03
Aug
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I like tablets, and I love tablet apps. Don’t take that the wrong way - I love my Nexus 4, and I use it constantly, but there’s something different about tablets. A large, beautiful screen filled by an app that really shows off the functionality that comes with Android's design language is a great experience. Make that tablet super portable, fast, and priced right, and you’ve got my heart.

Okay, maybe that’s not all it takes for a tablet to win my heart. It takes a little more. In reviewing the new Nexus 7 (hereafter referred to as NN7), I wanted to find out for myself if Google’s newest seven-inch tablet is one that could win my affection - and use - both as a consumer and as a tech journalist.

That’s a tall order, but I’ve spent some quality time with the NN7 and I’m ready to dive into my honest thoughts.

front

In a Nutshell

To put it plainly, the Nexus 7 is a great tablet. Its few shortcomings are far outweighed by its superlative display, great sound, and overall design. If you're in the market for a seven-inch tablet (regardless of price), this is the one you want.

Specs

  • 7.02" IPS display at 1920x1200 (that's 323 ppi)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 5MP rear camera, 1.2MP front camera
  • 2GB RAM
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro
  • 16 or 32GB internal storage
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • 3950mAh battery
  • Notification LED
  • Dual rear-facing speakers

Before diving in, here's a quick rundown of the Nexus 7's primary strengths and weaknesses.

The Good

  • The Display – The Nexus 7 has a dazzling, sharp, contrasty, bright, all around great display. I love it. I haven't loved a mobile display like this since the Nexus 10.
  • The Sound – Audio is produced at reasonably loud volumes with clarity and depth.
  • The Form Factor – In my mind, this tablet is just the right size and shape for something under 10". It's big enough to be differentiated from my phone's display but small enough to hold comfortably and work quickly.
  • Performance – I'm not a huge gamer, but the day-to-day tasks that I use the Nexus 7 for are executed masterfully, and Android is buttery-er than ever.

The Not So Good

  • Speaker Placement – Going into my purchase I didn't think this would be a big deal, but the rear-facing speakers are kind of a sticking point. Sound is excellent, but I still feel compelled to hold my tablet in a way I wouldn't normally hold a rectangle so that I don't block the sound. And it is blockable.
  • Notification Light – Having an LED notification light is actually a great thing, but with the new Nexus 7 there's a hitch – it only seems to light up in one color. One of the things I love about the light on the N4 and N10 is that it is more functional and useful than a normal light, because different colors can alert you to different kinds of notifications.
  • No SD Card Slot – This isn't a big deal for me personally, because I use very little local storage, but for a lot of people, the lack of SD support in Nexus devices continues to be problematic.

Closer Look

The Hardware (Outside)

The first thing anyone notices about a device is the hardware. The outside hardware, anyway. For the current Nexus line, the dominant visual feature is a black slab of glass. Shiny, elegant, and not just understated, but unstated altogether. Oh, and a notification light. The notification light is a good addition, but not as good as I'd hoped – it appears to only light up white, making an app like Lightflow useless. This is problematic because while a notification LED is good, it isn't as good as it should be if it can't actually differentiate between types of notifications.

Knowing what kind of notification you have without turning anything on is a lot better than just knowing you have some kind of notification.

_DSC2906

Once you do turn it on, though, a bright, crisp, vivid, pixel-packed display will smack you in the eyeball. But more on that later.

But what about the reverse? The first thing you’ll notice about the NN7’s back side is that it has a soft touch coating that’s different from the old Nexus 7, the Nexus 4’s edge band, and the Nexus 10. If I had to draw a comparison to another existing Nexus though, I’d say the NN7 feels like a dry version of the Nexus 10. Still warm and comfortable, but just a teeny bit rougher. This is most likely due to the material the back is made of.

backmicro

The back also shows off a glossy inset Nexus logo situated horizontally if you hold the tablet in landscape mode, and an ASUS logo perpendicular to that along the bottom. You'll also find the tablet's dual stereo speakers and a 5MP camera, but we'll get to those soon enough.

