REVIEW: Google Nexus 7 (Version 2)

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Now thinner, lighter and faster than 2012’s model, Google’s Nexus 7 brings an exemplary mix of power and portability in a 7-inch tablet format. It’s not an all-encompassing multimedia powerhouse, but the Nexus 7 really can’t be beaten on value if you’re after a compact and robust Android-powered tablet.

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GOOGLE NEXUS 7

  1. Google currently offers two different Android-powered tablets, both of which can be purchased from your favourite retailer or directly from the Google Play Store. The 7-inch Nexus 7 (£199/16GB, £239/32GB) and the 10-inch Nexus 10 (£319/16GB, £389/32GB) look similar, but are made by different manufacturers – ASUS and Samsung, respectively. All come with Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi, but 4G LTE is extra.
  2. The Nexus 7 is one of the best tablets that money can buy. It provides a delicious 1080p HD display (323 pixels packed into every inch), a speedy quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera for photos and video, a 1.2MP front-facing camera for video calls, dual stereo speakers, and stock Android 4.4 KitKat (Google’s latest OS). There’s also a headphone jack for private media consumption.
  3. Being highly portable (114 x 200 x 8.65mm) calls for a robust design. Thankfully the Nexus 7 is wrapped up in a tough black matte plastic casing that is both practical and durable, unlike Apple’s aluminium-based iPad mini with Retina Display which needs to be housed in a protective carrying case. Furthermore, the display boasts scratch-resistant Corning glass, so you don’t need to worry about a screen protector.
  4. At just 299g, the Nexus 7 is light enough to take anywhere and fits easily in bags, backpacks and even back pockets. With up to 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of Web browsing or e-reading, there’s plenty of juice to get you through the day, and built-in wireless charging means you can charge, grab and go.
  5. The display of the Nexus 7 is the real star. While the original’s 1280×800 7-inch screen with its 216 pixels-per-inch is still sharp even by today’s demanding standards, upgrading to a ‘retina class’ 1920×1200 resolution that’s equivalent to 323ppi is the highest pixels-per-inch of any tablet on the market. Everything on the Nexus 7 looks razor-sharp, especially text, and the display’s IPS technology means that brightness and contrast levels are great, as are colours and viewing angles.
  6. If you use Google Apps for work, you’ll be instantly familiar with the Nexus 7 as it comes loaded with essential Google apps including Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts, Maps, and Google Now, making it an incredible solution for staying connected wherever you go. And because Google apps are designed for the cloud, everything is simple to use and works seamlessly across Android phones, tablets and computers running Google Chrome Web browser.
  7. When it comes to downloading more apps, Google’s Play Store is now competing head to head with Apple’s App Store in terms of quantity. Business users should be careful, however, as Google’s relaxed restrictions means there are more potential security issues compared to Apple’s Store.
  8. The fact that Android operates in an all-or-nothing permission fashion, where users accept the entire laundry list of requested permissions or the app cannot be downloaded, likely has more users putting less scrutiny on permissions to achieve that instant app gratification. Applications can request required permissions and also define new permissions. For example, an application may declare that it requires access to the Internet. Android permissions cannot be denied or granted after installation.
  9. Media junkies and gamers may have a problem with storage. There isn’t a Nexus 7 with anything more than 32GB of internal space due to Google’s efforts to push users into the cloud. To add insult to injury, that 16/32GB on the box doesn’t mean you’ll get 16/32GB because the OS takes up a huge chunk. In fact, you’re left with just 12/26GB. Disappointedly, the Nexus 7 doesn’t include an SD slot for those who want to expand, unlike similar devices from Samsung and Sony.
  10. There are rumours of a Nexus 8 due this year, which could be made by HTC and not ASUS. The new device will likely have a 8.9-inch display with a resolution that’s better than 2K, positioning it between Apple’s iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display. A bigger, higher resolution screen means more real estate for working, gaming, shopping and Web browsing. It’s not confirmed, so you might want to hold fire.
SUMMARY
  • Outstanding value
  • Robust build quality
  • Stunning display is a joy to use
  • Supports wireless charging
  • Runs the latest Android OS
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Maxes out at 32GB
  • No SD card slot
  • Below par camera quality
  • Not as secure as an iPad