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Highlights

Google Nexus 7 Review




After more than two weeks of playing around with the Nexus 7 and making it my primary tablet, I’v already forgotten where I placed my iPad 3. Check out why on our full review of the Google Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 is Google’s very first collaboration to create a bleeding-edge Android tablet. It comes with the latest version of their Android OS, codenamed Jellybean, to showcase the optimizations and new features introduced with the update.

Design and Build

As a 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7 is pretty portable and usable even with just one hand although we feel it’s is a little thick at 10.5mm. It’s got that matte finish and the rubbery back panel feels soft and those small dimples are hardly noticeable (still gives you a good, non-slippery grip nonetheless).

Aside from the power button and the volume controls on the left side of the device, the only other ports are the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port — both of which are found at the bottom end of the tablet.

The device feels solid and firm but we found a QA issue with our review unit — the screen separation issue which is widely reported by other users. It’s a bit of a nagging issue especially when you hold the tablet with your left hand. Everything else looked okay and just fine.

Display

There have been a lot of 7-inch tablets around and the Nexus 7 is just one of many. With a 720p resolution, the Nexus 7 has a relatively good display quality when paired with an IPS LCD.

While we think the image quality looked crisp and clear, the maximum brightness of the display doesn’t really bring out the best from the device.

The pixel density of 216ppi is enough to give the display a decent image rendering (better than the pixel density of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the same as the Huawei MediaPad). We’ve seen 10-inch tablets with 720p HD display but it looks way better on a smaller 7-inch screen.

The screen gets into a lot of problems with glare when used in the outdoors but this is an issue that many other tablets are also prone to.

OS, UI and Apps

What’s good with the Nexus line of devices is that they use the latest version of Google Android. In this case, the Nexus 7 runs on Android 4.1.1 Jellybean with the stock UI we’re all familiar with.

Initially, there were a number of Android apps that would not install or run on Jellybean but later updates have fixed this already. For a full overview of Android Jellybean, you can read our previous article about it here.

A few notable features include Android Beam which allows for sharing of information or transferring files just by tapping two devices (uses NFC for pairing).

The other one is Google Now which is basically a voice assisted information center, much like Siri on the iPhone and S Voice on the Galaxy S3, only that Google Now does not follow commands but more like providing search-related information.

Multimedia and Camera

The volume of the speakers at the back seem to be a bit under-powered. The max volume isn’t too good that we’d always end up hooking the device to an external speaker.

Unfortunately, the Nexus 7 does not have any rear camera. Instead, Google sacrificed it to keep the cost down and focused on the front-facing camera for video calls (Google Hangout).

The Nexus 7 comes with Google Chrome as the default browser. It’s way better than the default Android browser that’s been around for so long. There’s no Flash player pre-installed into Chrome but we have a fix for it here.

Other content such as music and videos are not also available in the Philippines but that’s one thing that’s shared by all other Android devices used locally.

Performance and Benchmarks

We ran a couple of benchmarks and the results are pretty much expected (since we already tested a similar specs on other Tegra 3 devices). Quadrant score is 3,641 and Nenamark 2 is 55.7fps. After a quick firmware update, we finally managed to download and install and got a score of 10,752.

The scores are almost the same ones we got on the Asus Transformer TF201 so we’re pretty impressed. Google did really good with the Jellybean update. The over-all experience is so smooth it’s very close to iOS. You will experience the occasional lags but in our experience, we rarely notice it.

Battery Life

We managed to get the tablet to last just over 3 days with casual use. However, when subjected to heavy usage the battery can only last us around 7 hours (continuously watching videos). It’s not as good as the 10 solid hours we got from the BlackBerry Playbook.

Nevertheless, we’re pretty satisfied with the battery performance — it’s not exceptional but fairly acceptable for our daily use.

Conclusion

Google made a lot of cost-cutting on the Nexus 7 and may have rushed Asus to manufacture the tablet which resulted into some poor quality control. However, this type of hardware in a price category that’s not been heard of in any other branded tablet manufacturer, the Google Nexus 7 has made a huge step forward. One is to bring really good performing tablets to a much lower price category (it’s normally in the 20k+ range) and, two, it has addressed one of the biggest issues that has been plaguing Android devices (laggy performance).

So yes, we can definitely say that the Google Nexus 7 is the best tablet in its price category. It’s a powerful tablet on a budget. It’s got its fair share of shortcomings and it’s not perfect but it’s a good example that many other manufacturers can follow. Now that’s where the excitement really is.

