back to article Ten... Apple iPad Mini alternatives

Before you rush out and buy a device that the late Steve Jobs said wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t exist - well, kind of - you may care to consider some of the alternatives on offer, assuming that is you can’t quite make the nut and afford a full-size iPad. Until Windows RT fondleslabs percolate down to those of us empty of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once the mini gets a retina display it will be worth buying but until then it is not. That upgrade is already in the pipeline for next year. Maybe I'm just cynical!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm, but there are laptops around with lower PPI screens than the mini.

      Some ultrabooks barely manage to squeeze in a decent display resolution into a 13 inch screen.

      1. Dave Fox
        Flame

        Apple is a victim of its own marketing here. No one cared about PPI until Apple introduced the "Retina" display.

        I still don't care about PPI - my missus has an iPad 2 and has never complained that the text was "fuzzy", so I'm wondering why I'm hearing people complaining about the iPad Mini when its PPI is higher. The simple facts of the matter are that a 1280x800 screen on a Galaxy Tab 10.1 is more than adequate, and the importance of PPI has been blown out of all proportion.

        1. Mark .

          Indeed, pixel *density* is completely meaningless. Since density is (pixels / area), it favours devices for having a smaller display. But on my Galaxy Nexus, I like my large display. If someone took my phone, made it smaller, then the PPI would go up. But hang on, you've just made it smaller! That's not what I want.

          In fact, you could take the device, reduce the resolution and make it smaller, but such that the PPI was higher, and claim that therefore it's better. But hang on, you've now reduced both the resolution *and* display size!

          If anything, we should be looking at (pixels * area). Or better yet, just record them as separate specs.

          Density is useful when comparing entirely different classes of devices - e.g., I wouldn't necessarily expect as high a resolution on a small device compared to a large device. It also might be a reason not to criticise a smaller device - e.g., if a smaller device has lower resolution, but the same density, you could argue that that's only that it's a smaller device, rather than having two things wrong with it. But it is absurd for anyone to claim that the smaller device is *better* simply because the density is higher.

          This is the only statistic that Apple claim to lead on, and it's a meaningless one. And as you say, they've been well and truely outdone at their own game - with many phones and 7" devices having higher resolutions and densities than Apple. And now the Nexus 10 completely outdoes Apple's 10" tablet.

          I think the reason people complain is not so much that PPI is an issue, but that it is judging it by Apple's own standard. And if you don't care about PPI, then there are zero reasons to get it - especially when it's also priced £100 more than the competition!

          (I just wish we'd see higher than 1024x600 on netbooks - resolution is much more important on these devices, than it is on oversized phones.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

    For those who like the sound of the Acer 110, the effective price has dropped to 130 pounds with the the cash-back offer:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/acer-iconia

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

      And it is an Acer cashback not a dealership or quidco one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

        Sounds just like the Samsung 50.00 pound cash back...

        http://www.samsung.com/uk/tab2cashback/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

          Cash back in unlikely circumstances, I'd guess.

          Presumably the normal "send in your invoice exactly forty two and a half days after the day on your invoice, making sure that the receipt is in Mandarin, and quote the secret code that can be found under the "warranty void if removed" sticker."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

            > Presumably the normal "send in your invoice exactly forty two and a half days after the day on your invoice

            In the Samsung case they gave a window between 15 and 60 days from the date on the invoice (a 6 -7 week window).

            The reason you have to wait 15 days is so as to time out the right to cancel on distance selling. If they didn't do this then you could order your tab, get the £50 cash back and then cancel it with a full refund.

            I've claimed mine and the form I filled in was simple. The only "code" I had to enter was the serial number of the device which is only to be expected.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

            "Cash back in unlikely circumstances, I'd guess"

            Folk shouldn't guess, they should read before commenting, otherwise they risk looking like an idiot.

            www.acercashback.com

            Two notable restrictions for the A110: buy from eBuyer during November to get £50 off, claim between 30 and 60 days after purchase.

            Does he look like an idiot? Call 08700000000 to vote now.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. goldcd

    Nexus7 can support USB on the go

    OK, you have to root it and install Stick Mount (or similar), but as with previous Nexus(es?) rooting is a nice simple task (Google Nexus Root Toolkit and you can even do it with a GUI).

    Still - would have been nicer if they'd just included that OOB and included an SD slot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: Nexus7 can support USB on the go

      You don't even need to be rooted. Get an OTG cable (about £2), buy the Nexus Media Importer app (about £2), and there you go - no root required.

      1. Miffo
        Thumb Up

        Re: Nexus7 can support USB on the go

        Good tip about media importer - I didn't know about that so also had to root and use stickmount.

      2. bluest.one

        Re: Nexus7 can support USB on the go

        It is a good rootless solution, and i have it on mine, but remember without root, Nexus Media Importer only mounts external storage as ROM.

        That may or may not be a consideration.

    2. JCB
      Thumb Down

      Not rooted out of the box?

      I hadn't realised that the Nexus 7 was not rooted as delivered. I decided against the N7 for a couple of reasons, like no SD micro and I prefered an 8 in display. Still there are plenty of tablets to shoose from that run Android. The market is changing fast. There should be some interesting stuff by tis time next year and I may well be tempted to upgrade.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acer A110 is £130 this month

    There's £50 cashback from Acer on A110s bought this month, which may change the arithmetic somewhat. The Ts+Cs don't seem too bad (cashback doesn't apply to some retailers eg DSG and John Lewis, cashback does apply to e,g, eBuyer). It'll be obsolete soon anyway given the way the market's going.

