Google Nexus 7 tablet, still our top pick for its class
It’s been almost a year since Google released the company’s 7″ model, the Google Nexus 7, and with new tablets prepping to launch in 2014 we decided to take another look at our top-choice in the small-tablet class of 2013.
Verizon Wireless added the Google Nexus 7 to their growing list of compatible devices back in February, 2014. Since then the popularity of the powerfully small device has only grown stronger, and the market for the 7″ tablet has seen an influx of choices and brands.
When 7″ models launched in 2013 they averaged about $299, lower than their full-sized companions but still a high-enough price that consumers wanted to make the right decision when choosing their brand. Price was one of the key factors when we named the Google Nexus 7 our favorite small-sized tablet in 2013. at $249.99 (wi-fi/4G LTE) on contract with Verizon, or $229 (wi-fi only) from Google, it’s a low-cost/high-performance device that will have you watching movies and hitting social-media moments after picking it up out of the box.
The low price can be sort of misleading, Google didn’t cut any real-corners with the hardware or the specs, making the Nexus 7 an easy choice for those interested in an Android powered tablet.
The Nexus 7 features a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display that maintains a the screen’s 16:10 aspect ratio, with 2GB of RAM powering a quad-core processor, a rear camera to capture all of your moments, and wireless charging. Obviously everyone wants to compare tablets nowadays and they should, but I think most customers will be happy with how the Google Nexus 7 stands-up against the competition.
The new(est) design of the Google Nexus 7 didn’t change much ascetically, and that makes a lot of sense, mostly because the majority of publications, customers and critics didn’t have any solid issues with the original design.
The whole device weighs in at just 10.23 ounces, that’s for the WiFi-only model. If you were to pick up Verizon’s latest offering of the Nexus 7 with 4G LTE you will find it weighs in at 10.55 ounces. All around the Google 7 shaved some weight, and some thickness, when the second-generation Nexus 7 came out.
Looking back, a lot of the same features that made the Nexus 7 great in 2013 is what has been allowing it to sell so well today. The speaker set up on the Nexus 7 was a terrific choice (one large grille at the top, with smaller grilles on the bottom corners) it allows clear stereo sound without headphones thanks to Fraunhofer Cingo technology built into the initial design. So many devices continue to place speakers in awkward locations (I still to this day accidentally cover iPhone 5s speakers when holding the phone in landscape mode) and it baffles me that the design ever makes it out of testing. Many of the inputs and initial designs in the revamp still remain intuitive, like the top-mounted 3.5mm headphone jack, and the right-side mounted power and volume controls.
In 2013 price was the dominating factor in small-tablets, and every company made sacrifices to the design of their products to compete with one another. A year later we know see which designs worked, and which ones performed less than admirably. Apple took a chance when releasing the iPad Mini and it proved that there was an incredibly large audience for small tablets. In order to compete with a lower price-point, Apple didn’t invest in the popular Retina Screen for the iPad Mini’s debut, which in the long run, wasn’t the best choice. The iPad Mini did boast a larger screen at the time but the Nexus 7 was a better choice for the visual clarity.
When it launched the Nexus 7 offered only the 16 and 32 gigs options, ridding the class of the underpowered 8GB option which was proving to be less effective as digital media use skyrocketed with consumers. It was also necessary for displays to improve because of all of this media-consumption, and the 1,920 x 1,200 display that offered 323 pixels per inch still proves to be a dependent work-horse for this generation.
Under the hood the Nexus 7 still boasts the 1.5 GHz quad–core processor, running now on Android KitKat, the latest operating system for Google and the strangest of bedfellows for America’s candy corporations. We ran all of our tests through a dual–band Wi–Fi running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, I never had any instances that where my device had chew through the internet, and coverage is easily accessible anywhere I’ve traveled to date. I mention the network because 4G LTE wasn’t readably available during the launch of Nexus 7 in North America, though it was still capable of running it. Almost a year later and 4G LTE has become a staple that we have grown to depend on, and the Verizon 4G LTE that I tested with the Nexus 7 was excellent.
At launch the Google Play store struggled to keep up with the Apple App Store, missing a few of the dedicated apps that iOS users loved. Now its safe to say that almost every major third-party application can be found on any of the big three (Android, Amazon and Apple) operating platforms (Windows is catching up this year but they aren’t quite there yet) and customers are much more free to choose a platform that fits their personal ecosystem of products without losing applications.
Although the device hasn’t seen any major renovations since it launched last year, it is available on more carriers since it was first launched and on a faster 4G LTE network. This allows better data-plans for bundling onto existing mobile-plans and a wider array of network carriers.
A year can be a lifetime for a tablet design, literally. The fact that Nexus 7 is still swaying customers and luring in network providers is an amazing accomplishment for Google. Almost a year in and I still would rank the Nexus 7 as the best value in the 7″ market, and the device easily boasts some of the best performance statistics and features you will find for in the price range.
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