iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7, or Amazon Kindle Fire HD? Tablet race heats up for Christmas

The Apple iPad Mini was recently launched to much fanfare.
The Apple iPad Mini was recently launched to much fanfare.
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With less than a month to go before Christmas, the electronics giants are keen to grab their share of the festive dollar and maintain dominance as the market leader. That means they’re each looking for ways to make it top of the wishlists this December, but what do the main contenders offer the gift-buying public?

The three big money spinners this year look to be the iPad Mini, Google Nexus, and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. In the race to grab their share of Christmas shoppers, you can bet the tablet makers will be keen to brag about their respective credentials when comparing products, but what is the best option for us as consumers?

The Nexus 7 is Google's first own-brand foray into the tablet market

The Nexus 7 is Google's first own-brand foray into the tablet market

The iPad Mini was the first to capture the public eye with its fanfare launch at Apple HQ, appearing on the surface of things to bridge the gap between the iPhone and the full-size iPad.

With a 7.9-inch screen, the Mini has only a slightly larger display than its 7-inch Christmas competitors, but the extra size allows for a difference in clarity although the Nexus 7 still has a greater pixel density.

The Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s latest attempt to crack the tablet market, with the earlier models being simply e-readers for books. The selling point of the Kindle was always the ability to read the text clearly even in bright sunlight (whatever that is), but the latest model sheds that perk with the LCD screen. However, anyone who purchases the HD obviously wants to do much more than read books in it.

Amazon is a gateway to many forms of entertainment, and thanks to Lovefilm you can access video on demand on the Kindle Fire HD. Having direct access to an online movie library is a tempting thought for film fans.

However, a niggling point for some is the fact that you can’t watch films or TV shows offline. In order to maintain viewing you must have a WiFi connection, which immediately puts it at a disadvantage to the iPad Mini, which allows video to be downloaded and stored for later.

Running the Andriod Jellybean 4.1 operating system, the Nexus 7 is Google’s first own-brand foray into the tablet market, and while Apple may be the one to beat the Nexus battery life can match the iPad whether you’re browsing or viewing video content. And having 1GB of ram doesn’t hurt the Nexus either; the processing power of the Nexus could impress a lot of shoppers, though some have complained about Andriod being clunkier than Apple’s IOS operating system.

Exactly which tablet will emerge as the victor this Christmas will be hard to predict, with each holding distinct advantages over its competitors in various departments.

For some it comes down to a simple choice of price against capacity. For a 16GB model, both the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 cost just £159, while the iPad Mini counterpart is £110 more at £269.

But perhaps the best way to make your purchase this Christmas is to carefully research online what each model can offer and weigh it up against your needs and your budget. Take your time, but don’t be too long, because as Christmas closes in and demand heats up you could find yourself staring at an empty shelf in the shop.