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The Tablet Pricing Spectrum: Kindle Fire To Nexus 7 To iPad Mini
As expected, Apple announced its new iPad Mini today. One of the key areas being watched was pricing. For the seriously price conscious, the iPad Mini doesn’t look to be a game changer. Comparative prices below, along with technical specs pitting the iPad Mini against its rivals.
Much was made during the event about how the experience of using the iPad beats Android tablets. The Nexus 7 was even used as a comparison of this. The Nexus 7 name was never said, but it was shown side-by-side with the iPad Mini.
No doubt, many will choose the iPad over the Nexus 7 or other mini-tablets just for that experience. The iPad Mini also allows those who want an iPad at a cheaper price to get one. But for those who want a “good enough” tablet, the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 remain very strong choices. The iPad Mini doesn’t seem likely to kill them off.
Here’s the pricing rundown, a mini-tablet pricing spectrum for wifi-only units
- Kindle Fire – 8GB: $160
- Kindle Fire HD – 16GB: $200
- Nexus 7 – 16GB: $200
- iPad Mini – 16GB: $330
As you can see, if you want to get in on owning a decent 7-8″ tablet, the Kindle Fire will do that for you at almost half the price of the iPad Mini. For just a bit more, you can move up to the Kindle Fire HD to match the storage of the iPad Mini.
No, the experience won’t be the same. I’ve used both versions of the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 and the iPad. If the iPad Mini does work like the iPad — and I expect it will — to me that will still give it a big edge from a usability standpoint.
But cost is important, too. If the iPad Mini had come out in the $250 range, I’d have seen it putting the Nexus 7 and maybe the Kindle Fire on the threatened species list. The much higher price to me suggests those devices will still have a market.
Comparing Technical Specs
Here are some further comparisons, this time for just the Kindle Fire HD, the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini:
Weight (lightest to heaviest)
- iPad Mini: 10.9 ounces (308 grams)
- Nexus 7: 12.0 ounces (340 grams)
- Kindle Fire HD: 13.9 ounces (395 grams)
Height (shortest to tallest)
- Kindle Fire HD: 7.60 inches (193mm)
- Nexus 7: 7.81 inches (198.5mm)
- iPad Mini: 7.87 inches (200mm)
Width (skinniest to widest)
- Nexus 7: 4.72 inches (120mm)
- iPad Mini: 5.3 inches (134.7mm)
- Kindle Fire HD: 5.4 inches (137mm)
Thickness (thinnest to thickest)
- iPad Mini: 0.28 inches (7.2mm)
- Kindle Fire HD: 0.40 inches (10.3mm)
- Nexus 7: 0.41 inches (10.45mm)
Physical Display Size (smallest to biggest)
- Nexus 7: & Kindle Fire HD: 7″
- iPad Mini: 7.9″
Display Resolution & Quality (smallest to biggest)
- iPad Mini: 1024×768 (163 PPI)
- Nexus 7 & Kindle Fire HD: 1280×800 (216 PPI)
An important note on the display specs. Physical display size is big a screen is physically, but a bigger screen doesn’t mean that you can see more. Display resolution is what dictates that. The bigger the display resolution, the more content can actually be shown.
Related to this is PPI — pixels per square inch or the quality of what you see. Apple’s Retina displays have gained fame by having a high PPI and so better image quality. But the iPad Mini has a lower PPI, plus a lower display resolution, than its rivals.
Comparing To Other iPads
What seems really interesting is putting the iPad Mini alongside its two siblings. Those are the new new iPad — the fourth generation iPad that’s simply called “iPad with Retina display” — and the iPad 2.
I wish Apple would rename the iPad 2 as “iPad” and the new iPad as “iPad Retina,” which would clarify the model line-up and not have the odd situation of the iPad 2 appearing to be newer than the iPad. I’m going to use the iPad Retina name below myself. The pricing for 16GB wifi-only versions:
- iPad Mini: $330
- iPad 2: $400
- iPad Retina: $500
I’m wondering if the iPad 2 is going to get cannibalized by those who either don’t want to pay above the iPad Mini’s price or those who want a bigger tablet and figure they’ll go all the way to Retina.
Well see how it shakes out. It certainly gives Apple a new lower-cost entry point for those who want an iPad, but it remains well above the entry point for those who want a low-cost tablet but don’t feel it needs to be from Apple.