When Google launched its first Nexus tablet in 2012 with Asus as the
OEM, the tablet created a lot of buzz worldwide and offered consumers
the purest form of the Android OS on a 7-inch tablet with decent hardware at a competitive price.
However, one year is a long time and when it comes to technology;
devices tend to get more powerful with each passing year, while prices
are expected to stay the same or even drop.
We now review the Google Nexus 7 (2013), Google and Asus' second outing with a joint flagship device, the current tablet platform lead.
Considered by many to be the challenger to
the Apple iPad in the tablet segment, the Nexus 7 (2013) finally
reached Indian shores recently, and is an attempt to strike a golden
balance between premium specifications and price.
latest Nexus 7 (2013) tablet is also a definite upgrade compared to its
predecessor in terms of hardware and design, while the software upgrade benefit, as previously mentioned, remains the same.
In our review, we see if that is all the
Asus-manufactured Nexus 7 (2013) has to offer users, especially
against some very stiff competition from Samsung, Amazon Kindle, Lenovo
and LG in the Indian tablet segment. We try to find out in our review.
would be lying if we said that we did not find the Nexus 7 (2013)
tablet attractive, but we would be deviating equally from the truth if
we said that its design was unique.
The new Nexus 7 tablet is
both lighter and thinner than its predecessor and sports a narrower
front bezel around the display. The latest model comes with dimensions
200x114x8.65mm compared to 198.5x120x10.4mm of the Nexus 7 (2012)
tablet, while in terms of weight the new Nexus 7 is light at 299 grams
(Nexus 7 2012 was 340 grams).
The front panel is dominated by the
7.02-inch display, which is negligibly bigger than a 7-inch display found
on the original Nexus tablet. The front panel of the new Nexus 7 tablet
features a black strip of glass around the display, that blends with a slight seam to the back panel. In
the original Nexus 7, the front panel included a plastic grey rim along
the sides of the display, which did give it a low-cost tablet looks. The front of the Nexus 7 also includes a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera on top of the display.
new Nexus 7's rear panel features a soft-touch coating which appears to
be made of polycarbonate material, though is a bit susceptible to
smudges. The rear panel of Nexus 7 (2013) is one of the major changes in
design aspects, compared to the dotted back panel in the original Nexus
tablet. To be noted, is that the rear panel of the new Nexus 7 now offers less
grip when compared to the Nexus 7's (2012) dotted back. Another new and
very important addition to the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet is the 5-megapixel rear camera. The new Nexus 7 now becomes the first Nexus
tablet (7-inch and 10.1-inch) to feature a rear camera.
about the branding, much like the original tablet, the new Nexus 7 also
does not include any branding on the front panel, while the back embeds
the usual glossy Nexus branding and also the Asus mark
in matte at the bottom of the back panel.
The design is minimalistic with
the left side (in portrait mode) being bare; and the right side that
houses a large volume rocker buttons and the small power button. Also
on the right side is the SIM tray for Nexus 7's 3G model. However, we
wished that there was an illustration on the SIM slot that indicated the correct way of inserting the SIM into the tablet - as
we wasted quite a bit of time trying to insert the SIM the right way into the
Nexus 7 tablet.
The Nexus 7 (2013) comes with the usual number of
connectivity ports, the Micro-USB port is on the bottom panel, while the
3.5mm audio jack is at the top panel. The original Nexus 7 included the
audio jack at the bottom panel, which was very unusual for a tablet.
Nexus 7 comes with dual-stereo speakers placed on both top and bottom
panels of the device, powered by Fraunhofer mobile audio
There's no doubt that both Google and Asus have
addressed the design shortcomings of the original Nexus 7 and have tried
to improve the new Nexus tablet variant's design in every way
imaginable. The original Nexus 7 was considered by many an all plastic
affair with the rear dotted design giving it a bad look, though was very
helpful in gripping the device. The new Nexus 7 tablet is smart enough
and is not very heavy to lug around.