    Or at even higher risk but for even sillier money (around £50?), there's

    http://www.mobicity.co.uk/kidigi-7-4-1-super-slim-light-7-inch-android-4-ics-tablet-with-1-5ghz-processor-8gb-storage.html

    Barely more than the price of a fully configured Raspberry Pi, but including a case, a screen, a power supply - a complete tablet? What gives? Can I get a proper Linux on it?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Acer A110 is £130 this month

      I bought a similar chinapad from ebay (uk supplier so no import tax) for the kids. Cost me £50 inc shipping over the summer. Works just fine, it has ICS too. Rooted ok, new rom on it and all is good. It has crashed a couple of times but then again so has my galaxy S2 (and ive seen ipads crash here at work too).

      Feels a bit cheap and heavy but for the kids it is great - it has already earnt its money back. The plus side is that it has a proper USB port, HDMI and SD card slot!

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Acer A110 is £130 this month

        I forgot to add the downside - the res is 800xsomething which isnt brilliant. If you can live with a galaxy S2 screen res but need a bigger screen then £50 well spent. Otherwise spent another £100 to get a better screen. That is the compromise!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Acer A110 is £130 this month

          I bought an £80 chinapad (like the name) earlier in the year from eBuyer. Manufacturing fault, unusable after a bit (but nice while it worked). Replacement had a different fault, took a refund. Not going that way again at £80 when the Acer is £130. But for £55...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acer A110 is £130 this month

      "Can I get a proper Linux on it?" Possibly, but what a boring, old fashioned thing to do when it already comes with ICS.

      As do most of the variously branded Chinese seven inchers with their SD card slots, 1280x800 displays and dual 1.5GHz CPUs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Acer A110 is £130 this month

        ""Can I get a proper Linux on it?" Possibly, but what a boring, old fashioned thing to do when it already comes with ICS."

        May be your opinion, fair enough. Others may differ. I've had ICS, and on a phone it's fine.

        Elsewhere, the Ubuntu folk apparently think there's enough interest to commit to it, but their timescales (2014) don't match my wishlist.

        Some folks (eg me) may be considered boring and old fashioned, but occasionally I don't mind being bleeding edge in a perverse kind of way.

        It'd be a boring world if everybody wanted the same. It'd be just like deskpot PCs.

        If there wasn't some interest in running something Linux-like on Android there'd be less interest in busybox etc. There are even folk building gcc to run under Android, and Debian to run ON Android.

  5. HipposRule

    Help

    No-one's yet commented that El Reg has missed 'my favourite tablet'

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Help

      Viagra?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Help

        And just to prove apple wrong that reduces PPI considerably!

  6. Mike Judge

    I would prefer any of these over the iPad Mini

    Including the Playbook (seriously...)

  7. LPF
    Thumb Up

    Jesus..

    You know your the top dog, when the register starts running articles for alternatives to your hardware lol

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Jesus..

      Starts? They always do this when Apple releases something. Apple is certainly "top dog" when it comes to brand-awareness, so using something like the iPad Mini to define a class of gadgets and looking at its near-neighbours is a good way of seeing what's out there.

      ...never mind that the iPad Mini (like most Apple products) is overpriced for the hardware, which may prompt someone to go looking for a better value alternative.

      1. David Hicks
        Linux

        Re: Jesus..

        Not just the reg. The moment the iPod came out people started running articles on iPod alternatives, despite the fact these others had been out longer.

        If I was a cynic I'd say there's probably a marketing budget from a certain fruit-logo'd company involved there. If we can just get the press to frame everything else as a competitor to us we can give the impression that nothing else is quite up to scratch and they're all knock-offs! Hmmm....

        Annoys the hell out of me, Apple have only just entered this market segment, one in which Google and Amazon were doing rather well already.

        1. Psyx
          WTF?

          Re: Jesus..

          "If I was a cynic I'd say there's probably a marketing budget from a certain fruit-logo'd company involved there."

          So your conspiracy is that Apple [a company that don't 'like' The Register or invite it to events] quietly pay El Reg to recommend and raise brand awareness of OTHER manufacturer's devices?

          1. David Hicks
            Linux

            Re: Jesus..

            That's why it's so cunning!

            I know, it's silly, but there could have been an effort somewhere in the Apple corporate structure to make sure that things are still framed that way, such that even talk of other devices always casts them in the shadow of the fruit.

            The alternative is of course that the majority of tech journos are Apple fanboys, which is probably more likely.

        2. Mark .

          Re: Jesus..

          To be fair to the Register, I think they are trying to give awareness to tablets that most the media prefer to ignore.

          But yes, I do hate the way that most of the media either cover nothing but Apple, or when they do, it's always presented as an "i-whatever competitor". It's got nothing to do with who's top dog or who sells the most. The ipad got vast amounts of media coverage even before it was announced (remember istale?) so had nothing to do with sales or specs. And the iphone platform has never led in hardware specs, OS features, or sales, yet has had nothing but vast amounts of media coverage, whilst leaders Symbian then Android (or by company, Nokia then Samsung) remain largely ignored.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Jesus..

            There is a marketing budget at play here, but it's spent by Apple talking directly to consumers. El Reg then covers alternatives as a counterpoint and because people are interested. There's no reason to suspect a conspiracy.

    2. Chris Parsons Bronze badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Jesus..

      'You're', not 'your'!!!!

  8. Festimo
    FAIL

    Operating system

    So let me get this straight, wifi is not standard on all of these?

    GPS is not available?

    When google releases their latest update, you have to wait for the manufacturer to release the update rather than have it on day 1

    Some do not even have proper app stores...

    I now understand why you guys shout a lot when apple releases something that works.

    1. dotdavid
      FAIL

      Re: Operating system

      Yes Android has it's downsides, and they are well documented.

