Review Google Nexus 7 16 GB 2013 Tablet

Allen Ngo, 08/06/2013

The next Nexus. The first generation Asus Nexus 7 was arguably the best 7-inch tablet for $200.. so why mess with the price? While the new Nexus 7 does cost $30 more than the original, it manages to improve every aspect both inside and out. See how this hot-selling hardware holds up in our full review below.

The original Kindle Fire sparked a wave of inexpensive Android tablets of similar size from many manufacturers. While most were forgettable, it was Google’s first generation Nexus 7 that received universal acclaim for its high performance and extreme value at the same $200 price tag as the Amazon equivalent. Even the Kindle Fire HD didn't offer enough features to fully topple Google's first Nexus tablet.

Now exactly one year later and following the launch of the Nexus 10, the follow up to the best 7-inch tablet of 2012 is finally available and its internals already look promising. Both system RAM and internal storage have doubled from 1 GB to 2 GB and 8 GB to 16 GB, respectively, with a switch from Tegra to Snapdragon for both processing power and graphics. The dense 1920 x 1200 resolution display provides over twice the pixels of the first gen Nexus 7 and is the key distinguishing factor in a category inundated with 720p displays. It’s all great on paper – that is, until you realize that the new model retails for $30 more than the original for a total of at least $230. We find out in this review if the new Nexus 7 is a worthy successor to its lauded older brother and, ultimately, if it justifies the 15 percent price hike.

Case

Top to bottom: HTC One X, Kindle Fire, 2nd gen Nexus 7. Aside from being much thinner, the Google device is also ~50 grams lighter than its predecessor
Top to bottom: HTC One X, Kindle Fire, 2nd gen Nexus 7. Aside from being much thinner, the Google device is also ~50 grams lighter than its predecessor

Google has once again contracted Asus to manufacture the Nexus 7 successor, which is perhaps unsurprising given the praised construction quality of their metal alloy Transformer family of tablets compared to other Android devices. The new Nexus is still all-around plastic with a glossy Gorilla Glass front and a slightly rubberized matte back that feels similar in texture to the Kindle Fire HD 7. The dotted texture from the first generation Nexus 7 is now gone for a smoother and cleaner look. Fingerprints and dust do accumulate more quickly and visibly than the previous model as a result.

Thickness and weight have been reduced to 8.65 mm and 290 g, respectively. This is compared to 10.56 mm and 340 g of the original, 10.3 mm and 395 g of the Kindle Fire HD 7 and 7.2 mm and 308 g of the larger 7.9-inch iPad Mini. Consequently, the new Nexus one of the lightest tablets in its size class and price range, which makes it that much easier to use outdoors or on-the-go. We noted in the first Nexus 7 review that the center of the backside can be depressed slightly with a finger, which suggests a small gap between the inner case and component directly underneath. The same spot on the new Nexus shows no such depression and is a tighter package overall.

Case quality is similar to the original. Slight side-to-side twisting is possible with a firm amount of force, but luckily no creaking can be heard. The plastic edges and corners don’t feel as hardened as both the original Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire and is more fragile when compared to the aluminum-enforced Transformer Pads or iPads. This may simply be attributed to the very light weight, but utilizing a protective carrying case would not be a bad idea for constant travelers. However, it’s clear that the extra $30 in price was not heavily invested in improving case quality.

Connectivity

The new Nexus includes all of the connectivity options offered by the original Nexus, which isn’t saying too much. There are, however, a few surprises. The micro-USB port is still located on the bottom of the tablet while the 3.5 mm audio jack has moved to the opposite edge. The underutilized pogo pins of the original are now gone completely, which reduces the already low chance of ever seeing official keyboards and other similar accessories.

We attached a micro-USB to USB adapter in an attempt to test standard desktop keyboards, mice and USB thumb drives. Keyboards and mice are recognized instantly, but we were unable to explore the attached USB drive. As such, expandable storage continues to be absent. Wireless display (WiDi) and SlimPort via micro-USB are available to alleviate the absence of a dedicated video-out port for those with compatible external displays. Even so, the Nexus 10 had a micro HDMI port and we would have liked to see something similar on the new Nexus 7.

