Nexus 7 review
Powerful, well built and with a better screen than you’d expect for the price, Asus and Google's Nexus 7 sets the new gold standard for budget tablets
Review Date: 11 Jan 2013
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £166 (£199 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
UPDATE: Our Nexus 7 review has been updated with information about the Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) update. Scroll to the end of the review to read more.
After several years watching manufacturers achieve mixed results with Android tablets, Google has finally had enough. Much like Microsoft’s forthcoming Surface tablets, the Nexus 7 is an attempt to marry the company’s popular OS with the quality of hardware it deserves – and at the right price.
It isn’t technically a Google tablet. In fact, you won’t find the company’s name anywhere on the device. Instead, Google pounced on an Asus tablet first shown at CES in January, and the pair reworked the exterior and came up with something they were happy with, which is why there’s a discreet Asus logo at the foot of the rear panel.
Whoever takes the credit, the Nexus 7 has certainly attracted plenty of attention with its mouth-watering sub-£200 price tag. For that money, you get a narrow device with a 7in widescreen display, a first look at Android’s 4.1 Jelly Bean update, and even a £15 Google Play voucher to start you off.
It’s immediately obvious that the Nexus 7 is a cut above most budget tablets. It’s just the right size and weight (340g) to fit in the hand, and its mottled rear panel feels soft on the palm. A speaker grille sits just below the Asus logo, with power and volume controls on the right edge and headphone and micro-USB sockets on the bottom edge. It’s sparse, but its gentle curves mean that it feels far from cheap.
The screen is a 1,280 x 800 IPS panel, making for a pixel density of 216ppi – not up with the iPad but higher than any smaller tablet we’ve seen. It’s pretty sharp and readable, and the wide aspect makes movie watching a treat. We measured the maximum brightness at 330cd/m2 and contrast at 1,100:1, and our only complaint is that colours lack punch, with a washed-out look that’s noticeable next to dearer tablet screens. The speaker on the rear is listenable but not particularly loud or full-sounding, so you’ll want to keep headphones to hand.
With all that power crammed into such a small device, the battery life is hugely important. Asus has squeezed in a non-removable 4,325mAh battery, and the Nexus 7 ran dry after 8hrs 48mins running a video on loop at half brightness with Wi-Fi disabled. That isn’t anywhere near the best in its field, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a travelling device.
There are only three places the budget obviously shows. First, there’s no camera on the rear, leaving you with only a pretty middling 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. Second, although it’s advanced enough to include NFC, there’s understandably no 3G option. Finally, there’s the issue of storage: the Nexus 7 comes in 16GB (£199) and 8GB (£159) flavours, with no card slots to add to that. Even at its remarkably modest price we’d be reluctant to buy the cheaper model – with the focus on content consumption you’d fill that 8GB in no time at all.
Great little device
My wife was really please to find one under Christmas tree.
Tried to get 3G version but no chance...
By aa111 on 11 Jan 2013
32 GB model
You should update the section on the storage available.
There is as you know now a 32GB version but it's not even mentioned in the Update section.
It would also be useful with information on how to get the update of the OS. My 16GB version hasn't informed me of the upgrade in the way my iPad2 did for its OS upgrade.
By MikeW2 on 12 Jan 2013
Use of 32GB would have been clearer !
Sorry about the comment on you not mentioning the 32GB model.
I was looking in the upgrade section for "32GB" rather than the much less clear "and storage space has doubled since our original review" which I now see IS there.
By MikeW2 on 12 Jan 2013
It only £159 on Google play store.
By curiousclive on 28 Jan 2013
why nexus 7 is heavily priced in india compared to usa , uk
15999 INR in india...
By pavanj7 on 6 Apr 2013
Had mine since Christmas. Had to send it back early January as it was overheating and taking up to 20 mins to start (and to stop). Returned within a week and been OK since. Use it to read news,books and email and as a Satnav. Not good for google as if software is not free I won't use it. Better than my wife's Kindle as it is more versatile. I love it.
By miket82 on 7 May 2013
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