The iPad Mini vs. the Galaxy Tab 3

A mini-sized tablet showdown

The iPad Mini 2

 Apple, Inc.

If you're looking for an alternative to the iPad Mini, it's hard to ignore the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Samsung devices are among the best-selling Android-based tablets. But, how does the Galaxy Tab 3 stack up against the iPad Mini? We compare them below.

Overall Findings

iPad Mini
  • Thin, easy-to-hold tablet

  • Snappier response times

Galaxy Tab 3
  • Easy setup

  • Loaded with bloatware

  • Disappointingly slow performance

Many comparisons come away with no clear winner, with a list of advantages and disadvantages weighed on each side of the equation. This is not one of those cases. Apple's tablet won the iPad Mini vs. Galaxy Tab 3 fight by TKO in the second round thanks to its snappier performance, premium build quality, and excellent App Store. If it wasn't for a super-cheap price tag, Samsung's tablet would be knocked out within the first 30 seconds of the match. While it's easy to set up, it's loaded with bloatware and its performance is sluggish.

Specs and Performance: Samsung Disappoints

iPad Mini
  • 7.9-inch screen

  • 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal flash memory

  • Can't expand storage

Galaxy Tab 3
  • 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10.1-inch versions

  • Up to 32 GB storage

  • Support for up to 64 GB microSD external storage

  • Can add 3G or LTE support

The latest Galaxy Tab comes in three flavors: 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10.1-inch, with both the 7-inch and 8-inch models aimed at the iPad Mini. The Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for the 8 GB Wi-Fi model has options to expand the storage capacity to 32 GB and add 3G or LTE support. It also supports up to 64 GB microSD external storage. The 8-inch Galaxy Tab includes a higher resolution screen, better dual-facing cameras, and a slightly faster processor.

So, how good is the Galaxy Tab 3 at being a tablet? Slow and disappointing. The 7-inch Wi-Fi version benchmarks as one of the slowest Android devices, with the latest Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX easily doubling the processor speed and the latest iPad Mini outpacing it even further.

Design: Apple Is Hard to Beat

iPad Mini
  • Thin and light

  • Easy to hold

  • Metal construction

Galaxy Tab 3
  • Plastic feels cheap and awkward

  • Layout of the buttons shows a lack of usability

It's easy to be impressed with the iPad design. Apple has focused on making a thin, light, easy-to-hold and easy-to-use tablet. And it shows. In comparison, the Galaxy Tab 3 feels cheap and awkward. Even the layout of the buttons shows a lack of usability, with the suspend button right above the volume buttons, which leads to accidentally suspending the tablet when you just want to crank up the volume.

Software: Bloatware Is an Issue

iPad Mini
  • Closed ecosystem

  • App Store offers plenty of apps

Galaxy Tab 3
  • Easy installation process

  • Bogged down by bloatware

The installation process on the Galaxy Tab 3 is easy, with Samsung guiding you through setting up an optional Samsung account, a Google Play account, and even a Dropbox account, which is a good idea considering how cloud storage makes the process of sharing files between devices easy. The Galaxy Tab 3 also comes with two pages of default apps, including Flipboard, Google, two web browsers, two ways to play movies, a world clock, and a separate alarm app. If that sounds a little bloated, it is. The default apps are a little overkill, with Samsung mixing in their own apps on top of the Android standards.

The iPad Mini, meanwhile, is backed by Apple's App Store, which features a robust amount of apps, games, movies, and more.

Final Verdict: There's Really No Comparison

It feels almost like cheating to compare the iPad Mini to the Galaxy Tab 3. Whether you are looking at the original iPad Mini or the latest iPad Mini, you will be getting a tablet that feels better in your hand, has access to more apps, and delivers a great experience with a much snappier response time to almost anything you try to do with it.

The iPad Mini 2 is essentially a 7.9-inch version of the iPad Mini, making it one of the fastest tablets on the market. And while the original iPad Mini has the guts of an iPad 2, it still runs circles around the Galaxy Tab.

The one area where the Galaxy Tab 3 reigns supreme is the price. But while the 8 GB Wi-Fi model might sound like a deal, users might quickly feel cramped. The Android operating system takes up 2.7 GB of space, and after you factor in default apps, the user is left with less than 5 GB of storage. This means you'll either want to upgrade via external storage or go for the 16 GB model, both of which will add to that price.

There's nothing wrong with Android tablets, which have several advantages over the iPad Mini, including an open architecture and the ability to place widgets on the home screen. The problem here is that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 is a slow, outdated tablet wrapped in a cheap exterior with poor dual-facing cameras and a confusing lineup of sizes and models. The Galaxy S series of smartphones may be Samsung's flagship smartphone, but the Galaxy Tab lineup is definitely in the bottom tier.