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Google Nexus 7 (2013) Review

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Since Google released Nexus devices, we have seen well-made devices that carry very reasonable price.  Their smartphone line has the Nexus 4 made by LG and it is a formidable handset that can hold its own against flagship Android phones from big companies like Samsung, HTC and Sony.   In the tablet sphere, Google released the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10.  The first is made by Asus while the latter is made by Samsung.  These devices have received good reviews, helping Google show other manufacturers how to make the proper Android device.

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has been updated recently.  In all respects, the second generation or the 2013 version of the 7-inch Android tablet has grown and matured, showing that Google learned from the weaknesses of the previous Nexus 7 and knowing exactly where it needed to improve on.  It’s still cheap but the hardware has been updated in areas that really matter to the consumers.

How good is the 2nd generation Nexus 7? Is it the obvious choice if you’re looking for a 7-inch Android tablet?  Read the entire review to find out.

Nexus 7 (2013) Review – Design

The new Nexus 7 (2013) is pretty.  If you like the original Nexus 7, you’ll like the improved design of the second generation Nexus 7.  Google and Asus have come up with an impressive design for the new Nexus 7.   The tablet is slimmer, for one, and has a better build and finish compared to the original version.  The original was notorious for having build issues like its loose display.

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The second generation Nexus 7 seems to be better built, at least based on the few days I have used it.  The back of the new Nexus 7 has a black rubbery finish with matte texture.  Google has dropped the dotted finish on the original and I think it’s the right decision.  The new Nexus 7 actually feels good in the hand.

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The most noticeable change in the new design is the thinner bezel on the sides and the significantly thicker bezels on top and the bottom.   At first you tend to question why the bezels are thicker on the top and bottom areas but when you think of it, you use the tablet in a landscape mode most of the time and it is actually convenient if you have something to grip on the sides.  The thicker bezels are therefore cleverly designed.

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For buttons, Google and Asus retained the locations of the power button and volume rocker.   They are still located on the right side of the device.  This means that if you hated the location of the buttons on the old Nexus 7, you’ll still hate it in the new model.  The side of the tablet is curved so the button is almost located at the back.  Once you get used to the location of the buttons, however, it suddenly doesn’t seem that hard to use.

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On top of the Nexus 7 (2013), there is a 3.5mm headphone jack while at the bottom, there is a micro USB slot.  There is nothing on the left side of the tablet.  When you flip the tablet over, you see a camera and speaker grilles located on the top and bottom parts.  The word Nexus is emblazoned horizontally and the Asus brand can be seen at the bottom.

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Nexus 7 (2013) Review – Hardware and Display

The Nexus 7 (2013) is priced at $229.99 for the 16GB and $269.99 for the 32GB.   There is a more expensive 4G LTE version if you want something that has cellular capability.  In the Philippines, the Nexus 7 second generation is priced at P11,800 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, P14,400 for the 32GB Wi-Fi version, and P18,700 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE version.

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From the pricing details above, it’s undeniable that the second generation Nexus 7 is reasonably priced.  This is because the tablet has fast processing speed and is equipped with a gorgeous display.  The main specs of the Nexus 7 include a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC.

Here are the main specs of the second generation Google Nexus 7.

2nd Generation Google Nexus 7 (2013) Specs

  • 7-inch IPS LCD Display (1920 x 1200 pixels, 323 ppi)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro
  • Adreno 320 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB / 32GB internal storage
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • 1.2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth, NFC
  • 3950mAh battery
  • GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
  • Compass, Ambient Light
  • Height: 201mm
  • Width: 114mm
  • Thickness: 8mm
  • Weight: 318 grams
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

What’s lacking in the second generation Nexus 7 is storage expansion.  The tablet has no microSD slot, which is really a shame since storage expansion is needed by most users.

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The 7-inch IPS LCD Display of the Nexus 7 has a 1920×1200 pixel resolution (323 ppi).  It’s very sharp and very bright, with a crispness that is ideal for photos, videos and games.  If there is one thing that makes the second generation Nexus 7 stand out, it’s really the display.  It has deep blacks and colors are rendered accurately.  Reading on the new Nexus 7 is also a wonderful experience as texts appear really sharp, although if you will use it as you main ebook reader, the battery will get drained fast.

