In 2012, with the release of the Google Nexus 7 by Asus, Google literally redefined the compact-tablet market—erased the slate, you might say. It did that not by delivering anything truly ground-breaking, but instead by offering a premium-quality slate at an entry-level price. Nothing about the 2012 Nexus 7 was particularly new, apart from it being the first tablet at the time to run the incremental 4.1 (a.k.a. “Jelly Bean”) version of Android. But it was the first slate you could get for under $200 that wasn’t plagued by quality-sapping, cost-cutting compromises.
For starters, the 2012 Nexus 7 was the only budget-friendly tablet near its price built around Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor. And, unlike most other entry-level slates at the time, Google (and the actual hardware manufacturer, Asus) didn’t compromise on screen or build quality. The display rivaled those we’d seen on tablets that cost $100 to $200 more, and its light, attractive chassis felt sturdy, well-balanced, and, well,expensive, in our hands. On the whole, it was a great tablet at a great price, resetting the standard for the entire market for compact tablets.
Here we are a year later, and Google has introduced the next generation of the Nexus 7, which goes under the same name; we’ve dubbed it the “Google Nexus 7 (2013).” The new Nexus starts at a $229 list price (for a model with 16GB of onboard storage), and it’s manufactured by Asus, like its 2012 predecessor. This time, though, not only has Google delivered a great product at a decent price (albeit one with a starting price $30 higher than the 2012 model’s), but this time the new Nexus doesbring a number of firsts to Android mini-tablets.
It is, for example, the first 7-incher to come with a super-high-resolution, true-HD screen (with a native resolution of 1,920×1,200, or 1,080p), and it supports wireless charging. (We’ll discuss both of these features in detail in the Features & Apps section, a little later in this review.) It’s thinner and lighter than last year’s iteration, too, making it the leanest 7-inch slate we’ve tested to date. And it’s the first slate to run on Android 4.3. Version 4.3 may be an incremental update to the operating system, but early returns suggest that here it delivers significant performance boosts, especially in graphics processing.
In addition to all these exciting new changes, the Google Nexus (2013) is one great-looking, great-feeling tablet. As with last year’s model, our only real complaint is that this new model doesn’t let you increase its storage capacity. You’re stuck with either the 16GB that comes in the $229 version, or the 32GB in the $269 model (the one we’re reviewing here). Apparently, this lack of an SD slot didn’t dissuade many tablet buyers, though—if the sales of last year’s Nexus 7 and the stalwart Apple iPad Mini are any indication.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, we really liked this tablet—so much so that our recommendation is simple: If you’re looking for a compact slate that doesn’t have to be an iPad, and your budget has any kind of flex at all, buy this one.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.