- Brilliant screen
- Good battery life
- Value for money
- No microSD card
- Insufficient storage space
Thinner, lighter and faster, the new Nexus 7 is geared to take on the mantle of success groomed by its predecessor. But will the second-generation model take the tablet world by storm like the original did. Maybe we will never really know as Google has retained the same Nexus 7 name for the 2nd gen which makes it difficult for people to differentiate between one and the other. For clarities sake we will refer to them as first-gen and second-gen Nexus 7.
The first-generation Nexus 7 was an inkling into the capabilities of an Android tablet. Google has teamed up with Asus once again this year to release the second-generation Nexus and with consumer expectations riding high the pressure is on. So can the Google/Asus partnership deliver another killer tablet and rock bottom prices or are we going to be left with a feeling the ice-cream has fallen from the cone. Let´s take a look.
The new Nexus loses the plastic silver bezel and textured back in place of a smooth all-black design. It’s a good look. Not quite the premium look or feel you get from the iPads or Xperia Zs – but it’s a clean and sturdy build that puts some pricier slates to shame.
From the front, you’ll be looking at a Gorilla glass sheet that caps a stunning display. Surrounded by a slimmer bezel, the new Nexus 7 curves from its screen to a matte black finish on the back.
The second-gen is lighter and thinner too. Just 200 x 114 x 8.7mm at 290g – making this the tiny tablet to chuck in your bag or pocket for some genuinely portable computing.
As ever, the Nexus build quality far exceeds the price tag. The only concern is that the slimmer bezel doesn’t leave much grabbing space to hold the Nexus. This might not be a problem, depending on how you hold the device – but it would be a great shame if this ultra-portable tablet doesn’t sit comfortably in your hands.
Let’s not beat around the proverbial here – this display is incredible! Like, really incredible. An almost ludicrous 323ppi of 1200 x 1920 Full HD resolution is crammed into this little 7-inch display and the results are perhaps the best we’ve seen so far in a tablet, although Asus do put the same screen in the hybrid Transformer Pad Infinity.
To give you an idea, the iPad Retina gets its sharp detail from 262ppi. And while anything over 300ppi is lost on the human eye, the new Nexus 7 display is so sharp it should come with a health warning. As for the iPad Mini? Well, let’s see what Apple pulls out of the bag with its next-gen tablet, as things stand the new Nexus display blows the original Mini out of the water.
The only downside here is the new Nexus display seems to love a fingerprint collection. Just be careful not to wear a hole in your favourite jeans trying to get that screen clean.
The screen may be an absolute killer, but we cannot same the same for storage capacity – by far the biggest disappointment with the new Nexus. It´s not just that there is no microSD card slot to increase the 16GB or 32GB, but the latest version of Android already eats up a whopping 6GB of your internal memory.
That means owners of the 16GB model only have 10GB of storage space to play with. Google is assuming everybody will be relying on the cloud, but that is only of any use if you are in a wi-fi zone. If you rely on your hard drive to store films and music you won´t fit a great deal of your collection onto 10GB and the 32GB is more expensive. Google has got media junkies well and truly by the proverbial.
Back to the pleasing aspects of the second-gen Nexus 7 is performance. Under the hood is a 1.5GHz Quad-Core Krait CPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and 2GB of RAM. If that means nothing to you imagine you have Usain Bolt Mini running the show inside your Nexus.
Under the hood is a 1.5GHz Quad-Core Krait CPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and 2GB of RAM
Surprisingly, we are not getting a new Android OS this time around. Instead we get an updated Jelly Bean 4.3 in its purest form. Manufacturers like Samsung and Sony put their own tweaks on the operating system to separate themselves from the Android flock, but with all Nexus devices, you’re getting unaltered Android – the way Google designed it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t customise the interface yourself. As ever, you’re free to make as many changes you see fit (or know how) in the shape of widgets, custom launchers and more. The best part is that Nexus devices get OS updates first so when a new Android comes along, nexus owners are at the front of the queue.
So what’s new with the latest update? Not all that much really. Android gets enough right these days that a slight tweak here and there is all that is required – like implementing user profiles or simply support for Bluetooth 4. Otherwise, Jelly Bean runs like a dream, as you would expect from a Nexus – especially with the hardware the new 7 packs under the hood.
Even the battery holds out well despite Asus plumping for a smaller cell. Battery life with the original Nexus was excellent, but due to the thinner design the 2nd generation Nexus can only take a smaller battery – yet it outperforms the battery life in the first-gen models. Remarkable!
That just goes to show how improved power management is in digital handsets these days. Depending on how you use your tablet, you can expect to get a full day’s use out of the new Nexus – and plenty longer if you allow it the occasional siesta around lunch time.
Taking photographs with a 7-inch tablet is perhaps not quite as conspicuous as using a 10-inch slab, but the standard of picture quality in tablets is pretty poor and the second-generation Nexus 7 does not break the trend. If you do feel compelled to use your tablet as a snapper, get close to your target.
Who’s is it for?
Exactly the same people who the first-generation Nexus 7 was designed for to be honest. Oh everybody on a budget then! Technology improves and prices rise every year, but the new Nexus 7 is and ticks all the boxes its predecessor did – and a couple more.
The question for owners of the first-generation original Nexus 7 is obvious. Is it worth the upgrade? Well that depends really. If the screen bugs you on your old Nexus or the time is simply right to get yourself a new tablet, then sure. Otherwise, there’s not much wrong with the first-gen Nexus 7 that should compel you to upgrade.
Value for money?
The new Nexus 7 has stepped up in calibre, but at £199 for the 16GB entry-level and £239 for the 32GB version also comes with a higher price tag. It’s a shame how little storage you’ll be getting for your money, but we have been spoilt by the price of the first-gen Nexus.
Still, Google and Asus have crammed oodles of improvements into their latest model and the rise in cost is a case of paying a little more for quite a lot more technology. And that keeps the latest Nexus 7 firmly in the value for money bracket.
The first-generation Nexus 7 did so much right for such an attractive price that it was impossible not to love. It had its flaws but you simply couldn’t fault the little fella for that kind of money. The new Nexus 7 pretty much corrects any wrongs and considerably improves everything the original got right.
The Nexus 7 of 2013 is another level altogether – but the price tag isn’t far off what it was. That makes the new Nexus 7 another exciting prospect. The display, the hardware and the performance are all to die for.
All things considered, this is the best little tablet out there. If Android and small screens are for you, get one. Otherwise, you might like to hold on and see what the (rumoured) Retina iPad Mini has to offer.
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Google Nexus 7 (2013) Tablet Review
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Release Date: Jan 1970
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