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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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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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

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Re: Acer 110 Has 50.00 Pounds Cash Back

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

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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/

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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."

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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.

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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.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JCB
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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.

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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...

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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.

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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.

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Help

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

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Re: Help

Viagra?

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Re: Help

And just to prove apple wrong that reduces PPI considerably!

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I would prefer any of these over the iPad Mini

Including the Playbook (seriously...)

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LPF
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Jesus..

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Headmaster

Re: Jesus..

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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".

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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.

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Re: Operating system

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

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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.

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Mushroom

"Ten... Shit Apple Pad Mini alternatives"

Fixed.

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Happy

Shit apple pad mini?

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

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"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. :)

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Won't fit as well?

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

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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!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get it up ye Apple!

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

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