The only physical buttons on the entire device are the power and volume keys. Strangely, these few buttons are kind of a problem area. They, like the Nexus logo on the back of the device, are glossy plastic, but the power button seems a little lopsided. From what I understand, I'm not alone in this experience. It's a minor quibble, but it doesn't bode well for the future of the button. Personally, I'd be fine if there were no buttons on the device whatsoever.

power

Overall the build quality feels pretty good. The more slender frame gives the Nexus 7 a more solid, weighty feel, even though the tablet weighs 50g less than its counterpart. The tablet, as I've said before, is also extremely easy to hold in one hand.

The Hardware (Inside)

Of course the most beautiful device is just as good as a really fancy paperweight if it doesn't actually perform. The Nexus 7, as detailed above, is packing 2GB RAM along with an S4 Pro chipset powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 320 GPU. (For a more graphic look at the NN7's insidey parts, check out iFixit's teardown).

It should be noted there has been some contention over the Nexus 7's SoC though – according to AnandTech's mini-review, the NN7 sports DDR3 RAM and appears/behaves "more like an underclocked or lower binned Snapdragon 600."

Knowing all of this, the question has to be asked – how does it perform? I won't spend time and space with a battery of benchmarks, but I will say that it shows solid performance. Granted I don't have a habit of playing games any more demanding than, say, Riptide GP2, but everything I do with the tablet is executed without effort, stutter, or the slightest hint of lag.

For those interested, we took a brief look at a couple of benchmarks shortly after the NN7's announcement.

The Display

This is probably my favorite part of the new Nexus 7. At 1920x1200, the display is no laughing matter – Google touted it as the highest resolution seven inch display in existence.

_DSC2847

Whether or not you consider density to equal resolution, the display is impressive. It's a major improvement over the original Nexus 7 not just in terms of pixel density, but in color, contrast, and brightness as well – the NN7 is capable of displaying a 30% wider range of color than its predecessor, and is very noticeably brighter and more contrasty when compared in real life.

To help you get an idea of just how much more densely-packed the display is, here's a quick comparison under the microscope:

image image

Left: Nexus 7 2012 Right: New Nexus 7

The only issue I've noticed with the display might be a nocebo – it seems like sometimes long press actions are very finicky, almost like the slightest wiggle of a finger might break the long press. Otherwise it's great.

The display has really driven home for me the idea that a seven-inch tablet is perhaps even more versatile than its 10" counterparts. Watching movies is a great experience, using apps, browsing the web, and working through emails are all pleasant, and – here's where a 7" slate has the leg up – reading is superb.

It's not that I hate reading on the Nexus 10 or other similarly sized tablets, it's just that a 7" tablet feels so much more… correct for the purpose. Maybe because it's closer to the size of an actual book.

Before I wax any further, let's move on to the speakers.

The Speakers

The NN7's speakers were one of the highlights of Sundar Pichai's breakfast get-together. Google was sure to point out that they worked with Fraunhofer to craft three-dimensional "surround sound" for the Nexus 7's dual speakers.

speaker

This sounds very fancy. While the sound on the NN7's speakers is good (comparable to the quality of the N10, plus some interesting effects that I might not necessarily describe as "surrounding" me), what we are essentially talking about is an added layer of software for digital audio processing that aims to make things sound better and more realistic. 

The one complaint I have with the speakers, as I pointed out in my initial hands-on, is that they are on the back right in the middle of the curve. When using the tablet in landscape mode I feel like I have to hold it a certain way, instead of just letting my hands cradle it naturally. That's not an ideal experience, whether the sound blockage is real or imagined.

The Camera

camera

The camera, in short, is not fantastic. It's decent, and it reminds me very much of the camera on the Nexus 4, but with a different resolution.

If your desire for a camera on your 7" tablet stems from the need to scan barcodes, you're all set. It handles regular photos pretty well too, if you're careful. Scenes with both bright and dark spots likely won't come out as even exposures, but if the scene you're looking to capture is well-lit, you've got nothing to worry about.

Personally the camera is a very small consideration for me, as I can count on one hand the number of times I've reached for my tablet specifically to take a photo.

IMG_20130802_182821IMG_20130802_181330 IMG_20130802_1820392IMG_20130802_190005

The front camera is precisely what you'd expect from a 1.2MP shooter. Passable for quick video calls, but don't expect to get a selfie printed at 11x14 for the mantle.

Video is much the same as still photography, but with motion and sound. The sound is kind of unpredictable, though. In the video sample below, listen carefully and you'll hear all kinds of weird blips and noises underlying the actual audio of the scene. In a scene that's not quite so quiet, this would likely be unnoticeable though.

