When Google originally announced the Nexus 7, people were in awe of the low-cost, high performance tablet running Android. The Kindle Fire had been the only tablet previously to offer this, but redesigned Android to look like Amazon wanted.
For users begging for the stock Android experience on a tablet form factor, this was their wish come true. Five million customers picked the Nexus 7 up in the first few months, but does the new Nexus 7 have the brawn to really make it worth the payment.
Google decided to pull in Android partner and PC parts manufacturer ASUS to get the job done with the new Nexus 7 design, as they did with the previous Nexus 7. The partnership has been fruitful and ASUS has definitely worked harder on making sure the new Nexus tablet feels better in the hand and looks better externally.
The back has a rubbery polycarbonate feel to it and ASUS has trimmed the side-bezels down on the new version, but the top and bottom have been increased to a questionable size, we don’t know who has hands capable of reaching the full bezel and we are not really sure why Google decided to keep all of the useless space.
ASUS has dramatically improved the display on the new Nexus 7, from 1280 x 800 to 1920 x 1200. This is a huge move in the resolution spec and the difference between the two allows users to watch full HD 1080p video on their tablet.
The new Nexus 7 has Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.7GHz, alongside 2GB of RAM to keep things running smooth on the tablet. The Nexus 7 was an incredibly fast device and the newer version only builds on this solid performance. With the extended lifespan of the original Nexus 7 we noticed drops in performance, to the point nine months in the tablet would regularly crash and fail to load apps, we hope this is not the same with the new Nexus 7.
Battery life has improved since the last version and is on par with the Kindle Fire and other low-cost tablets. Normal usage will grant about 10 – 15 hours depending on the usage, video will sink the battery life substantially.
Google treats their Nexus devices like spoilt children, by offering the latest and greatest before anyone other snotty partners are allowed. The new Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.3, the latest version of Jelly Bean, with vanilla Android UI.
This means no tampered design changes from ASUS and the full Google Play Store with thousands of apps, movies, music and TV programs. With Android 4.4 KitKat announced a few weeks ago, we will also see this first on the new Nexus 7.
The new Nexus 7 comes at $229 for 16GB of internal storage, topping up to $269 for 32GB and $349 for 32GB with LTE in the US. The LTE providers are still a little shaky, with Verizon Wireless unable to add the device to its range of LTE products, this may be sorted out in the coming weeks.
For that price, there is really no cheaper tablet in-sight apart from the Kindle Fire HD, an admirable tablet but not ground breaking compared to the new Nexus 7. The Kindle Fire HDX is the only real competition on the seven-inch form factor with the same price, it really depends if you love Google or Amazon.