Next month Apple is expected to release the iPad Mini, a 7-inch tablet designed to compete directly with Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD and Google's popular Nexus 7 for a share of the medium-sized touchscreen device market. We've already got a pretty good idea of how the iPad Mini will turn out, so here's our advice on whether you should wait for Apple's 7-inch contender or choose from one of the currently available options.
But first, let's clarify that by 7-inch tablet we mean any table device with a diagonal screen length of around 7-inches. These medium sized tablets have been a big success, despite predictions from Steve Jobs that a mid-sized tablet would never catch one.
Based on a number of credible information leaks, we expect Apple to unveil the iPad Mini in October at the earliest; at the latest the iPad Mini will hit stores in time for the holiday shopping season (Apple's favorite time of year).
Color Range: If the iPad Mini is anything like the third generation "New iPad" it will feature a 100 percent Color Gamut, that's 14 percent more color than either the Kindle Fire HD or the Google Nexus 7. When it comes to display Apple's tablets arguably have the best color display.
More Pixels Are Better: Here the iPad Mini falls short compared to both the Kindle Fire Hd and Nexus 7, which both feature 216 PPI (pixels per inch). The iPad Mini is expected to sport just 160 PPI, while the "new iPad" has 264 PPI.
Screen Ratio and Resolution: The Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 bot feature a 1280x800 resolution and an aspect ratio of 16:10. The iPad Mini's predicted resolution falls short at 1024x768; its aspect ratio is just 4:3.
Video Quality: If you're watching any HDTV widescreen video content with a ratio of 16:9 (that's the standard), the iPad Mini's resolution will be just 1280x720 (according to predictions). Both the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 offer a 1280X720 resolution for watching HD widescreen video.
Screen Size Matters: Apple's iPad Mini is expected to be 34 percent bigger than the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7. However, while watching widescreen video the different in screen size used is reduced to just six percent more by Apple.
Conclusions: A Close Race In A New Market
The world was introduced to 7-inch tablets just last year, and already this new category of devices has quickly caught on, demonstrating a strong consumer interest in mid-sized touchscreens. A second generation of 7-inch tablets brought with it improved display quality, often rivaling the most popular 10-inch tablet, Apple's iPad. These 7-inchers are also lighter and more portable than their larger counterparts, and best of all they cost less, often starting at just $199.
For the time being Amazon's latest offering, the Kindle Fire HD, outdoes the Google Nexus 7 by a hair, thanks to its powerful display, high picture quality, color accuracy and sharpness. The real question is what will happen once Apple's iPad Mini enters the market. Based on leaked information and popular predictions that iPad Mini will out-do its competition in some categories (screen size, color, and possible "cool" factor), while the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire will have several advantages against the iPad Mini, making for a close race to the top. However, don't be surprised if Apple's iPad Mini unveiling packs a few surprise punches, it wouldn't be the first time.