Battery

The NN7 actually has a smaller battery capacity than the old Nexus 7 – 3950 vs 4325mAh. Whether this decision was made to keep the NN7 svelte, or because Google took a very ambitious bet on Android 4.3's powers of battery preservation is unknown.

What I do know, however, is that the battery on the NN7 is decidedly decent. Though smaller than the old Nexus 7, and though it powers a dense display, the battery seems to last about a day and a half on a charge in my use case, or even longer if my use is lighter than normal. While I'm still waiting for that major shift in battery technology to bring me days and days of use, a couple of days on a charge is pretty good – in recent memory, I haven't been away from a power outlet for more than a day.

The Nexus 7 is rated for 9 hours of "active use," but in my experience, streaming a half hour of video drained about 9% of the battery, putting its longevity at about five hours in that use case. Obviously when users are performing other tasks, the battery usage becomes a bit less formulaic.

When idle, as expected, the tablet will last much longer. Just how much longer is as yet unknown – during my time reviewing the Nexus 7, I haven't left it alone long enough to get an accurate picture. That said, battery drain overnight is negligible.

Of course, your mileage may (and probably will) vary.

Screenshot_2013-08-02-16-14-17 Screenshot_2013-08-02-16-14-45 Screenshot_2013-08-02-16-14-24 

Charging

A lot of people were surprised to find out that the new Nexus 7 doesn't have pogo pins like the old one. Of course, the old Nexus 7 dock won't work with the NN7, but that's okay (right?) because it supports Qi wireless charging!

But um… don't plan on using the NN7 with the Nexus 4 charging orb without a slight hassle.

orb

While the device fits, it has to be in landscape orientation, and if you have any desire for the tablet to rest at a straight angle, you'll be fiddling with it for a while. The grippy ring on the orb is obviously meant for smoother surfaces – it just doesn't hold as tightly to the textured back of the NN7.

If you don't mind all that, though, it'll certainly charge the device. I'm left wondering if Google plans to release a larger, perhaps grapefruit-sized charging orb (fingers crossed).

Android 4.3

_DSC2889-2

Since the NN7 is Android 4.3's launch device, it's worth taking a minute to look at the latest version bump. Probably the most important enhancement Google brought to Android in the latest release, as far as tablets like the NN7 are concerned, is restricted profiles. Basically this feature expands on existing multiuser functionality by opening up the possibility for restricted user profiles, whose access to apps, settings, or features can be limited.

This was an important move because it makes it far easier for parents to feel comfortable giving their child a tablet, or for anyone considering a tablet to share with the rest of the family. This, along with Google's moves to improve the Android tablet experience for education (both primary and beyond) will make the devices more appealing to new groups.

As Jeremiah rightly pointed out, restricted profiles really is the most user-facing new feature in 4.3, but other small tweaks, like the new Wi-Fi location scanning feature, Bluetooth Low Energy, and OpenGL ES 3.0 make the user experience better from behind the scenes.

While 4.3 isn't the dessert some may have been hoping for, it's definitely a respectable OS bump and does add to Android's overall experience.

The Content Elephant in the Room

Something that most outlets love to hate about Android tablets is the lack of specifically tablet-friendly apps.

It is true that my mind is not boggled by the number or quality of tablet oriented, optimized, or even compatible apps, but maybe we're looking for the wrong thing.

Matias Duarte, in an interview with the Verge following the introduction of the original Nexus 7, explained that experiences should be uniform but adaptive across screen sizes, using Twitter's iOS app as an example of how changing the experience between form factors has the potential to be disruptive to the user's overall experience with the product (and, if I may extrapolate, their experience of the brand).

Rather than searching high and low for apps that specifically call themselves out as being made for tablets, we should instead be looking at apps that adapt to the tablet screen. This means considering how to move away from large phone interfaces and toward something that provides the same experience at a different size. The Google+ app is a great example of this, across phones, 7" tablets, and 10" tablets.

I think the other thing to consider is what you'll be doing on the tablet. Besides apps and games, a huge portion of my time with the Nexus 7 is spent consuming media, be it music, movies, tv, or other videos.

