Review Google Nexus 7 Tablet 8GB

Allen Ngo, 08/13/2012

Entry price, high-end performance. The first Google tablet to sport the Nexus name is at last available for $200 with specs and features that are surprisingly similar to more costly high-end models. Is this a home run? Or is it another Motorola Xoom?

Following the successful launch of the Kindle Fire in 2011, all eyes were on Google to see if they had a tablet of their own brewing under wraps. After all, the search giant had been seemingly preparing for such a tablet launch with the acquisition of Motorola and the fusion between Honeycomb and Gingerbread into what we know today as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The formal announcement of the Google tablet came only weeks before its official launch, but rumors from months prior were almost spot-on regarding the screen size, choice of CPU and even manufacturer. A very early prototype was quietly revealed back at CES 2012 and was eventually picked up by Google along the way. The final product follows the successful Nexus branding and is powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, 1 GB DDR3 RAM, 8 GB to 16 GB SSD and a 7-inch 1280x800 resolution display - all for $200. In this review, we take a closer look at the features and performance of the Nexus 7 tablet and how it compares to its half year old competitor: The Kindle Fire.

Case

Slim and sleek without looking derivative
Slim and sleek without looking derivative

Despite owning Motorola and having a healthy relationship with Samsung, Google has contracted Taiwanese manufacturer Asus to fabricate the Nexus 7. This is perhaps unsurprising as the Xoom - once the flagship Honeycomb tablet - has been an embarrassment to the Android platform. Asus, on the other hand, currently produces one of the most successful android-based tablets with excellent workmanship all-around. The current Transformer tablets, such as the Prime and Infinity, have already impressed us. Have these qualities translated to the Nexus 7?

From a visual standpoint, the Google tablet is much sleeker and more modern compared to the boxier and more boring design of the Amazon tablet. However, it also lacks the thinness and luster of the Asus Transformer series. The necessity to develop a low-cost tablet meant that plastic was the material of choice during the design phase. Nonetheless, the tablet feels adequately strong on the hand with no major twisting concerns. The matte silver lining could pass as metal if seen from afar, when in actuality is hard plastic and colored to add style and visual appeal. The front is completely flat and sheltered by Corning Glass in contrast to the curved back, the latter of which is textured plastic with a slight rubber touch. The resulting surface is less prone to fingerprints as compared to the glossy front surface.

Compared to Amazon’s offering, the Nexus 7 is less robust since it is both noticeably lighter (345 grams vs. 413 grams) and taller (198.5 mm vs. 180 mm) with what seems to be a thinner chassis. The center of the backside, for example, is slightly depressible more so than the Kindle Fire, albeit to such a small degree that it is no cause for concern. Still, after just one sitting, moving back to the bulkier Kindle Fire was unfavorable due to the weight difference between the two. It’s staggering how a ~60 gram difference is so noticeable when comparing tablets. In this regard, the Nexus 7 is definitely the easier tablet to use from an ergonomic perspective.

Connectivity

Physical connectivity is quite barebones. A micro-USB port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack are the only options available, so users hoping for mini/micro HDMI or even a card reader are out of luck. Interestingly, four conspicuous metal pogo pins can be seen on the lower left edge of the tablet, which is similar to the three contacts currently found on the left edge of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. We presume that future accessories and docks will make use of this connection, so until then these proprietary contacts serve no purpose.

As for MHL and OTG support, the Nexus 7 unfortunately lacks the former according to user reports, at least in its unrooted state. USB OTG will work with certain mice and keyboards, but we were unlucky with USB flash drives being recognized correctly.

Left: Four pogo pins
Left: Four pogo pins
Bottom: 3.5 mm audio, 1x micro-USB
Bottom: 3.5 mm audio, 1x micro-USB
Right: Power button, Volume rocker
Right: Power button, Volume rocker

Communication

We experienced no random GPS acquisition or signal drops
We experienced no random GPS acquisition or signal drops

Wireless features include wireless-n, GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC, which is quite the variety given the price range. GPS fix (without WLAN assistance) happens quite quickly at about 1-2 minutes and the WLAN range is comparable to that of the Kindle Fire. We weren’t able to test NFC, but the tablet comes preloaded with Google Wallet (as of Android 4.1.1) and should be compatible with all of its features.

