iPad 4 vs. Kindle Fire 8 HD vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs. PlayBook: Spec shootout!

iPad 4 vs. Kindle Fire 8 HD vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs. PlayBook: Spec shootout!

Apple not only released the iPad mini but also a brand new iPad 4 to sit on top of the tablet food chain. It's got the new Apple A6X processor, the new Qualcomm international LTE radio, and the new Lightning connector.

Does that chance the comparison much when it comes to the competition? Absolutely but not entirely. Google is rumored to be introducing a new Nexus 10 (made by Samsung, no less) as soon as next week. That's make for a much better comparison than the only current Nexus tablet, which is more in between an iPod touch and iPad mini in size and focus. Amazon has also just released the Kindle Fire 8 HD which now includes cellular data as an option -- though it won't be available in many countries regardless.

Microsoft's Surface RT is a wildcard here. Microsoft calls it no-compromises but that just means they punted the decision making to me, the consumer. I'm taking a wait and see attitude. It could be as great as the Xbox, or as doomed as the Zune. There's just no way to tell until it's been out for a while and the use case becomes clearer.

Likewise, while there have been rumors of a larger BlackBerry PlayBook for a while now, RIM is wisely concentrating on getting BB10 out the door, so I doubt we'll see it for a while. That leaves the 7-inch PlayBook at their only entrant in the tablet space, but you can find them for $149 and at that price, if you don't have a couple hundred dollars more, it's quite the value.

Still, Apple has sold 100,000,000 iPads to date, and that's an incredible amount for a product that launched in March of 2010. What they'll do next is a big question, but the iPad 4 is a better iPad, again, and anyone who wants to unseat it has their work cut out for them.

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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 4 vs. Kindle Fire 8 HD vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs. PlayBook: Spec shootout!


Huh. So no memory increases for the iPad refresh? With the processor and the graphics chip bump, will this be noticeable over the iPad 2/3?

I think I'll be in line to pre order this and the mini (for my kids) on Friday.

Can't believe a tech writer couldn't get the facts right on the Surface. Windows RT and Windows 8/Pro are two different things. You cannot write Windows 8 RT.
FYI...The hardware defined here is of the lower end Surface RT, not Surface Pro. Both cameras on RT are 720p and the processor is Tegra 3, and Bluetooth is 4.0.

It is full size iPad everything, specs, picture, prices, maybe you meant to comment on the chart for the ipad mini shootout?

Whoever makes these tables needs firing, the wording is inconsistent (1080p HDMI, HDMI), the units change all over the show (Wh, mAh), there is a mix of marketing terms and values (ie VGA instead of 0.3MP, "HD" instead of actual values)