Media content is an area where the Play Store has really grown up fast lately, and while it still has some catching up to do, you will absolutely not be at a loss for content on the new Nexus 7.

Conclusion

In the end, is the Nexus 7 worth its $229 price of entry? In my opinion, it absolutely is.

If you're in the market for a seven-inch slate, or if you're just looking for an all-around great tablet, the Nexus 7 won't disappoint. It's got a sharp design, a great display, and it runs like a champ. In pretty much every category, it beats the seven-inch Google-branded tablet that – at the time – beat all other Android tablets.

As I said earlier, its few shortcomings are far outweighed by its strengths, and a low price point doesn't hurt it, either.

back

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Kenny O

    First device I have bought in a long time that exceeds every one of my expectations. This tablet does not feel like a second generation, more like the 4th gen - it really is leaps and bounds over the OG Nexus 7.

  • Michael Panzer

    There is one important point to make about Apps for 7 and 10" tablets! The iPad mini just shrinks everything down from 9,7" to 7,9" without accounting for ergonomics and touch target sizes.

    Android can run on about every screen size and density and therefor there are TWO(!!) tablet sizes where touch targets and ergonomics are consistent and right sized.

    The people who expect 10" apps on a 7" device have either no clue or have bought into the wrong os which is doing the right thing!

    here you can see all "sizes" that matter in Android development!
    http://developer.android.com/design/style/metrics-grids.html

    • Andrew

      Yes, exactly. Some apps let you turn on 'full' tablet layout on 7", and most of the times it is not much usable. Good thing about Android, that one app can have different layouts for phones, small and big tablets.

      • Michael Panzer

        There is also the possibility to flash a ROM on every device and choose the DPI so the 7" tablet becomes a 10" tablet of a Galaxy Nexus becomes a 10" tablet.. This is possible, but my eyes and fingers are just not optimized for such a small 10" experience :-D

        • Andrew

          I have tried Paranoid Android ROM on my old 4" Atrix 4G. It was... strange. :)

      • CuriousCursor

        It's absolutely amazing how an app can have phone layout in portrait and tablet layout in landscape on 7" and have both orientations work beautifully.

        • Andrew

          I agree, unfortunately, not every app does this. Yeah, Skype, I'm looking at you.

        • Michael Panzer

          That doesn't always work out. It depends on how much content you have to show for example. A two pane layout works on 7 inches only in limited use cases...

          • CuriousCursor

            In landscape though, it works for most use cases.

    • jasman1reece

      Another tablet with some great features to launch this week is the Pipo M7 Pro ($255) that for about the same price as the new Nexus 7, features a much larger 8.9 inch display with 1900x1200 screen resolution, a Quad core processor, along with built-in GPS navigation -- and is packed with features that compare to the new Nexus while also offering a MicroSD memory card storage slot-- the Pipo M7 also works with both the new Chromecast as well as the more advanced Miracast HD Wireless HDTV adapter (like Apple AirPlay); and also features premium speakers, WiFi with both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies for greater connection, and a premium Windows style User Interface that makes the Android experience much more intuitive and easier to use -- more details are available at a site called T ablet Sprint -- one of the first U.S. resellers to carry this new model--

      • Dalian barons

        No reason to get this over the n7

      • turdbogls

        not only that, but you also get android 4.2 for life!! one major plus for the nexus brand is that you KNOW you are going to be updated for at least 2 years....wth these off brands, you should be happy to get off the shipping OS.

    • iamnotfan

      That's what she said

    • Ezzy

      On Android, I'm more worried about the amount of apps that don't support landscape mode at all. Some are even made by Google (such as Ingress). It's really irritating even on a phone. Mostly I'm not bothered about using phone apps on tablets, but that's just a personal preference and I haven't really gotten that into using to my old Nexus 7 or my previous Asus TF101 on a day-to-day basis for specific things.

  • Andrew

    Unexpected take away from this review: 4.3 bug, when Android OS does not let device into deep sleep is not isolated for small number of Nexus 4 devices. It strange, how review does not address this. http://cdn.androidpolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/nexusae0_Screenshot_2013-08-02-16-14-17.png

    Two hours of screen time should be dwarfed by 'Android OS' in that graph. Wonder, how much time it kept device awake. On Nexus 4 it can get up to 11-12 hours of 'keep awake' for Android OS. Reboot cures wake lock, but eventually it returns. It condition is pretty rare, judging from corresponding threads on XDA and Reddit.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I hadn't considered that there may be something fishy going on with my battery life, but thanks for the note. I will look into it.