No models currently exist with GSM or EVDO support, which makes the Nexus 7 more suited for indoor or multimedia use similar to the Kindle Fire or Vizio tablet. Another notable omission is an LED indicator – no lights exist to indicate a charging or fully charged status when a micro-USB cable is connected.

Warranty

End-user warranty is handled almost completely by Asus as they are the manufacturer of the Nexus 7. The standard 12 month coverage applies and covers manufacturing defects only. As of this writing, there appears to be no extended warranty options when ordered from Google.

Software

Every major Google device thus far has launched with the latest version of Android free from the clutches of proprietary GUIs. While most tablets are still stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich or earlier, the Google tablet is privileged with the latest build of Jelly Bean, which includes new features such as Google Now and other OS enhancements. Like the Galaxy Nexus, a small portion of the 7-inch display is almost always reserved for the Back, Home and Menu keys.

From the get-go, it becomes obvious that the Nexus 7 is geared towards multimedia use. Just like how the Kindle Fire is constantly transferring the user to the Amazon Store, the Nexus 7 by default includes shortcuts and widgets on the main screen that will link directly to the Google Play market. In fact, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and a few eBooks are free-to-play on the device, not to mention the free $25 Google Play credit if you buy the tablet directly from the Play market. It’s no secret that Google is anticipating much of its profit not from the retail price of the tablet but from the digital downloads it is feeding to users.

Fortunately, the overlying software works much more efficiently and effortlessly than does the Kindle Fire, and users are free to load up the device with Android apps, movies, and music without side-loading or other inconvenient circumventions. Due to the heavily redesigned interface of the Kindle Fire, jumping from an Android or iOS smartphone to the Nexus 7 is orders of magnitude easier.

Default Home screen
Default Home screen
Chrome browser optimized for Jelly Bean
Chrome browser optimized for Jelly Bean
e-reader
e-reader

Cameras and Multimedia

In stark contrast to the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 includes a built-in front-facing 1.2 MP camera for video conferencing and portrait purposes. Oddly enough, no built-in camera app exists, so users are expected to download a camera app from the Play store. Picture results are rather subpar and not recommended, especially if put up against 5 MP and 8 MP rear cameras that are common on larger 10.1-inch tablets. Since the camera appears to be designed primarily for standard definition video capture, features like tap to focus, flash, and facial recognition are out of the question.

Camera video quality ranges from poor to average and depends heavily on ambient lighting conditions. Frame rate and colors are markedly better when used outdoors compared to indoors during the daytime, so it behooves the user to be in a well-lit location for better quality. Fortunately, Skype, when downloaded from the Play market, has no problems recognizing both the front-facing camera and microphone.

The built-in nuts and bolts video player works well, though it lacks both features and full native support for the common AVI and MKV files. Beyond closed captioning and full screen options, there isn't much besides the standard Play, Pause and video progress bar.

The 1.2 MP camera feels archaic
The 1.2 MP camera feels archaic
Native support for H.263, H.264 AVC, MPEG-4, and VP8 video formats
Native support for H.263, H.264 AVC, MPEG-4, and VP8 video formats
Standard Android keyboard
Standard Android keyboard

Games

As expected from the world’s largest graphics chip manufacturer, the Tegra 3 SoC flexes most of its muscle when playing games. Compared to the Tegra 2, the integrated Tegra 3 GPU offers twice the pixel shader units as well as a faster core clock and should be able to play any game currently on the Play market without problems.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, for example, plays flawlessly on the Nexus 7 at smooth and consistent frame rates. We also tried out N.O.V.A. 3, which is one of the most impressive titles currently on the market in terms of production value and texture detail. Frame rates are much more erratic on this Gameloft title compared to other 3D games, but it never drops to slideshow speeds and is still very playable nonetheless.