      But I find it funny that you claim lack of GPS is an issue when the iPad Mini also has that failing.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Operating system

        Plus the N7 is a nexus, so Google release an update and you receive it direct... A bit like that fruit company you avoided mentioning.

      2. Festimo
        Happy

        Re: Operating system

        The iPad with cellular has GPS in all flavours. Most if the reviewed tablets don't have cellular capability so I never worried about stating the obvious

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: Operating system

          And the iPad with cellular is also so stupidly expensive that you could buy several of the other devices instead...

          1. bluest.one

            Re: Operating system

            Indeed, you can (almost) buy TWO 32gb nexus 7s with mobile data for the price of ONE of the equivalent fruit model.

    2. Richard 81

      Re: Operating system

      "wifi is not standard on all of these?"

      Where the hell did you get that idea from? What use would a tablet be without some kind of network connection?

      Also, the Nexus 7 certainly has a GPS receiver and, although they're not mentioned*, I would be very surprised if most of the others don't too.

      The update cycle is an annoyance for Android users. That one I'll grant you. Of course it can be avoided by sticking to the Nexus 7, or rooting it. I don't tend to suggest rooting phones, but I don't see a problem with rooting a tablet if you haven't bothered with a data plan.

      *A bit of an oversight there, El Reg.

    3. Al Taylor
      Alert

      Re: Operating system

      Festimo,

      All ten devices have Wi-Fi

      Two lack GPS - the Kindle and Nook, but these are really tied-down media access devices from retailers not Android tablets proper and since the Wi-Fi iPad mini lacks GPS too I didn't use this is a stick to beat them with.

      Two have (as standard) cellular radios and work as phones (Galaxy Note 2 and Vu).

      If you want Android updates direct from Google buy the Nexus 7.

      Hope that clarifies matters to your satisfaction.

    4. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Operating system

      WiFi (both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) and GPS (real one) are standard on £109 PlayBook. And it has proper app store too, called AppWorld with a good choice of Android applications (and also native, AIR, and JavaScript ones too). Since it's running real-time OS (QNX) it natively supports multitasking (with multiple apps running simultaneously, not "pretended" one) and its Android runtime in the current OS version 2.1 is top notch.

      Never mind that. For some people "it's fail unless it's Apple".

    5. Mark .

      Re: Operating system

      Erm, an ipad mini doesn't have GPS. I'm not sure which doesn't have access to an app store (or what "proper" means)?

      And all of them make the OS update available when it's ready - the reason that this isn't the same day as when the vanilla Android becomes available is because they don't run vanilla Android. E.g., I've seen JB on the S3, and lots of the new things are new things in TouchWiz, nothing to do with what's on my Galaxy Nexus.

      This has zero relevance to IOS (or, I could just as well say that ipads are rubbish, because you don't get the OS release on the same day as the Nexus - it makes just as much sense). Plus with Android you get choice - if you want to run vanilla Android, get a Nexus and stop whining. You won't get vanilla Android with an ipad - and if you don't want vanilla Android, it doesn't matter.

      OS updates would only be an issue if manufacturer OSs were delayed such that you got new features after they were available on Apple. But (a) as I say, this time is taken to add the additional features on top of Android, and (b) it seems it's Apple users who have to wait months/years to get basic features like maps, multitasking, copy/paste, apps, after everyone else anyway.

  9. Dirk Vandenheuvel
    Mushroom

    "Ten... Shit Apple Pad Mini alternatives"

    Fixed.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Happy

      Shit apple pad mini?

      Well it got a good review on here so it can't be that shit!

  10. ContentsMayVary

    "Ten... Shit Apple Pad Mini alternatives"

    "Because they won't fit up my arse anything like as well as an iPad mini!"

    There, fixed that for you. :)

    1. Flatpackhamster
      Thumb Up

      Won't fit as well?

      It'll be those Apple-patented rounded corners that ease the iPad mini's entry.

  11. djstardust

    And the Note 2 .......

    And ..... what about the Galaxy Note 2?

    The most complete communications device ever. Costs £500 ish which is a hell of a lot better than splashing out on an iphone with restricted screen and an ipad with no GSM. Apple would rather you bought both at great expense where the Note 2 does it all perfectly. Get it up ye Apple!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get it up ye Apple!

      An iPhone 5 maybe, but a Galaxy Note 2? That's going to smart for days.

    2. Andrew James

      Re: And the Note 2 .......

      The problem with the note 2 is that it seems like a halfway-house between phone and tablet for about ten minutes. And then the screen seems a normal size, a. All other phones seem tiny by comparison.

      So, your "massive" tablet-phone suddenly doesnt seem so big. So for media consumption you're going to want a tablet. Ideally a big one since a 7" one wont look much bigger. The Note 2 is not a replacement for a tablet.

      Posted from my Samsung Galaxy Note II.

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    I kind of like my PlayBook

    The PlayBook's screen and hardware is really nice, especially the touch which is the most responsive I've used on any tablet. The screen also seems to resist fingerprints extremely well. The speakers are excellent and the device lasts ages in standby.

    Sadly PlayBook OS feels... lacking somehow. The apps all do what they say but there is a sense that they're missing features that they should have (e.g. to be able to remember passwords in the browser) and a sense that RIM is basically done with PlayBook OS. RIM also had to cobble together apps from different vendors and some of them are pretty basic and in some cases just glorified bookmarks (e.g. the Twitter "app" is just a link to the browser). I have to hope the device gets an update to BB 10.

    Android support is actually pretty good in 2.1 but sadly RIM have gone out of their way to lock the thing down so it's hard to sideload anything and what stuff exists in the store is usually more expensive and less well supported than its counterpart in the Play store.

    Anyway for £110 you're getting a really good piece of kit and perhaps if the device is just for email and some browsing there is no point spending much more.