      • Andrew

        I cannot say that there is significant impact on battery life with this situation. Clearly, my Nexus 4 has better battery life on days when it is not accruing, but even with this wake lock I have full day of battery life.

        Because reboot fixes this, but then it suddenly returns few days later, it looks like software glitch, or even has to do something with 3rd party software, but I have no data to support that. Wakelock Detector does not show anything unusual.

        For me, so far, it happens only on N4, but my 2012 N7 got OTA only few days ago.

        Here is my battery stats screen shot from N4, first day after OTA: http://imgur.com/Bn9B8FA

        Here is one of Reddit threads: http://www.reddit.com/r/nexus4/comments/1jk7bz/android_43_android_os_battery_issues/

        And finally XDA thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2388072

        Looks like it happens for small amount of users, so I think factory reset could cure it. I just hate to setup my phone anew. So I'm digging through forums, looking maybe someone has a solution. If not, I'll just wipe my phone next time it happens.

  • Taylor

    I'm still bitter about my original Nexus 7. I bought the 8gb version and quickly experienced the screen lifting issue. Months later (after 4.2) the device got slower and slower. I know 4.3 fixes the speed issue, but I don't want to spend $230 on a device just to get a defective screen again.

    Are there any reports of hardware issues with the new model yet?

    Oh and then they discontinued my model and lowered the price of the 16.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Unfortunately the risk you take with buying any mass-produced electronics product in its early days is the risk of getting a unit with hardware defects. Personally, I'd take the chance, and buy it from a physical store with a decent return/exchange policy.

      • concernedCitizen

        there is an app in the play store to allow for a good near full screen experience by reducing the buttons down to a small corner placed half disc, which the user can adjust size/interaction(press,long press or swipe). I'll post the link in a moment...

    • naysayer

      Just take the 'wait and see'-approach. That's what I'll be doing.
      The pricing thing wasn't part of some evil scheme though, rather a necessity to keep the device competitive in the light of the new Kindle Fire.

  • xnifex

    Great review. I love my 2013 nexus! You can really feel the difference in size/weight between the two versions too.

  • Darrien Glasser

    Psychology nerd with OCPD right here.

    You mean nocebo, not placebo when you're talking about the display. Just a heads up.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocebo

    Great article nonetheless.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Ah, thanks. Today I learned about nocebo

  • obarthelemy

    I'd have put "no SD" in the not so good, or even in the bad.

    • Bjajjull

      What is so great about SD cards? Because they are slow?

      • Stefan Dumitrache

        Slow or not, the SD is versatile. You can keep all your media on it, and if you reset the device for whatever reason you don't have to select and transfer >10gb of your stuff back on it.

        In my view, the lack of an SD slot is the biggest deal breaker. Have all the best components, but if there's no SD my enthusiasm fails terribly and I look at the alternatives.

        • Michael Panzer

          Well if you have a look at what devices still offer a SD card slot... you're going to buy (if any) a shitty device. But if that's that important to you... go ahead. SD cards are not going to come back in the high end devices, deal with it!

          • ins0mn1a

            most people wouldn't call gs3, gs4, note 2 or xperia z shitty, or the upcoming monsters like note 3 and xperia z ultra, but i guess it's a matter of personal opinion...

          • yeahman45

            what are u talking about? there's sd card slot on probably the most popular smartphone atm : galaxy s4

          • Bjajjull

            That doesn't makes it good.

          • yeahman45

            it is actually good -.-

          • jasman1reece

            Many new major tablets coming out in the next month still feature MicroSD -- not everyone wants or has access to the Cloud and a lot of times it's much more convenient to use a MicroSD card.

          • Stefan Dumitrache

            I'll say quite the same thing some others said here: Samsung! Most of their android phones and tablets, if not ALL, have an sd slot. From low-end to high-end. Deal with it.

          • Frostbitten

            Point is, it's 2013. Putting a tiny SD card slot on a device like this isn't expensive or a big deal in general. It's useful for more than just storage.

        • Kokusho

          don't wipe the storage partition and you don't lose anything.