Google Nexus 7 specs:
7.0″ IPS LCD @ 720p 1280×800 pixels, 216ppi
NVidia Tegra 3 1.3GHz quad-core processor
1GB RAM
8GB internal storage
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
NFC
VGA front-facing camera
Android 4.1.1 Jellybean
4,325mAh Li-Polymer battery

The Google Nexus 7 is not yet officially released in the Philippines. It’s been slated to be launched locally this August but due to high demand in other markets (specifically the US where it was first released), the Philippine release by Asus looks like it’s going to be delayed. The US retail price is $199 for the 8GB and $249 for the 16GB model. This does not include US state taxes though.

In the Philippines, we’re seeing the grey market prices to be in the Php13k to Php16k, respectively.

What we liked about the Google Nexus 7:
* Great performance
* Very affordable price
* Updated with the latest Android OS

What we did not like:
* Low internal storage
* No expandable storage
* No rear camera
* Weak speakers
* QA issues

Disclosure: We bought our own review unit of the Google Nexus 7 in the United States with a total landed cost of around Php12k (included taxes, shipping and customs).



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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44 Responses

  1. tj says:

    another give away for this? hehe

  2. rafraf says:

    Very nice review. I am considering Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 3G, i’m having a hard time choosing between nexus and galaxy tab. argggh!

    • wilde says:

      I’m in the same boat.

      Good thing about Samsung Tab2 7.0 (aside from 3G support, of course) is that it supports USB hosting out of the box.

    • candy says:

      same dilemma here. nexus 7 vs samsung galaxy tab 2 7.0

    • IMO you should choose the nexus 7 because it has better price (priced @ 13,000 for the 8 gigabyte model via widgetcity) it also has better software updates (trust me in this one dude/dudedette because samsung does not have a good reputation in updates) it has quad core technology (vs. the galaxy tab 2 which has dual core) BTW i posted this on mine and i was also torn apart between the galaxy tab 2 and this as a birthday gift but its your choice man/woman

    • bleach says:

      It would be best to compare Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7″ Wifi version against Nexus 7 for obvious reasons (wifi-only device). Compare the display, Nexus 7 uses IPS LCD display @720p resolution, while Samsung has PLS LCD. In terms of CPU, Nexus 7 has Tegra 3 1.2GHz quad-core processor, while Samsung has Dual-core 1 GHz. Camera – Nexus 7 front camera only which is ideal for video call/chat, and although Samsung has a rear camera, who would want to shoot a picture with its crappy camera anyways. OS – Nexus 7 is using the latest version of Android with no overlay UI, while Samsung is on ICS with its TouchWiz 4.0 overlay, and by the way Samsung is notorious for its very late OS updates. This is just to name a few.

      Nexus 7 beats Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 hands down (feature for feature), the only advantage for the latter is its cheaper price. If you asked me I’ll go for Nexus 7, even if I have to spend a few thousand more, enough said!

  3. Paolo Non says:

    Sir Abe, may I ask how exactly you bought the tablet via US? I don’t think they sell them to PH at the google store yet. Can you post exactly how? :D

  4. JM Balicano says:

    I think that screen separation issue was limited to the first one or 2 batches because they were really rushing to fulfill demand. Anyway, it’s just a matter of removing the back and tightening the screws that secure the screen to the body. I just read that somewhere, and I’d be too scared to do it on my own though, haha.

  5. roiji says:

    magkano po yung tinax sa inyo ng customs for this tablet?

  6. Ok so walang rear-camera? Hmm well, you don’t need a camera if you have other devices dedicated to picture-taking :D Makes sense :D Galaxy Tab or Nexus 7??? wala bang head-to-head review jan sir? :D

  7. Anthology says:

    How is the readability of full version ng webpages ex. Macrumors or GSMarena, Yugatech? Readable ba kahit hindu mag-zoom parang iPad?

  8. Boy Butet says:

    For me, I find the tablet ok, at first I aw some problems when a streaking line appears on the screen from nowhere everytime that I browse with some pages, the flash somehow made it quite pangit dahil marami parin website that uses it. Readability was ok naman kahit hindi na mag zoom in as for tax I made a unboxing and first impressions for the Google Nexus 7, do visit my humble blog and feel free to post comments and reactions there.

  9. bagongsaing says:

    Hi, did they already fix the multi-touch defect/screen defect on the nexus 7?

  10. Anjo says:

    Sir Abe, when is the release of nexus 7 here in the Philippines?

