Nexus 7 2 – A hands on look

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It was the original Nexus 7 that really got the market hyped up for the ‘Mini’ tablets, waging war against the iPad Mini and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The newly revamped Nexus 7 2 reignites the feud with Apple rumoured to be working on their next generation iPad Mini.

What was so good about the original Nexus 7 was the price, it was what kept the tablet so competitive for so long, and the new Nexus doesn’t let its predecessor down. Coming in at £199 for a 16GB model and £240 if you want a 32GB version. However, those two are Wi-Fi only. If you want a Wi-Fi, LTE and HSPA+ compatible Nexus 7 2, you’ll have to pay out £299 for the privilege. With the new Nexus 7 however, the price rise is justified with the hilariously good new specs. You’ll not be left wondering how much money you wasted.

The new Nexus 7 is lighter and thinner than its previous model, coming in a 200 x 114 x 8.7mm and 290g in compared to the original Nexus’s 198.5 x 120 x 10.5mm and 340g in weight. Gone is the plastic bezel trim of old that was painted to make it look like metal, the bezels on the new Nexus have been shrunk right down to the edge of the device, giving you one heck of a good looking display.

Just to throw in a knock to Apple, Google and Asus teamed up to deliver a 1920×1200 display that is sure to have Apple envious all over as they supposedly struggle to make retina iPad Mini’s.

Without further ado, let’s take a dive into the Nexus 7 2nd generation and see just how it fares.

Features

The new Nexus comes with a raft of new features for you techy folk out there. Alongside it’s simply jaw-dropping screen, a 1.2megapixel front facing camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera as well. A micro USB port comes for charging your device, as well as the customary wall charger. If you’re not a fan of plugs, Google has included wireless charging support through the same Qi standard as the Nexus 4.

One thing that was missing in the old Nexus and sadly still is in the new one, is the lack of a microSD card slot.

Focusing on the Camera now, we say the camera was one of the let-down features of the Nexus 7. Whilst it’s commendable that Google and Asus endeavoured to stick a rear snapper on the new Nexus, it wasn’t properly complemented by the features.

If you’re looking to take a picture in low light, you can forget it. Here is no flash or light and thus, it’s just not suitable for low light conditions. Adding to that, the colour balance leaves a lot to be desired also. Taking pictures inside with light seems to bring out an overly yellow hue and the camera struggles with movement. We’ve stuck in an image or two taken by the Nexus 7’s rear camera in the gallery at the bottom of the article.

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Battery

The 3950 mAh battery that comes with the Nexus also comes with a claim from Google that it’ll last you for up to nine hours with active use. After a couple days of testing, charging and more testing, it near enough hit the nail on the head.

We played around on games, kicked back and watched some Family Guy on Netflix and indulged in some rocking out via YouTube. All in all, we tended to average out between 7-8 hours on a full charge depending how much we did of one action.

Considering the battery in this Nexus is smaller than in the older version, you could say we’re not really bothered about losing a little life with the exemplary screen and speakers.

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Performance

The Nexus 7 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4Pro pumping out 1.5GHz, an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. For Nexus 4 users, this’ll sound familiar as it is the same set up as you have inside your phone! Naturally, many people may think that the new Nexus is simply a bigger Nexus 4, and as such will perform just like it, you’re dead wrong there.

Various tests have shown the new Nexus 7 runs around 25% better, more than you expected huh? We ran a battery of tests, downloading some of the more graphically demanding games on the app store and we experienced next to no lag at all. Even the most intensive games failed to halt the Nexus 7 powering through. Even when we simply messed around and clicked all the options we good, the transition was seamless and really, the only kind of pausing or stutter from the device we saw was when we needlessly rotated the screen.

The Nexus 7 is one heck of a device performance wise, we just loved how speedy and responsive the entire device was, no matter what we threw at it!

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Screen

As an Apple fan myself, I’m used to toying around with retina devices but the screen on the Nexus 7 really did blow me away. It’s fair to say that the screen on the Nexus 7 really is its killer feature. We sat down and streamed some full HD movies, rocked out to some 1080DP videos on YouTube and it’s was really impressive. The picture was bright, full of life and most of all, flawless in most every way.

For those who want to get into the nitty gritty, the Nexus 7 packs a 1920 x 1200 resolution which is equivalent to 323ppi. This means that it has the highest pixels per inch of any tablet on the market at present.

We could not really fault the screen at all; the text was totally crisp and flawless with video looking more beautiful than ever.

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Overall

Take this from someone who has, over the years always preferred Apple products, I would buy a Nexus 7 2 right now, right this moment. The battery life is seriously impressive, as is the sleek design of the device. The powerful innards of the device mean playing games, watching movies or even making some Skype calls is a breeze.

We can’t say what the iPad Mini 2 will bring to the market, or how the Nexus 7 will fare against it. But in my own mind, I cannot see any device in the near future beating the Nexus 7 in terms of value for money. With such specifications, I would’ve expected this to cost a lot more than it does.

If you’re looking to get your hands on a blazingly fast tablet without a premium price, the Nexus 7 2 is the place to go. We’d REALLY recommend it.

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