Left: No connectivity
Left: No connectivity
Bottom: micro-USB 2.0
Bottom: micro-USB 2.0
Right: Power, Volume rocker, microphone
Right: Power, Volume rocker, microphone
Top: 3.5 mm audio
Top: 3.5 mm audio

Communication and GPS

TTFF took less than 2 minutes with no random signal drops
TTFF took less than 2 minutes with no random signal drops

WLAN b/g/n is provided by a single stream dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) module from Atheros with support for Bluetooth 4.0. Most notably, this module supports WiDi for the aforementioned wireless display above. We ran into no random disconnects or other connectivity issues during our time with the new Nexus 7 tablet. A model with LTE/HSPA+ support will be available in the near future for $350.

The built-in GPS had no problems establishing a fix with available satellites. Accuracy is rough for the first few minutes at over 100 feet according to the GPS Test app, but this steadily improves to below 20 feet when outdoors. We experienced no random drops or abnormal GPS behavior with the tablet.

NFC tags and sharing are supported. Note that the NFC tag or device must be placed specifically on the back of the tablet on the surface above the "NEXUS" logo. Placing the tag anywhere else and the tablet will not be able to identify or respond to it.

Warranty

Protection is provided by Asus for up to one year in the US. Beyond that, the manufacturer offers little else other than technical support through phone. As usual, users can add another layer of protection if purchasing the device from a brick and mortar location.

Cameras and Multimedia

Unlike the first Nexus 7, the new Nexus includes a rear 5 MP camera. Pictures are serviceable in quality for outdoor use, though a noticeably blue overcast is present. Indoor shots fare a bit worse as pictures will appear blurry with lots of noise if lighting is below optimal. In such conditions, very still hands are required for a clear photo as no flash is present. Likewise, recorded 1080p video with the rear camera is smooth under well lit conditions. Fast movement with the tablet may cause the video to be out of focus briefly for more than a few seconds before automatic refocusing.

The front-facing 1.2 MP camera is almost as bad as the 1.2 MP camera on the original Nexus 7. It works for the occasional video conferencing if needed, but the picture is generally washed out with noticeable purple fringing and noise.

Rear 5 MP camera
Rear 5 MP camera
Front 1.2 MP camera
Front 1.2 MP camera
Canon EOS Rebel XSi reference
Canon EOS Rebel XSi reference

Videos look absolutely gorgeous on the dense full HD display, especially if the source is native 1080p. We loaded the tablet with different video files - all native 1080p content - to check for compatibility and any playback issues. The built-in video player will play .mp4 and .mkv files without any noticeable frame skips or even distracting ghosting, while .avi and .mov files refused to play at all. Consequently, recorded videos are saved as .mp4. Incompatible files can still play via third party video apps, though playback quality can be mixed as a result. YouTube videos run flawlessly as expected.

Native 1080p videos play flawlessly if they are supported
Native 1080p videos play flawlessly if they are supported
First Nexus device to ship with Android 4.3
First Nexus device to ship with Android 4.3
Swiping down from the top left and top right will show notifications and system settings, respectively.
Swiping down from the top left and top right will show notifications and system settings, respectively.

Input Devices

Touchscreen

Aside from the power button and volume rocker, all inputs are entered via the 10-finger capacitive touchscreen. The display had no issues whatsoever recognizing clicks, swipes, scrolls and zooms and was able to perform them flawlessly. Users with larger hands may find it easier to input commands while in landscape mode as opposed to portrait mode simply due to the the wider bezel length for the palms.

Meanwhile, the eReader includes all the options that one would expect such as keyword searches, font size, line height, note inputs, bookmarks and even a read aloud feature. The chapter search in particular is quite useful. Though only a minor annoyance, pages will take more than a few seconds to load when scrolling quickly or jumping through chapters. The higher pixel density of the tablet also does little to improve the readability of English text, so those who intend to use the device mainly as an eReader can opt for the less expensive original model without missing any noteworthy features.

Virtual Keyboard

The virtual keyboard is the standard Android fare with Swype support automatically enabled. There are no additional layouts beyond the default, though there are different layouts for a number of other languages including Chinese and Korean. Note that there is no haptic feedback, which is similar to the original Nexus 7, so any and all key inputs will have auditory clicks instead.