The Nexus 7
(2013) comes with a 7.02-inch IPS (full-HD) display with a resolution of
1920x1200 pixels, which translates to a pixel density of 323ppi (pixels
per inch). The Nexus 7's display also features scratch-resistant Corning
However, the Nexus 7 tablet's display is a fingerprint magnet, and we
had to regularly clean the display to keep it clear.
striking upgrade in the latest Nexus tablet is its 7.02-inch display,
which we can safely say is the best found on an Android tablet in the
The resolution and pixel density of the Nexus 7
(2013) model is more than some of its competitors in the 7-inch tablet
segment like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD (1280x800 pixels); Samsung Galaxy
Tab 3 (1024x600 pixels); Asus Fonepad 7 (1280x800 pixels) and the Apple
iPad mini (1024x768 pixels). However, the recently launched Apple iPad
mini with Retina display offers 2048x1536 pixels resolution which is far
more than the Nexus 7 (2013).
Notably, the new Nexus 7's display
is brighter, crisper and offers higher contrast compared to original
Nexus 7 tablet. In daily use, the Nexus 7 (2013) display is a delight to
use, no matter what the tablet is being used for. The images and texts
look crisp and sharp, and the 7.02-inch display is a treat for e-book
Aside from screen resolution, the Nexus 7's display is
decent by its colour reproduction, which is accurate. Thankfully, the
Nexus 7's display offers vivid colours and is not oversaturated, as
usually seen on an AMOLED panel.
We expect tablets to often be viewed by
multiple people at once (when watching a video clip, for example) and in this department, the Nexus 7 delivered
great viewing angles. We should mention though, that the display was a little reflective and the screen
also looked washed out at certain viewing angles. While the sunlight
legibility was decent, we wish that the screen brightness levels
could be better. The touch sensitivity of the Nexus 7 tablet is great
and we did not encounter any issues while using the tablet.
of the biggest criticisms that the original Nexus 7 tablet faced was
the absence of a rear camera. However, Google and Asus have worked in
almost all departments of the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and have given the
device a complete face-lift that includes the camera as well.
Nexus 7 (2013) tablet sports a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera and
also features a 1.2-megapixel front-facing fixed focus camera. The
camera on the Nexus 7's tablet does not accompany a flash, not a
surprise considering only few tablets comes with flash support.
new Nexus 7 tablet's default camera app features Android 4.4 KitKat
goodies and offers four shooting options - still, video, Panorama and
Google's much-touted Photo Sphere (360-degree), all of which were first
seen on the Nexus 5's camera.
The Photo Sphere mode allows users
to click 360-degree panoramas and wide-angle scenic shots. The Photo
Sphere mode is available in the camera app on all Nexus devices running
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and above.
The camera app on the Nexus 7
tablet offers options for exposure, white balance settings, four scene
modes and also a timer for clicking images. Asus has ditched the HDR
option for the tablet.
We tested the Nexus 7's
rear camera in outdoor, dim and indoor conditions, and found that images
taken outdoors during daylight came out well except that colours were a
little over-saturated, and at times we noticed noise at edges; you can also
see missing details if zoomed in a clicked image.
that, we found the quality of the images clicked by the Nexus 7 taken in
sufficient light to be better than the images clicked by Samsung's
Galaxy Tab 3 211 and even Asus's Fonepad 7. However, the same
could not be said for indoor and dim light conditions, the quality of
the images clicked by Nexus 7 did drop, and looked soft and not as crisp
as those clicked in well-lit situations.
The Nexus 7 tablet can
record videos at full-HD (1080p) quality with a steady 30 frames per
second indoors and outdoors. However, the quality is noticeably better in
The Nexus 7 also features a 1.2-megapixel
front facing camera that can be used for selfies and for video chats. However, we found the videos and images captured indoors or even outdoors
through the front-camera were a bit grainy and lacked details. We can expect it to be helpful for video calls over Skype and Hangouts
There's no doubt that the
biggest attraction of the Nexus devices (smartphones and tablets) has
not been their hardware but the fact that, not like other Android
devices; Nexus series receive the latest Android updates literally in no
time of Google releasing them.
However, the same cannot be said for the
Nexus 7 (2013) tablet, as it received the Android 4.4 KitKat update
after almost two weeks of the OS release. It's worth pointing out that
before Google's Android KitKat release for Nexus devices (excluding the
Nexus 5) Motorola (Google owned) released the latest Android update for
its flagship smartphone, the Moto X.
