Nexus 7-iPad-Kindle Fire-Galaxy-Nook-Surface : A Comparison

Google with its Nexus 7 is the latest challenger to Apple, maker of the popular iPad. The new tablet will also compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The Nexus 7 will be available next month and Microsoft’s Surface this fall. The others including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet are already available.

Here is a comparison of the features of the six tablets :

Google’s Nexus 7

  • Price: $199 for 8 gigabytes of storage, $249 for 16 GB.
  • Screen size: 7 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Cameras: Front-facing, 1.2 megapixel camera
  • Battery life: 9.5 hours
  • Operating system: Google’s Android Jelly Bean

Pros: Access to a variety of games, utilities and other software for Android devices, though not as extensive as apps available for iPad. More features than Kindle Fire at same price.
Cons: Integrates with Google Play store, which is still new and isn’t as robust as Apple or Amazon’s stores. Data storage cannot be expanded with memory cards. No option for cellular wireless broadband.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire

  • Price: $199 for 6 gigabytes of storage
  •  Screen size: 7 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: 1024 by 600 pixels
  • Weight: 0.9 pounds
  • Cameras: none
  • Battery life: 8 hours.
  • Operating system: Modified version of Google’s Android

Pros: Cheap and portable. Convenient access to Amazon store.
Cons: No-frills tablet lacks camera and microphone. Small selection of third-party applications available from Amazon. Data storage cannot be expanded with memory cards. No option for cellular wireless broadband.

Apple’s iPad

  • Price: Starts at $499 for 16 gigabytes of storage, goes up to $699 for 64 gigabytes, more for versions with cellular data access. (Apple still sells the older, iPad 2 for $399.)
  •  Screen size: 9.7 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: 2048 by 1536 pixels
  • Weight: 1.44 pounds
  • Cameras: 5-megapixel camera on back and a low-resolution camera on front, for video conferencing
  • Battery life: 10 hours.
  • Operating system: Apple’s iOS

Pros: Unmatched access to third-party applications, high-quality Apple software and the iTunes store. High-resolution screen. Widest range of cases and accessories available. Available with access to fast 4G wireless broadband networks.
Cons: Relatively expensive. Data storage cannot be expanded with memory cards.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

  • Price: $400 for 16 gigabytes of storage
  • Screen size: 10.1 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: 1280 by 800 pixels
  • Weight: 1.24 pounds
  • Cameras: low-resolution front camera, 3-megapixel back.
  • Battery life: 11 hours.
  • Operating system: Google’s Android

Pros: Lighter, thinner and cheaper than iPad. Longer, narrower screen better suited to movies. Also with 7-inch screen for $250. Storage is expandable with microSD memory cards. Can act as a universal remote control for an entertainment center.
Cons: Selection of third-party applications not as good as iPad’s, but wider than Kindle’s. Screen resolution lower than iPad’s. No option yet for wireless broadband, but likely to come.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet

  • Price: $199 for 8 gigabytes of storage, $249 for 16 gigabytes
  • Screen size: 7 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: 1024 by 600 pixels
  • Weight: 0.9 pounds
  • Cameras: None.
  • Battery life: 11.5 hours.
  • Operating system: Modified version of Google’s Android

Pros: Cheap and portable. Storage is expandable with microSD memory cards. Easy access to Barnes & Noble book store.
Cons: Selection of third-party applications is small. Barnes & Noble lacks wide range of content. Lacks cameras and option for wireless broadband.

Microsoft’s Surface

  • Price: Not yet announced. Storage options will range from 32 to 128 GB
  • Screen size: 10.6 inches diagonally
  • Screen resolution: Not yet announced.
  • Weight: About 1.5 pounds for low-power version, 2 pounds for version running PC-style Intel processor.
  • Cameras: Front and back cameras
  • Battery life: Not yet announced.
  • Operating system: Microsoft’s Windows 8

Pros: Runs upcoming version of Windows 8. Compatibility with programs available for traditional Windows computers. Storage can be expanded with microSD memory cards.
Cons: Runs upcoming version of Windows. Operating system lacks good track record on tablets, and selection of third-party applications is small.

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