    1. Thomas 4

      Re: I kind of like my PlayBook

      Is it possible to get a keyboard for the Playbook? I'd like a really cheap tablet that has a physical keyboard of some sort. Something light I can carry to and from work and use it to type fairly long documents on. pdf and ebook support is a must.

      Any suggestions? =)

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        Re: I kind of like my PlayBook

        Look for "ACC-41616-001" or "BlackBerry Mini Keyboard". If you want cheap, any bluetooth keyboard should do and there are plenty to choose from.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: I kind of like my PlayBook

        There is an official Playbook bluetooth keyboard / trackpad comes with a faux leather cover / stand and is the same footprint as the tablet. It's charged separately and costs about £60. Alternatively there are a lot of generic 7" bluetooth keyboards on Ebay for less.

        I haven't used a keyboard with my tablet to say what it's like with one. The onscreen keyboard is okay for stabbing out short messages which is about all I need it for since I use the tablet mostly for picking up at bedtime or in the morning to read a few websites and check my email. As I said, the tablet is okay for that sort of thing and the screen is really nice.

      3. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I kind of like my PlayBook

        Sorry Thomas, I don't have an answer for you. Just posting to suggest a RegHardware round up of Bluetooth keyboards in general would be good!

        1. Spoonsinger
          Meh

          Re: I kind of like my PlayBook

          You can get a bluetooth keyboard and case for circa £18. Ok, but basically my playbook is just used as a glorified bedside clock, with audio book capability and WIFI as a bonus. It's nicely built, I like the O/S, and for £129 with 64GB/GPS/etc, it's somewhat good value as such, however I can't see me using this format of device for anything different or useful. Laptop still king for mobile doing type stuff, Desktop for the money earning potential.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it possible to get a keyboard for the Playbook

        You're intended to use your bb. If that's not keyboardy enough, a bluetooth keyboard should work.

        I bought a playbook recently at £125 for the 64g - glad to see other readers comments - it's so good but so unpopular I thought I was missing some huge drawback, but it all works really well, battery life is excellent, the screen is beautiful, control is easy, system is responsive and I got all the apps I want for free from their app store, though it's true choice is limited and prices generally higher that google play

  13. James 51

    The killer app that the kindle has is lovefilm streaming. Didn't see a mention of that.

    BTW having had a playbook for about six months now there is no way it deserves a score of 70%. If you have a blackberry handset the level of integration between the two is a dimention of functionality no other tablet has.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      no way it deserves a score of 70%

      I'm confused. Does a "dimention of functionality no other tablet has" make it better than 70% or worse?

      1. James 51

        Re: no way it deserves a score of 70%

        Better.

    2. Hnk0

      "The killer app that the kindle has is lovefilm streaming"

      Funny, this is what enticed me to go to netflix so that I can watch on any device I choose, not what Bezos decided I should be watching on.

  14. DS 1

    Bah

    The playbook was horrible on release. But the updates have made it much more well rounded. The thing does all the basics better than my android stuff does (pics, film, media, pdf, music) with a weakness in the appstore. But £129 for a baseline tablet that is high quality and 64GB... its worth a much higher score on value alone than the 70% given.

    1. jason 7
      Happy

      Re: Bah

      Yeah I got one...just because.....

      I love it. It goes everywhere with me now and I hardly use my laptops. Superb bit of kit for £129.

      Wont fall apart after 6 months like the Acer too.

  15. Jove Bronze badge

    Kobo Arc

    Good article.

    Although it is not released in the UK until the 16th of November, the Kobo Arc looks like a good alternative.

    It is close to the Acer A110 in terms of spec; it has a higher res screen, but with a dual-core chip. However it is more open and will get JB at some point, so I thought would wait until it was in the shops before I make a final decision.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Kobo Arc

      Ick. I won't touch anything made by Kobo since I had the misfortune of using a Kobo Vox.

  16. Chris D Rogers
    Big Brother

    FWIW,

    If I could purchase a 64G iPad Mini with 'Retina' screen, A6 chip, GPS, 1G RAM, wifi and 3g combined - 4LTE being way over the top - all for under £400 i probably would go that route, as it stands, in both specc's, performance and cost, the Nexus 7 holds the candle - tis a great shame it too is not offered with 64G with 3G and priced at £300 - I'd have one like a shot.

    Now is not a good time to purchase the iPad Mini, it will be obsolete within 12 months - how else do you think Apple are going to gouge its customer-base - as for the App Store, never purchased anything from iTunes or their App Store and all my Apple mobile devices are jailbroken - I do like the iPod Touch, but like the iPad Mini, its way too expensive!

    1. Lallabalalla
      FAIL

      FWIW: " Apple are going to gouge its customer-base"

      Of course they will update it, and probably in 6 months. But fanbois throwing away their iToys every 6 months to get the new one only happens in your imagination.

      What really happens is that you get the device you want when you want it, and keep it for a long long time. Eventually you might get the latest and greatest, and sell the old one for a damn high percentage of what you paid for it because it's an Apple that still works like new not throwaway cheapo plastic rubbish.

      We still have the iPad1, bought a month before the 2 came out, and it's still flawless, and we don't feel the need to change it. I also have an iPod touch which is approaching 4 years old now, and I'm still very happy with it thanks. I have an iPhone4 which I'd *quite like to change for a 4S as I'd like the better camera. A quick spin round ebay tells me I can sell the 4 for nearly the price of a comparable 4S, so the only thing stopping me is that the 4 is generally so good that I literally can't be arsed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FWIW: " Apple are going to gouge its customer-base"

        Don't Fandroids do the 'oh shiny, I must have the latest upgrade right now' dance as well?