The three "Back", "Home" and "Tabs" buttons occupy a narrow row on the bottom or side of the display depending on the screen rotation, which is again similar to other Nexus devices. They are always visible and never completely hidden for easy multi-tasking no matter the current application. This is in contrast to the Kindle Fire where the onscreen "Back" button can sometimes be unavailable.

Touchscreen recognized up to 10-finger inputs
Touchscreen recognized up to 10-finger inputs
Standard Android keyboard with Swype support
Standard Android keyboard with Swype support
eReader has all the same functions as the Kindle Fire equivalent with a few extras
eReader has all the same functions as the Kindle Fire equivalent with a few extras

Display

The new Nexus 7 is the first 7-inch tablet (7.02-inches to be exact) with a 1920 x 1200 resolution display. This effectively gives it a dot pitch of ~323 PPI, which is very close to that of the iPhone 5 and slightly more dense than the Nexus 10. Note, however, that the Back, Home, and Tabs buttons occupy a height of 96 pixels, so actual screen real estate will be 1200 x 1824 pixels.

The backlight has improved dramatically from ~300 nits of the original model to over 500 nits on average with this second generation. This nearly matches the popular 10.1-inch Transformer Pad Infinity and is noticeably brighter than all 7- to 9-inch consumer tablets including the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD 7, HP Slate 7 and the Asus Memo Pad HD 7. The very high brightness may have caused the contrast to take a small hit at a measured ~500:1, which is a little less than all the above-mentioned tablets. Regardless, picture quality is already the best in its size class with no hints of artifacts, significant backlight bleeding or other abnormalities.

495
cd/m²
535.2
cd/m²
511.5
cd/m²
503
cd/m²
548.7
cd/m²
491.5
cd/m²
509.7
cd/m²
548.1
cd/m²
477.6
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 548.7 cd/m²
Average: 513.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 548.7 cd/m²
Black: 1.07 cd/m²
Contrast: 513:1

Grayscale and color accuracy are both surprisingly good at no more than a deltaE deviation of 3 units and 5 units, respectively. This only becomes more accurate the more saturated the colors are according to our tests with the CalMAN software. This is uncommon for most other tablets where the deltaE can be over 10 units for many colors under the same test conditions as seen in our reviews of the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and Iconia W3 810. The 2.35 gamma is also close to the 2.2 ideal sRGB target while the 6701K color temperature is close to the 6500K standard. For such a low-priced tablet, the screen simply outclasses its competitors in this regard.

Grayscale
Grayscale
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
usability under direct sunlight is possible at maximum display brightness
usability under direct sunlight is possible at maximum display brightness

The display is very easy on the eyes in outdoor situations. At high or maximum brightness, texts and pictures are still clear as day without washed out colors or causing any eyestrain. In short, the super bright screen and light weight make the new Nexus one of the easiest tablets to use while on-the-go.

Even so, extended use continues to be a bit of a challenge if under direct sunlight, even if this tablet happens to be one of the brightest 7-inch consumer tablets currently available. As a result, working under shade is still the better option for extended periods and to save battery life if needed. Instead, we found ourselves fighting glare most of the time on the reflective display and the even more reflective bezel surrounding it.

Viewing angles Nexus 7 2013
Viewing angles Nexus 7 2013

The IPS panel display provides very wide viewing angles no matter the screen orientation. After witnessing the poor viewing angles of the TN panel on the 9-inch IdeaTab A2019A, an IPS option should be a necessity for any tablet regardless of size. This is especially important outdoors where glare can be more easily avoided when wider viewing angles are possible. On the new Nexus, note that apparent brightness tends to decrease if viewing more than 45 degrees off in any direction from the center normal. In most situations, however, this will have negligible effects on usability.

Performance

Google has switched partners from Nvidia on the original Nexus 7 to Samsung on the Nexus 10 and now to Qualcomm for the latest Nexus revision. The 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 is the same underclocked Snapdragon 600 SoC that powers a number of high-end smartphones including the high-end HTC One and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nexus 4. The quad-core 28 nm Krait architecture is a step up from other processors based on the Cortex-A9 standard, though it is not quite as feature-heavy as chips based on the newer Cortex-A15 architecture like the Tegra 4 or Exynos 5 Dual in the Nexus 10. 2 GB of low-power DDR3L RAM is available on the new Nexus, which is again similar to other high-end smartphones and tablets.