The Nexus 7 (2013) tablet
was the platform lead device for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, though that iteration is not considered such a big upgrade from Android 4.2.
Google released the Android 4.4 KitKat update for Nexus tablet, and as
with all Nexus devices; the tablet includes the stock build of the
operating system, without any additional UI skinning usually seen on
Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony devices.
Nexus 5 smartphone was the
platform lead device for Android 4.4 KitKat, and the Nexus 7 tablet bears a
lot of similarities in terms of features. The Android 4.4 KitKat
features a number of visual changes including a new launcher, making the
interface even more minimalistic. The Nexus 7 tablet sports flatter
design elements, muted colours in status icons, transparency, and
smoother transition animations.
The Nexus 7 tablet features the
transparent notification tray and Quick settings at the top, while the
navigation key bar is at the bottom, making the tablet's display look
bigger, cleaner and brighter. The Android 4.4 KitKat lock screen on the
Nexus 7 tablet like the Nexus 5 does not feature a small camera button,
which helps in opening the camera app via the lock screen widget
directly from the lock screen.
There are five customisable default
home screens on the Nexus 7 tablet on which users can park widgets and
shortcuts, and the basic Google apps. However, with Android 4.4 KitKat
users can have as many home screen panes as wanted by simply dragging an
icon or placing a widget on a new one.
After enabling Nexus 7
tablet's Google Now, which is the search giant's smart assistant that
offers information and updates based on the data and usage behaviour. On
our Nexus 7 (2013) tablet, the left most home screen pane had the Google Now
widget with information cards and a search bar. One can also launch Google Now from the lock screen by just swiping up the screen from the Home
button. The Google search bar with the voice search icon is present on
all home screens and cannot be removed.
We wished that Google
included the voice search, initially seen on Moto X and later on the
Nexus 5. The voice-guided new search feature can initiate search from
device's unlocked state by simply saying, 'Ok Google'. We searched the
feature on the Nexus 7 tablet but could not find it.
(2013) tablet's status bar icons and UI elements in the notifications
tray have been stripped off the blue colour in the latest Android KitKat
iteration, and now sport a muted white-grey shade. Notably we observed a
smooth fly away animation while launching the KitKat app launcher or
when going back to the home screen. The app launcher on the Android 4.4
KitKat features app icons and widgets; now due to the larger icons,
you'll see a 4x5 grid instead of a 5x5 grid.
Long pressing on the
Nexus 7 tablet's home screen brings up the menu to change the wallpapers.
The choice of default still wallpapers, live wallpaper and custom
wallpapers are now available under a single menu.
The Nexus 7's
notifications tray features notifications that can be expanded by using
two finger pull, while the Quick settings offers toggles for brightness,
settings, Wi-Fi, network, auto rotate, battery status, airplane mode,
Bluetooth, and location settings.
The preloaded apps on the Nexus 7
features the new goodies from Android 4.4 KitKat including the new
Hangouts app, which combines the chat service and the Messaging (SMS)
app into one app; new Photos app, which allows users to view and edit
local (stored on device) and Google+ images; Drive; Keep; Play Games;
Play Movies; Play Movies; Play Books; Play Newsstand and Quickoffice for
creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Nexus 7 tablet also features the new email app which has received a
complete overhaul with KitKat, and the app displays the pictures of
contacts for emails. Navigation has been made similar to the Gmail app
and it also offers the swipe to delete gesture.
Performance/ Battery Life
Nexus devices have always come with a fair amount of hardware muscle
and the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet is no slouch in that department. It is
powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at
1.5GHz with Adreno 320 GPU clocked at 400MHz and 2GB of RAM. However,
we still wish that Google could have chosen the most recent Snapdragon
800 chipset rather than the previous generation Snapdragon S4 Pro.
Nexus 7 (2013) model definitely ups the ante in terms of specifications
as compared to the 1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with 1GB
of RAM found on the original Nexus 7.
Our review unit had 32GB
built-in storage (a 16GB model is also available); out of which about
27GB is user-accessible. The Nexus 7 (2013) does not offer a microSD
card slot for expandable storage, much like other Nexus devices.