        All the so called Apple fanbois I know don't throw their iToys away. They pass them on to other family members.

        Funnily enough, the android fans do that as well (apart from the real cheapo devices running Android 2.2/2.3).

        All this slagging off is getting rather tiresome.

        I have two MacBook pro's (one 5 yrs old and still going strong) and a Kindle HD so what does that make me in your classification?

        1. Dana W
          Meh

          Re: FWIW: " Apple are going to gouge its customer-base"

          I have three Macs, two iPods, an iPhone 4s and a Nexus 7.

          All the Fanboi whining is getting stale from both sides.

          1. Toothpick
            Meh

            Re: FWIW: " Apple are going to gouge its customer-base"

            "All the Fanboi whining is getting stale from both sides." +1

            Not just stale, but positively decomposing. Our household has Macs, PCs, an iPod, an iPhone and a Galaxy tab. OS's are Windows, OSX and (occasionally) Linux mint.

            Hardware agnostic and OS agnostic. I use what I consider the best bit of kit for the job as all have their strengths and weaknesses.

        2. Lallabalalla
          Megaphone

          Re: FWIW: " Apple are going to gouge its customer-base"

          Fandroids have to do this more because the device they bought a year ago turns out NOT to be getting the latest OS, whereas Apple devices remain in the upate path for years and years - my old spare phone (3GS) is still receiving updates and could be running 6 if I wanted it to. And it still looks and works like a new phone. I'm even thinking of getting another one so I can give them to my kids for Xmas - should keep them off my phone & iPod, and they're banned from even *thinking* about playing with my wife's 5 :)

          Gosh I sound like a real fanboi but I'm platform agnostic really. I just like an easy life and Apple gives me that in spades for the present.

          But surely the number of people in either camp who actively chase the latest and greatest are really very few (citation needed ;-) IME anyway. There's maybe 3 people in the office here who care about that sort of thing (out of about 50) - and we're a technology company.

          PS Downvoted again by the fandriods!! - must be doing something right? Who cares though? Upvote - downvote..... not a single gram of fuck is actually given!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I literally can't be arsed."

        sounds like a challenge

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I literally can't be arsed."

          Maybe he literally can't because that iPhone 4 is rammed too far up there already?

        2. Lallabalalla
          Thumb Up

          Re: "I literally can't be arsed."

          Actual LOL

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't buy this obsolete argument - I have a 3GS I still use daily and it's over 4 years old.

      If by obsolete there is a newer model out - well maybe - but it's no different to any other maker.

  17. Select * From Handle
    Trollface

    No iPod touch?

    :D

  18. Chris D Rogers

    Does anyone know if its possible to Root the RIM Playbook so it can actually run Android - basically want something for media consumption and playing games?

    1. Spoonsinger

      "Does anyone know if its possible to Root the RIM Playbook so it can actually run Android",

      As of version 2 of the O/S you can't 'root' the playbook and I'm not entirely sure you meant root, but meant replace the o/s. However the current version of the o/s is more than capable of running android apps in a VM, (as such), as long as they are packaged appropriately and submitted to RIM's playbook store for verification They run just as well as native apps, but tablets ain't open so for certain stuff they are being stone walled by 'other' companies.

  19. Benchops
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    In an increasingly crowded and confusing market, this an excellent article (entertainingly written too) spelling out the alternatives. Thanks!

  20. exexpat

    I work in Mobile apps and have tested apps on most of these devices.

    Whats most important to me is the quality of the screen and how the device feels in the hand.

    Motorola Xoom2= POS

    Archos=POS

    Playbook= Antiques roadshow POS

    Kindle Fire= Amazon content delivery system. Plus I believe they track all your browsing through MIMO.

    Note 2= Best Phablet.

    Nexus 7= The best Tablet by miles.

    Not tested or had my hands on the rest or ipad mini yet. Hope this helps.

  21. Michael Kean

    Galaxy Tab 2.0 7"

    I wonder why this one didn't make the list? It seems a competent equivalent to the Nexus 7 and includes a rear camera (albeit fixed focus) and an SD slot.

  22. eSeM

    Galaxy Tab 7.7

    Should have been on the list. Not cheap but by far the best small tablet available.

    1. exexpat

      Re: Galaxy Tab 7.7

      As hardware definitely. They should of made a nexus version of this with latest architecture.

      Nexus 7.7 = ipad mini killer

  23. exexpat

    Why is the sony 9.7" tablet here? Not sure thats an alternative to the ipad mini?

    Oh and its an expensive POS btw.

  24. Leona A
    Paris Hilton

    wrong site

    Shouldn't this be on 'Reg Hardware' not 'the register' ? Someone miss filed it?

    1. Leona A

      Re: wrong site

      Ok well it is on Reg Hardware as well, now that throw me,

      its here

      http://www.reghardware.com/2012/11/06/ten_ipad_mini_alternatives/

      and here

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/06/ten_ipad_mini_alternatives/

      1. Andrew James

        Re: wrong site

        That would be because reghardware is fed from the Hardware category of posts on theregister. Anything categorised under Hardware on El Reg is picked up by the filter on reghardware.

        Quite logical really.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

    In that whole list, the only tablets with 3G were the Sony Experia (too big to be an alternative to the iPad mini), the Galaxy Note (too small) and the Blackberry Playbook (not Android). What the hell? This is supposed to be a mobile device, one I can use whilst on the move, not just sitting in a coffee shop! To be a reasonable alternative to an iPad mini requires similar performance, similar screen size, at least as good resolution, either an sd card slot or 32GB internal (maaaaaybe 16GB in a pinch), and 3G (4G is worthless till 2015), as well as access to an app store with more than a dozen apps. There isn't a single tablet either on this list or, AFAIK, anywhere at all, that ticks all these boxes, except the iPad Mini.

