iPad mini Retina 2 vs HP Slate 7 Extreme: The battle of powerful machines

Posted by B. Johnson
HP Slate 7 Extreme VS iPad mini Retina 2: Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back!

In the note-tablet category, there’s no single doubt that Samsung with its GALAXY Note tablets is just unmatched by its rivals.

In fact, iPads with its so called ‘premium feel’, ‘premium build quality, ‘smooth experience’, ‘simple-to-use iOS’ and bla.. bla.. bla.. are actually still playing catch up now with the latest Samsung GALAXY Note devices, especially in terms of functionality and features (even the cameras, especially 4K videos!).

So in this note tablet market, i think it’s still pretty hard to find other great alternatives for Samsung Note tablets.

But that soon changed when HP introduced its note-taking contender for Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

It’s called HP Slate 7 Extreme, which is a 7-inch tablet but it has a really powerful set of hardware and a great amazing stylus experience.

Actually, it was NVIDIA that created the whole thing about this device through Tegra Note, which was used as a reference device for other manufacturers (like HP) to make the same identical tablets but with different branding.

HP Slate 7 Extreme VS iPad mini Retina 2 benchmarks and gaming performance

The most impressive thing about this tablet is, despite being a $199 tablet, it has solid gaming performance, sharp cameras, good sound quality, awesome design, and the stylus of HP Slate 7 Extreme is just really amazing, it even matches the writing experience brought by S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note.

So you literally can take simple notes and even draw some professional paintings with this stylus.

This is why HP Slate 7 Extreme has been one of my favorite tablets i talked the most in many of my recent comparison reviews.

But today, i don’t want to compare this HP’s tablet with Samsung GALAXY Note (maybe some other time).

The next contender that i want to put in the same ring with HP Slate 7 Extreme is actually Apple’s mini tablet – iPad mini with Retina Display 2 (i’ll probably do the first-gen iPad mini in my next review).

I think the comparison between these 2 tablets could be quite interesting because both tablets have many great things to explore, especially with their gaming experience and of course, the performance.

Well, if you want to learn more about the comparison between these 2 tablets, including my take on their gaming performance and experience, then here you go, my comparison review between HP Slate 7 Extreme and iPad mini with Retina Display (2nd gen iPad mini).


Ever since Apple introduced its first-gen iPad to the world in 2010, many people across this planet were really impressed a lot with this Apple’s giant slate.

It became really viral around the globe and even managed to attract many other companies to make similar devices of their own.

However, despite being cornered by many iPad clones around the ‘iPad’ market, Apple’s tablet was still untouchable in terms of popularity, market share and sales number.

So long story short, back then a few years ago, iPad really monopolized its own market.

On the other hand, HP was not really doing well in this tablet market. Its TouchPad webOS tablet was just too far from being noticed by tablet consumers around the world.

It’s just out of radar, out of reach and it’s just nothing compared to iPad in many ways.

But thankfully, today HP has something that i believe could become a great contender for many other flagship tablets out there, including iPad.

And that is HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Unlike iPad mini, HP Slate 7 Extreme actually is more of a productivity tablet than just a pure media-consumption device.

Even so, this HP’s tablet is still a great device for enjoying media-contents and even playing games – just like iPad mini.

Meanwhile, Apple’s mini tablet has been known popularly as one of the best selling tablets in 8-inch tablet category.

It’s great for watching movies, reading books and pretty much everything about this device is just awesome.

And in terms of build quality, design, sharpness of display, game catalog, battery life and cameras, iPad mini is also more superior than HP Slate 7 Extreme.

However, the impressive thing about HP Slate 7 Extreme is, it only costs $199, but this tablet has some great things to brag in front of iPad mini.

It has solid build quality, amazing stylus, sharp cameras, good sound quality, powerful gaming performance, THD well-optimized games, full-featured stock Android OS, awesome gaming experience, not to mention, it has complete set of features like Java, GPS and many more.

And there are also many of the sectors that interestingly have been lacking on Apple’s mini tablet, like microSD card, fully-functional Bluetooth, rich-featured OS and some other more.

So despite being priced at just $199, in my opinion, what HP Slate 7 Extreme has to offer is just better than what iPad mini can deliver to users.