Processing power trounces the previous generation Tegra 3 according to Linpack and Smartbench benchmarks, but is still behind the proprietary Apple A6 cores as found on the much more costly iPad 4. Nonetheless, browser performance according to Peacekeeper, Browsermark and Sunspider is faster than many of the common and more expensive competitors.

Geekbench 2
Geekbench 2
Quadrant Standard
Quadrant Standard
Smartbench 2012
Smartbench 2012
Peacekeeper
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
611 Points ∼10%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
915 Points ∼15% +50%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
468 Points ∼8% -23%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
652 Points ∼11% +7%
Browsermark
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2380 points ∼33%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
2495 (min: 2479) points ∼35% +5%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
2098 (min: 2036) points ∼29% -12%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1667 (min: 1653) points ∼23% -30%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
2254 points ∼31% -5%
Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0 - HTML5
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1663 Points ∼53%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
1864 Points ∼60% +12%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
460 Points ∼15% -72%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2248 Points ∼12%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
1661 Points ∼9% -26%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
852 Points ∼5% -62%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
1487 Points ∼8% -34%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1236 Points ∼7% -45%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
2964 Points ∼16% +32%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
1383 Points ∼8% -38%
Sunspider
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1150.4 ms * ∼11%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
895.3 ms * ∼8% +22%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
1556.8 ms * ∼15% -35%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
1873.5 ms * ∼18% -63%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1722.8 ms * ∼16% -50%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
1345.7 ms * ∼13% -17%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
1787 ms * ∼17% -55%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
5080 points ∼49%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
3935 points ∼38% -23%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3840 points ∼37% -24%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
3504 points ∼34% -31%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
2418 points ∼23% -52%
Linpack for Android - Multi Thread
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
253.634 MFLOPS ∼23%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
654.29 MFLOPS ∼60% +158%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
124.4 MFLOPS ∼11% -51%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
106.8 MFLOPS ∼10% -58%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
69.296 MFLOPS ∼6% -73%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
189.94 MFLOPS ∼17% -25%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
73.782 MFLOPS ∼7% -71%

* ... smaller is better

Games

The Snapdragon APQ8064 is paired with an integrated Adreno 320 GPU, which supports a unified shader architecture and the OpenGL ES 3.0 API. All tested games on the Android market are playable at smooth frame rates and without hitches. N.O.V.A. 3, for example, does not drop in frame rate even during more intense segments. Graphics benchmarks such as NenaMark and Epic Citadel also run at close to 60 FPS, though the latter at its extreme 1080p settings will drop to a still respectable 38.5 FPS. The GPU outperforms the almost 2-year old Tegra 3 across the board in raw graphical power as expected.

Need for Drift
Need for Drift
N.O.V.A. 3
N.O.V.A. 3
ShadowGun
ShadowGun
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
16 fps ∼2%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
16 fps ∼2% 0%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3.2 fps ∼0% -80%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
12.4 fps ∼2% -22%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
16 fps ∼27%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
12 fps ∼20% -25%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
5.3 fps ∼9% -67%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
7.9 fps ∼13% -51%
Epic Citadel
High Performance
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
58.6 fps ∼97%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
53.6 fps ∼88% -9%
High Quality
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
58.1 fps ∼97%
Ultra High Quality
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
38.5 fps ∼64%
NenaMark2
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
59.3 fps ∼88%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
55.6 fps ∼83% -6%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
36.7 fps ∼55% -38%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
27.8 fps ∼41% -53%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
55.2 fps ∼82% -7%
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
11828 Points ∼8%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
10193 Points ∼7% -14%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3523 Points ∼2% -70%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
12167 Points ∼2%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
10742 Points ∼1% -12%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3118 Points ∼0% -74%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
10777 Points ∼20%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
8647 Points ∼16% -20%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
6466 Points ∼12% -40%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
7245 Points ∼6%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
6826 Points ∼6% -6%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
6655 Points ∼3%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
6442 Points ∼2% -3%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
10508 Points ∼22%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
8627 Points ∼18% -18%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
10848 Points ∼8%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
11596 Points ∼4%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
8850 Points ∼17%
AnTuTu Benchmark v3
Total Score
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
19788 Points ∼55%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
12703 Points ∼36% -36%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
13563 Points ∼38% -31%
CPU
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
7290 Points ∼47%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
6371 Points ∼41% -13%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
5148 Points ∼33% -29%
GPU
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
9072 Points ∼94%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3645 Points ∼38% -60%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
5303 Points ∼55% -42%
RAM
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2549 Points ∼37%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1915 Points ∼28% -25%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
2209 Points ∼32% -13%
I/O
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
877 Points ∼95%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
772 Points ∼84% -12%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
903 Points ∼98% +3%