    I guess that's why its so expensive. There's STILL no bloody competition.

    1. thesykes
      FAIL

      Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

      Nexus 7 32Gb 3G £239

      iPad mini 32Gb 3G £449

      There, competition. £210 cheaper competition. Now, care to explain why it's so expensive?

      1. the-it-slayer
        Facepalm

        Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

        > Nexus 7 32Gb 3G £239

        iPad mini 32Gb 3G £449

        There, competition. £210 cheaper competition. Now, care to explain why it's so expensive?

        1) Quality of parts

        2) Extra support that pays for a very effecient swap in the shop system if it's broken

        3) Software support/development costs (inc. cloud services etc)

        All the extra services don't come free and grow on trees. The Apple ecosystem does need money to support 300 million+ devices on its network.

        1. thesykes

          Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

          if 1) is true, 2) is irellevant, if you need 2) then 1) is a myth.

          And Google develop Android for free? Their programmers do it just for the love of it?

          Google Music, Google Drive, etc. cloud-based services, all free.

          Keep believing the hype.

          1. the-it-slayer
            Happy

            Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

            @theskyes

            Google has their ads services to pay for all that. That's their source of income to keep you going round the Android loop. You see/click their ads, Google gets money for that, Google pumps money into Android to make it appear free & their eco-system and then back around again.

            Seriously though, it isn't hype. The products speak for themselves. If you can find any early Android 2.0 devices still being used in the field, let me know. I do know there's plenty of 3G/3GS being used on a daily basis.

            And the fandroids keep on coming... keep smiling!

        2. Mark .

          Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

          1: No evidence to support this. It's like the homeopathy of technology - "These two things may be the same thing, but this one is 'better quality' because it just is, even though I can't tell you how".

          2: It's your legal entitlement to get something broken replaced, and I've never had any trouble with any company. Unless it's your fault, in which case Apple won't replace that either. You can get insurance to cover it, but you have to pay extra for that, and lots of companies offer that kind of thing - and I've seen plenty of horror stories where even when you're paying the extra, they don't cover you. Not that my non-Apple ever seems to break. I guess that's because I buy decent build quality. Seems like Apple products are always breaking, from how people are always telling me about how they get to replace them... (I just love that Apple fans simultaneously praise Apple for things like "build quality" and just "working", as well as that Apple are great because, after paying extra money for insurance, Apple are always replacing their products when they keep breaking.)

          3: Not sure what you mean here. On one, you can develop using free software, on any kind of device. You can publish on Google's site for a one off fee of $25, or anywhere else you like for no cost. On the other, you can only develop using a special Apple computer, and have to pay Apple $99 a year to develop for your own device, with no way to get round it.

          The Android "ecosystem" is way bigger than IOS, as was Symbian before it. So that's not an argument to justify the cost.

          1. the-it-slayer

            Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

            @Mark

            >

            2: It's your legal entitlement to get something broken replaced, and I've never had any trouble with any company. Unless it's your fault, in which case Apple won't replace that either. You can get insurance to cover it, but you have to pay extra for that, and lots of companies offer that kind of thing - and I've seen plenty of horror stories where even when you're paying the extra, they don't cover you. Not that my non-Apple ever seems to break. I guess that's because I buy decent build quality. Seems like Apple products are always breaking, from how people are always telling me about how they get to replace them... (I just love that Apple fans simultaneously praise Apple for things like "build quality" and just "working", as well as that Apple are great because, after paying extra money for insurance, Apple are always replacing their products when they keep breaking.)

            Technology breaks due to defects by human error in manufactuering. It's just the convinience. Most Android users have to wait 2 - 3 weeks at least to get a repair/replacement. Is there any manufactuer that can do it for you within an hour in a shop? Not seen any myself.

            3: Not sure what you mean here. On one, you can develop using free software, on any kind of device. You can publish on Google's site for a one off fee of $25, or anywhere else you like for no cost. On the other, you can only develop using a special Apple computer, and have to pay Apple $99 a year to develop for your own device, with no way to get round it.

            I meant the infrastructure of the whole iOS ecosystem plus the operating system updates, research & development etc. Keeping 3/4 year old devices updated is pretty tough. Something Google hasn't seemed to crack yet and retains their pump/dump stratedgy with devices. I mean, Google does have its ad cash to spend keeping the "technically" open-source Android low cost to develop. That's the benefit of an open system.

            Thought I'd clear up my thoughts and take on some more pointless thumb downs.

            1. Psyx
              Pint

              Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

              The 'quality parts' thing is hokum. A piece of aluminium is not a 'quality part' that causes that much price difference, and I'm not aware that iDevices have a MTF that's higher than Android ones.

              "Is there any manufactuer that can do it for you within an hour in a shop? Not seen any myself."

              Manufacturer? No, but why would I need it to be the manufacturer, when the retailer can do it. You just walk into the retailer, say "This is fuggerd, I want a replacement" and they replace it. Simples.

              Don't fool yourself that Apple are offering a unique and wonderful customer experience.

              "Something Google hasn't seemed to crack yet and retains their pump/dump stratedgy with devices."

              Seriously? And Apple don't? Apple's entire business model is based around flogging punters an updated product every year.

          2. Steve Evans

            Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

            Quality parts?

            What have you been drinking? I lose count how many iMac panels I've seen that have done the rainbow stripes of death... And wasn't there a macbook fault a couple of years back with the nvidia chipset?... And white iphone cases going yellow?... And faulty iphone with yellow tinted screen?...

            And that's just what I can remember off the top of my head.

