Google Nexus 7 trounces iPad mini in CNET UK tablet poll

Nearly 60 per cent of the popular vote went to Google's 7-inch tablet, beating both Apple's big and small slates.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
3 min read

Twelve short months ago there would have been very little point in discussing which tablet was top of the pops, as there was really only one decent slate available -- produced by a certain aluminium-favouring, fruit-flavoured Californian corporation.

Fast forward to the present and things are very different, so we threw together a Facebook poll featuring some of the year's most popular tablets, to determine which slates -- if any -- are proving more popular than Apple's own.

As the consensus of our handsome, forward-thinking Facebook fans shows, Tim Cook and company's continued top spot in the tablet world is far from assured, with Google being the one to watch in 2013.

Nexus 7 domination

In a poll that also included the newly refurbished iPad with retina display and the fresh-from-the-oven iPad mini, Google's own-brand Nexus 7 tablet emerged a clear victor, with a staggering 59.9 per cent of votes.

It's not surprising that the Nexus 7 has proved popular, as it ticks very nearly every box that a tablet should. It has a gorgeous 1,280x800 pixel resolution screen, a quad-core processor and -- because it's a Nexus device -- comes with the very latest version of Android.

More tempting is the Nexus 7's low low price. In a year filled with cheap gadgets (many of which come straight from Google), the Nexus 7's £160 price tag makes it sorely tempting, even to those shopping on a strict budget. Whereas in years past Android alternatives weren't generally much cheaper than Apple's iPad, Google has raised its game by lowering prices.

Underwhelming mini?

It's fair to say that Apple's iPad mini felt underwhelming compared with some of the company's previous tablet announcements. Apple's smaller iPad is a decent bit of hardware, with access to a world-beating App Store, but a low-resolution screen and a comparatively high price mean that it hasn't blown away the 7-inch competition.

Less than 9 per cent of voters chose the iPad mini as their favourite tablet in our poll, with both the larger iPad with retina display and the Google Nexus 10 proving more popular, though not by much.

I was surprised to see an extremely modest queue (see above) forming for the iPad mini when it went on sale last month, hinting that it hadn't captured shoppers' imagination in the way that Apple tech has previously.

Since then however I've heard tales of huge lines outside London shops and buyer angst as folks clamour to acquire a mini in time for Christmas, so you'd be a fool to write this tiny tablet off as a failure. Apple even boasted that it had sold 3 million iPad with retinas display and iPad minis in the tablets' first weekend on sale -- an intimidating number for any rival manufacturer.

Another thing to bear in mind is that fans voting on CNET UK's Facebook page will likely be of a more technically-minded persuasion than the broader shopping public, and could be more likely to favour Android's tinkerer-friendly software over the ruthless simplicity of Apple's (no less enjoyable) platform. As such I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we see another year of sky-high iPad sales, despite Google's cheaper option proving more popular in our own poll.

Google is fighting Apple's lethal lead, with prime-placement advertising for the Nexus 7. That may tip the scales in Google's favour, but it could be that Apple's years-long stranglehold on the tablet world proves too tough to break.

Regardless of who's selling more stuff, Android fans and tablet buyers alike can be chuffed that they've got such a cracking tablet to toy with. Here's hoping the sequel is every bit as impressive.

A few commentors on our original Facebook poll have complained that we didn't include Microsoft's Surface RT tablet as an option. We didn't exactly give Ballmer and pals' workmanlike first tablet a glowing review, but if you think Microsoft has the power to trounce both Apple and Google in 2013, then have your say in the comments.

Which tablet will reign supreme this time next year? Can Apple improve upon the iPad mini, or is Android set to take centre stage in 2013? Gaze into your mystical crystal ball of tech futurology, and stick your predictions in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

Watch this: Google Nexus 7