iPad Mini Wi-Fi version lacks GPS found in similar tablets

Without the GPS built into tablets like the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 2, Apple's new mini tablet can't offer turn-by-turn directions.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi version.
No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi version. Apple

The iPad Mini Wi-Fi version is missing one key feature found in many other 7-inch tablets -- GPS.

Looking at the Location specs for the iPad Mini on Apple's Web site, the cellular edition shows built-in GPS. But the Wi-Fi version doesn't include that feature.

At yesterday's iPad launch event, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller seemed to enjoy comparing the iPad Mini with Google's Nexus 7 tablet. Schiller proclaimed the iPad Mini the winner due in large part to its bigger 7.9-inch screen size.

But the Nexus 7 comes with GPS. I've used the tablet myself a few times as a GPS device. And combined with Google Maps, it did a good job of directing me turn-by-turn to my destination.

Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 also comes with GPS. Several other small-sized tablets offer the feature as well. Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is one of the few well-known 7-inch tablets without GPS.

The iPad Mini Wi-Fi starts at $329. The entry-level Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 2.0 both sell at $199, though they offer only 8GB of storage compared with the iPad Mini's 16GB.

Apple's larger Wi-Fi-only iPads don't have GPS either. However, a 7-inch or 7.9-inch device is designed to be more portable than a 9.7-inch device, something you could easily take on the road.

Perhaps the exclusion of GPS is meant to help battery life, which Apple rates at up to 10 hours on all of its iPads. But I typically get around eight to nine hours of life on the Nexus 7 before it needs a recharge.

For those of us with smartphones or dedicated GPS devices, an iPad Mini without GPS is probably not a deal breaker. But adding the feature to a tablet that's pricier than its rivals would have been a nice bonus.

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