            My own brother's 4s recently went mad, got really hot, drained the battery within 4 hours. He tried resetting it, still no good. Went to the store and got it swapped (as is your legal right). Two weeks later he's still trying to get all his music and contacts synced properly.

            Hardly handed down from Mount Olympus are they.

            1. Dana W
              Trollface

              Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

              He can't figure how to synch and restore an iPhone? Tell me, can he tie his shoes?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

                Well, DUH!

                EVERYBODY knows that the Samsung and Foxconn components in the iPad are far superior to the Samsung and Foxconn components in the Nexus. And that Aluminum panel on the back - that's gotta be worth at least $150

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

      Aren't there a load of stats out there that indicate that more then 50% of tablets never get taken out of the home?

      If that is the case then why would you need 3g in every one of them?

      I take mine on my travels. It does not have 3g but there again, I have a MiFi (on the 3 network) which I use to connect up when needed which isn't all that often. Sometimes, it is nice not to be always connected to the internet unless of cource you have become addicted. If so, I can sell you a nice ocean front plot of land on an island in the Indian Ocean where (unless you have a satelleite receiver) the internet is a long way away (like 15km).

      Peace and quiet. Delightful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

        "If that is the case then why would you need 3g in every one of them?"

        I don't want it in all of them. Just some of them, so I actually have some choice that isn't apple (or fecking blackberry, but that's a whole other rant).

        I like to be able to browse the interwebs on a train (in the morning, for example, usually to read the news). Or, say, waiting for the doctors or whatever. Or in a hotel, where they want to charge me by the hour for wifi (it was a 4 star hotel, so you'd think the wifi would be gratis, but nooooo). Basically any time that I'm sitting down and the alternative is to stare into space like a lobotomy victim. (and no, that's not all I want a tablet for, but its what I want the 3g connection for). This is hardly a niche use, you'd think SOMEONE would be wanting to provide a solution for it.

        And, as another commenter points out, someone finally has with the latest Nexus 7 32 GB 3G, and its about bloody time (and its a shame that soft home button keeps driving me up the wall - I keep pressing it instead of the space button when typing - or I'd be seriously considering getting one right now). But my points (that none of the tablets in the article really are alternatives to the mini, and that tablet makers seem to hate 3G) still stand, and will do until there are several iPad mini alternatives, not just one. Maybe in 2013.

    3. Chris D Rogers

      Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

      The Nexus 7 32G 3G launched last week is 3G capable and costs a lot more less than a iPad Mini.

  26. Big_Ted
    Thumb Up

    Galaxy Tab 2 available for £199 after cashback

    Carphone Warehouse have dropped the price to £149, take off cashback from Samsung and its £119

    best deal for the money.

    1. Big_Ted
      Facepalm

      Re: Galaxy Tab 2 available for £199 after cashback

      Above should have said £119 after cashback

  27. Lockwood

    Ten... More Apple iPad Mini alternatives

    1: Pen and paper

    2: Chalk and pavement

    3: Crayon and wall

    4: A turd

    5: Jamming pencils in your eyeballs

    6: Licking the third rail

    Actually, this is harder than I thought. I'm running out of ideas!

    1. Lockwood

      Re: Ten... More Apple iPad Mini alternatives

      7: Zip lining down OHLE

      8: Running around the dodgier Middle East countries wrapped in an American flag

      9: Running around the dodgier states wrapped in an Arab flag

      10: Nothing

      "Woah", I hear you call. "Nothing is better than an iPad Mini? Doesn't that go against your list?"

      Nope. Having "Nothing" is prefereably to having this iProduct.

  28. Nazar
    Stop

    Avoid Sony

    I'd recommend steering away from Sony tablets. I invested in a Sony Tablet S, which by all accounts had a shelf life of a few months. No word from Sony on JB updates.

    Normally this isn't an issue but the modding community is steering clear of at least the Tablet S as there are no ROMs for this model (only a rooting) despite it being out for about six months. You can't even do a nand backup.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avoid Sony

      You have summed it up - Android shelf life is terrible. Basically you buy it and it's russian roulette if you will get updates. I've made this mistake and it costs you more in the long run.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Avoid Sony

        You're so right... my two year old £99 Android phone is now totally useless, it can only do exactly what it could the day I bought it. Why can't it be like an old iPhone, which can get updates to the latest version of iOS, well, sort of, as half the new functionality isn't available and what does work, slows the phone down considerably.

        Damn it, should never have saved £400 when I got that Droid. It's costing me such a fortune in, ummm, well, errr... nope, can't see how it's costing me any money at all.

  29. Jason Hindle

    Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

    Is that why I had some much trouble charging the bloody thing while holidaying in Lanzarote? I had to switch it off completely to get it to charge at all, and then it would take all night and a good part off the following day.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

      I'm not quite sure what the author is on about TBH.

      I've charged my N7 off pretty much every micro USB plug I have. 500mA from the PC, 1A from my phone, the supplied 2A (when I can find it). The only place it won't charge is from the USB socket I put in the car, and the reason for that is I haven't done anything with the two data wires. They're just disconnected. For high capacity chargers these wires should be linked together, I just haven't got round to fixing it. It charges my phone, which was the original reason to install it. The N7's battery life is good enough that I don't run it flat (only the misses has managed that from playing too much Angry Birds!).

      Apple devices are no different. They want the USB data pins connected just right or they won't charge either.

      So Alun, stop using cheap knock off chargers!

      1. Dana W

        Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

        They charge PAINFULLY slowly from a standard port. Charging on less than 2a takes a LONG time. And yes I own one.

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

      Would this be a travel charger by any chance?

