Spec Shootout: Apple iPad vs. Google Nexus 7 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire vs. Microsoft Surface

“Google announced its first direct foray into the tablet market on Wednesday with the Nexus 7, a 7 inch tablet that will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. As we said in our coverage of the product’s launch, the company has completely reset the bar for what to expect for a 7 inch tablet,” Bryan Chaffin reports for The Mac Observer. “Even more interestingly, while the Nexus 7 competes with the Kindle Fire or the Nook Color tablet in terms of size, it also competes with Apple’s new iPad and Surface by Microsoft in terms of specs.”

“The media tablet market just became a two-horse race with Apple’s new iPad as the champion of the high-end, full size touch tablet and the the Google Nexus 7 carrying the Android banner,” Chaffin opines. “Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line and Motorola’s Xoom family might as well pack it up and go home. On the hybrid side, the Asus Transformer line will be fighting for the title of King Toaster-Fridge with Microsoft’s Surface, and may the best device sweep up the crumbs left by Apple and Google.”

Chaffin opines, “Where Google is going to kill it in by eating up every other device out there. Samsung’s sales are going to collapse. Kindle Fire is going to nose dive. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color tablet is going to take a hit, too. Nothing on the Android side comes close to the Nexus 7, especially for the price… In short, Google has hit a home run with the Nexus 7. If it can manufacture them in high enough quantities — remember that Asus is the actual maker of this device — it will sell a ton of them. Apple is still king of the full size touch tablet, but the bar has been set if Apple wants to also enter the 7 inch space.”

Much more in the full article, including a detailed spec comparison, here.

MacDailyNews Take: Define “ton.” Why will Google sell a bunch of tiny screen tablets with no apps and fewer content options than Amazon offers when Amazon’s tiny screen 7-inch Android tablet sales have fallen off a cliff after an unsustained surge of Christmastime ignorati suckers? Because of specs? No. Buyers of these cheap, tiny devices are very price conscious – and unconscious about basically everything else except that even the majority of them grasp the fact that Apple’s iPad has all of the apps.

Apple’s $399 iPad 2 scorched Amazon’s Kindle because iPad has the apps, the accessories, AirPlay, and everything else; a vibrant, growing, thriving iOS ecosystem. Apple’s vastly superior product is currently available in tens of thousands of retail stores worldwide and via the Apple Store online, not just on a single Google website. There is no way for prospective buyers to compare Google’s screen to Amazon’s side-by-side!

Apple’s 16GB iPad 2 is only $150 more than Google’s 16GB Nexus 7 and its tiny screen (45% the size of Apple’s). $150. Spend it and gain admittance into a huge ecosystem. Cheap out and be stuck in Fragmandroidland with no apps, a tiny screen, and no genius bar, or anywhere really, to ask questions. Instead of toting around any one of these midget iPad wannabes, you might as well just wear a T-shirt that says, “I’m cheap and stupid.”

What Google will get are the poorest and/or cheapest and/or the most ignorant tablet buyers. In other words, more Android settlers who simply do not buy apps or even know how to upgrade their devices, if they even can upgrade them. That is just not a very enticing situation for developers nor is it conductive to building up a meaningful library of high quality apps.

In this tablet race, Apple owns the track, the fastest cars, and holds all of the keys. The rest are just hoping Apple lets them (by not releasing a 7.85-inch iPad) vie for a distant third place behind the current-gen iPad and the previous-gen iPad.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Analyst: Google Nexus 7 threatens Microsoft Surface, Amazon Kindle Fire, not Apple’s iPad – June 28, 2012
Analyst: Amazon, not Apple, should worry about Google’s tiny screen Nexus 7 tablet – June 27, 2012
Google sells tiny screen tablet aimed at Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire – June 27, 2012
Google ‘Nexus 7′ tablet ships in July with Tegra 3, 7-inch display, $199 for 8GB, $249 for 16GB (with video) – June 27, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad widens lead as tablet sales surge – June 15, 2012
Apple’s massive domination of tablet market unabated as Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire demand tumbles – June 5, 2012
Apple’s iPad remains dominant in Q112 while Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire fizzles – June 4, 2012
Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire shipments have dropped off a cliff – May 9, 2012
Amazon’s Kindle Fire shipments fizzle to anemic 4% market share – May 4, 2012

Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
Why I love Microsoft’s vaporware Surface tablet – June 22, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to be Wi-Fi only at launch; no 4G, no 3G, no 2G, not even 1G – June 22, 2012
Microsoft outsources Surface assembly to Pegatron; prices above $799 for Windows 8, above $599 for Windows RT expected – June 21, 2012
Acer founder: Microsoft will quit making tablets soon – June 21, 2012
Devastating video shows Microsoft’s Surface event aping Steve Jobs’ iPad unveiling (with video) – June 20, 2012
Thanks to Apple, Microsoft is doomed in the era of mobile computing – June 20, 2012
Why wouldn’t Microsoft let anyone touch its Surface tablets’ keyboard cover? – June 20, 2012
The cost of Microsoft’s Surface tablets – June 20, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad vs. Microsoft’s anti-tablet ‘Surface’ – June 20, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablets provokes ‘sense of betrayal’ among Windows PC assemblers – June 20, 2012
Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune – June 19, 2012
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


  1. I normally respect Bryan… you have to admit, a ridiculous amount of people buy Android phones, too.. and I know far too many who went for the Kindles. In a perfect world, the issue is non-debatable- Apple rules. Always. But… people settle.

    1. The majority of people i work around that received Android phones did not buy them like an iPhone. Allmost all received four or more Android phones for free as a package deal. If Androids were to be purchased in the same manner as an iPhone, one could cut the sales by, at least, fifty percent. Free vs Paid, well at the minimum they perceive the Androids as free. Perception.

  2. If the headline mentions MS Surface, why doesn’t it mention the MS Courier? Both products are on the same life cycle – ahem – that is “circling”.

  3. Apple, please release a 7.85 iPad Mini/iPod Touch XL and put Android out of their misery.

    I’m a happy owner of a 64GB iPad 3rd gen, but would definitely consider a second smaller iPad for my kids.

  4. If Amazon could NOT built and sell Kindle Fire for $199, and make a profit (or even break even) per sale, Google is losing even more money on their higher specs tablet for $199. They are probably paying Asus more to make each one than Google makes in revenue when they sell it.

    Google is essentially subsidizing their tablet, to advance the Android platform, and they hope to make up for the “negative” sales profit through ad revenue. That means, the more successful it is, the more money Google will lose up front, and that means Google will strictly limit production, not try to sell as many as possible (even if it turns out to be popular). Higher sales equals higher loss is not a recipe for success…

    But the author is right about this entry being death for anyone else at the low end of the tablet market. I predicted 2012 will be the year Apple’s competition gives up trying to go head-to-head with iPad, and go where Apple will NOT go. That’s exactly what is happening.

    1. … It’s called “Buying Market Share”.

      If Google can use the Nexus 7 to entice sales of stuff at their store or sell user surveillance data, then maybe there’s a profit to be had. Otherwise, it’s merely another rat fighting over crumbs in the desert. Have fun with that Google. 😯

  5. While MDN’s take on this may be true regarding the quality and value of iPad vs. all others, what really bothers me is the demeaning and condescending tone MDN takes against poor people. Not everyone can afford an iPad. Many lower income people will benefit from having a device, even if not competitive to iPad, that will open a door to them that would otherwise remain closed. Stop bashing the poor. They deserve products that work for them within their means too.

    1. Well said. Not sure who is being MDN, but whoever they are, they come across as ignorant high tooting pigs when comments like these are made. Apple is over priced in several ways but those who care less about paying big money for Apple do it because they can afford it and those who do not have a lot of less expensive options that gives them an equal experience short ofa some Apple sizzle.

      1. Apple is NOT overpriced. It’s been proven over and over again that a PC matched totally by spec will be at least as expensive as the Apple equivalent, and as for iOS products, nobody else can even manufacture an equivalent product for the price Apple sells its for, let alone undercut them.