Storage Devices

Out of the 16 GB of storage, only 11.94 GB is immediately available to the user. The lack of expandable storage means users will need to put down an additional $40 for the $270 32 GB model. Fortunately, universal read/write speeds are an improvement over the original Nexus 7 and are comparable to the newer Nexus devices according to AndroBench.

As a side note, the tablet will periodically run fstrim if it is idling or otherwise not in use in order to reduce write degradation overtime due to buildup of unused drive blocks. The automatic command is a feature as of the Android 4.3 update.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
59.73 MB/s ∼36%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
16.87 MB/s ∼10% -72%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
99.53 MB/s ∼59% +67%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
49.7 MB/s ∼30% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
75.1 MB/s ∼45% +26%
Sequential Write 256KB
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.97 MB/s ∼24%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
5.22 MB/s ∼9% -63%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
20.02 MB/s ∼35% +43%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.97 MB/s ∼24% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
13.11 MB/s ∼23% -6%
Random Read 4KB
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
11.99 MB/s ∼57%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
4.76 MB/s ∼23% -60%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
10.35 MB/s ∼49% -14%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
12.14 MB/s ∼58% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
12.28 MB/s ∼59% +2%
Random Write 4KB
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
0.82 MB/s ∼28%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
0.28 MB/s ∼10% -66%
Google Nexus 10
Mali-T604 MP4, 5250 Dual, 32 GB SSD
1.27 MB/s ∼43% +55%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1.07 MB/s ∼37% +30%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1.13 MB/s ∼39% +38%

Emissions

Temperature

When idle, surface temperatures are essentially at ambient evenly across all quadrants. This is unlike a number of other tablets where hot spots can clearly be felt even with no running programs such as the Slate 7, Iconia W3 810 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0. 

Under heavier loads or during gaming sessions, the left hand side of the new Nexus tablet (the side with the two cameras) will begin to warm rather quickly. The opposing right hand side heats up as well, but at a much slower rate and to a lower maximum. This eventually leads to one hand being warmer than the other during extended use if in landscape mode.

Note that the measured maximum of over 45 degrees C below was recorded after running Stability Test 2.5 for over an hour, and so it is unrepresentative of typical use. It does, however, clearly show the general positioning of the processor and its ability to remain stable after long periods of maximum load. A temperature difference between the hands can still be felt during longer browsing and gaming sessions, but it is in no way bothersome.

Max. Load
 45.2 °C37.2 °C38.2 °C 
 45.4 °C37.6 °C41 °C 
 42.8 °C37.2 °C38.8 °C 
Maximum: 45.4 °C
Average: 40.4 °C
32.8 °C35.2 °C45.8 °C
34.8 °C35.6 °C45.2 °C
34 °C35.2 °C42.2 °C
Maximum: 45.8 °C
Average: 37.9 °C
Room Temperature 25 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Stereo speak grilles on opposite back edges
Stereo speak grilles on opposite back edges

The stereo speakers are located on the edges of the back of the device and face away from the user. Each of the two grilles cover one speaker, which is different from the original Nexus 7 where there was only one grille covering two speakers. The more even distribution of speakers on the new Nexus allows for more balanced audio with less muffling.

Even so, sound quality feels tinny because of the lack of proper bass reproduction. This becomes more apparent at higher volumes when sounds become more narrow in range and the tablet begins vibrating. The positioning is also unfavorable if using the tablet in landscape mode since the palms will be right over the grilles, further muffling sounds. Quality is sufficient for the occasional music and video, but is simply not as good as the speakers on the original Kindle Fire. 3.5 mm external headphones are recommended if streaming music or video to fill a living room.