Considering that the Nexus 7 comes at a mid-range price, the limited
storage on the device is definitely a deal breaker. Further, the Nexus 7
tablet offers 15GB free Google Drive cloud storage, similar to other
Android devices, although we assume that the cloud storage does not
always come handy.
The overall experience of navigation through
the Nexus 7 tablet's interface was extremely impressive, thanks to all
the power under the tablet's hood and the UI being devoid of unnecessary
bells and whistles such as transition effects.
We did not
experience any lag at all while launching apps, playing games (light
graphic games), scrolling web pages or switching between apps on the
Nexus 7 tablet. However, we feel that the major downside of the tablet
was it could not handle heavy graphics games like Asphalt 8 and Real
Football 2013. We encountered lags and even observed the tablet
restarting by itself, after hanging for about 10 minutes.
the lag is not that consistent but considering that a quad-core
processor backs the device, it was quiet disappointing. In day to day
activities the Nexus 7 (2013) tablets feels smooth enough and you are
not really left wanting for more power until you are stuck with a heavy
Sound clarity on the Nexus 7 tablet is good on both
loudspeakers and headphones, although we would have preferred a
slightly higher maximum volume. The tablet features dual stereo speakers on the
rear soft-touch panel which are decent, though not comparable to HTC's
BoomSound ones, which are backed by an amplifier.
The Nexus 7 (2013) tablet's
full-HD resolution display is great to view videos and images
on. The tablet played full-HD videos and supported popular video formats
like .AVI, .MOV, .MKV and .MP4. However, the biggest compromise for
playing videos for longer periods on the tablet is the battery backup.
The Nexus 7 (2013) tablet was able to play merely three to roughly five
hours of continuous video (full-HD quality) with full charge and
brightness set on auto, which we think is below average for a tablet
with a 3950mAh battery.
We received the Nexus 7 (2013)
tablet with SIM support and the device was able to latch on to cellular
networks for data even in weak signal areas which came in handy at
times. Notably, the Nexus 7 (3G) tablet model does not support calling
The Google Play store listing claims that the Nexus 7
(2013) tablet supports wireless charging (Qi compatible), although we
couldn't test the functionality without such a charger.
The Nexus 7 (2013) tablet packs a
3950mAh battery which the Play Store listing claims delivers up to 9
hours of active use. In our rundown battery test, the tablet did not
deliver as per Google's claims. We charged the tablet in the morning,
and with medium to heavy usage, (including a couple of hours of Internet
browsing; two email accounts configured; listening to some music and
playing videos; some casual photographs and even gaming for an hour) the
tablet lasted for only seven hours, before reaching out for the
It's worth pointing out that we had turned on the
auto-brightness, and the tablet was also hooked to a Wi-Fi network with
normal browsing. Changing these settings may help in increasing the
tablet's battery life, depending on your usage pattern.
Nexus 7 is one of the best
Android tablets available in the Indian market in terms of the overall user experience and build quality. However, its graphical performance was mediocre, and we did experience
odd lags while playing heavy graphics games. Apart from this, the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet handled everything we threw at
it with a degree of ease.
If we had to mention other downsides to Nexus 7's complete
package, they would be that the device tended to gobble up battery life quickly, and the limited storage (26GB user available). Our advice for power users will be to stay not too far from a charging point, as the Nexus
7 tablet tends to get below 40 percent battery within a few hours, which
If you want to look at other options, we would
recommend the Apple's iPad mini with Retina display 16GB (Wi-Fi) which
is priced at Rs. 28,900, while spending few more thousand would get one
to the 16GB cellular model of the iPad mini with Retina display. If Android is your preferred ecosystem, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 311 (8.0) is a good option for you, at Rs. 25,500 (Wi-Fi + 3G).
Google Nexus 7 (2013) in pictures
Price: Rs. 27,999
- Vivid, full-HD display
- Latest version of Android
- Non-expandable storage
- Disappointing battery life
- Display prone to smudges
- Lags during playing heavy graphics game
Ratings (Out of 5)
- Design: 3.5
- Display: 4
- Camera: 3
- Performance: 3.5
- Software: 4
- Battery Life: 2.5
- Value for Money: 3.5
- Overall: 4