The 2nd generation Nexus 7 was reported to have touchscreen issues and GPS issues by early adopters.  Fortunately, i did not encounter similar issues with the unit I reviewed.  If you are getting one, make sure you check the unit for these issues just to be sure.

Nexus 7 (2013) Review – Performance and Battery Life

The second generation Nexus 7 is fast.  Navigation is buttery-smooth and apps run really well.  Even graphics intensive games are handled well by the tablet, making the price you pay for it really worth it.  Benchmarks results show it is not the fastest tablet around but it is still reasonably fast.  Antutu tests resulted in a score of 20427 for the new Nexus 7, which means it is almost as fast as the Sony Xperia Z, and which also means, it is not quite as fast as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One.   Running Quadrant benchmark tests on the other hand resulted in a score of 5472.

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Compared to the old Nexus 7, the second generation tablet is definitely faster and a much better performer.

In terms of battery life, the second generation Nexus 7 is supposed to deliver 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or e-reading.    That’s a lot of battery juice, but from my use, this is about correct.  The second generation Nexus 7 is powered by a 3950mAh battery which is bigger than what most tablets in the market have.  Under normal use, the second generation Nexus 7 actually lasts about 18 hours, which is good enough considering its price.

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As to audio quality, the new Nexus 7 delivers a markedly improved audio compared to the original model.  The difference is in the use of two grilles located at the top and bottom portions of the tablet’s back.  The location of the grilles prevents the sound from being muffled since it is along the curved edges of the tablet.  So even if the tablet is placed on a flat surface, the sound is still able to get through.

The new Nexus 7 runs Android 4.3.  On the tablet, the OS runs smoothly without any issues, which means Google not only improved the OS by adding features, it also added performance enhancements.   Among its improvements is the introduction of restricted profiles which limit access to apps and content.  It also brings dial pad auto complete, an improved Photo Sphere, 4K resolution support, improved DRM APIs and OpenGL ES 3.0 support for better game graphics.  Overall, this means that Android 4.3 is better and the performance of the second generation Nexus 7 proves this.

Nexus 7 (2013) Review – Camera

The second generation Nexus 7 packs a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel fixed focus front camera.  The original Nexus 7 only had a front facing camera and had no rear camera.  The presence of a rear facing camera is a welcome improvement, even if it has limitations like the lack of an LED flash.  The 5-megapixel camera takes decent photos, but it is admittedly not good in low light settings.  It takes good photos in well-lit situations but in low light setups, the noise is very visible on the photos.

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Nexus 7 (2013) Review -Wrap Up

The second generation Nexus 7 (2013) is one of the clear choices if you’re looking for a 7-inch tablet.  It’s the one of the best in its category, if not the best.   Considering the cheap price tag of the second generation Nexus 7, it becomes the Android tablet to beat.  It has a fast processor, a really good display, an excellent design, and an improved build over its predecessor.  The fact that it runs the latest version of Android and gets updates before any other device makes it an Android fan’s dream tablet.

The second generation Nexus 7 has limitations.  It has no LED flash and no microSD card slot for storage expansion.   These limitations are however acceptable once you factor in the price.

The second generation Nexus 7 (2013) used in this review was provided by dbgadgets.net.  You can purchase the tablet from this Philippine online shop for the price of P11,800 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, P14,400 for the 32GB Wi-Fi version, and P18,700 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE version.

Rating: 9/10

5 Comments

  1. lowtechpinas Reply

    grabe hanap ako nang hanap ng lte version sa mga stores sa sm north pero either walang stock o hindi sila nagbebenta. how convenient, and it’s already been out for like 6 months????

  2. I’ve compared this over with Galaxy Tab 3. Because of you nagbago isip ko dahil sa review mo! Very detailed ang review, keep it up! 🙂

    Now my question is, how are you going to compare this with Ipad Mini? Which one is the best?

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