Battery Life

The internal lithium-ion polymer battery provides 3950 mAh (or 16 Wh) of power, noticeably less than the 4325 mAh battery of the original 7-inch Nexus. It's safe to assume that both hardware and software optimizations have compensated for the smaller capacity battery as our runtime tests are somewhat similar to the older Nexus 7.

With no apps running while sitting idly on the home screen, the new Nexus was able to last for over 44 hours. During this time, wireless radios were deactivated and the screen was dimmed to its lowest setting and not allowed to timeout.

On the other end of the spectrum, we ran Stability Test 2.5 to fully stress the CPU and GPU at maximum screen brightness with wireless radios active until automatic shutdown. The tablet was able to last for roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes before shutdown.

The more realistic WLAN test puts the display at 150 nits (about 25 percent brightness setting) while looping our continuous script to simulate typical browsing conditions with no screen timeout. This test is identical to our WLAN test for notebooks. At 6 hours and 51 minutes, the new Nexus is essentially identical to the original Nexus 7 in WLAN runtime.

The large discrepancy between idling and WLAN runtimes means users can get away without charging the tablet for a few extra days longer. More conservative brightness and system settings will also net much more battery life this time around. Otherwise, expect around 7 hours of constant use before needing to recharge. In comparison, this is a couple hours sooner than the Kindle Fire HD 7, but similar to the Slate 7 and 10.1-inch Transformer Pad Infinity.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
44h 08min
WiFi Surfing
6h 51min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 18min

Verdict

Google Nexus 7 2013
Google Nexus 7 2013

The second generation Nexus 7 retails for $30 more than the first model. If based solely on its build, the price increase does not feel justified as the quality is only a modest upgrade over the original. The model still lacks expandable storage, dedicated video-out and docking station support. Users with the 16 GB model may find themselves out of space quite quickly after realizing that almost 5 GB is unavailable.

Once the display is powered on, however, it becomes easy to see why the price tag carries that extra $30. The screen is currently the best and brightest available on a 7-inch device with very accurate colors to boot. The Snapdragon processor has no problems keeping up with the animations and high resolution while the light weight makes it one of the best tablets for use outdoors. It's clear that the extra cost in materials was invested in the display and internals rather than in greatly improving case quality and connectivity options.

Users looking for a 7-inch Android tablet should look no further as this is (yet again) the overall best in its size class. The still competitive price only makes the deal even sweeter.

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In Review: Google Nexus 7 2013
In Review: Google Nexus 7 2013

Specifications

Google Nexus 7 2013

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR3L
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 320, Core: 400 MHz
:: Display
7 inch 16:10, 1920x1200 pixel, 10-finger capacitive , IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB SSD, 16 GB
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone , Sensors: GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass, Ambient light ,
:: Networking
Qualcomm Atheros WCN3660 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.65 x 200 x 114
:: Weight
0.29 kg
:: Battery
16 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 3950 mAh
:: Price
$229 USD, ~172 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.3
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 5 MP w/ 1080p recording, Front: 1.2 MP , Speakers: Stereo

 

