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The best tablet you can buy today

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
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Review of the New 2013 Nexus 7

The 2013 Nexus 7 is the best mini tablet you can buy today. Why is it the best? It is the best combination of price, screen, speed, and battery life.

The original Nexus 7 was the first Android device that made me want an Android device. Its newer brother is a little easier to hold. 

Ports

The 2013 Nexus 7 has the same number of ports as the older version:

  • a micro USB
  • an earphone port

Screen

The new screen is a [better than than iPad mini] 1920x1200 IPS LCD panel which is a huge improvement from the original 12080x800.

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the Screen is bright enough to be clearly visiblein almost all situations (except direct sunlight). Colors are clean and reliably reproduced. The Viewing angles are fairly wide so 2 people can easily watch a clip.

The 7-inch screen makes the device easier to carry but it also helps the device push out longer battery life.

Battery

The 2012 Nexus 7 typically gives me about 10 hours of video playback.

The 2013 Nexus 7 seems to deliver  7-9 hours of video playback. Not too shabby for a device with such a beautiful dense screen.

Models

All models come with GPS (take that Apple), bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and NFC.

You have to decide whether you want a 16 or 32 GB device and if you want WIFI only or LTE.

Overall

The device comes with a quad-core Qualcomm 1.5GHZ processor which means it is a top tier performer (when it relates to the CPU). It is almost twice as fast as the old Tegra-3 based device.

There were many instances where the the old Nexus 7 was a bit sluggish to respond, the new version doesn't really experience that. 

Since it launched with Android 4.3 out fo the box, I experienced some OS caused app hiccups:

  • some apps on Google Play not showing as compatible with my device (even though they work on 4.2)
  • Some apps seem to crash very often at startup
  • Some apps seem more sluggish when compared to 4.2

But all of the above issues are normal for a new OS and I guarantee they will all be fixed soon by Google.

The built in apps work wonderfully and commonly used content consumption apps like Netflix, Kindle, Chrome Browser all performed beautifully.

As much as I love Android and its ecosystem, I still hold on to my iPhone (as my main driver) because the apps seem to be written a little better and there seems to be a better selection of quality apps. I get the same feeling for the tablet market. Althogh the iPad mini is inferior to the Nexus 7 in almost every way (it is slower, has a terrible screen, is too expensive, etc), it has a better selection of apps and apps seem to be written better for the tablet form factor. This isn't a criticism of the Nexus 7 itself but one of Android overall. I feel this strain a lot more on the new Nexus 7 because it is such a well built device.

Android 4.3 brings with it a restricted profile mode which allows you to create an account with locked apps and capabilities making this a fantastic (and affordable) kids tablet.

Storage

Like all other Nexus devices, the Nexus 7 does not have removable storage support which means you are stuck with whatever storage limit the device comes with. 

That is why I recommend buying the 32GB unit which leaves about 25GB of free space.

Camera

The new Nexus 7 comes with both a front facing and a rear facing camera. I don't think I'll use this to take pictures (since it isn't a good camera) but it is a nice to have. I still wish they reduced the price a coupleof dollars and kept the rear camera out. It works but isn't something I find terribly useful on a tablet.

If the area is well lit (not too dark and not too bright), the pictures are OK. If there is too much light the pictures seem washed out. If there is too little light the image is pixelated and grainy. 

Sound

My first complaint (for most tablets) is that the damn speakers should be facing the user like the HTC one. Thenew  Nexus 7, like 98% of all other smart devices, has the speakers facing away from the user.

The speakers on the new Nexus 7 are louder than those on the older version. They claim the sound tech was developed with the Fraunhofer institute but how much sound and separation can you get from tiny speakers?

To get really good sound, you will need an external bluetooth speaker or headphones.

Video output

I didn't get my wish of hdmi output support. There is no way to plug a TV of monitor into this device to watch content. The only way to stream video out is via the Google Chromecast which is sold out in the US and not available in my country (Canada).

Conclusion

I didn't mention that this version also support wireless charging with any pad that supports the Qi standard.  wonderful addition to a tablet. 

This is currently THE TABLET to buy. The price is competitive, the quality is good, the speed and responsiveness are good. This is a fantastic little 7 inch tablet whose value is though to beat. If you need a tablet, this is the one you should get.