        • Mark

          You need to change your thinking.

          • Stefan Dumitrache

            I had a problem with a device not connecting to computers because the usb jack got damaged. The point of having removable storage is to recover your data in case something happens to the device. The data simply doesn't get trapped in. Flash storage is rather passive storage, use it anywhere you want to use it, I repeat: versatility is the key. Why copy my music over all the devices when I can simply have a flash stick? My thinking is ok enough to see the advantages of MicroSD.

        • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

          For me it is a 'con' but not a deal breaker. I am a hobbyist photographer and I want to have high res images to show. I did find a great solution: RavPower WiFi, which provides power when I need it and wireless storage for a SD card and another USB drive. More information about it here:

          http://www.amazon.com/RAVPower%C2%AE-Wireless-External-Streaming-RP-WD01/dp/B00AQUMZRA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

      • yeahman45

        what? class 10's not slow

      • obarthelemy

        they're fast enough for any media including hd movies. Which is more than can be said for 3g, sometimes even 4g.

        And they work when there is no "g" (planes train metro backcountry).

        What's so great about "no SD" ? The buck saved for the connector, jerky "cloud" low-rez videos, and the fun of being space-constrained ?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      That's fair. I'll revise the post to mention it.

    • JayGrip

      It does have a built in hotspot. I just rut a ftp server and copy from my note 2 using a otg cable. Transfer rate is 1 gig = 3.5 min not bad.

  • SetiroN

    One thing to note: the NN7's S4 Pro is practically a downclocked Snapdragon600 instead of the same CPU that's found into the N4: it has DDR3 support, better single thread performance, lower voltages and better power consumption.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Thanks for the note. I had intended to include something about that in the original post, so I've added it in.

    • John Carlo Cacho Gucilatar

      Where'd you see that?

      • Michael Panzer

        Anandtech

  • obarthelemy

    And lack of physical buttons is bad too... is the screen to big that we want to waste that we want to waste a whole line of it on 3 measly buttons ?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I actually think software buttons are much more versatile, and allow for more elegant interactions. Take for example the Google Search gesture - slide up from the home button. Pressing a physical button, or transitioning from a capacitive button to the actual screen is not as smooth an experience.

      • mlj11

        I don't agree with the way he phrased it, but he made a valid point.

        In the launcher the nav bar is perfectly fine, but in full-screen apps they do take up valuable space and may also impact user experience negatively if, for example, the user accidentally hits the Back or Home button while playing a game.

        I wish there were more apps like Youtube, where the buttons automatically hide themselves when the main content takes up the whole screen. Or hasn't Google released the necessary API for devs to take advantage of that feature?

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          I definitely agree that apps having the ability to hide the nav bar in full screen activities would be ideal. I'm not sure how easy that is for third party apps, to be honest.

          • obarthelemy

            My Ascend Mate has a bar-hiding toggle. It's a pain to use: more than thrice the work for the same action (swipe to unhide bar, click button, click hide bar) , plus the bother of always having to check if the bar is there or not, and to click the button since there's no tactile hint of where it is (nor it neighbours).

            I find lack of buttons is my major gripe with my Mate. With the camera.

        • evertjr

          When a had a galaxy s3 I touched accidentally the capacitive buttons all the time. When I showed something to someone on my phone the first thing that people do is hitting back button accidentally, capacitive buttons are much more annoying, my user experience is much better now that I have a nexus 4

          • mlj11

            I had a similar experience with my S2. That's why I would prefer the N4's / N7's navigation bar over that, but I still think it can be further improved by allowing apps to hide it. Shouldn't that be the whole point of it being fully software?

          • evertjr

            Yes, the perfect experience would be a gesture to hide it when not needed, maybe pressing both volume buttons at same time would be cool.

          • mlj11

            Yup :)

            That's why I rooted my N4 and N7 (2012) and installed two root apps on them: GMD Auto Hide Soft Keys, and LMT Launcher, to navigate with.

    • Philip Kahn

      Conversely, the PRESENCE of physical buttons is what keeps me from buying the HTC One GPE.

      Vast vast preference for soft buttons.

      • obarthelemy

        Yep, but I can explain my stance with "wasted screen space". What do you explain yours with ? " Wasted bezel space"?