The base 16 GB model retails for $230, which is $30 more than the original
The base 16 GB model retails for $230, which is $30 more than the original
Entire front face is flat and glossy
Entire front face is flat and glossy
Reflective Gorilla Glass surface can still be depressed slightly with a firm press
Reflective Gorilla Glass surface can still be depressed slightly with a firm press
About 2 mm thinner than the original Nexus 7
About 2 mm thinner than the original Nexus 7
Edges and corners are hard plastic and can be twisted ever so slightly
Edges and corners are hard plastic and can be twisted ever so slightly
The new Nexus 7 is taller in length than the Kindle Fire, but also noticeably lighter and thinner
The new Nexus 7 is taller in length than the Kindle Fire, but also noticeably lighter and thinner
The display of the Nexus 7 is darker compared to the Kindle Fire for reduced glare
The display of the Nexus 7 is darker compared to the Kindle Fire for reduced glare
Though a very slight improvement over the original Nexus 7, build quality does not feel as reinforced as the heavy Kindle Fire
Though a very slight improvement over the original Nexus 7, build quality does not feel as reinforced as the heavy Kindle Fire
High maximum brightness of over 500 nits allows for use outdoors under sunlight
High maximum brightness of over 500 nits allows for use outdoors under sunlight
Unfortunately, strong reflections can still hinder visibility
Unfortunately, strong reflections can still hinder visibility
Dust and other particles stick easily around the perimeter
Dust and other particles stick easily around the perimeter
Like its predecessor, the backside is more rounded nearer the edges
Like its predecessor, the backside is more rounded nearer the edges
Matte black back similar in color to the original Nexus 7
Matte black back similar in color to the original Nexus 7
However, the dotted texture is now gone in favor of a smooth, slightly rubberized plastic back
However, the dotted texture is now gone in favor of a smooth, slightly rubberized plastic back
The 3.5 mm audio, camera, microphone, power button, and volume rocker are all located around the same corner
The 3.5 mm audio, camera, microphone, power button, and volume rocker are all located around the same corner
Asus logo
Asus logo
Standard box includes a Quick Start guide, warranty information, micro-USB cable and AC adapter
Standard box includes a Quick Start guide, warranty information, micro-USB cable and AC adapter
Not much internal storage space is available with the 16 GB model
Not much internal storage space is available with the 16 GB model

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Amazon.com

$259.68 Nexus 7 from Google (7-Inch, 32 GB, Black) by ASUS (2013) Tablet

ASUS Google Nexus 7 16GB (2013)
» 155.00 GBP (lowest price)
155.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
156.38 GBP Amazon.co.uk
169.95 GBP John Lewis
181.16 GBP Future1
199.99 GBP Argos
212.25 GBP King of Gadgets

ASUS Google Nexus 7 32GB (2013)
» 187.89 GBP (lowest price)
187.89 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
197.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
199.95 GBP John Lewis
209.99 GBP Ebuyer
239.99 GBP Argos
286.09 GBP King of Gadgets
300.54 GBP Future1

ASUS Google Nexus 7 4G 32GB (2013)
» 259.99 GBP (lowest price)
259.99 GBP Argos
264.98 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK

The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+1920 x 1200 resolution IPS display is unmatched in this size class
+Bright 500+ nit screen sufficient for outdoor use
+Intel WiDi and SlimPort support
+Very lightweight at ~50 grams and ~100 grams less than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7, respectively
+Native playback of 1080p .mp4 and .mkv files without frame skips
+Fast CPU and GPU performance
+Good battery life without increasing battery capacity
+Clean Android Jelly Bean 4.3 software
+First in line to receive future Android updates
 

Cons

-No other inputs other than micro-USB and 3.5 mm audio
-Only about 11 GB of free space for the 16 GB model
-Surface can become very warm under very high loads
-No native .avi or .mov playback
-Heavy glare, especially when outdoors
-Poor quality front-facing 1.2 MP camera
-More expensive launch price than the original Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7
-Casing is still mostly plastic and not a very big improvement in quality over the original
-Prone to fingerprints
-Average speakers

Shortcut

What we like

Everything has been improved over the original. The new Nexus 7 is lighter and thinner without sacrificing rigidity with more powerful internals and a very bright 1080p display. The model outperforms most larger tablets.

What we'd like to see

Unfortunately, the $30 price hike may be enough to deter some users regardless of the improvements. Expandability is also very limited with no microSD slots or cabled video-out options. Tablet can become quite warm under sustained heavy loads.

What surprises us

The higher starting price is more or less justified. The display alone is unmatched in this price range.

The competition

Apple iPad Mini

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7

Asus MeMo Pad 7

Google Nexus 7

HP Slate 7

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109A 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0

Rating

Google Nexus 7 2013
04/02/2014 v4
Allen Ngo

Chassis
83%
Keyboard
63 / 80 → 79%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
32 / 70 → 46%
Weight
87 / 88 → 98%
Battery
93%
Display
88%
Games Performance
56 / 80 → 70%
Application Performance
38 / 70 → 54%
Temperature
74%
Noise
100%
Audio
64%
Camera
65%
Average
71%
85%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Google Nexus 7 16 GB 2013 Tablet
Author: Allen Ngo, 2013-08- 6 (Update: 2013-08- 9)