NFS runs without breaking a sweat...
NFS runs without breaking a sweat...
... but frame rates in N.O.V.A. 3 could use improvement
... but frame rates in N.O.V.A. 3 could use improvement

Display

The screen is perhaps the easiest characteristic of a tablet to cut corners on in order to meet target price ranges. Fortunately on the Nexus 7, the 7-inch screen is easily the standout feature of the device. The 1280x800 resolution LED-backlit display offers 216 PPI and uses an IPS panel that has become common practice in mid-range to high-end tablets. Side-by-side, the Google tablet can reproduce notably whiter whites and deeper colors than the display of the Kindle Fire. In addition, the higher resolution of the Nexus 7 offers crisper internet browsing and movie playback as well.

Screen brightness averages at about 280 cd/m2 with the brightest spot measured on the very center. This is brighter than the majority of notebooks and comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but also notably lower than most tablets such as the third generation iPad, Asus Transformer Infinity and the Kindle Fire. Subjectively, a slight to moderate brightness difference can be observed between the Google and Amazon tablets.

283
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
275
cd/m²
277
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 302 cd/m²
Average: 280.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 302 cd/m²
Black: .32 cd/m²
Contrast: 944:1
Screen glare is less pronounced on the Nexus 7 (left) compared to the Kindle Fire (right)
Screen glare is less pronounced on the Nexus 7 (left) compared to the Kindle Fire (right)

Of course, the real screen brightness test is whether or not the Nexus 7 can be used outdoors effectively. In general, smaller onscreen texts and images can become difficult to see when under direct sunlight, even at maximum brightness. However, we didn’t find readability to be noticeably any better or worse than the Kindle Fire. Prolong outdoor use will be best when under shade or on cloudier days.

In terms of glare, the glossy display of the Nexus 7 is less reflective than the display of the Kindle Fire, which helps during everyday use and somewhat makes up for the reduced screen brightness. Ambient reflections are still present to a lesser degree.

Viewing stability is consistent regardless of viewing angle because of the IPS panel. Color shifting does not occur, but apparent brightness drops a bit if viewing from extreme angles. A direct line-of-sight is still best, though users should encounter no major problems if sharing the display with one or two other adjacent viewers.

Performance

The 1.2 GHz 40 nm quad-core Tegra 3 T30L is an absolute powerhouse for a tablet this size and price range. It was only mid last year when most manufacturers were beginning to launch tablets equipped with dual-core Tegra 2 processors at over twice or even thrice the starting price of the Nexus 7. Subjectively, both scrolling and navigation are leagues above the Kindle Fire in frame rates, speed, and usability. Nitpickers may notice some slight ghosting during everyday use, but we did not find this distracting at the slightest.

In our review of the third generation iPad, we mentioned that we were a bit disappointed about the processor in the tablet as it is essentially the same 1 GHz dual-core CPU found in the iPad 2 but with beefed up graphics performance. The 1.2 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 should have no problems blazing past the iPad in terms of raw CPU performance, and the GeekBench 2 results below prove this. Integer and floating point calculations are over twice that of Apple’s latest tablet and also about equal to the similarly equipped (and over twice as expensive) Asus Transformer Prime.

Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit
Total Score
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1599 Points ∼13%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
470 Points ∼4%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
764 Points ∼6%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
759 Points ∼6%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1535 Points ∼12%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
894 Points ∼7%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
660 Points ∼5%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
609 Points ∼5%
Integer
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1419 Points ∼11%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
375 Points ∼3%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
691 Points ∼5%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
687 Points ∼5%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1374 Points ∼10%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
707 Points ∼5%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
591 Points ∼4%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
669 Points ∼5%
Floating Point
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
2370 Points ∼14%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
466 Points ∼3%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
923 Points ∼6%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
920 Points ∼6%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
2304 Points ∼14%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
1259 Points ∼8%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
784 Points ∼5%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
302 Points ∼2%
Memory
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1231 Points ∼15%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
717 Points ∼9%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
838 Points ∼10%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
818 Points ∼10%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1111 Points ∼13%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
941 Points ∼11%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
751 Points ∼9%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1247 Points ∼15%
Stream
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
269 Points ∼3%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
330 Points ∼4%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
333 Points ∼4%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
333 Points ∼4%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
264 Points ∼3%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
184 Points ∼2%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
293 Points ∼3%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
206 Points ∼2%

The performance of the integrated ULP GeForce GPU is an enormous improvement over the Tegra 2 although still substantially less powerful than the graphical prowess of the third gen iPad. The Pro and Egypt tests in GLBenchmark 2.1 are v-synced at 60 FPS, but the offscreen results show the differences in GPU power between the Tegra 3 and Apple A5X quite clearly. Even physically the Apple SoC is larger than the Tegra 3 SoC and uses the same quad-core PowerVR GPU that also powers the Sony Vita, so Nvidia is at a disadvantage from a pure graphics point of view.

