Enter the Pocket Powerhouse – Introducing the New Google Nexus 7When Google and Asus launched the original Nexus 7 last year, they set the benchmark for mini tablets, with great tech specs, great portability and a fantastic price.
Since then, the small tablet market has become a lot more competitive, with the iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, and Kindle Fire HD all vying for consumers’ hard earned cash.
Now, in an effort to cement its position at the top of the tab tree, Google has launched an updated version of the Nexus 7 – we take a look to see whether it lives up to the hype.
Features and specsWith a 1.5Ghz Quad Core processor and 2GB RAM under the bonnet, it’s much more powerful than any of its competitors, meaning you get the super-smooth, response and great multi-tasking performanceWhilst the original Nexus 7 was no slouch, the new model features significant improvements, and some impressive tech specs that put the competition to shame.
With a 1.5Ghz Quad Core processor and 2GB RAM under the bonnet, it’s much more powerful than any of its competitors, meaning you get the super-smooth, response and great multi-tasking performance.
The screen is where the Nexus 7 really stands head and shoulders above the rest, featuring a 7 inch IPS display with 1920 x 1200 resolution and an incredible 323 ppi. This is even more impressive when you consider that even the full size iPad with Retina display only packs 264ppi!
It’s 16:9 viewing aspect also makes the Nexus 7 perfect for both films and TV. If we were being super-picky, we’d say that the colour palette is a little washed out, but it isn’t that noticeable and won’t affect your viewing pleasure.
Sound is really good, thanks to large dual speakers on the rear of the tablet. It’s definitely much louder and clearer than the original Nexus 7, but we’d still recommend you use headphones in noisy or crowded spaces.
Storage wise, you get the choice between 16GB and 32GB, with no SD slot for extra space. Whilst on the surface, this seems comparable to other tablets in the category, in reality, it’s a bit stingy.
This is because the new Android 4.3 OS and other bits of pre-loaded software come in at a whopping 6GB, which significantly cuts into its capacity, and we would have liked to see a 64GB option.
Design and build quality
Visually, the new Nexus 7 isn’t anything special – but it’s dull and functional rather than downright ugly.
Size wise, it’s pretty small, even for a mini tablet, measuring in at 7.87 x 4.49 x 0.34 inches. This is a little thinner than it’s predecessor, and makes the Nexus 7 really portable and easy to hold in one hand.
Thankfully, the tacky rubber backing found on its predecessor has been replaced with black plastic, but the 16:9 aspect ratio means that there is a large bezel between the screen and the edge.
The plastic housing means that the Nexus 7 lacks the premium look and feel of the Apple tablets, but the absence of brushed aluminium should mean that it is better protected against scuffs and scratches.
The screen is made from durable Corning glass, and whilst this isn’t quite as robust as the screens on other tablets, it should be enough to protect the Nexus 7 from all but the most cack-handed of owners!
Overall, despite it’s tiny size and lightweight construction, build quality feels rock solid, and reliability should be good.
Put simply, the Nexus 7’s beefy tech specs make it one of the most powerful, and best performing Android tablets available. It’s capable of handling even the most power-hungry apps and games without breaking a sweat, and provides excellent performance whilst multitasking.
OS-wise, the new iteration of Jelly Bean, Android 4.3 will be familiar to any Android user, with a sleek, responsive and functional interface that is both intuitive and adaptable.
The biggest change is the addition of support for multiple users, which is a really useful feature on a device that is likely to be shared amongst your family members.
Camera and battery
The lack of a rear camera was one of the original Nexus 7’s biggest weaknesses – one that’s been addressed in the new model with the addition of a 5MP camera,
Whilst picture quality is nothing special, it’s comparable to the iPad Mini, and perfectly adequate for a tablet of this size. The Nexus 7 also includes a reasonable 1.2MP front facing camera, which is fine for video calling.
In an effort to reduce the size of the Nexus 7, battery life has taken a bit of a hit – down from 10 hours to 7-9 hours use. It’s still pretty decent, and standby battery performance is excellent, which means you’d have to push it pretty hard to wear the battery down in a single day.
Price and value
WiFi only prices start at £199 for the 16GB version, and go up to £239 for the 32GB, and if you want to add 4G capabilities, you’ll be looking at £299.
Whilst this is significantly more expensive than the original Nexus 7 (prices started at £159), you are getting a lot more bang for your buck, and when you compare it to other tablets in the same category, the Nexus 7 looks like great value.
To put it into perspective, prices for the seriously outgunned iPad Mini start at £269 for the 16GB model, and you’d have to shell out £449 to get a 32GB with cellular capabilities!
At the other end of the scale the Kindle Fire HD comes in slightly cheaper (starting at £159), but simply can’t measure up to the Nexus 7 when it comes to power, performance or functionality.
As you can probably tell from the glowing review, we love the new Nexus 7, and we’re sure that consumers will too when it hits UK shelves later this month.
Its power, performance and price make it our favourite mini tablet by far, and we reckon it blows both the iPad Mini and Kindle Fire HD completely out of the water.
In fact, we reckon it’s probably got Apple running scared – they’ll need to make some significant improvements to the iPad Mini 2 if it is going to have any chance of competing.
If you want to get your hands on a Free Nexus 7, simply head over to Xpango and start saving those credits today!