Top positive review
2,085 people found this helpful
HUGE improvement over the original model
on July 26, 2013
**REVIEW UPDATED ON 7/30/13 - Updated speakers, "other features", battery life, gripes**
For anyone on the fence, and especially for those frustrated by the performance slowdown issues with the original Nexus 7 tablet, don't let that scare you off from buying the second generation model.
Google made all of the right improvements to the product, and the result is a significantly improved product for a marginally higher cost. Only time will tell if this unit suffers the same performance fate as the original model (for those not familiar, over time, the first generation tablets tended to quickly slow down and struggle to perform even basic tasks like browsing the internet). However, Android 4.3 feels ultra-smooth so far, and I am hoping that Google and Asus learned from their original mistakes.
SCREEN: The new screen is absolutely stunning. Some people argue that the resolution of 323 pixels per inch is unnecessary, but you can really see the difference when you use it in person. Text is significantly sharper and a little easier on the eye to read. Using the tablet to watch videos and see pictures produces a stunning result.
PROCESSOR: This is the #1 reason I'd recommend this new, upgraded Nexus 7 over the older version. The speed upgrade is unquestionably immense, and to those who have used the older and newest model Nexus 7, you will notice and appreciate this immediately. Apps load instantly; the internet browsing experience is smooth and a very welcome upgrade over past performance. It's strange; a few days ago I was satisfied with the decent albeit declining performance of my 1st Gen Nexus 7. Now that I have this new one, I use them both side by side and the older model feels like a dinosaur. This alone is reason enough to upgrade.
SIZE/WEIGHT: The reduced thickness and weight of the tablet is very noticeable. I often times used my old Nexus 7 tablet while sitting in bed, to check email and browse the web prior to going to sleep. Holding the old Nexus in one hand, and the new one in the other, the differences in size and weight are VERY noticeable. No doubt will provide a more comfortable long term usage experience, especially for extended sessions while on flights or the subway.
BATTERY LIFE: After a couple days of using this new Nexus 7, I can confidently say that the battery life has been significantly improved over the original model. My previous session of about 2 hours straight of use (screen on, using apps that draw semi-frequent data over wi-fi) drained only 20% of the battery life. If I project this out, it would tell me that I could get 10 hours of constant use on one full charge. I haven't run through an entire charge yet from 100% down to 0% (I've been recharging after each use), but I'll try to get to that sometime this week and report back on my total real-world battery life.
CAMERAS: Google added a rear-facing Camera on this new second gen Nexus. While I typically wouldn't use my tablet as a camera, I have tried it out and it takes excellent pictures. Focuses quickly, the images are sharp and the low light performance, while not great, is better than I would have expected. The front-facing camera gets more use for me (I use my tablets to Skype with family). The new front facing camera is noticeably sharper and better in lower light situations than the original Nexus 7 camera was. In low light, the old model was almost unusable. The 2nd gen Nexus 7 low light performance is very acceptable.
SPEAKERS: I've now spent some time using this second-gen Nexus 7 side by side with my original Nexus 7. Separately, they both sound very acceptable for speakers from small tablets. Using them side by side, the improvements to the Nexus 7 are very noticeable, and the sound is more clear even at high volumes. I'd say that this new model sounds far less "tinny" than the original Nexus did. Personally, I don't use the built-in speakers often (I'm normally either listening with headphones, or using bluetooth audio to my Logitech Boombox). But for people who do use the built-in speakers to play music or watch movies, you will appreciate the improvement in the speakers.
OTHER FEATURES: Last night, I realized that this tablet is compatible with Qi Wireless Charging, a discovery which made me VERY happy. I use a Nexus 4 cell phone, and I keep it on my nightstand on the Google Nexus Charging Orb. I attempted to use the orb with this new Nexus 7 tablet, and it worked perfectly. You have to sit the tablet landscape, with the orb centered on the tablet, and it synced up and began charging instantly.
COMPARISONS: I will update this section shortly with my comparison review between this 2nd Gen Nexus 7, the iPad Mini, and the Kindle Fire HD, as soon as I've had more time to test them all side by side.
GRIPES AND COMPLAINTS: Here, I'll list any gripes that I have about the tablet. My first major gripe is that I am not a huge fan of the texture/material used on the back of the tablet. It's a slightly rubberized feeling coating, which I assume they did to create additional grip. However, I've been finding that after holding with one hand for a few minutes, I notice the tablet starting to slide a little bit in my hand. I think this is a combination of the new texture plus the fact that it's thinner than it used to be. I'm probably going to be purchasing a case for it shortly, which should alleviate this problem, but it is still worth noting. This is just a personal preference things (if you normally hold it landscape w/ two hands, you'll probably prefer this new texture over the old one).
All in all, I am VERY impressed with how much faster this tablet is than my original Nexus 7 tablet. As long as this model doesn't suffer the performance slowdown issue of the original Nexus 7, I don't anticipate moving this away from a 5 star product anytime soon, but only time will tell I guess. I will keep this review updated as I go, and add thoughts on more features once I test them out further (the speakers, longer term battery life tests, performance slowdown, etc). If you have anything else you want me to address, please let me know in the comments section and I will be glad to address it.