HD video 6.7 MP (rear), 2 MP (front), 1,080p video
Connectivity Wi-Fi with MIMO (802.11n802.11n), Bluetooth 4.0, extended LTE (Cellular version) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE
Battery 3.4-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer 8,000 mAh
Dimensions 169.5 x 240 x 7.5 mm (6.6 x 9.4 x 0.29 inches) 267 x 168 x 8.9 mm (10.51 x 6.61 x 0.35 inches)
Weight 469 g (Wi-Fi), 478 g (cellular version) 615 g 

$ 499 (16GB),

$ 599 (32 GB),

$ 699 (64 GB),

$ 799 (128 GB)

$ 449

Perhaps a slightly strange comparison considering Apple's extensive experience in tablet manufacture and Nokia's first foray into tablet land, but the numbers are interesting nonetheless. The Lumia 2520 has a whopping 8,000 mAh battery that can be charged to 50 percent capacity in just 40 minutes. The Lumia has a cream of the Android crop Snapdragon 800 processor against the Apple A7 chipset and posts a decent 6.7 MP main camera against the iPad's 5 MP camera, which should make for an interesting showdown. The iPad Air has more storage options than you can poke a stick at compared to the Lumia's solo offering of 32 GB, although again, the iPad comes out far more expensive than the alternative, but in this case it seems more justified. Not entirely justified, but more justified.

AndroidPIT Tablet Comparison 2
Who do you think is showing more innovation? / © AndroidPIT

So which platform is doing it best?

It may come as no surprise that I think Google's Android platform has posted the most exciting innovations in tablet hardware and software in this current crop of super tablets, and for an amazingly low price. The new iPads are not much more than a super expensive refresh of the existing iPad line, although that weight drop is truly impressive. Other than that there's not much else to crow about. And sadly, the Lumia 2520 is a bit of a non-starter for me when compared to its competition. Again, it is simply a run of the mill tablet that is outclassed by its rivals. But I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of the Nexus 7 when it finally arrived either and it took a little while for me to warm to its charms, so the same may be true of the new iPads and the Lumia tablet.

What are your thoughts on this new range of tablets? Who do you think is doing it better?

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