Google/Asus Nexus 7 II Review
Posted: August 17, 2013
With the introduction of the original Nexus 7, Google and ASUS quite literally redefined what was possible from an affordable tablet. While most devices asked consumers to accept any number of sacrifices to display, performance and build quality under the guise of "budget" tablets, the Nexus 7 packed rock-solid build quality, a sharp display and good performance at a very attractive price point. So how does the next iteration of the Nexus 7 tablet compare? Quite well, in fact.
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable change with the Nexus is the remodeling job. The new dimensions are 7.87-by-4.49-by-0.34 inches, which makes for a device that's 0.06 inches taller, 0.25 inches narrower and 0.07 inches thinner than its predecessor. These aren't drastic changes, but they make for a comfortable device that can be held like a phone without much difficulty. Google's decision to trim the side bezels in portrait mode while leaving the top and bottom chunky presents a bit of a bizarre image, however, and it makes the device look out of proportion. The build quality is every bit as solid as the original, though the soft-touch back has been replaced with a smooth, matte backing.
Compared to tablets with expandable storage, the lack of a microSD slot was one of the biggest issues for the Nexus 7. Unfortunately, it's noticeably missing here as well. Most of the key items of interest ought to be familiar, with the power button and volume rocker only slightly raised and tucked just around the corner from the right edge. There's a micro-USB SlimPort slot at bottom center, flanked by improved speakers that manage to offer up decent sound quality and volume. The 3.5-millimeter headphone jack has migrated from the bottom edge to the top, while the front panel is glossy smooth thanks to virtual home, back and multitasking buttons. This won't satisfy everyone, but it shouldn't present any problems.
Resolving the Details
And so we come to ASUS's pièce de résistance. Not only is the new Nexus 7's panel probably the best to be found in the seven-inch class, it's among the best displays you'll find on any tablet on the market. At 1,920-by-1,200 pixels, which translates to a whopping 323 pixels per inch, it's a gorgeous display that offers sharp detail, great color and contrast and solid viewing angles. Compared to tablets like the Apple iPad Mini or the original Nexus 7, which offer densities of 163 and 216 pixels per inch respectively, the Nexus 7.2 is vastly superior in side-by-side testing.
Under the Hood
Of course, all those gorgeous pixels would be nothing more than eye candy without the hardware to back it up. Although you won't confuse it with an ultrabook, the Nexus 7.2 offers some very solid specifications for the price. A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro running at 1.5-gigahertz is paired with two gigabytes of RAM to ensure there's more than enough power to support the jacked up resolution. It doesn't sound impressive compared to tablets sporting the latest and greatest Snapdragons, but in real-world testing it delivers snappy performance and very rarely drops the ball even under heavy load. As should be expected given the new bells and whistles, comparing tablets reveals battery life is slightly reduced from the original.
Just as the original Nexus 7 shifted our conception of what wallet-friendly tablets could be, the Nexus 7.2 looks poised to reshape our expectations once more. The original Nexus 7 is a fine device that still holds up well, but a tablet comparison with the new version is hardly even fair. The Nexus 7's display was already a strong point, but the 7.2 blows it away. The difference in performance is almost as dramatic, with the Nexus 7.2 handling every aspect of daily use in a quick and lag-free manner. The iPad Mini tablet compares poorly as well, with the Nexus 7.2 besting the Apple product in nearly every area except battery life.
Pros and Cons
New Nexus is lighter, has higher screen resolution, faster CPU, more storage space and internal memory, runs on latest Android 4.3 version and comes with Qi wireless charging system. On the other hand, it is more expensive than its predecessor.
See most helpful favorable vs. critical customer reviews of new Nexus 7 tablet on Amazon.
|Nexus 7 2012||New Nexus 7|
Battery life comparison