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Google Nexus 7 (Gen 2) Review

A big deal in a little package, the new Nexus 7 isn't just a bargain buy.

July 26, 2013
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Final Boss

Like any good video game villain, this piece of equipment has an intimidating list of weapons and abilities at its disposal. Additionally, these parts work extremely well, and give every other tablet on the market something to worry about, especially when it is so much better by the numbers.

Screen Performance

Reflective, but very bright

The Nexus 7 has the best screen of any tablet bar none at the moment, and it takes a lot to get us to admit that. Getting top marks for black and white performance, color, and pixel density will rocket any device to the top of the charts. Not only is this screen crisp, but it's remarkably high resolution (1920 x 1200) means that you won't notice any jagged edges or lego-like lettering. 320 pixels per inch is very close to "retina," so resolution won't be a problem.

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The difference between the two screens is very visible even without the microscope.

The blazing peak brightness of 564.45 cd/m2 enables this tablet to compete with even very bright sunlight, which is something most cannot do. This is good news, because the screen is very reflective—it'll send about 6.9% of ambient light directly back at your eyeballs, and about 27% in all directions. A relatively pedestrian black level of 0.49 cd/m2 keeps the contrast ratio somewhat narrow, but for a tablet 1152:1 is enormous—your pictures and movies will look great on this screen.

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All that's fine and well, but what about color, where tablets almost always fall short? Here, too, the newest Nexus 7 is outstanding—its performance more resembles a current HDTV than a tablet. There's virtually nothing to complain about here as the tablet's screen holds well to the rec.709 standard—the internationally agreed-upon color values that all HDTVs should hit—though its blues are a bit shifted.

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Battery Life

All things considered, not bad at all

This weekend was full of surprises in the battery department, which may or may not sway your purchasing decision. I do need to publish this with the caveat that your milage will vary based on what settings you use with the tablet—there's very little reason to believe that you'll be keeping this at full brightness (like we used for these tests), so you can expect performance that's generally better than what you see here.

This will work very well for a transcontinental flight if you're about to head out on a long trip Tweet It

Reading eBooks is typically a taxing thing for tablet batteries, especially for those that have extremely bright screens. However, the Nexus 7 managed to last surprisingly long at 8 hours, 7 minutes of flipping through War and Peace. This will work very well for a transcontinental flight if you're about to head out on a long trip (and you're an avid reader).

Video playback was somewhat less impressive. In our tests, the tablet managed only 6 hours and 47 minutes playing the former worst movie of all time (the new one, Sharknado, has not made it into our library yet). While that result is fairly underwhelming, it's still a long time for a small tablet to play back video—that's more than 3 feature films on average.

Processing Power

Loaded for bear

Possibly the biggest upgrade to the Nexus 7's design applies to the guts of the tablet, and most notably the processor. Because the Nexus 7 no longer uses an old and busted Tegra 3 but the new hotness that is the Qualcomm Snapdragon, its benchmarks are staggeringly good.

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The king is dead, long live the king.

Sure, Geekbench may have screwed up labeling what processor the Nexus 7 has, but the numbers speak for themselves. Toppling the Nexus 10's stranglehold on processing power, the Nexus 7 is the new king of Android tablets.

This is great because the tablet can handle larger jobs, more resource-intensive apps, and bigger content libraries without skipping a beat. You'll never have to suffer through stuttering and lagging apps.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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