The HP7 Plus tablet is the most affordable, the iPad Mini 2 the most formidable. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 offers both.

HP has revealed its new HP 7 Plus tablet, one that we credit with providing much of what consumers want in a device for a price that can’t be beat. Its competitors are the Galaxy Tab 4, the latest small tablet from Samsung, and Apple’s Retina iPad Mini (a major hit with consumers who want something a little larger than Google’s Nexus 7 offering). Who win will the specs war? Let’s get the show on the road!

Dimensions

The HP 7 Plus has dimensions of 7.58 inches tall x 4.8 inches wide x 0.32 inches thick (192.5mm x 121.9mm x 8.1mm) and weighs 0.65 pounds, while the Galaxy Tab 4 has dimensions of 107.9 x 186.9 x 9mm and weighs 276 grams (0.61 pounds). The iPad Mini 2 is 7.87 inches tall x 5.3 inches wide x 0.29 inches thick (199.9mm x 134.6mm x 7.4mm) and weighs 0.73 pounds. The iPad Mini 2 is the tallest and heaviest tablet in this category, while the Galaxy Tab 4 is the widest tablet of the three. The winner of the thinnest tablet in this competition is the Galaxy Tab 4. Samsung achieves a wider display while keeping the tablet thin all at the same time, defeating the Retina iPad Mini 2 that has been considered to be the standard when it comes to a tablet that’s thin, light, and fast.

Display

The HP 7 Plus contains the display size in its name, as do many tablets. It features a 7-inch IPS LCD screen and comes with a 1024 x 600 screen resolution. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 features a 7-inch LCD screen with a 1280 x 800 screen resolution. Apple’s iPad Mini 2, on the other hand, comes with a 7.9-inch LCD screen that has a whopping 2048 x 1536 screen resolution. The second-generation iPad Mini’s resolution is equal to that of its larger iPad brother.

When it comes to the display round, we give the win to the iPad Mini 2, a tablet that not only beats its competitors when it comes to screen resolution, but is also slightly larger than either of them – closer to an 8-inch experience than a 7-inch. The 7-inch experience is ideal for playing games and reading throughout the day (even watching movies is excellent), but you won’t want to type emails and notes on a seven-inch slate. The iPad Mini 2 will provide a little more screen real estate for productivity as well as play, and its screen resolution will provide colors that aren’t washed out. The Galaxy Tab 4, while being the thinnest of these small tablets, provides a screen resolution comparable to Google’s 2012 Nexus 7. Colors will often appear washed out, but you do get the Galaxy Tab 4 at a much nicer price point than you will Apple’s iPad.

Processor and Memory

Even when you have an excellent tablet, you still wanna know what’s running the device in the internals. The HP 7 Plus has a 1Ghz, ARM Cortex A7 quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM (random access memory), plus 8 GB of onboard storage with a microSD card slot that provides an additional 32GB of storage. The Galaxy Tab 4 has a 1.2Ghz, quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM with 8 or 16GB of memory storage and a microSD card slot for an additional 32GB (Wi-Fi) or 64GB (LTE). Apple’s iPad Mini 2 has Apple’s own A7 dual-core processor with an M7 motion coprocessor and a 64-bit chip for gaming and graphics along with 16GB-128GBs of local memory storage.

Overall, the win goes to Apple with its incredible 128 GB memory storage capacity, and the A7 processor chip can more than hold its own in the processor category – despite its quad-core competitors. The M7 motion coprocessor chip will come in handy when gaming using the device’s in-built gyroscope and accelerometer. A word must be said about the Android tablets, however: when it comes to spec comparisons, the HP 7 Plus can hold its own right alongside Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4. The RAM is only 0.5GBs more in the Tab 4 than the HP 7 Plus, and the processor speed is slightly larger than that of the HP7 Plus (1.2Ghz vs. 1Ghz, respectively) – that is, if you don’t factor in the LTE Tab 4 model, which clocks in at 1.4Ghz.

When it comes to memory, however, the Galaxy Tab 4 will provide 8GB of additional storage than that of the HP 7 Plus (internal memory plus microSD card) in the Wi-Fi model (and will provide a total of 72GB for the Tab 4 LTE model) so you may decide to go with the Tab 4 in terms of memory storage. Still, even in memory storage, the iPad Mini 2 wins because of the 128GBs of storage that can’t be beat. Still, most consumers don’t need 128GBs of storage – and most 32GB tablets do the job. In this case, then, either the HP 7 Plus or Galaxy Tab 4 will suffice.

Camera

The HP 7 Plus comes with a 0.3MP front-facing camera and a 2MP back camera, while the Galaxy Tab 4 features a 3MP front-facing camera and a 1.3MP back camera. The iPad Mini 2 brings a 1.2MP front-facing camera and a 5MP back camera. Apple’s 5MP back camera seems to win the race here, although Samsung’s 3MP on the Galaxy Tab 4 experience should appeal to those who may want to take selfies on their tablets for social media.

