When Google (GOOG) released the Nexus 7, it was designed to be the purest experience of Android tablets. And as this Nexus 7 review will show, GOOG succeeded.
See, the summer of 2012 was a different world when it comes to tablets. Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Amazon (AMZN) had caught everyone off-guard the previous holiday season by selling boatloads of inexpensive, 7-inch Android tablets. Their success began the erosion of Apple’s (AAPL) iPad as the best tablet on the market — forcing it to debut the iPad Mini.
In theory, those Android tablets should have been good news for GOOG, the owner of Android. But Google saw little benefit from all the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Nook HD. The Barnes & Noble and Amazon tablets ran customized versions of Android, stripping away Google apps and preventing access to Google Play.
So Google released its own 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7. The first GOOG tablet was built by Asus and was an immediate hit, selling out on Google Play. The Nexus 7 review response was just as positive — Google genuinely had one of the best tablets on its hand.
Plus, the 2013 edition of the Nexus 7 is significantly beefed up with a faster CPU and a screen being marketed as the “world’s sharpest 7-inch tablet screen.” It’s also thinner and lighter than last year’s version, making it ideal for slipping in a coat pocket or purse. Let’s take a closer look at the features of Google’s new Nexus 7.
Nexus 7 Review – Truly the Best Android Tablet
There’s a lot to like about the new Google Nexus 7, even if the entry cost is 30 bucks higher this year (the $199 8GB option isn’t being offered for 2013). GOOG took all the good things about the original Nexus 7 and made them better.
The IPS display has been pushed from 1280 x 800 pixels to a whopping 1920 x 1200 for a razor sharp 323 PPI. This is one of the crispest displays I’ve seen in a tablet. Between being small enough to easily hold in one hand and that display, the Nexus 7 is one of the best tablets and a great e-reader.
But with all the horsepower on tap, the Nexus 7 is made for multimedia and gaming. It’s the perfect size for mobile video game fans and has the CPU, GPU and RAM to crush it on gameplay. The 7-inch tablet size is a little small for watching movies (I prefer a full-sized tablet for that), but movies still look good, there’s not much of a black bar to deal with when viewing HD content in landscape mode and the surround sound speakers add to the experience.
I found the back a little slippery and finding buttons by touch was a bit of a pain (the power and volume buttons are on the bottom of a rounded edge), but had no complaints otherwise. It’s not uncommon to read a Nexus 7 review that reports an issue with touchscreen false responses, but I did not experience the problem.
A few nice features that families might appreciate in this tablet include the option for wireless recharging (less worry about kids fumbling to insert the microUSB cable it uses by default), and the ability to create multiple user accounts so everyone can share the Nexus 7 with their own personalization. Of course, that will do nothing when the kids start fighting over whose turn it is to play Battle Dragons or After Burner Climax.
In short, the Nexus 7 showcases just how good Android tablets have become.
Nexus 7 Review – Advantages Over AAPL, AMZN Rivals
after reading a Nexus 7 review, shoppers will likely compare it to a pair of worthy competitors: the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7. Google’s tablet has some key advantages over these top contenders, though.
The Nexus 7 is the narrowest, thinnest and lightest of the three. It takes this prize by a small margin over the Kindle Fire, but compared to the iPad Mini, it’s tiny. That makes the Nexus 7 one of the best tablets for anyone looking for a truly mobile gadget, comfortable to hold in one hand.
GOOG and AMZN are tied when it comes to the $229 base price. But if cost is a consideration, the Nexus 7 represents a big savings over the iPad Mini with Retina Display. In fact you could buy almost two of Google’s tablets for the price of a single $399 Apple iPad.
Besides cost, the Android tablet experience is another factor that tablet shoppers should be looking at most closely. If you want an iOS device, then an Apple iPad is your only choice. If you want the Android experience, though, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 should be eliminated from contention. Running Amazon’s own Fire OS 3.0 (a customized version of Android), the Kindle is locked into Amazon for everything from apps to cloud storage.
The Nexus 7 on the other hand, is pure Android — not even a custom UI over top. And Google is quick to update it to the latest version, ensuring Nexus 7 owners will have the best Android has to offer. This includes full access to Google Play, the world’s biggest app store.
Nexus 7 Review – Specs
- Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM
- Adreno 320 GPU
- 7-inch tablet, with full HD (1920 x 1200) IPS display (323 PPI)
- 16GB or 32GB internal storage
- Stereo speakers with Fraunhofer surround sound
- 1.2 MP fixed focus front-facing camera, 5MP auto-focus rear camera
- Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (LTE available)
- Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
- 3950 mAh battery rated for 9 hours (wireless charging compatible)
- Runs Android 4.3 (with update to Android 4.4 now available)
- 0.64 lbs
- Starts at $229
Nexus 7 Review – Conclusion
The 2013 edition of the Google Nexus 7 may be the oldest of the current crop of flagship 7-inch tablets (it was released in July), but it gives up nothing on the devices competitors have launched in the few months since. In fact, the Nexus 7 has gotten even better since the summer, after Google began rolling out the Android 4.4 (KitKat) update to Nexus 7 tablets early in November.
If you saw a Nexus 7 review earlier in the year that reported touch screen responsiveness issues (and again, I did not run into that myself), the KitKat update reportedly addresses the issue in affected units.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a high-quality, high-performance tablet that offers the best of Google’s Android operating system, then the 2013 edition of the Nexus 7 should be at the top of your list.
The $229 base price is tempting, but the 32GB version for $269 is the sweet spot, doubling your storage (lots more games, app and movies without reloading) for only $40 extra.
All in all, the new Nexus 7 is one of the best tablets out there — whether you’re comparing it to other 7-inch tablets or other Android tablets.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.