Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Tablet deathmatch: iPad Mini vs. Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire HD

Galen Gruman | Nov. 6, 2012
A new generation of small tablets has reinvented entertainment on the go, but which is best? Find out now and gear up for holiday gift-buying

The Kindle Fire HD too has a solid set of password-based parental controls should you decide not to use FreeTime; these controls can also protect you should your device be lost or stolen. The Nexus 7 has no parental controls to restrict individual capabilities, just the ability to set a password for access to the tablet itself.

The bottom line is that the iPad Mini's iOS assumes that just one person uses an iPad (or iTunes), so it can be problematic to share freely. But it has the most sophisticated parental control options and the best corporate security capabilities. Android is even more single user-oriented and its parental controls are nonexistent, much less anything like the notion of separate user accounts. The Kindle Fire HD is designed for multiperson use and offers both good parental controls and adequate corporate security.

The security winner. For business security, the iPad Mini rules. For family security, the Kindle Fire HD rules.

Deathmatch: UsabilityNo matter what media tablet suits you, 7-inch tablets come with a fundamental usability trade-off. Small screens means small controls and small text. If you're middle-aged, don't be surprised if you need reading glasses, and don't expect to touch-type on the onscreen keyboards.

The iPad Mini has the usability of any iPad: a rich gesture-based interface and avoidance of menus that can slow you down. Its Music, Videos, Podcasts, and iBooks apps for media playback are simple to use, and I like that the store apps are kept separate so that you're not distracted with ads when trying to play media. Its larger screen is quite usable on all sorts of apps and Web pages that feel constrained on a Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7. Yes, the iPad Mini may be too small for some purposes, but it's surprisingly usable in a large range of circumstances.

The Nexus 7 has a custom user interface that displays on the main home screen tiles for book, movie, music, and magazine content that resides in your libraries. The standard app icons on the home screens are all related to media usage: Play Store, Play Music, Play Video, Google Play's magazine library, and Play Books. By having your media options front and center, you can get right to what you likely bought the Nexus 7 to do -- I also appreciate its separation of the store from the playback tools. If you don't want the media controls front and center, you can change the home screen and default app icons.

Once you get past that media-oriented home screen, the Nexus 7 is just another Android tablet, providing the standard UI for accessing apps and services. My objection to that UI is it favors thin, light text and controls on black backgrounds, which I find hard to read, particularly on a small, reflective screen. But if you like Android's operational UI -- its gestures, notification tray, widgets, and configurable home screens -- you'll be right at home on the Nexus 7.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.