But the questions remain. With all of the great things found on each of these devices,

does HP Slate 7 Extreme have what it takes to be an iPad mini 2 killer?

Which one between these 2 tablets that deserves to take the crown here to be the best gaming tablet in this review?

Is any of these tablets worth to buy, especially as a gaming device?

Soon you'll find out more about the answers of these questions at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!


Design has always been one of the strongest points of all Apple devices.

And this company still continues that tradition even on the latest-gen iPads. Similar just like the predecessors, iPad mini still inherits the solid build quality, aluminum material and premium feel of its siblings.

The most impressively is, the iPad mini Retina is now much thinner and lighter to hold.

So even if you hold it while you’re standing at the subway or inside the train, you can barely feel its weight. It’s even like holding a thin book.

HP Slate 7 Extreme
HP Slate 7 Extreme
HP Slate 7 Extreme 2
HP Slate 7 Extreme
iPad mini Retina 2
iPad mini Retina 2
However, despite not using some aluminum material or having premium feel like iPad mini, HP Slate 7 Extreme – in my opinion – still has its own strength and identity than the iPad.

The most noticeable advantage found on this tablet is definitely its dual-speaker grilles on the front side. And these dual-speaker grilles are not just there for no reason.

HP (or NVIDIA) designs this tablet with those speaker grilles on the front in order to create a more realistic and better experience to the users, especially when watching movies or playing games.

And that’s true because according to many reviews – the sound that comes out from these speaker grilles are really solid, great, loud and clear.

The great thing is, even if you hold it and cover the speaker grilles with your 2 hands, the sound doesn’t get muffled quite easily.

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HP Slate 7 ExtremeApple iPad mini Retina 2
Released December 2013,
7.0 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Nvidia Tegra 4 Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 CPU
5 MP rear-facing camera, autofocus, HDR
VGA front-facing camera
microSD card slot for up to 32 GB
16 GB Internal storage,
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
No Radio
HDMI port
Non-removable Li-Po 4100 mAh battery
Talk time (multimedia): for up to 10 hours 30 minutes
Released 2013, November
7.9 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen 16M colors
1536 x 2048 pixels (~324 ppi pixel density)
iOS 7 (upgradable to iOS 8)
Apple A7 Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based) Chipset
PowerVR G6430 quad-core GPU
No micro card slot
16/32/64/128 GB Internal storage
5 MP rear-facing camera
1.2 MP front-facing camera (720p@30fps video recording)
No Radio, No Java
USB v2.0
HTML5 (Safari) Browser
iCloud cloud service
Non-removable Li-Po 6470 mAh battery
Talk time (multimedia): for up to 10 hours

In terms of overall specs, i think it’s quite obvious that iPad mini with Retina is a clear winner here if compared with HP Slate 7 Extreme.

First of all, it has a much even sharper screen (1536x2048 pixels), much better cameras, huge game catalog on App Store well-optimized for this tablet and of course, it premium design.

However, HP Slate 7 Extreme still deserves to be an equal contender for this iPad mini.

It may not have the full HD Retina Display, better cameras, bigger well-optimized app catalog or premium build quality, but there are still some great things that make it on par with even the iPad mini 2.

Some of the are its great amazing stylus, well-optimized THD games for Tegra 4 devices, good camera, great sound quality, better gaming experience, full-featured Android UI and the most importantly, the microSD card slot, which is lacking on iPad mini (and will be in next years to come).

So i think that really puts HP Slate 7 Extreme on the same level with iPad mini – despite having some lower-class display and build quality.

And amazingly is, this tablet only costs $199, compared to a more expensive $400 iPad mini Retina display.


Besides design, great display has also been one of the key important elements on all iPads. And iPad mini Retina is no exception.

As the name of this tablet suggests, iPad mini Retina is indeed using a Retina Display sporting an unorthodox 1536x2048 pixel resolution (which is higher than the standard full HD 1920x1200 pixel display), as opposed to the lower 1280x800 pixel resolution on the 7-inch HP Slate 7 Extreme.

So in terms of sharpness and clarity, it’s definitely iPad mini Retina that should get to the top of podium.

Watching movies is insanely sharp, text looks readable even from a far distance, image looks crisp, the colors look vibrant and realistic, and pretty much everything about its display is just awesome.

