Nexus 7 – Specs, Camera, OS, Battery and Availability
Nexus 7 Specifications
When it comes to specs, the Nexus 7 wipes the floor with its competition. It’s not only the most powerful 7in tablet around, it beats many 10in devices that cost more than twice as much. For starters, it packs the exact same Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor found in the Asus Transformer Pad 300.
Running at 1.2GHz and with 12 graphics cores on hand, this chip with its fifth CPU companion core combines excellent power frugality with plenty of power. Full HD videos run as smooth as butter, while you’ll see some of the prettiest games developed for Android running buttery smooth (excessive butter references are due to Google designating Jelly Bean's interface performance enhancements 'Project Butter').
Thanks to Tegra 3’s inbuilt niftiness you’ll also be able to hook up wireless games controllers from PS3 to Wii. It’s just a shame that as there’s no video connector, you can’t make use of the chip’s impressive output capabilities on a larger screen.
Seeing this much quad-core power in a sub-£200 tablet is simply astonishing, and Asus hasn’t skimped on the other specs either, as there’s 1GB of DDR3 RAM on board too (double that of the Kindle Fire). One of the ways cost has been saved is that this memory is slightly slower than that found on the Transformer tablets, but the performance impact is negligible.
Storage is the one area where things have been kept conservative, with 8GB and 16GB being your only choices. Google reckons that, due to the advanced cloud and streaming services that are more integrated than ever into Jelly Bean, the average user won’t require more, but on a device with no 3G you may have to manage content carefully.
Nexus 7 Camera
Asus couldn’t fit in a rear camera within the price constraints it was given, so the Nexus 7 only features a front-facing shooter for video calling and self-portraits. It’s a reasonable quality 1.2MP affair whose 1,280 x 800 resolution matches the tablet’s screen resolution exactly.
Google Nexus 7
Being Google’s flagship tablet, this 7in device naturally comes with the latest version of Android 4.1, or Jelly Bean to the more culinary than numerically inclined. In fact, the Nexus 7 is the first tablet or phone to do so. For the full low-down on what’s new and improved over Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, have a read of our Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Features List. However, right here and now, let’s sum it up by saying that JB is every bit as slick, smooth and well-appointed as iOS ever was.
Astonishingly, Google claims that JB is up to 23 times faster than ICS. Indeed, we never once encountered the (very minor) hiccups or stutters that would occasionally crop up in ICS on even the fastest tablets.
From Siri-like voice interaction that accurately picks up what you say to a greater emphasis on cloud content and Google Play store integration, this is a more user-friendly experience all-round. Browsing is also improved with Chrome Mobile now (finally) included as the browser of choice. Have a watch of our video to get more of an idea of how Jelly Bean looks and feels.
Nexus 7 Battery
While we didn’t get a chance to test it ourselves, the Nexus 7 is claimed to provide 9.5 hours of HD (H264) video playback from its 4,325mAh battery. This matches the best of the 10in tablets and easily puts the Nexus 7 in the lead compared to the rest of the 7in pack, with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. Interestingly, Asus claimed it was working on further optimisations which may add another 20 percent onto that. This will hopefully be applied as an update to models before they ship, but if not should be included in an over the air update.
The Nexus 7 is rated for a whopping 300 hours standby and 50 hours of music playback, all of which is incredibly impressive – especially when you again take into account this tablets low, low price.
Nexus 7 Availability
You can pre-order the Nexus now through Google’s online Play store or the usual retail outlets such as Dixons/Currys, eBuyer, Play, etc, with expected availability from the 20th of June. From Google direct you’ll pay £159 for the 8GB version or £199 for the 16GB, and both comes with £15 of Play store credit – meaning that for anyone who was planning to buy a few apps anyway, the tablet effectively sets you back £144. However, you do have to pay for delivery.
Buying from retail you can avoid the delivery charge if you go with a company that provides free delivery or pick one up in-store. However, you won’t find the 8GB tablet through these channels, and there’s no mention of Play store credit either.
Nexus 7 Final Thoughts
Google’s first tablet is undeniably impressive. Asus has done an almost miraculous job for the money, providing a device that not only matches its competition, but surpasses it on many fronts. Our only niggles are the lack of video output and memory card reader, but many won’t even notice their absence. And to be honest, it seems a small price to pay when you’re getting an attractive and slim 7in tablet with a superb, high-resolution IPS screen, Tegra 3 quad-core processor and premium-feeling build for under £200.
Scores In Detail
- Battery Life
- Screen Quality