  11. Bon says:

    “the screen separation issue which is widely reported by other users”

    Here’s the fix:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1781237

  12. :) says:

    Sir Abe, Do you have review Ainol Nova 7 Aurora ii

  13. bleach says:

    kelan kaya dadating yung order ko sayo abe na 16GB version? can’t wait to get my hands wet with this awesome device.

  14. Ignoramus says:

    Hi boss. I’m new to the tablet platform. I have always relied on my laptop and ma phone for all my needs. Been looking forward to this nexus 7 to be my first tablet, with ebook reading as the primary motivation.

    My concern: I read somewhere that it will only allow me to read books the i’ve purchased from Google Play store. Is it true? and to what extent?

    Will i be able to load up my ebooks from my laptop to the nexus 7 and read em?
    If so what formats will it recognize?

    Thank you.
    Replies from everyone are encouraged.

    (I’m kinda sleepy when this thought process transpired so i’m not sure if im making sense or wut. i just wanna know if a nexus 7 would be good with all the ebooks, mostly .pdfs that i have.)

    ty.

    • julien says:

      I’m pretty sure that you will be able to use the pdf books you have. You can download a reader for it such as Adobe Reader on Google Play. :)

  15. nioven says:

    This website has a great comparison, giving you what aspects does one device have an advantage over the other, and vice versa.

    http://versusio.com/en/google-nexus-7-vs-samsung-galaxy-tab-2-7-0-p3110-16gb

  16. uglybetty says:

    Google Nexus 7, it is good, now I am wondering when Google will release its 10.1 inch tablet pc. I am looking forward that.

  17. emil says:

    hmmm..can i order one from your sir abe?

  18. podee says:

    Accrdg to this article, N7 will be available WORLDWIDE in September, so konting tiis na lang guys!

    http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20120830000138&cid=1102&MainCatID=11

  19. Ruben says:

    Still can’t decide between the nexus 7 and the ipad 3?

    This article should clear up some issues http://filipinobook.com/google-nexus-7-vs-apple-ipad/

  20. rey says:

    i don’t find the lack of rear camera disappointing… what i find weird is,people are using tabs for capturing videos and pictures. i think tabs are oddly shaped for that purpose. besides you can’t get decent output from those devices. better get a real camera or camcorder if you intend to do that. but that’s just me. about the nexus, based on specs, the price is just right. i don’d mind losing the rear camera because for me, i find the rear camera inappropriate for a tabs. . the only thing that disappoints me is the built in memory (8 or 16 gb) is quite small.they should have at least included a memory slot.

  21. Hi Sir Abe, please do send me an email gusto kong mag order sayo ng Google Nexus 7. Thank You!

  22. wengweng2003 says:

    bought one from widgetcity a few hours ago. i was shocked to find out that they gave me the 8gb variant. i paid for the 16gb. and now they are telling me it’s impossible that i have the 8gb model since they didn’t have stocks, only the 16gb. but i rechecked the box, the sticker had a small “8gb” word amidst the sea of equally small letters. i found out when i checked the settings/storage & it only had a total of 5gb (which is what we would expect from an 8gb). i am hoping that widgetcity either gives me the correct unit or give me back the extra 3000 i shelled out for this 8gb nexus 7. let this be a warning to all other widgetcity buyers.

    • wengweng2003 says:

      Sent a picture of the unit and the box to widgetcity… they’re replacing the unit tomorrow :-) Yey! Looks like i’ll be getting the lumia 920 from them when it’s released after all :-) for now, I’m eagerly anticipating the chance to play quad core games on nexus7, 16gb :-)

  23. Gabe says:

    What features of Google Now will not work in the Philippines?

  24. Got this one as a wedding gift, and so far it’s running remakably well :) Yeah having no camera is a minus, but otherwise, using this as like your daily newspaper to download those RSS feeds and playing silly games has made it a good, no-nonsense tablet :)
    – Ray

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  26. Gabe says:

    Sir yuga, I hope you can have a Nexus 7 in your next yugadeals na kasing price ng sa US or Japan or konting differnce lang. Sigurado, ubos agad yon…

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  29. Anti_Kimchia says:

    WTF? Why must we tolerate these HIGH (unfair) Prices? It’s only a $199.00 device selling close to $400. BULL S#@T

  30. Screen lift issue? says:

    Does the 32GB still have the screen lifting issue?

    Anybody out there who bought one already?
    I’m guessing they’re a different batch, and Google and Asus should have addressed the flaw.

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  34. john john says:

    based on expert reviews, im gonna enjoy my new google nexus 7 32gb 4g lte tablet. can anyone suggest where can i get some good case or cover for the gadget? appreciate your help. thanks.

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