iPad mini vs. Kindle Fire 7 HD vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs. PlayBook: Spec shootout!

Apple has just announced the iPad mini and that means they've fully entered the small tablet space. Priced starting at $329, however, they didn't obliterate it as some (including yours truly) thought they would. There's now plenty of room under Apple's umbrella for competitors to compete on price.

Right off the bat we have the new Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD, which while more media appliance than tablet, and only available in a handful of countries, is still hugely competitive in that space and in those places.

The Nexus 7, which is transitioning from 8G/16GB to 32GB and likely getting cellular is cheaper, but runs more smartphone apps than tablet apps. Still, if that's all you need or care about, it's the best bigger iPod touch on the market right now.

Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT isn't really a small tablet but since no small Windows 8 tablets have been announced yet, we're including it here as well. Microsoft's messaging is still confusing and poorly articulated, however, so I'm waiting to see how it holds up and makes sense in the real world.

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, one of the original 7-inch tablets, is still one of the most interesting. It's reportedly going to be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 next year, and if you look around you can find them for as little as $149. That's a pretty good value proposition if you really don't want an iPad mini.

Apple has already sold over 100,000,00 of the 9.7-inch iPads. No one has really cracked the small tablet market though. Will the iPad mini be the first successful, mass market, small form-factor tablet, or did Apple leave enough of a price gap underneath it for a next-generation Nexus 7 or more widely marketed Amazon Kindle Fire to steal ground?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPad mini vs. Kindle Fire 7 HD vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs. PlayBook: Spec shootout!


This is wrong the mini has the updated 720p 1.2M facetime camera and it weighs .68 lbs not 1.33, kinda sad how a site solely dedicated to apple and ios stuff cant even get these details right....

The pricing indicates either that Apple could not go lower (doubtful), or that they simply believe dominant marketshare is not a goal in and of itself. Had they priced the mini at $199, they would have decimated all comers. At $249, they would have seriously blunted the inroads Kindle Fires and Nexus tablets are making. At $329, Apple will still sell a ton of them, and probably still be the biggest player in the market, but competitors will find a niche, too.

(btw, the pricing on the chart seems to be for the full iPad still.)

It's not clear that they won't decimate all 7" tablets anyway. Obviously, a sub-$250 tablet would have crushed, but I wouldn't bet on the Kindle Fire and Nexus tablets outselling the iPad mini.

Why would the 11" surface be included in a comparison of 7-ish inch tablets??? And certainly the iPad mini prices are incorrect.

I actually saw this coming, why is it the spec sheet is always incorrect on new product release here on imore. Anyway Apple is actually becoming sadder, how long before faithfuls realise that they are being robbed. This doesnt warant any reason for purchase over the Blackbery playbok, the Kindle Fire HD and definitely not the Nexus7 ... Talk about outdated hardware. Year and a half later and the Playbook still trumps it. Forth generation my A!

I created an account just to say that this "article" is simply awful. It's poorly written and filled with bad information, typos, and bias. Please do not make any purchase decisions based on this.

I'd say to give Reno the benefit of the doubt on this one. I'm sure today was nuts. Also, I'm a big fan of this site so I don't mind giving the group here some props.

Agreed. It's good to note the inaccuracies for fellow readers, but beyond that, iMore's pretty great to have around. I constantly send newbies to the How-to section.

Ugh. Total cluster. Sorry guys. I was doing iPad 4 and iPad mini as separate charts and totally messed them up.

Today was nuts, but no excuses. I blew it. Fixing now. Slap me around as warranted!

Since you have to be tempered in your commentary and I don't, I'll just come out and say what I and a lot of true Apple fans think. This line up is going to CRUSH the competition for the holiday shopping season and beyond. Nit pick about specs, pricing and whatever...That's just minutiae. The iPad Mini is going to be king of the 7 inch tablets. Then the surprise entry of the iPad 4 with the new A6X CPU and double the GPU power of The New iPad, is gonna wipe up the floor with all the rest. It's going to be a blood bath! Game. Set. Match. Apple.

yh cause everyone wants a apple product...the thing is those who want apple products will get ipads and ipad minis,those who want androids will most likely get the nexus 7 and others. personally i think it will all come down to what ecosystem you are ready invested in ie i am already invested heavily in the android ecosystem and have brought plenty of apps that chances are i will probably never leave it in the forseable future...same with ios many people i know dont want to leave it casue they have got brought many apps all ready...ipad mini like all apple products will be a hit cause they have those millions of loyal apple fans who will buy anything with an apple logo and also they have become the defacto company for people to recommend who dont know much about tech..to say this will destroy all other tablets is a joke why well there are plenty people out there who generally dont have that much money and with how bad the economy is atm when someone sees a 32gb nexus for 250 or a ipad mini 16gb for 329 i would bet those money concious people or thos looking for value will choose the nexus...no doubt ipad mini will sell more than nexus 7 etc but i bet alot of those ipad mini owners will also be people jumping from the ipad casue for some people the ipad is just to heavy for long use..sales wise will kill but wipe the floor i doubt especially when the n7 and the kindle fire series has been doing quite well and honestly they must be doing quite well otherwise apple would not have entered the 7'' market if people were not buying 7'' tablets in droves clearly apple saw the 7'' market a threat to enter...ps am no fanboy, i just like my tech if you going to reply please do so without fanboyism and without bias

First off, this is a site that favors all things Apple. Asking me to be objective is like...Well...Asking you to do the same about your Google love. Not likely, is it? With that bit out of the way. Sales of the $499 iPad is over the top. It easily outsells the lower priced kindles, Nexuses and the other whatever's. The 7 inch tablet market is slow and lackluster. Sure there are several capable entrants such as your Nexus 7, but its still not enough to kick start sales. It hasn't taken off. Now with the introduction of the iPad Mini that's about to change. Google has had quite a head start in this segment of the tablet market and so far hasn't seen much success. Enter Apple and this segment will belong to them too... And, unlike Google and Amazon, Apple makes money from these devices. You can quibble about hardware and specs, but that argument has fallen flat in the past and continue to do so when pitted against iOS devices. There's also the emotional appeal of Apple products that Google products just don't evoke. Hence the long lines all over the world for Apple products. Folks chit chat and get to know each other. It's unlike anything else in the tech world. Dude, enjoy your Nexus 7, but realize that its specs, higher-res screen, cheap price or whatever else, won't stop consumers from buying iPad Mini in record numbers. Numbers the Nexus 7 or any other 7 inch tablet will be able to match.

I'm probably missing something and wonder why no one is touting it.
Is the Mini the CHEAPEST Tab you can get with LTE as of now?
IPAD Mini LTE = $459
Kindle HD 8.9 LTE = $500
IPAD 2 3G = $529

Everyone is knocking its specs and price and for some valid reasons..but I think this should be mentioned as well.

Nexus 7
Kindle HD 7

True apple fans aren't getting robbed. I hate when android fans try to say that. We paid for a product that just works beautifully and that's what we got. Vs a product that works how you want it that has its clunks. Also my dad is a hardcore android fan. Hates apple. Wants an iPad mini. Skadoosh.