GLBenchmark 2.1
Pro
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
58 fps ∼97%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
60 fps ∼100%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
55 fps ∼92%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
55 fps ∼92%
Pro Offscreen (720p)
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
82 fps ∼21%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
251 fps ∼64%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
80 fps ∼20%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
91 fps ∼23%
Egypt
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
53 fps ∼1%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
59 fps ∼1%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
59 fps ∼1%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
52 fps ∼1%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
21.9 fps ∼0%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
48 fps ∼1%
Egypt Offscreen (720p)
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
64 fps ∼1%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
90 fps ∼1%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
140 fps ∼2%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
66 fps ∼1%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
64 fps ∼1%

The 1 GB of main DDR3 memory coupled with Jelly Bean optimizations mean that general web surfing, multitasking and tab management work just as well if not slightly better than most other tablets with 1 GB RAM. We never ran into significant performance hitches during normal use.

Browsermark 1.0
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
127504 points ∼23%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
65269 points ∼12% -49%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
126324 points ∼23% -1%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
119777 points ∼22% -6%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
76540 points ∼14% -40%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
74437 points ∼13% -42%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
104958 points ∼19% -18%
Sunspider
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1722.8 ms * ∼16%
Apple iPad 1 3G 64GB
SGX535, A4
2876.8 ms * ∼27%
Apple iPad 2
SGX543MP2, A5, 64 GB SSD
2041 ms * ∼19%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
1860 ms * ∼18%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1870 ms * ∼18%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
1948.9 ms * ∼18%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
2613 ms * ∼25%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1696.1 ms * ∼16%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1257 ms * ∼31%

* ... smaller is better

Google V8 Ver. 6
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1585 points ∼14%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
866 points ∼7% -45%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1649 points ∼14% +4%
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
GeForce ULP (Tegra 2), 2 (250), 16 GB SSD
683 points ∼6% -57%
HTC Flyer 7-Zoll WiFi + 3G
Adreno 205, S2 MSM8255, 32 GB SSD
607 points ∼5% -62%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1410 points ∼12% -11%

Emissions

System Noise

Tablets, like smartphones, almost always use Flash memory without traditional fans for cooling support. As such, the Nexus 7 is noiseless outside of its speakers.

Temperature

To test idling temperatures, we allowed the tablet to sit on an e-book page for an hour (without screen timeouts) before taking measurements. Surface temperature in general became mildly warm, but nothing out of the ordinary with regards to tablets. No particular spot grew dramatically warmer than any other spot.

To test load temperatures, we played a round of N.O.V.A. 3 for about an hour before any measurements were taken. Depending on the ambient temperature, certain sections of the tablet can reach quite close to the 40 degree C mark, which is fairly high for a tablet. The moderately high temperatures should never become an issue during normal use, however, simply because of the way the tablet will be held during gameplay. Skin contact will mostly be from the palms resting on the edges of the tablet, so the warmest areas are easy to ignore. Surfing the web or playing movies will produce lower load surface temperatures than what was recorded here.

Max. Load
 34.4 °C33.6 °C35 °C 
 34.8 °C35.8 °C37 °C 
 36.2 °C37.6 °C38.4 °C 
Maximum: 38.4 °C
Average: 35.9 °C
34.4 °C38.2 °C38.8 °C
33.2 °C34.6 °C35.2 °C
33.6 °C33.8 °C33.8 °C
Maximum: 38.8 °C
Average: 35.1 °C
Room Temperature 26 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The grille of the stereo speakers is located on the back edge and faces away from the user. Because of the positioning, it can be easily blocked by the user’s left or right hand. The volume at 50 percent is a bit on the soft side, so we constantly found ourselves turning up the volume closer to 80 percent or 90 percent during video or music playback.