        • Philip Kahn

          Inconsistent button placement across devices, cares about orientation of device, prevents gestures like Google Now swipe-up from home, means smaller phone for same screen size since apps can hide the bar (see: Netflix), etc.

          • obarthelemy

            inconsistent button placement inter devices is a more minor niggle than inconsistent placement INTRA device + no way to touch and feel your way.

            Device orientation is... I don't see the issue. The buttons rotate with tje device, at least you know and feel where they are, which is more than can be said about soft buttons.

            And finally, swipe up gestures can be implemented with no buttons to start off from.

          • Philip Kahn

            My buttons are always on the right hand side of my device in landscape, doesn't matter which way the headphone jack is pointing. Is the same true for hardware buttons? ;-)

            Hell, on my tablet my buttons are also in the same place *upside down*.

            And the targets are huge, I don't get the "feel where they are" thing. I can grab my tablet and switch windows, click home or back with my eyes closed -- and the orientation doesn't matter. That's not something I can say about hardware buttons.

            I also think it's more aesthetically appealing.

            But what can I say, apparently our opinions differ.

          • obarthelemy

            Indeed, that's a personal preferrence.
            My 6.1" Mate ends up being more like 5.7" though, because the hide unhide game is a pain, so there's permanent wasted space on my screen. I think soft buttons should be taken out of the screen size, for a fair comparison.

        • Krzysztof Jozwik

          Here's why. I can't change hardware appearance / make them go away.

          • Harjifangki

            I'm sorry, I know this is irrelevant to the discussion, but what game is that?

    • cy_n_ic

      Your god damn right we do!

  • Alex Esparza-Sandy

    Still can't wait to get mine in my hands! Still waiting for my FedEx delivery from HSN.

  • Zak Taccardi

    I would add the lack of haptic feedback to the list of cons

    • mlj11

      Agreed 100%.

      The previous and present 7s have both been branded as good tablets for gaming. The omission of haptic feedback - which can be very valuable in games - on both of them just boggles the mind.

      I wonder why they cut that feature. It can't be that expensive to implement, can it?

      • poopfloats

        just get a blue tooth gaming controler ( gamestop $20, Like a playsytion type.
        It will have the feed back =)

        • mlj11

          I have the PS3 controller and the Sixaxis app. But my point remains that promoting the N7 as a gaming tablet while cutting haptic feedback just doesn't make sense - not everyone will be willing to spend extra money on a controller.

        • Zak Taccardi

          It's not just about games, and many games are not optimized for a controller.

          Haptic feedback is a great way to indicate to a user that they just interacted with the screen.

      • Sir_Brizz

        I agree with this. It's not a deal breaker for me, but I was very sad to see this left out yet again. It was a very much missed feature of the original N7.

    • Megalomania

      Should be a standard on tablets.

    • z0phi3l

      Not that big a deal so far for me in any of the games I have played

    • Sycobob

      How is this not in the article?

    • LazarusDark

      I thought I knew everything about the N7 when I bought two, for me and the wife. Then I soon realized there was no vibrations and I was a bit disappointed in this, as I had just assumed any tablet would have it. I miss it most when typing, typing on the N7 is more comfortable, but typing on my Gnex is still faster and "feels" better due to the haptic vibrations.
      I've learned to live with it and don't regret my purchase, but I would never leave this out if I was designing a tablet, its just too useful.

    • Michael Pahl

      and the fact the GPS is non functional.

  • kindrudekid
  • Stefan Dumitrache

    I was thinking about the "minimalist" notification light, and I guess it shouldn't be difficult for a developer to make an app that causes the LED to blink in various ways depending on notification type. Like a morse code, a combination of quick blinks and short pauses, eventually cuscomizable, and if the LED can also fade (probably hardware deppendant), that would be even better. So instead of different colors, you'd have this sort of diversity.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Definitely. As a matter of fact, Lightflow already has different speeds, but patterns would be helpful too.

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    soooooo when are you going to buy a colorimeter and give us some objective screen info?

    • Ricardo

      Anandtech has got delta E info about the new Nexus 7 tablet. Check it out.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Actually I've got something on that topic in the works!

