7 inch tablets: are they better for business travellers?

By David Flynn, July 8 2012
7 inch tablets: are they better for business travellers?

Rumours of a 7 inch 'iPad Mini' are swirling anew, with reports from the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg capping off speculation that Apple will debut a trimmed-down tablet in the tail end of this year.

The scuttlebutt pegs the device as having a 7-8 inch screen, with more specific reports saying Apple is buying up 7.85 inch screens – a size which Mac boffins say would deliver the same resolution as its 9.7 inch big bother, allowing all current iPad apps to run on the smaller tablets.

This mock-up shows the relative size of a 7.85 inch 'iPad Mini' against the real iPad and an iPhone 4. CiccareseDesign.com
This mock-up shows the relative size of a 7.85 inch 'iPad Mini' against the real iPad and an iPhone 4

If the tea leaves are being read correctly, this means Apple will join the 7 inch tablet tableau of mid-sized screens and appealingly affordable price tags: going up against the likes of Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, both of which sell in the USA for US$199.

There have been other 7 inch tablets from the likes of Acer, BlackBerry, Motorola and Samsung. None hit the price point which Google clearly sees as crucial to mass market success, but they all challenge the notion that the almost 10 inch form factor of the iPad is the only way to go.

Has Google's $199 Nexus 7 thrown the gauntlet at Apple's feet?
Has Google's $199 Nexus 7 thrown the gauntlet at Apple's feet?

If Apple gets into the 7 inch game, expect the 'iPad Mini' to couple low a similarly jaw-dropping US$199 (A$249?) price tag with a minimal amount of storage (say, 16GB); WiFi but no 3G; and definitely no Retina display. And expect it to land by November, just in time for the Christmas rush.

All of which makes us ponder: how suitable and usable for business travellers and frequent flyers is the 7 inch tablet?

On our travels the AusBT Team sees plenty of iPads in lounges, on airplanes, at hotels and cafes. Does anybody think they're actually too big, and is hoping for – or would 'downgrade' to – a 7 inch iPad?

If you already own a 7 inch tablet – have tried one but decided to stick with a larger model – or think 7 inches would be the 'just right' size for travel, we'd like to hear your say in the comments box below.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

The current size of the iPad is hardly inconvenient... So I'm not sure I would trade down to a 7" model. If I didn't already have one I might consider it... although the current model is great for watching movies!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

Travel regularly with a 7" BlackBerry PlayBook. Love the size. Can comfortably sit on the table in economy.

13 Oct 2011

Total posts 1

Traveled from the US to NZ in April with my Lenovo 7" tablet. Great size for watching ripped movies and TV on the flights and the ferry. Easy to carry around while sightseeing and connecting to wifi points was very simple. Much better for these tasks than dragging around a laptop.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab (the same one that Virgin Australia is using for their future Inflight Entertainment System) and it is really small. I prefer using the 10-inch iPad instead for watching movies, reading books etc. The iPad can still fit in the ordinary fold-down table of most airlines, so I wouldn't really be looking for a smaller version.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I reckon 10 inches like the iPad or Galaxy 10 is big enough, and anything less than 7 inches would be too small. Hope predictions are right and Apple released an iPad Mini at the sizes mentioned. I think that would almost be the perfect compromise, a bit bigger than 7 inches, more like 8 inches, so extra-grea for portability and movie and apps and games but still usable for the web and emagazines. But the price will be the thing with this, US$199 woud be a killer as long as the Aussie price is not too far off, $249 max please!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on 7 inch tablets: are they better for business travellers?

Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 216]
Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]
Warning (2): Invalid argument supplied for foreach() [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]