Sound quality is average for the size with little to minor balance distortions at higher volumes. Maximum volume and bass quality are slightly lower and weaker, respectively, than the speakers of the Kindle Fire. Even so, most users will find the internal speakers just fine for the occasional videos and games. Headphones are instantly recognized when plugged into the 3.5 mm jack.if better quality is desired.

Battery Life

We conducted our maximum battery life test by disabling both screen timeout and all wireless radios while at the minimum brightness setting. The tablet was then left to sit idle on an e-book page. Under these conditions, the device was able to last 17 hours 38 minutes before automatic shutdown.

In contrast, our minimum battery life test involved enabling all wireless radios (WLAN/GPS/NFC/Bluetooth) and setting the screen brightness to its maximum. We ran Stability Test 2.5 to stress both the CPU and GPU until the tablet powered down after 2 hours 22 minutes.

Between the two extremes, we ran our standard notebook WLAN test by disabling screen lock, enabling only WLAN, setting screen brightness to 150 cd/m2 (around the 50 percent mark) and looped our standard script to simulate typical browsing conditions. This more realistic test returned a battery life of 6 hours 50 minutes.

The approximate 7 hours of continuous browsing use is appreciably longer than the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and HTC Flyer, both of which have 7-inch screens. Larger tablets, such as the Transformer Prime and iPad 3, have much larger batteries and can last closer to the 10 hour mark. The battery life is good considering the size class and the Nexus 7 should have no problems lasting for a full day of use.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 38min
WiFi Surfing
6h 50min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 22min

Verdict

Google Nexus 7
Google Nexus 7

Never has an Android tablet felt so clean, uncluttered, and customizable right out of the box. The ease-of-use and silky smooth software is presented in a tight-fitting chassis and with a display that is simply unmatched at this price range. Android aficionados can absolutely pick this up without hesitation as all core functionalities work and perform flawlessly with no hiccups or any flashy visual flare.

The hardware side, although by no means bad, is less impressive than the software it runs. The case feels a bit less firm than the Kindle Fire, physical connectivity options are limited, the camera is average, and the brightness could have been improved. But in the end, we feel that the lighter weight, higher resolution, superior aesthetics, and less reflective glossy screen more than make up for the shortcomings. For all intents and purposes, the Google tablet trounces the Kindle Fire and other similarly priced tablets.

The low $200 MSRP may convey a sense of no frills mediocrity and quality when in fact the Nexus 7 carries the same powerful processor found in current high-end Android tablets and smartphones for a price similar to budget or second-rate mobile devices. This, combined with priority updates and the pure Android experience that it shares with the Nexus smartphones, could be an advantage significant enough for users to purchase a Nexus 7 over even more expensive tablets.

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

Specifications

Google Nexus 7

:: Processor
NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2 GHz
:: Memory
1024 MB, DDR3 RAM
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
7.0 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset,
:: Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 198.5 x 120 x 10.45
:: Weight
0.345 kg Power Supply: 0.05 kg
:: Battery
16 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4325 mAh
:: Price
$200 USD, 162 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.2 MP, 12 Months Warranty

 

