The Bottom Line
Aug 7 2013 - Even with its slight price increase, the plethora of new features more than make up for the added base cost of the new Nexus 7. It is without a doubt the best overall tablet choice in the 7-inch market at this time. Its display and improved features make it an exceptional value. There are still a few areas for improvement however as the battery performance did suffer a bit and it still lacks and form of SD card slot for expanding storage space.
- Incredible High Resolution Display
- Rear Camera, Improved Wireless And Wireless Charging
- Improved 4.3 Android Operating System
- No Ability to Add Storage Space With SD Cards
- Battery Life Dropped Over Original
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (Cortex-A9) Quad Core Processor
- 2GB Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 7" WUXGA (1920x1200) Multitouch Display
- 1.2 Megapixel Front Camera, 5.0 Megapixel Rear Camera
- Adreno 320 Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- micro-USB, 3.5mm Audio
- 7.8" x 4.5" x .34" @ .64 lbs.
- Android 4.3
Review - Google 2013 Nexus 7
Aug 7 2013 - Google's second version of the Nexus 7 tablet may be a bit more expensive than its original Nexus 7 but the tablet has received a number of various upgrades that the slight price increase is more than worth the cost. On the exterior front, the tablet is more compact than the original at just .34-inches thick and weight a very light .64 pounds. This makes it slightly thicker than the Apple iPad Mini but a bit lighter. The front of the tablet doesn't look much different but the bezel is a bit thinner all around to reduce its dimensions. The back side has switched away from the rubberized surface to an all plastic with a matte coating that makes it a bit more difficult to grip but still has a good overall level of quality to it.
The first major switch is the internal components, specifically the processor. Gone is the venerable Tegra 3 in favor of the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. It is still a quad core processor Cortex-A9 based ARM processor but it runs at a faster 1.5GHz and has the added benefit of 2GB of memory rather than the 1GB of the Tegra 3. All of this gives the tablet much more performance whether it is just the responsiveness of the Android interface or you happen to be using it for a high end mobile gaming application.
The big change for the 2013 version of the Nexus 7 is the screen. It still features a 7-inch IPS technology panel but the resolution has jumped from the previous 1280x800 to be 1920x1200 which provides it with full 1080p high definition video support. Viewing angles are superb as is the color and brightness levels. In fact, there is almost no issue taking this tablet out in bright sunlight where glare and reflections and easily wash out a tablet screen. It provides extremely crisp graphics that makes it better for watching video, reading a book, browsing the web or even playing a game. This is going to put major pressure on Apple to get a Retina enabled version of their iPad Mini to the market.
An additional feature found on the new Nexus 7 is the inclusion of a rear facing five megapixel camera. Now this isn't a stellar camera but it does provide some good detail albeit colors aren't a vibrant as their should be. Low light images are also a major problem for it as there is no flash for the camera. In addition to still images, it can also shoot 1080p high definition video Still, the original Nexus 7 did not have a rear facing camera at all. It does an alright job for video but ironically does not do as well for video as the camera on the less expensive ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7.
Two other features of note in the new Nexus 7 are also worth mentioning. The wireless networking for the tablet has be improved by including the 5GHz radio antennae that allows the tablet to support the 802.11a and the 5GHz version of the 802.11n Wi-Fi standards. This helps improve wireless network performance and range. In addition to this, the tablet is also the first to receive an internal induction coil that can be used for charging the tablet without wires. It should be noted that the tablet itself does not include an induction charging mat to use with it but it certainly is a unique feature for a tablet.
Finally, the tablet ships with the latest version of the Android 4.3 operating system. Cosmetically, there is little change to the overall look of the operating system and this is the plain Android operating system without any skins on top which is great. There are many improvements to the operating system though including proper user profiles with parental controls built in, improved graphics, better Bluetooth device support and improved DRM support for streaming video. This version will likely get pushed out to other devices over time but it certainly gives it an edge right now over other Android tablets.
With the smaller dimensions of the new Nexus 7, the capacity of the battery pack did drop a little from the previous 16WHr to just 15Whr which is fairly typical of tablets in this size range. In digital video playback testing, the new Nexus 7 was able to run for roughly eight hours. This is an hour and a half less than the previous version of the Nexus 7 and a good four hours less than the Apple iPad Mini running the same test. It should be noted that the higher resolution display with its improved brightness likely resulted in the drop in running time and is something that a Retina bsed iPad Mini would also encounter.
Priced at $229 as mentioned previously, the new Nexus 7 does cross that $200 threshold that many people looking for budget tablets at. It certainly makes it more expensive than its primary competition including the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 which are $200 and less but much more affordable than the Apple iPad Mini. The new Nexus has all the competition beat when it comes to the display as non can even get close. Performance is also better than the others.