How The Heck Do I Decide Whether The New iPads Are What I Want?

ipadairWhile the smartphone market has become much more diverse in recent years, Apple’s iPad still dominates the tablet business in the U.S. Today, the company announced the latest iteration of the full-sized iPad — the iPad Air — along with an improved iPad Mini, hoping to continue this dominance. But many consumers aren’t fully informed of how these devices compare to already available Android and Windows tablets.

To that end, the folks at Ars Technica have put together a spec-comparison sheet so you can see how each device stacks up against several of its competitors.

For example, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 has a slightly larger screen, weighs less, and has a higher-resolution front camera than the new iPad Mini but the Apple device also has a much higher-resolution screen [2048x1536, compared to 1280x800] than the Samsung tab. Some people may be able to live with that difference in order to save $120, while others might think that is a small price to pay for the improved image quality.

Meanwhile, the Nexus 7 has a better screen resolution than the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and is another $50 less expensive. At $170 off the starting price of the iPad Mini, that might strike some as a deal worth investigating.

The Nexux 10 presents a reasonable challenger to the iPad Air, with slightly larger screen size, higher screen resolution and comparable battery life. Of course, it also weighs slightly more and is almost a full inch longer than the iPad Air. Consumers will have to decide whether these are worth the additional $100.

Of course, what’s not measured on this chart — and is basically impossible to quantify — is the impact of apps on the decision to buy. For first-time tablet-buyers, this isn’t that big of a deal, as many apps are available for both iOS and Android. But for a consumer who has already spent money and time on Android or iOS apps, switching can sometimes mean having to re-buy all those applications.

Though it’s by no means complete, if you’re in the market for a tablet, you should look at the via Ars Technica charts.