Feeds
Google Nexus 7 2013

Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Probably the best tablet in the world

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Review When Google launched the Asus-built Nexus 7 Android tablet back in August 2012, it dropped a big mean city-raised alleycat among the budget tablet pigeons. Starting at only £160 for the 8GB version, the Nexus 7 offered performance, style and build quality (kind of) at a price that previously had only bought you shoddy no-name tat with a gutless chip and iffy provenance.

It was, not surprisingly, a huge hit. And now, one year on, Google has released a follow-up: a new Nexus 7, again made by Asus. The question is, can lightning strike twice?

Google Nexus 7 2013

Google’s 2013 Nexus 7: easier than ever to use one-handed

As soon as you get the new 7 out of the box and fire it up, it is immediately obvious that this fondleslab is a big improvement in the most important area: the display. The 7-inch screen now has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 rather than 1200 x 800, pushing up the pixel density from 216 dots per inch to 323.

This makes it the sharpest tablet display on the market at any price, let alone for £199 which is that a 16GB Nexus 7 mk.2 will set you back. Spend exactly twice the money on an Apple iPad 4 or a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and you have to make do with 264dpi and 224dpi, respectively, though you do get bigger screens, of course.

Google Nexus 7 2013

Out with the old: the new Nexus 7 (left) alongside its predecessor

The Nexus’ screen remains a high-quality IPS LCD affair with a Gorilla Glass cover, so it’s tough, bright, supports extended viewing angles and is very colourful. Frankly, it’s almost impossible to fault as a display and looks simply spectacular when gaming in high resolution or watching a well-encoded 1080p Blu-ray rips.

For its second coming, the Nexus 7 has also been put on a diet. The original weighed 340g, the new one just 290g. Fifty grams may not sound much but it is if you regularly use your tablet as an ebook reader. It is also the best part of 2mm thinner and 6mm narrower which makes it much easier to hold in one hand. The back is made from a new soft-feel polycarbonate which feels very comfortable to the touch.

Google Nexus 7 2013

The new Nexus 7 is thinner than the old one (right)

Taken in the round, the 7 is now without doubt a more solid, better quality device. On a purely aesthetic basis, it looks and feels more like a unibody design rather than something put together from separate parts with screws and glue. That’s thanks to the removal of the silver band that previously separated back and front.

My only regret is that the power and volume controls are still a little too close together on the right side. Inadvertently pressing the former when you are fumbling for the latter is all too easy.

Google Nexus 7 2013

The new 5MP main camera and, right at the top, one of the stereo speakers

While the first Nexus 7 only had a 1.2MP webcam, the new model adds a 5MP main camera to the mix. How much use a camera on a tablet actually is remains a matter for discussion, but I reckon it’s better to have one and not need it than the other way around.

Certainly, I’m seeing more and more folk out and about holding up tablets to take the kind of pictures they’d once have snapped on a compact camera or a phone. As 5MP cameras go, the Nexus 7’s shooter isn’t at all bad and can record video at 1080p at 30f/s, though there’s no LED flash.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.