      Whatever it is it was supplying a minute current. The N7 will charge from 500mA (standard USB), but the screen has to be off (that panel takes some juice). The proper charger can supply 4 times this current (2 amps), which will charge the tablet whilst it's being used. Most tablets are like this, the screens just use too much power for the 500mA USB limit.

      As soon a USB socket can supply over the 500mA standard, it has to tell the device it is capable of it (otherwise the device would just try to pull too much from the socket and cause the PC's USB controller to shut down the USB port as protection). This is usually done by linking the two data wires together (a charger has no use for these anyway).

      If your charger doesn't link them, the tablet won't know if can suck harder.

      From what you say it sounds like your charger was even worse than outlined above. It is probably badly regulated and maybe dangerous. A friend has some knock off Chinese Apple-esque chargers which my N7 just ignores. Won't charge at all, although both his and my phones will. I checked one out on my 'scope when it was charging my phone and the quality of the supplied power was horrendous. Smooth was not a word I would use. It looked like a the mad scribblings off a deranged fanboy who queued for three days only to have the stock run out as he reaches the front of the queue.

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

        "Would this be a travel charger by any chance?"

        It was just a standard USB to wall socket adapter I use at home (albeit connected to the wall via a European 2 plug travel adapter). I also tried a dedicated USB travel adapter. The hotel staff confirmed the power supply in Lanzarote is generally quite poor.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

          A good switching PSU should be able to handle 100-240v with ease. Their power must be pretty bad to make providing a couple of amps at 5v a challenge!

          Then again, having stayed in Spanish hotels and seen the wiring... Maybe it's not that much of a surprise!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My recomendation

    Is the Nexus, its the only one that will get timely updates.

    end of. no debate. game over, -50% to all others

    Yes it really means that much that it works, and continues to work in the future.

    1. Dana W
      Thumb Up

      Re: My recomendation

      Agreed. That's why I bought one. I'm used to my stable of iStuff getting instant updates, When I saw nexus devices were not update orphans like so many other Android devices it was the instant sensible choice.

  31. The BigYin

    Wot, no leftfield?

    What about the Pengpod or the Vivaldi or just anything but the same staid crap from the predictable vendors.

  32. sisk
    Meh

    Personally I love my Nook Tablet. Granted it's a couple years old now and had to be rooted to get anything like acceptable usability, but still I love it. It may not have GPS and GSM, and maybe I lose access to the Play store every time I let it grab an update from B&N but I love it. It might have a few little glitches but......

    Oh who the hell am I kidding. I want a Nexus damnit.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap tat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, 'alternatives to expensive tat' does not mean the same thing as 'cheap tat'

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Apple App Store is the killer feature with all iOS devices - it's far better than the Android / other App stores. The choice comes down to pay £269 for a tablet you will use constantly and probably get many, many years of use from or buy something cheaper, find out you wished you had bought the iPad anyway or end up with something that is unsupported after a year or two.

    1. Psyx

      "The Apple App Store is the killer feature with all iOS devices"

      One way or another.

      It certainly kills the idea of me ever wanting an iDevice.

    2. sisk

      You've never actually used Google's Play Store, have you? After using it dealing with Apples pitiful excuse for an app store makes me want to pull my hair out. There's that much of a difference in the experience.

      As for wishing I'd bought an iPad....well if I could give away the one I was given at the office I would. I can't do half of what I was hoping to do on it when I got it. Up until they cracked down on unauthorized devices on the wireless I had ended up bringing my Nook to work to do what I should have been able to do with the iPad.

      1. Toothpick
        Happy

        "You've never actually used Google's Play Store, have you? After using it dealing with Apples pitiful excuse for an app store makes me want to pull my hair out. There's that much of a difference in the experience."

        Experience is a personal thing. My experience is the complete opposite of yours. The only difference is I've very little hair left to pull out.

    3. Owen Smith
      Pint

      no one mention the original ipad and it's ios6 updates or it being EOL'ed after 18 months

  35. JCB
    FAIL

    But the Ipad mini is an 8 incher

    The first thing that struck me about this review is that the devices chosen were mostly 7 inch or widescrenn displays. That is not much help to someone who wants an 8 inch 4:3 aspect ratio 1024x768 display at a comfortable weight; something lighter than a 10 inch iPad but bigger than a 7 inch widescreen. For some of us the screen size and weight are important, and that is the basis on which I chose my tablet. Ok, my Android tablet doesn't have everything that the iPad mini has; it certainly doesn't have the price tag. I was able to but my Scroll Engage made by UK company Storage Options for £120, and you can buy it for about £100 now if you shop around in the main online stores. The format is just right for me. As I said it doesn't have everything the iPad has, but then it does have physical connectivity that the iPad doesn't (USB, Sdmicro, HDMI). I can't comment on the iPad mini itself as I haven't handled one.

  36. Sandy Ritchie

    Playbook hoorah!

    You can snap up a 64gb Playbook for £129 at the moment, making it a bargain. Its a very solidly made little tablet, meaning I can let my 1 year old play with it to his hearts content without fear of it smashing into little pieces the first time its dropped.

    BB10 OS has been promised for the playbook too.

  37. dparvin
    Happy

    Nexus 7 does support On-The-Go

    As title, the Nexus 7 does support On-The-Go, I use this to connect to my HTC Sensation and USB Ethernet.

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. normskilight
    Headmaster

    Nexus 7 Price reads: £159 (16GB), £199 (32GB), £239 (32GB + Wi-Fi)

    i think it should be: £159 (16GB), £199 (32GB), £239 (32GB + HSPA+)

    @Festimo . they all have wifi

  40. peternorthampton@gmail.com

    SD card

    Why do many reviews of the Nexus 7 whinge about it not having an SD card slot but reviews of the ipad mini don't whinge about it not having an SD card slot? Bias ????

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