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Google Nexus 7 (2013) Review

By Simon Thomas on 03rd February 2014


3G Total Score
Pros: Cons:
+ Low price - Plastic build
+ Good spec - Average camera
+ Great screen - No expandable storage
+ Long lasting battery - No 64GB model
+ Latest version of Android  

Verdict:

"The Nexus 7 2013 is a great little device for the money, in fact it’s one of the best 7 inch tablets around, but the lack of storage limits it and the build could be better."

Full Review and Specification for the Google Nexus 7 2013

Google Nexus 7 2013 Review

Back in 2012 Google gave the tablet world its biggest shakeup since the launch of the iPad, by releasing a cheap, powerful 7 inch slate that put Android on the map as a true iOS alternative for tablets. That device was the Google Nexus 7 and it’s now been followed up by a 2013 edition.

The success of the first model has raised the stakes for this one, so the question is; can it live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Design

The Google Nexus 7 2013 is arguably a backwards step from a design point of view. While the original version had a gorgeous, soft and textured plastic back, which stood out from the crowd and was comfortable to hold, the Nexus 7 2013 instead has a matte black plastic back, which looks bland and dare we say it ugly. It certainly doesn’t look as premium as 2012’s model, that much is clear.

But things have improved on the front as the bezels are smaller this time around, giving you almost nothing but screen and where the old model had a metallic finish along the edge (which was actually plastic), the 2013 model just curves off straight into the black back, with nothing to break the lines.
The smaller bezels ensure that at 200 x 114mm the 2013 model is slightly thinner than the original Nexus 7, while at just 8.7mm thick it’s substantially slimmer. It’s quite a lot lighter too, at just 290g, making it the perfect device to carry with you all day.

Display

Google Nexus 7 Display

The Google Nexus 7 2013 has a screen of exactly 7 inches, with a resolution of 1200 x 1920. That amounts to 323 pixels per inch, which is a substantially higher pixel density than the 216ppi of the original Nexus 7 and only 1ppi less than the Apple iPad mini with Retina display.

In other words it’s gloriously high resolution and if there’s any fault with it it’s that colours are often a bit too bold and vibrant, rather than being reproduced naturally. Its 7 inch size makes it one of the smaller displays around, so it’s not quite as comfortable for movie watching or even web browsing as a 10 inch slate would be, but what’s sacrificed in immersion is made up for in portability and price.

Power and Performance

With a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM the Nexus 7 2013 is a powerful device, though not quite up there with, say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 and slightly less powerful on paper than even the 7 inch Kindle Fire HDX, which carries a similar price tag. Regardless, it’s plenty powerful enough to handle pretty much any task with ease and the fact that it’s not bogged down with bloatware undoubtedly helps.

It’s also a substantial upgrade from the original Nexus 7, which had just a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and only 1GB of RAM.

Interface

The Google Nexus 7 2013 runs stock Android 4.4.2, aka Android KitKat, which is the latest version of Google’s mobile OS and being a Nexus device it’s likely to be first in line for Android updates for at least the next year or two, which ensures it will stay up to date.

The interface itself is identical to on the original Nexus, because they both run Android 4.4.2. It’s also similar to most other Android devices, the difference being that it doesn’t have any of the customisations and apps that manufacturers like to add. It’s pure Android and pure Google. That means it comes with the basics, such as a web browser, a calendar, an email app and more, along with clever Google features like Google Now, but it’s not bogged down with confusing extras that you might not even want. This ensures it’s intuitive and easy to use, while if there is any extra app or feature you want you’re likely to be able to find it in Google Play anyway.

Onboard storage, Connectivity and Cameras

There are two storage options for the Nexus 7 2013. It’s available in either 16GB for £199 or 32GB for £239, assuming you go for a Wi-Fi model. 4G LTE is only available in 32GB and brings the price up to £299. In any case, 32GB is a decent amount of storage, but with many competitors offering 64GB models and Apple even having a 128GB iPad it doesn’t seem so great, particularly as there’s no microSD card slot.

The Nexus 7 2013 supports Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0, so it’s quite well equipped in that sense and it has a 5 megapixel camera which can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. It also has a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera. Neither camera is great and the pictures they take usually lack detail, but they hold their own against other tablet cameras.

Battery Life

The Nexus 7 2013 only has a 3950 mAh battery, which is pretty small for a tablet, even a 7 inch one, but somehow it actually keeps the slate going all day. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s running stock Android without any bloat, but the Nexus 7 2013 can last for a good 9 or 10 hours of media use and a lot longer if used sparingly.

Verdict

The Google Nexus 7 2013 is a fantastic tablet. It’s not quite the most powerful on the market or the best built, but nor is it any slouch in either department. It’s great value for money and has made very few compromises to get there. Sure we’d love a bit more storage and a more premium build quality, but with a great screen, a quad-core processor, a long battery life and loads of connectivity options you’d be hard pushed to get a better tablet for under £200.

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Google Nexus 7 2013 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Google Nexus 7 2013 Phone Specification

Dimensions: 200 x 114 x 8.7mm
Weight: 290g
Screen size: 7.0 inches
Screen Resolution: 1200 x 1920 pixels
Pixels per Inch (PPI): 323
Processor: 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro
RAM: 2GB
Battery capacity: 3950 mAh
Onboard Memory: 16 / 32GB internal memory
Camera: 5 megapixel / 1.2 megapixel (front-facing)
Operating system: Android 4.4.2
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes / Yes / Yes
Bluetooth / NFC: Yes / Yes
Colours: Black
Launch Date: Out now
Price: £199

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