User Interface

The UIs of both devices probably could be the key element to help users determine which one of these tablets they should pick up at the end of the day.

iPad mini Retina – as we all know already – comes pre-installed with very simple-to-use iOS, while HP Slate 7 Extreme looks more prominent with its full-featured Android UI (especially when Lollipop finally arrives for this tablet).

So if you’re looking for a decent quality tablet that has simple-to-use interface, then go with the iPad mini Retina.

On the other hand, if you’re a big fan of rich customized interface with many features and widgets and app drawer, then HP Slate 7 Extreme is definitely the one you should grab. It’s simple as that.

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Around today’s tablet market, i think it’s not that hard to find the tablets that are really powerful in gaming performance. There are Samsung flagship tablets, Google Nexus 7 (2013), Kindle Fire HDX 7, LG G Pad 8.3, Sony Xperia Z and many more.

It goes the same either with HP Slate 7 Extreme or iPad mini with Retina Display.

Not only do these 2 tablets perform really well for gaming, but they are also capable to handle any games perfectly even in full highest graphics.

HP Slate 7 Extreme – as i’ve already mentioned a lot – is a great gaming tablet, not only because it has the performance for that matter.

But also, it delivers a great sound quality – thanks to dual-front-speaker grilles - making the experience of playing games more realistic.

Not to mention, as a Tegra 4 tablet, the users of this device are also blessed with the privilege to gain an exclusive access to THD games well-optimized for Tegra 4 tablets like HP Slate 7 Extreme.

So games on this device have more detailed graphics and advanced visual effects that are unavailable on other non-Tegra devices out there.

It goes the same with iPad mini with Retina Display. With a powerful A8 chipset (SoC or system on chip), coupled with the most advanced PowerVR G6430 GPU and of course, 1GB of RAM, this mini iPad has all what it takes to be a great gaming tablet on the market.

And thanks to its high-resolution display, games on iPad mini with Retina look really awesome and insanely sharp on this device.

The other great thing of having this iPad mini as your gaming tablet is, there is a lot of iOS games that have been well-optimized for this tablet on Apple App Store, even bigger than the game catalog on Google Play Store.

Not to mention, the iOS 8 of iPad mini is supported by one powerful software (or development kit like JDK/Java Development Kit, etc) for iOS game developers called Metal API.

So long story short, Metal API really helps game developers a lot to improve their games much even further with more stunning visual effects even in the gameplay.

And i’ve already seen how Modern Combat 5 looked much even better after Gameloft (the developer) updated the game with Metal API.

So this is why i think iPad mini has its own strengths in overall gaming experience compared to HP Slate 7 Extreme.

The good thing, this HP’s tablet also has THD games optimized for Tegra 4 devices. So i think they are both great equally because they have their own strengths on this department.

However, there is something about iPad mini that probably could make it less powerful than HP Slate 7 Extreme in terms of gaming performance.

According to one of readers, he told me that GTA San Andreas didn’t perform smoothly in full graphics on his iPad mini with Retina Display.

But weirdly, his old-gen iPad mini (without Retina display), is capable to handle this game smoothly even in full highest graphics.

And this contradicts with HP Slate 7 Extreme, which is capable to run any games, even GTA San Andreas without any problem or lag whatsoever in full highest graphics.

The high-resolution display of iPad mini is probably the one to blame for that problem. But it could also be the game developer (Rockstar) that hadn’t updated GTA San Andreas for iPad mini with Retina Display.

I believe Rockstar has already well-optimized its GTA San Andreas for iPad mini Retina given that iPad mini Retina is one of the most popular best selling tablets on this planet.

And it would be stupid if the developer hasn’t addressed this issue immediately because there is a lot of money lying on the table here.

Plus, GTA San Andreas is a hugely popular game around the world, so iPad gamers definitely would want this game on their devices.

So between HP Slate 7 Extreme and iPad mini Retina, i think both tablets are just great gaming tablets. And they both have their own strengths one to another.

iPad has the sharper display, bigger well-optimized game catalog on App Store and its hardware are just powerful for gaming.