Google's first 7-inch tablet
Google's first 7-inch tablet
The overall design of the Nexus 7 is more appealing, if also slightly less robust
The overall design of the Nexus 7 is more appealing, if also slightly less robust
Side-by-side under indirect sunlight. Note the more reflective display of the Kindle Fire despite having a higher maximum brightness than the Nexus 7
Side-by-side under indirect sunlight. Note the more reflective display of the Kindle Fire despite having a higher maximum brightness than the Nexus 7
Nexus 7 under direct sunlight
Nexus 7 under direct sunlight
Kindle Fire under direct sunlight. Outdoor visibility is similar between the two tablets
Kindle Fire under direct sunlight. Outdoor visibility is similar between the two tablets
Nexus 7 compared to the HTC Evo 4G LTE (One X)
Nexus 7 compared to the HTC Evo 4G LTE (One X)
At maximum brightness, the display of the One X can outperform that of the Nexus 7
At maximum brightness, the display of the One X can outperform that of the Nexus 7
Bottom to top: Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, HTC One X
Bottom to top: Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, HTC One X
The chrome perimeter of the Nexus 7 is actually plastic compared to the metal perimeter of the One X
The chrome perimeter of the Nexus 7 is actually plastic compared to the metal perimeter of the One X
Both utilize glossy Corning Glass
Both utilize glossy Corning Glass
Albeit thinner, the Nexus 7 is also almost 19 mm taller than the Amazon tablet
Albeit thinner, the Nexus 7 is also almost 19 mm taller than the Amazon tablet
Weight is similar to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but much lighter than the Kindle Fire
Weight is similar to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but much lighter than the Kindle Fire
The glossy front attracts fingerprints easily...
The glossy front attracts fingerprints easily...
... but the matte back is less prone to grease build-up
... but the matte back is less prone to grease build-up
Maximum brightness outdoors under indirect sunlight
Maximum brightness outdoors under indirect sunlight
The Nexus 7 (left) is marginally thinner than the Kindle Fire (right)
The Nexus 7 (left) is marginally thinner than the Kindle Fire (right)
The backside is also rounder and textured compared to the flatness of the Kindle Fire (left)
The backside is also rounder and textured compared to the flatness of the Kindle Fire (left)

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Amazon.com

$254.99 Nexus 7 from Google (7-Inch, 32 GB, Black) by ASUS (2013) Tablet

ASUS Google Nexus 7 16GB (2012)
» 126.99 GBP (lowest price)
126.99 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
179.42 GBP Ebuyer

ASUS Google Nexus 7 32GB (2012)
» 99.99 GBP (lowest price)
99.99 GBP Argos
109.99 GBP Reliant Direct
115.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
119.99 GBP Beyond Television
199.99 GBP Currys
219.99 GBP Amazon.co.uk
260.90 GBP Future1

ASUS Google Nexus 7 16GB (2013)
» 154.72 GBP (lowest price)
154.72 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
156.38 GBP Amazon.co.uk
169.95 GBP John Lewis
169.99 GBP Currys
169.99 GBP PC World
199.99 GBP Argos
212.25 GBP King of Gadgets
217.47 GBP Future1

ASUS Google Nexus 7 32GB (2013)
» 190.00 GBP (lowest price)
190.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
197.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
199.95 GBP John Lewis
199.99 GBP PC World
239.99 GBP Argos
245.00 GBP Ebuyer
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

+Smooth and consistent performance
+Latest Android build
+Fast CPU/GPU
+High resolution IPS display
+GPS/NFC/Bluetooth/WLAN/mic/camera functionality
+Long battery life
+Light weight
 

Cons

-No WWAN or HDMI support
-No card reader
-Very plastic feel
-Not as bright as many tablets
-Mediocre speakers
-Limited camera features

Shortcut

What we like

Software and hardware performance is almost a steal at $200. The core features of any tablet, such as the display, responsiveness, battery life, and software are all done extraordinarily well. Users can boast about the first-in-line firmware updates as well as the pure, unadulterated Android experience. When taken all this into account, the 8 GB model could have easily passed for a $250 tablet at launch.

What we'd like to see

Although the build quality is above average, it could have felt more firm around the back. An aluminum chrome perimeter could replace the current plastic perimeter for future models. Screen brightness could be higher and the lack of an LED indicator is odd for a tablet. HDMI-out support would be welcomed with open arms.

What surprises us

Tegra 3 SoC, 1 GB RAM, 7-inch 1280x800 resolution display, NFC, GPS, and Android Jelly Bean, all for under $200!

The competition

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, iPad, Asus Transformer Prime, Asus Infinity, Kindle Fire, HTC Flyer

Rating

Google Nexus 7
04/02/2014 v4
Allen Ngo

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
63 / 80 → 79%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
30 / 70 → 43%
Weight
86 / 88 → 96%
Battery
89%
Display
86%
Games Performance
52 / 80 → 65%
Application Performance
33 / 70 → 47%
Temperature
85%
Noise
100%
Audio
64%
Camera
46%
Average
69%
83%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Google Nexus 7 Tablet 8GB
Author: Allen Ngo, 2012-08-13 (Update: 2013-06- 6)