Apple iPad 3 vs Google Nexus 7 head-to-head review

We take a look to see if the 7in sub-£200 Android tablet is capable of outperforming the all-conquering iPad.

Design and build qualityApple's iPad has led from the forefront in terms of tablet design. There are only a certain number of ways to design a tablet, which means the Nexus looks similar, at least from the front. However, the Google device has no physical buttons on the front panel.

iPad vs Nexus

The Nexus 7 is easier to hold and can fit into large pockets

Due to its 7in size, the Nexus is lighter (340g) than the iPad (652g) and you can hold it comfortably in one hand and squeeze it into a jacket or large trouser pockets. This is not possible with to do with the iPad. Apple steals back some ground when it comes to thickness, however, as its 9.5mm iPad is around one millimetre thinner than its cheaper rival.

iPad vs Nexus - Back

Both devices have solid build. The iPad has metallic back whereas the Nexus 7 has a matte finish

The iPad may boast its familiar metal back, but the Nexus is finished with a mottled rear panel that's soft and textured. Still, we could never describe the Nexus as being busy it has a handful of buttons, a micro-USB socket and a speaker grille disturbing its clean lines.

Winner: Draw

The Apple tablet is heavier than 7in rival, but its build quality is beyond reproach. Its slick, minimalist looks have become the blueprint for every rival device. However, the Google tablet has the edge when it comes to portability. You can hold it with one hand, it's easier to type on and feels almost as solid which is still an achievement considering it costs less than 200.

Value for money

The iPad is comfortably the most expensive tablet on the market: the cheapest available model is the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, which costs 399. The priciest model is the 64GB 3G version, which retails at a wallet busting 659.

This is a far cry from the Nexus, which has two models available. Prices start at 159 for the 8GB Wi-Fi version and 199 for the 16GB model. There are no 3G models on offer at this time, an omission which was necessary to keep the cost down.

Winner: Nexus 7

Both of these devices offer good value, albeit in different ways. The iPad is an incredible premium product, but the Nexus 7 offers stunning quality considering both versions of the device cost less than 200. Not since the fire-sale of the HP TouchPad have you been able to get a high performance device at such a low price. If you'd told us it tipped the scales at 300 or more, we'd have believed you and we'd still have been impressed, too.

So which tablet is the winner?

Verdict

Out of the seven different categories both tablets won three each and one ended in a draw. Apple came out top in the key areas of screen, battery life and apps. However, the Nexus is no slough as it has better performance, we found the Jelly Bean interface more flexible and it is outstanding value. If apps are your main concern and money is not a barrier we would recommend the iPad. Bonus features also include a rear-facing camera and the option of 3G connectivity. If budget is tight, the £200 Nexus is a competent alternative and is extremely portable. As it stands we would currently opt to go for the iPad at this moment in time due to the variety of apps on offer and the excellent battery life.

IPAD OS: iOS 5.1 Processor: Apple A5X dual-core (1GHz) Storage: 1GB RAM; 16/32/64GB Screen: 9.7” (1536 x 2048) LED-backlit IPS capacitive multi-touch Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, dock connector, 3.5mm headphone socket Other: Accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, digital compass, AGPS (LTE model only) Bands: Optional 4G LTE 700, 2100MHz; UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz; GSM/Edge 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz Camera: 5MP rear with autofocus, VGA front Battery: 42.5Wh Size: 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm Weight: 652g NEXUS 7 OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz Storage: 1GB RAM; 16/32GB Screen: 7in (1280 x 800) IPS colour touchscreen LCD Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro USB, 3.5mm headphone socket Other: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, GPS, NFC Camera: 1.2MP front Battery: 4325 mAh Size: 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm Weight: 340g

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