While the specs place the iPad Mini 2 cameras above the rest, we must provide some warning: even the 5MP back camera on the iPad Mini 2 is terrible; therefore, there’s not much stock that can be placed into back cameras on tablets just yet. The 5MP camera resides in Apple’s larger iPad, and it contains a lot of noise in the background when recording or taking pictures. It has been said that consumers shouldn’t dare to take pictures with their tablet cameras, but manufacturers place them on tablets so that you’ll use them. At the same time, however, both Apple and Samsung need to improve in this area. If they want consumers to use their tablet cameras, then they should aim to make them comparable to what we find in the smartphone experience. Samsung has placed 8MP back cameras into its more pricey NotePRO and TabPRO tablets, but the Tab 4 must be weighed in light of its affordability – which always features compromise of some kind.

Price

The Galaxy Tab 4 will run you at around $199.99 ($200) for the base version, while Apple’s iPad Mini 2 features a starting price of $399. In the price category, HP takes the prize with its impressive $99 price tag for the HP 7 Plus. The HP 7 Plus is half the price of the Galaxy Tab 4 and 25% of the price of the Retina iPad Mini 2, but there are some compromises in the experience as you saw above. You won’t sacrifice much on memory storage and cameras, but the $99 price tag will force you to sacrifice screen resolution – a biggie when it comes to the user experience. If 1280 x 720p photos can appear washed out, imagine what the HP 7 Plus’s 1024 x 600 screen resolution will yield!

At the same time, some individuals don’t regard screen resolution as important in their tablet-buying experience. If you want something that will be sufficient but don’t need the latest tablet with commanding specs, then the HP 7 Plus is the tablet for you.

Battery

Battery is important for the life of the tablet, and the longer the battery, the better your user experience. The HP 7 Plus boasts a 2,800mAh battery that is said to give a paltry 5 hours, 30 minutes of tablet usage. The Tab 4 comes with a 4,000mAh battery, while the iPad Mini 2 comes with a 23.8-watt hour battery, which brings the iPad Mini 2 battery to 6,471mAh and provides up to 10 hours of usage. In this category, the iPad Mini 2 wins once more with its longer battery and longer usage time. It’s easy to see the iPad Mini 2’s dominance in the area of battery life when you consider that it has a little over twice the battery life of the HP 7 Plus (2,800mAh vs. 6,471mAh, respectively).

Operating System

Pitting these three devices against each other is a complex thing, and examining operating systems only testifies to the difficulty. Both the HP 7 Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 run Google’s Android OS, but the iPad Mini 2 runs on Apple’s iOS operating system. In the end, this category comes down to preference. The iPad is an excellent device for gaming and movie watching, but lacks certain features that can be found within the Android experience. At the same time, however, it is our observation that the iPad experience is intuitive and makes gaming easy, while Android tablets are extremely hard to maneuver in game play. If you intend to play a lot of games and are an avid gamer, then we recommend the iPad Mini 2 as your best option. If you aren’t that large of a gamer, and want a tablet with more functionality for your funds, then Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 rules the day.

Some Final Words

We’ve compared the HP 7 Plus, Galaxy Tab 4, and the iPad Mini 2 to see who is the fairest of them all. The winner of the specs comparison review goes to the iPad Mini for its gorgeous screen resolution, stellar processor and memory, as well as its camera performance. In the end, however, we realize that price may move you to buy the HP 7 Plus for $99 or the Tab 4 for $199.99.

Some consumers like iOS and have a familiar experience on the iPhone, while others prefer Android and what it has to offer. A number of reputable tech analysts and writers give the iPad Mini 2 the win when it comes to overall tablet performance. The iPad Mini 2 can outpace its competitors without breaking a sweat. At the same time, however, you may be an average consumer that doesn’t need or want tablet speed as a bragging right – so the Tab 4 or HP 7 Plus may appeal to you.

So, what can you take away from the spec comparison? It all boils down to offerings and price. The HP 7 Plus offers excellent storage, top budget price, and ok cameras, but lacks good screen resolution and battery life. For just $99, you get a sufficient tablet. For $399, four times the price of the HP 7 Plus, stands Apple’s iPad Mini 2. Apple’s iPad provides everything you want and need (including stellar battery life), but you pay a rather hefty price tag for an 8-inch tablet. Apple’s iPad Mini 2 costs approximately the same as Google’s 32GB 2013 Nexus 7.

In-between the budget HP 7 Plus and the expensive iPad Mini 2 stands Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4. It may not be an iPad Mini, but it sure does offer you the best of both worlds: affordability and commendable features. The Tab 4 is even lighter than Apple’s iPad Mini 2. If you want something that’s affordable and stellar without compromise, then the Galaxy Tab 4 is the best tablet money can buy – although the iPad Mini 2 wins the spec comparison based on its features. It’s often a true saying that you get what you pay for.

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