New Nexus 7: The best small tablet on the market

A breakdown of the standout features on the latest version of Google's Nexus 7 tablet.

Here's the deal. The new Nexus 7 (the recently rolled out 2013 update to the original Nexus 7 tablet) is awesome. I love it. I’m writing this review on the tablet right now, with a big smile on my face.

Let's walk through the key points and why it rocks so hard.

The Screen. It's gorgeous. And the resolution is spectacular, at 1920x1200. In a seven-inch screen. The pixel density on this bad boy is just insane, blowing everything else out of the water. Resolution and pixel density aren't everything. Luckily, the screen is bright, with great colors and excellent viewing angles.

The Speed. This sucker is fast, with a 1.5-Ghz, quad-core processor backed by 2 gigs of RAM. In that regard, it's on par with the Nexus 4, which is not a bad thing at all. Fast, fast, fast. A lot of folks (myself included) experienced a fair bit of slowdown and sluggishness with the original generation of Nexus 7 (it wasn't terribly slow, but it was annoying enough that it's worth mentioning). Those problems seem all but obliterated in the new model of the Nexus 7. My inclination is that the increased RAM (from 1 gig to 2 gigs) is making a pretty major difference.

The Battery. I feel mixed on this one. On the one hand, I'm finding that real-world battery life is slightly worse than the original Nexus 7. It’s not a huge difference, but enough to notice. On the other hand, the battery life is strong enough for me to use it, actively, all day. Google claims about nine hours. That seems about right, and it's certainly plenty.

The Shell. The shape and weight is pretty similar to most other seven-inch tablets. This one is slightly taller and slightly thinner (only just) than the original generation Nexus 7. The difference really isn't all that interesting. Though it does feel a bit sturdier than most tablets I've used. And it has a nice, all black, classy finish. So, hey, thumbs up there.

The Camera. It's got a 5MP camera on the back (the previous model didn't). It is completely average, and I have yet to use it for anything other than to test its quality. If you need a tablet with a great camera, this isn't the tablet for you. But that's just about the weakest point of this beast.

As of this moment, I'd consider the 2013 Nexus 7 to be the premier "small" tablet, providing the most excellent option of any eight-inch tablet running Android or iOS, especially for the price. Just a hair over $200? That's a damn steal considering the tech it features.

I know. I know. This reads like a bit of a fanboy review. But, so what? At this point you could certainly call me a fanboy of the Nexus 7. Because it's that awesome.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022