Is Google Nexus 7 the Best Tablet?

Category: Gadgets , Mobile

If you have been waiting patiently for the 'perfect' 7-inch Android tablet, your wait may be over. Google’s revamped Nexus 7 nails it, setting a new standard for build quality, features, and price. For just $229 you can own what is NOT arguably the best 7-inch Android tablet on the market; it definitely is the best. Here's why...

Google Nexus 7 Review

Google has revamped the Nexus 7 tablet for 2013, and in doing so, they've leap-frogged to the top of the 7-inch tablet market. Almost everything is better than the previous version of the Nexus 7. It's lighter, thinner, and faster, with big improvements in both video and audio specs.

Let's start with the part you first touch when taking the Nexus 7 in your hand. The bezel (rim) is 3 mm thinner than its predecessor, making it easy to hold in one hand. Under the hood, the old Nvidia Tegra 3 processor is replaced by a lightning fast, energy-stingy Qualcomm 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro. Games and apps launch quickly and multitasking is a snap.

Nexus 7 (2013 Model)

Battery life is touted as up to 9 hours by Google; in field tests, batteries are lasting over 8 hours even when playing high-definition video repeatedly. The old Nexus 7 ran an hour longer per charge, but it had a lower-resolution screen and a bigger, heavier battery. The new Nexus 7’s battery life is on a par with the iPad Mini and the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, but neither of those tablets sports a high-rez display.

A rear-facing 5 Mpixel camera was added to the new Nexus 7. An MHL port supports wireless charging, and NFC capability enables wave-to-buy apps. The new stereo speakers are a dramatic improvement, too. Unfortunately, storage cannot be expanded, as there is no SD card slot. So media junkies who need more storage capacity than is offered by the 16 GB Nexus will want to spend the extra $40 to get the 32 GB model.

More Specs, Price Tags, and Other Contenders

The Nexus 7's 1900x1200 LCD display with 323 pixels per inch is vivid, clear, and responsive. The screen is brighter than the old Nexus 7, although colors may seem a bit oversaturated to some (think Skittles). The iPad mini’s display is a bit larger but it is not Apple’s leading-edge Retina display. The Mini's screen has only 1024x768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch, so Google has the clear edge in display quality.

When you start comparing price tags, the difference is even more compelling. The iPad mini with 16 GB of storage costs $329, while the new 16 GB Nexus 7 weighs in $100 cheaper, at only $229. Moving to the 32 GB models, the Mini costs $429, while the Nexus 7 is just $269. So Apple wants an extra $100 for that extra 16 GB of storage, while Google is charging only $40.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 32 GB is $40 cheaper than the comparable Nexus 7, but the price savings don’t make up the difference in performance and flexibility. Amazon is not even trying to make a general-purpose tablet: the Kindles are hand-held kiosks for Amazon merchandise purchases, and they need only be good enough for that. The Kindle’s version of Android lacks the many features and pre-installed apps of the Nexus 7, and you can’t install downloaded apps.

You might also want to check out the 16 GB Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, which is an 8-inch Android tablet. But the $300 price tag is off-putting, and the display is not nearly as sharp as the new Nexus.

The new Nexus 7 is the first Google device to get the Jelly Bean OS (Android v.4.3). New features include Bluetooth 4.0 LE support, OpenGL ES 3.0, and the ability to restrict user accounts (so you can safely share your Nexus with family members).

Apple still holds a commanding lead in app counts for its iPad line; Google has relatively few apps for Android tablets. But there are plenty of Nexus apps and they are more prominently displayed in the Google Play store.

Bottom line: If you already use an Android tablet, upgrading to a Nexus 7 will be mighty tempting. If you’re looking for your first tablet, the Nexus 7 represents the best value you can buy at this time.

Your thoughts are welcome! Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Is Google Nexus 7 the Best Tablet?"

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

How is the recording capability of the new Nexus7? How does it compare with iPads?

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

Bob, What about Sony's new Tablet Z as compared to other new tablets you are reviewing here, Thanks

Posted by:

Dale Seidenschwarz
30 Jul 2013

I have the current 7 and I love it.
With all the improvements including LTE, stereo speakers, improved processor, screen and speed, plus the new camera. It's got to be a monster!

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

You also might want to look at the Hisense Sero 7 Pro for $149. I am very impressed with it so far. Way better than the price tag would indicate. I would buy it again in a heart beat. It did not have flash player, which was a negative, but it was easily downloaded.

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

This sounds great, but will they put out a larger screen model with all the features and quality of the Nexus 7?

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

As an owner of the first generation Nexus 7, I have to ask: is it worth it to upgrade now? Or can I wait til the next round of improvements?

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

Hey Bob, Nice article.
I have heard that there are apps for tablets that make it a cell phone!!!
Can you elaborate???

Posted by:

30 Jul 2013

I am a would be first time tablet buyer. You recommend the Nexus 7 but also say it has few apps compared to the ipad. Are there lists of apps to compare in order to make a decision based on usability?

Posted by:

31 Jul 2013

Thanks Bob.
My wife and I are ready to finally move up to a smart phone. With so many to chose from and all of the different options, we are in a quandary.
We'll take your advice and try this one as it costs little more than our standard phones.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry if I confused you, but the Nexus is not a phone! Just a tablet. You can find great deals on the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphones now, because the S4 is the latest and greatest.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2013

As far as I am concerned, no SD slot, no sale. That's one thing for the companies not to try to skimp on. I'd prefer a USB slot, but what am I to do.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2013

I have the older Nexus 7. My tablet became very slow and the battery did not hold a charge for over 4 hours.Lucky me, I just received the upgrade to Android 4.3 over the weekend. It has corrected the slowness and also the battery life. It was like I got a new tablet because of the free upgrade. Google has been great with the upgrades for Nexus tablets

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