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        About time!! ^^ BTW what will you use? I have the display pro and i hate the thing. The software sucks. I heard something 5 is good...forget the name. Notebookcheck.net switched to it. I wish i could find the i1 display2 or whatever. I heard the software one that was much better

  • glucero0

    The long press is an issue or at least was. I have either gotten used to it or it has improved. Anyway it's definitely different than the original.

    • Sir_Brizz

      They did release two updates right after the tablet was commercially available that seemed to fix a couple of things.

  • PamelaLibrarian

    "Passable for quick video calls, but don't expect to get a selfie printed at 11x14 for the mantle." Aww, I'm so disappointed...;)

  • Philo

    The battery test was a fail imo. There was an app keeping your tablet awake hence low score and a high Android OS (app waking it up).

    • Loren

      I agree. I have the nn7 and when I do a lot of reading, I get about 15.5 hours of screen on time. When I stream videos, I get about 9 hours. I always use auto brightness. I also have found that by putting it in airplane mode and turn the wife on, my standby time goes up tremendously. He should definitely be getting better battery life than that.

      • Elias

        So, you turn your wife on during a flight? Naughty boy ;)

  • Sihawk

    I've been hearing about issues with the wifi range... Anyone notice or do any testing on this?

  • Thomas Ramsay

    best title ever

  • zhuowei

    Double-N-seven?

  • Krzysztof Jozwik

    "Video is much the same as still photography, but with motion and sound."
    Best quote from the review.

  • Ben Brown

    I'm glad to hear some of the shortcomings sound like something an OS update will soon take care of. I'm also happy they included at least some sort of indicator LED, that was the major beef I had (including no rear camera for the purposes you mentioned) on my original N7. Just ordered mine, and now I play the waiting game. Then I'll play the GTA3 game and see how well it does ;)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I'd just like to take a moment to commend you on the photos of the NN7. They're simply amazing.

    • Björn Lundén

      Indeed. For a moment there I was wondering if they were official photos from ASUS.

  • brutalpanther

    The nn7 is by far the best tablet i've owned so far.I had the 1st n7 ,And was a great tablet as well.I have a asus tf300 and the new gen ipad,But i always seem to reach for the nn7.Maybe because its new,easier to hold,awesome display or snappy performance.Now waiting for the nn10,And sell my ipad and tf300.Go nexus you wont be dissappointed.

  • Jadephyre

    My only problem with the price is that they will keep the number the same, but add the €-sign in front of it, which means that I will be paying 50 Euros more than I would need to if they would do conversions correctly. Same goes for the N4.

    • someone755

      Woot, finally somebody to point this out! Just like the PS4 - 500$/GBP/€.

    • MindFever

      You would have to pay 70€ more + shipping costs and no warranty for importing it. So I rather pay 50€ more and then still have the warranty in Europe

  • umbrarchist

    I have a Nexus 7. The NN7 does not have a microSD slot. I am looking at th Asus HD7 or Hyundai T7s.

  • monstercameron

    the samsung galaxy tab 7.0 plus was the best 7" tablet! rear camera, good screen, ir port, mali-400mp4 etc...

    • someone755

      Nope. I'd stop at the crappy processor. And then the even crappier graphics.

  • GMD

    So far Samsung 7.7 with Amoled screen was the best tablet (minus price) and it had longest battery life topping even iPads too. It also had full features package. I ordered new Nexus and I have high hopes, but I'm already a bit disappointed about lack of vibration. Is it expensive to include it? It would be interesting to hear Asus comment about it.

    • someone755

      Dude, vibration in a tablet? Seriously?
      It's easy in a phone, because that little vibrating motor can shake the entire thing. But here, you wouldn't feel a thing. Either that or you'd have your wrists injured and your battery drained after a 1 second vibrate.

  • mobabur94

    I will either get this or the next nexus 10

  • filippoz1982

    What about WiFi tethering on New Nexus 7 with cellular option? On stock ROM obviously!

  • North

    Any word on the wifi radio. I find that my first generation nexus gets an intermittent one bar with signal cuts on the edges of my house whereas my phone and laptop will be 2 to 3

  • someone755

    Anyone having charging issues? I know some rare instances occured with the old N7, when the charge never went over 700mA (even though the charger output was 2A). So it takes a LONG time for a full charge...

  • Marcis Buhholcs

    I wonder - fixit teardown shows FM radio chip, can anyone confirm - Nexus 7 2013 can use FM radio?

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