Release Date: 7/26/2013
MSRP: $219.99 (16GB), $269.99 (32 GB), $349.99 (32 GB LTE)
Colors: White, Black
The Nexus 7 was the best 7-inch tablet on the market at its time. With the powerful Tegra 3 chipset, it seemed like it was unstoppable…that is until its cousin came along to trump it. Not only is the 2013 addition thinner and sleeker, it’s 4 times as powerful and is well worth upgrading. Google partnered with Asus once again but this time ditched the Tegra chipset and threw in the Snapdragon CPU and Adreno GPU. Once you open the box you will immediately notice the physical changes to the tablet. The deep black and the overall more rectangle shape and sharper edges look slick and clean. Gone is the soft bumpy back from before replaced with plastic and a beveled Nexus logo. I do miss that softback as it didn’t scratch, but the new back still has a soft fuzzy feeling to it.
Apart from that, you will also notice the front-facing camera has moved to the right as there is now a back camera that is 5.0 MP. The front camera has improved slightly by 0.1 MP but it makes a difference. While other tablets have more powerful rear-facing cameras the Nexus 7 does record in 1080p and looks pretty good in well-lit areas. I would have liked to see at least an 8 MP camera, but just having a camera added is a great addition. There isn’t a flash so the camera is nearly useless at night.
Let’s talk about the screen. It’s absolutely gorgeous. The 1920×1200 resolution LCD screen looks clear, bright, and crisp. The resolution upgrade is very noticeable compared to the 2012 model. With 323 ppi everything is going to pop out at you from games to comics. The sound is also something I love on this tablet that most tablets don’t have. We have 5.1 surround sound in this thing. Two small speakers at the bottom and a large one at the top. The speakers are made by Fraunhofer who are the guys who invented the MP3. I immediately noticed the sound difference when I started playing games. It sounds like everything is coming at you from all angles, it’s rich, crisp, and so much clearer than the 2012 model.
So what’s under the hood? The speed increase is incredible as apps load faster and things just process at a much faster rate. My comics rendered faster, games loaded quicker, and I had zero hang when loading graphics heavy websites in Chrome or switching apps quickly. The Snapdragon Krait 300 CPU is clocked at 1.51 GHz and is quad-core. This is much faster than the 2012’s 1.3 GHz CPU. The Adreno 320 GPU helps a lot as well and is loads faster than the Tegra 3. Games looked better and everything loaded so much faster. For example, on the 2012 model, I could not select the best graphics option in Rival Knights, on the 2013 model I could. I also had a lot of slow down with low framerate on the 2012 model in Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf. On the 2013 model, it ran at 60 FPS.
The battery also lasts a good while for a slimmer battery. You will get hours of gaming or reading out of this thing even with Wifi on. Besides processing speed the 2013 model has Bluetooth 4.0, screen mirroring, Qi wireless battery charging, a notification indicator at the bottom of the tablet. These may not seem like much but they make a big difference for an upgrade. Not to mention the loose charging port from the previous model has been fixed with a more sturdy USB slot. The tablet is also 2 ounces lighter so you can’t really complain.
Bottom line: The Google Nexus 7 (2013) is the best 7-inch tablet you can get your hands on at a great price. If you own the 2012 model I highly recommend the upgrade like I did. It’s fast, sleek, has a gorgeous screen, and has fantastic surround sound speakers.