Tablet … Google Nexus 7 By Asus

9/27/2012 3:21:55 PM

Google has finally entered the tablet market with its Nexus 7, an Asus-made slate tipped as a game-changer. It’s available from just $248 and is also the spearhead for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Description: Tablet … Google Nexus 7 By Asus

A 7in screen makes for a small tablet. It’s respectably thin at 10.9 mm, and very light at 336 g. Designed to be predominantly used in portrait mode, we found one-handed use in either orientation comfortable. Its compact 120 x 199 mm chassis makes the Nexus 7 pocketable, too.

The front takes the form of a single sheet of glass, surrounded by a silver metal frame. On the rear is a dark brown - almost black - textured cover with a rubbery feel. It aids grip and feels nice to the touch.

Buttons and ports are kept to a minimum: on the right is a power button and volume rocker, while a Micro-USB port and headphone jack are found at the bottom. A four-pin side dock will be useful for accessories; stereo speakers are concealed behind a long slot.

Build quality

We've come to expect sub-$312 tablets to display lousy build quality. The Nexus 7 bucks the trend, and this well-made slate feels like a premium product. Scratch-resistant Corning glass lies flush with the metal frame, and the buttons and ports feel solid. We did see rippling at the top and bottom edges of the screen when pressed, though.

The Nexus 7 has a surprisingly good specification for the money. It uses the same 1.3GHz nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor found in many top-spec Android devices, backed with a healthy 1GB of RAM.

The Nexus 7 scored highly in Geekbench 2, where it averaged 1,452 points. This result was reflected in its smooth operation.

The in-plane switching (IPS) panel is a highlight, and provides excellent contrast, brightness and viewing angles. A 1280x800 resolution and 216ppi pixel density translates to very good detail levels.

We found the screen good for web surfing and playing games, but even more so for watching films.

Storage is limited to 8- or 16GB, at $248 and $311 respectively. Note that the Android OS gobbles up around 2GB of this capacity.

There’s no microSD slot for storage expansion, nor is there a 3G option for connectivity. You could potentially tether the Nexus to a smartphone for mobile data. Also onboard are Bluetooth, GPS and near-field communications (NFC).

Unlike most tablets, the Nexus 7 doesn't have a rear-facing camera. There is a 1.2Mp front-facing cam for video chat, however.


Android 4.1 is an incremental update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There's little change in the interface, but Google has improved the OS’ performance and responsiveness. Jelly Bean is slick, and closes the gap between Android and iOS.

We experienced no lag when moving between home screens, navigating menus and scrolling through video. Web surfing with the default Chrome browser is smooth; pages load quickly, while zooming and scrolling are similarly speedy.

Description: Tablet … Google Nexus 7 By Asus

Enhancements have been made to the Notification bar, now showing more information about each alert and letting you carry out tasks without launching the associated app. For example, Gmail notifications group email messages and display their subject lines.

Widgets automatically resize to fill the available space, while app shortcuts and other widgets tidy themselves out of the way when you place a new widget over the top. Few are preloaded, but the Play Store has plenty to offer. The Nexus 7’s Home screens display only in portrait mode.

Dictation is now available offline, and Google Search gives results in information cards - you can ask questions and receive answers in spoken form, as you do with Siri.

Google Now is another addition, and taps into the data Google holds about you. It aims to stay a step ahead, predicting the information you need before it's requested. For example, it might offer train times.

We found Google Now very useful, offering us the information we’d usually search for and more, including local attractions based on our location. Its downfall is the need for an active internet connection; when you’re on the road and out of range of a Wi-Fi hotspot you'll need to tether the Nexus 7 to your phone.

Missing from Android 4.1 is any Flash support. This rules out inline video content on websites and, until the iPlayer app is updated, there's no BBC catch-up TV either.

Google touts an iPad-matching 10-hour battery life when browsing the web. The Nexus 7 endured two and a half days’ of intermittent use in our tests.


Google sets a new standard for budget tablets with the Nexus 7. It's an unbelievably well-equipped device for the price. Silky-smooth performance and a high-resolution IPS screen are highlights in the best budget tablet we've seen yet.


Price: $248


Read more:


1.3GHz nVidia T30L Tegra 3 quad-core processor; Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean; 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB or 16GB flash storage; 7in (1280 x 800) capacitive IPS display; 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth with A2DP; 3.5mm headphone jack; Micro-USB; 16Wh battery; 120 x 199 x 10.9 mm; 336g

PC Advisor Gold

Build: 8/10

Features: 8/10

Performance: 8/10

Value: 10/10


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