It goes the same with HP Slate 7 Extreme. It has great gaming performance, it has good sound quality, it has THD well-optimized games and its Tegra 4 is MADE for gaming.


For the camera department, i think it’s obvious that iPad mini with Retina Display is more superior compared to HP Slate 7 Extreme.

And that’s not that hard to guess because Apple has been really good at making devices that have great quality camera – from the iPhone to iPads.

In fact, Marques Brownlee – a famous tech reviewer on YouTube – is also really impressed with the cameras of iPads. They just take great pictures. Period.

So if you’re looking a tablet with great sharp cameras, then this iPad mini can be your destination.

Interestingly, HP Slate 7 Extreme also has much to say on this department. HP Slate 7 Extreme comes a 5MP rear-facing camera and a VGA front-facing shooter to do video calls (and selfies of course!).

Amazingly, as a $199 tablet, the cameras of HP Slate 7 Extreme are able to take decent quality shots (and even slo-mo videos).

So basically, both tablets are equally great on the sector of camera.

But i think HP Slate 7 Extreme is the one that really impresses me a lot because this tablet only costs $199 and it’s able to take great quality photos, which is amazing.

And i believe taking photos with this device is a lot more fun to do especially because you can do a lot of creative stuff in the photos by using its amazing stylus.

Battery Life

Besides camera, the other sector that puts iPad mini Retina up ahead of HP Slate 7 Extreme is definitely its battery life.

Thanks to Apple’s expertise in optimizing the software of its iPads, not to mention, the processor, the display, the UI and the battery of this device, all of this really contributes to delivering a long lasting battery life for this iPad mini Retina.

And Apple has proved that exactly on its iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus, which both have amazing battery life.

So you can basically do a lot of stuff even in heavy use with this iPad mini Retina.

The great thing is, even with that high-resolution 1536x2048 pixel display, this iPad is able to deliver you an all-day-long battery life, even more than 1 day.

In fact, you're probably not able to kill the battery life of this iPad even in heavy use (as told by Marques Brownlee in his iPad Air review).

Meanwhile, i think HP Slate 7 Extreme is the second best on this department because iPad mini Retina’s battery life is just too strong to beat.

However, you can still expect to see this HP device last in one solid day especially for doing some random daily tasks in moderate use.

But of course, its battery life could drop drastically faster to just probably around 4 to 6 hours if you’re using it to do some heavy stuff without resting the screen at all – like watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in really long session.

My Personal Opinions

So in my final conclusion of this comparison review, i think it’s a bit harder to pick which one of these 2 devices that is a better tablet in the whole aspect.

I mean, iPad mini Retina has its own strengths, while HP Slate 7 Extreme also has it.

But to sum this up, in my opinion, the decision to buy any of these tablets will finally come down to your personal preference and specific needs, not to mention budget.

Both tablets are great equally, either as media-consumption devices or even gaming tablets. No doubt about that. And you’ll make no mistake if you buy any of them.

HP Slate 7 Extreme is an awesome note-taking tablet that has great stylus, great cameras, great gaming performance, full-featured Android stock UI, great sound quality, elegant modern design and the experience of playing games with this tablet is just amazing (especially thanks to its dual-front-speakers).

It goes the same with iPad mini Retina.

It has powerful gaming performance, smooth experience, great quality cameras, long lasting battery life, a much sharper display, huge well-optimized game catalog on App Store, Metal API and many more.

However, there are still some downsides found on these 2 tablets.

Tegra 4 tablets are mostly plagued with overheating issue, so is HP Slate 7 Extreme (but probably can be handled with an app called “no frills”).

Meanwhile, iPad mini Retina doesn’t have microSD card slot (which HP Slate 7 Extreme has it), not to mention, in the long run, its iOS UI can be a bit boring for some users, unlike the stock Android UI that has lots of great features on HP Slate 7 Extreme, including the ones related to stylus.

But despite all that, both HP Slate 7 Extreme and iPad mini Retina Display are equally great devices for you.

They are just great for many things.

So it's your call now. If you're looking for a decent note tablet with great powerful gaming performance, then HP Slate 7 Extreme is a great choice for you.

Meanwhile, if you happen to have big budget and you're also looking for the best media-consumption device, then iPad mini with Retina Display 2 can also be your destination.

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