iPad mini vs Nexus 7 drop tests show you shouldn’t drop your tablets

Here on dotTech we love drop tests. Not necessarily for their scientific nature, because we all know drop tests don’t provide conclusive evidence as to which device survives a drop better. Rather, we just like carnage. So we have two new drop tests to share with you; these particular drop tests are between the defacto 7-inch tablet kings, the iPad mini and the Nexus 7.

Before we go into iPad mini vs Nexus 7, recall how the Nexus 7 destroyed the iPad 3 back in a drop test conducted in July. Not only did the Nexus 7 take minimal damage, compared to the iPad 3, when dropped but it appeared to be fully functional after being submerged in water — including working sound. (The iPad 3 screen seemed to work but had no sound after being dropped in water.) Can the Nexus 7 repeat its antics this time around? Let’s find out.

First drop test

The first drop test, by Android fan site Android Authority, put one iPad mini and one Nexus 7 head-to-head in a three-part drop test. After round one, the iPad mini was the clear winner, taking very little damage while the Nexus 7 had a screen that shattered from the corner. After round two and three, however, iPad mini’s lead was significantly diminished after suffering a shattered display. However, the display still worked. The Nexus 7, on the other hand, was pretty much destroyed by the end, with a display that was coming apart and didn’t work at all. Check it out:

Second drop test

This second drop test was conducted by Squaretrade, a third-party device warranty company and the same company that conducted the earlier-mentioned Nexus 7 vs iPad 3 drop test.

Although you can call them both drop tests, this drop test by Squaretrade is significantly different than the one by Android Authority. Firstly, Squaretrade’s test is of iPad mini vs Nexus 7 vs iPad 3. Secondly, Squaretrade used a “Squaretrade drop bot” that ensured that all the tablets were dropped in the same manner — something that was not present in all the previous drop tests we have seen. Thirdly, Squaretrade not only dropped the tablets but also submerged them in water. Lastly, Squaretrade used three different units of the iPad mini, Nexus 7, and iPad 3 — the three rounds of this test were conducted with three new units each, not three rounds of tests on the same units as Android Authority did.

That being said, which tablet did the best? In round one, a four foot drop on the corner of each tablet, saw the iPad mini the clear winner with little to no damage, followed by the Nexus 7 which took damage in the corner (but no shattered screen) and the iPad 3 who’s screen cracked. Round two, a four foot drop on the face (display) of each tablet, resulted in a victory for the Nexus 7 by a long shot. While the Nexus 7 received minimal damage (a few minor cracks) when dropped on its face, the screens on the iPad mini and iPad 3 both cracked and shattered. The third test, where the tablets were dunked in water for ten seconds, is not as conclusive, however, due to a mistake by the tester.

In the video, as you will see, after the dunk test, the person evaluating the tablets declares the iPad mini the winner in that particular round because the iPad mini appeared to be largely unscathed by the water — it worked as normal. The Nexus 7, however, rebooted itself (you can see the boot animation) and the evaluator mistakenly declared it unresponsive and didn’t bother to check if the tablet worked after boot. The iPad 3 still worked but appeared to be sluggish with the home button not being as responsive.

Check out the test from the video below:


If it isn’t obvious to you before reading this article, it should be now — drop tests are not scientific evidence of one tablet being better built than others. As you can see, different tests produce different results. These drop tests should be taken at face value for what they are — cheap entertainment — and not conclusive proof of anything… especially if you consider how most people protect their devices with skins or cases.

Fire away in the comments below about which tablet you prefer!

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