Searching for a new business tablet? Full-size tablets are great if you need more screen real estate. But small tablets are the way to go if you need something more compact and lightweight that also fits in your back pocket, so you can take it everywhere you go.
Apple's iPad mini 3 is the latest small slate available to business users, and it packs a punch when it comes to power, productivity and security. However, Google's second-generation ASUS Nexus 7 remains one of its biggest contenders. While the iPad mini 3 came out just this month, the Nexus 7 is already a year old. But is age really nothing but a number?
How does the iPad mini 3 compare to the Nexus 7? And are the iPad mini 3's advanced features worth its premium price tag? Read on to find out which small tablet is better for your business and budget. [Best Small Tablets for Business 2014 (and Why We Love Them)]
Design and display
If you're looking for a slimmer tablet with a sharper display, go for the iPad mini 3. It's only 0.29 inches thick and features a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel Retina display. (Note that the iPad mini 2 had these same specs.)
By comparison, the Nexus 7 is slightly thicker, at 0.34 inches. Its 7-inch screen is also smaller and has a 1920 x 1200p display that pales in comparison to the Retina display.
Both devices are just less than 8 inches tall, though the iPad mini 3 is nearly an inch wider than the Nexus 7. The iPad mini 3 measures 7.87 x 5.3 inches, while the Nexus 7 measures 7.9 x 4.5 inches.
Both devices are super lightweight, but the iPad mini 3 weighs just a smidgen more than the Nexus 7. The weight difference may be negligible for some users, though. The iPad mini 3 weighs 0.73 lbs., and the Nexus 7 comes in at 0.64 lbs.
Power and performance
iPad mini 3
Surprisingly, the new iPad mini 3 didn't get an A8 or A8X processor upgrade that the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 received. Instead, Apple gave it the same 64-bit A7 chip and M7 coprocessor used in last year's iPad mini 2. But don't think this means the iPad mini 3 is any less reliable as a business tablet — Apple's A7/M7 combination delivers fast, powerful performance that rivals that of other small tablets, letting you multitask and work on even the most demanding business apps without a hitch.
Its battery life isn't too bad, either. The iPad mini 3's built-in battery delivers up to 10 hours of battery life on Wi-Fi and up to 9 hours on a cellular data network.
Powered by the 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2GB of RAM, the second-generation Nexus 7 received a serious upgrade from its predecessor to deliver speedy performance, no matter what you're doing.
Like the iPad mini 3, the Nexus 7 also has a 10-hour battery life on Wi-Fi. It also supports wireless charging, so you don't have to worry about cords.
iPad mini 3
The iPad mini 3 runs on iOS 8, which offers a bevy of features to help keep you productive while you're on the go:
- iWork. Apple's suite of Microsoft Office-compatible productivity apps that includes Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet editor and Keynote presentation maker.
- Office for iPad. Touch-friendly version of Office 365, the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office.
- Widgets. For the first time, you can install widgets on the home screen on an iOS device. Widgets provide real-time, at-a-glance displays of things like your schedule, weather forecasts, stock market updates and more.
- Handoff. Seamlessly switch between iOS devices and pick up right where you left off. Devices must be on the same wireless network.
The Nexus 7 ships with the old Android 4.3 Jelly Bean but will soon be compatible with Android 5.0 Lollipop (available Nov. 3) to deliver unbridled productivity. This includes:
- Google Apps. Preloaded with popular Google apps like Gmail, Docs word processing, Sheets spreadsheet editor, Slides presentation maker and Drive cloud storage.
- Office 365 for Android. View and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and collaborate via OneNote and Lync instant messaging. Also compatible with OneDrive for Business cloud storage.
- Cross-device multitasking. Work on one Nexus device and continue that work on another device, without losing your place (similar to iOS 8's Handoff).
iPad mini 3
Joining the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 is the first iPad mini to feature Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology. Touch ID lets you unlock the device, manage apps and approve secure purchases simply by placing your finger on the home button. Touch ID is more secure than the default four-digit passcode, which can be easily stolen, thus allowing criminals to gain unauthorized access to your device.
With the Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade, the Nexus 7 offers several features to secure your tablet. First, there's Android Smart Lock, an advanced security method that lets you unlock the device with facial expressions, or by pairing it with wearables and even your car. Business users will also benefit from automatic data encryption and Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), a protocol that enforces security against malware and other cyberattacks.
If you're on a tight budget, you'll like that the Nexus 7 is a powerful, reliable business tablet that's at least $100 less than the cheapest iPad mini 3. The Nexus 7 starts at $299 for the 16 GB model, but because it's an older tablet, there are always sales and discounts if you know where to look. For instance, you can currently get a great deal on Amazon, where the 16GB model of the Nexus 7 is listed at $180.
If you're looking for the premium features found on the iPad mini 3, here is the pricing: The Wi-Fi-only version costs $399 for the 16GB model, $499 for the 64GB model and $599 for the 128GB. Models with Wi-Fi + cellular capabilities have heftier price tags of $529, $629 and $729, respectively.
Originally published on Business News Daily.