      2. If Apple is so overpriced, why hasn’t anyone beat them in Spec’s and designs for less.

        See your whole Apple is overpriced just flue out the windows, it’s been shown time and again that Apples price is excellent for what you receive in qualit and workmanship.

        So far all the others have failed in this respect and Apple is and will be the undisputed King for a very very long time.

        Overpriced, what a joke.. Enjoy a device from android you can’t upgrade and is cheap non responsive junk.

        Apple patented designs and software are beating Android in court, and soon we will see more of Apples API designs being taken off Googles devices just like Samsung is seeing now.

        And where is the retina type screens for other devices, Apple has its own design patents for that also, others think since LG and Samsung produce them that Apple doesn’t own the design patents for its unique Software and hardware panels…. They are wrong.

        Trademark and Patents are available to review.

        So show me another company that can produce a 10″ tablet like Apple with the same specs and high resolution screen for the same price or less…. You can’t and won’t for a long time to come.

        1. Accept it, some folks just live in the past!

          Lots less stress there, you can read today and have a 5 year head start on what changes you will have to deal with.

        2. ummm btw have a look at the asus transformer infinity. It is much, much, much faster than the ipad and has an awesome keyboard dock and this means that is more than the useless toy that an ipad is! it has a better camera, faster proccesor, more ram, it is thiner, longer battery life and costs about the same WITH THE KEYBOARD DOCK. it also has a usb and micro sd slot for expandable storage and blows the ipad out of the water.

    2. ‘the poor’ who are well off enough to pay $250 for a tablet, but not $400? Give us a break!

      MDN are not talking down to ‘the poor’ but to people who choose to skimp. As the saying goes ‘the poor man buys twice, the rich man once’.
      And maybe you’re reading into their take…I hear tones of pity for the ‘poor’.

      Better value from a device that helps you be productive and earn money means more cash to help out ‘the poor’.

      1. I think that’s what is fundamentally wrong with Obama care. I would have been much happier if the government would have simply said every employer had to provide health care coverage. (Can you hear me WalMart, Target, Dollar Stores!!!)

        When do we make it worthwhile for people to get jobs. I would much rather had prices go up to pay for health care for people who work, vs taxes go up to provide for health care for people who do not work.

    3. Let me note that a refurbished 16-gig iPad WiFi (original – April 2010) sells for $279 – just $29 more than the 16-gig Nexus. If I were budget-conscious, the iPad is a far better value.

  6. I have an iPad, my wife has an iPad and my kids have a kindle. If used as a media layer, the kindle is actually very good, and it does a decent job for web surfing. I don’t think it’s an iPad match, but for the price, it’s pretty good.

  7. The critical spec was left off – angle of the kickstand. We all know MS got it right by coming in at 22 °. What about the others. Those fucktards didn’t even put kickstands on their now anachronistic tablets.

      1. Can’t be used to create anything???

        CHECK OUT:

        -animation is a blast.

        iDraw, Intaglio Sketch, etc
        – many paint and vector apps are available

        Pages, Numbers, Keynotes, iMovie, iPhoto, Garageband
        -hell I don’t see any apps like these on AndybotOS.

        And, all iOS apps by Apple are AMAZING. Both in price and programming. They are extremely useful for CREATING content.
        OFC iPad is useful in creating things.

        Apple and iOS blow Andybot in the toilet.

  8. After today i am afraid there might be more clueless dim people than i thought there were (sigh)
    half the people you meet will be below average!

    let them eat 7″ tablets!!!

  9. Spec shootouts – don’t you just love them.

    It reminds me of the days when PC’s were all 386/486 or Pentiums and had 256 or 512K ram .

    Nowadays you have to look at the ecosphere – or the article isn’t complete.

  10. Apple, please don’t make a 7 inch tablet, just keep making the iPad 2 and drop the price $50 to $100. Then make the new iPod Touch a little bigger and more distinguishable from the new iPhone and keep it at its current price. Then make the new iPod Nano curved and shaped like a watch with optional strap and bluetooth headphones and accept some basic SIRI commands. Game, set, match, without any compromise.

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