Sunday, October 27, 2013

ASUS Nexus 7 2013


Why You'll Dig it:

Sharpest screen we’ve ever seen
Apart from the "Nexus" logo on the back of the tablet (now orientated vertically rather than horizontally), there initially appears little to distinguish this Nexus 7 from its predecessor. But on closer inspection, the plastic build is noticeably thinner and less creaky than before, while the dimpled rear finish of the older model has been replaced by a smooth rubbery surface. It’s still a little slippery though.

Annoyingly, the volume and power buttons are hard to find by feel alone and don’t give enough feedback when pressed. Another design quirk is the continued absence of an SD card slot. It would be wise to buy the 32GB model, which costs around US$400, if you plan to carry lots of media files and games around. Otherwise you’ll have to use online storage or juggle apps and files constantly.

Another irritant is the very thin borders on either side of the screen when it’s held vertically. If you prefer to hold a tablet with your thumbs resting on the border, rather than gripping it like a phone, then you’ll find yourself accidentally tapping one of the onscreen controls. It’s an annoyance that would have been avoided if the Nexus had bigger borders or a touchscreen that’s smart enough to realize when you’ve accidentally grazed it.

The Nexus 7’s best new feature is its high-resolution screen. At 1920x1200 pixels, it’s easily the sharpest of any 7in or 8in tablet screen we’ve seen so far. Text is exceptionally crisp, while photos and videos look vibrant and rich. The screen is almost painfully bright at its highest brightness setting, so it’s more than good enough when turned down halfway to conserve battery life. Battery life was one of the original Nexus 7’s few weaknesses. Rival mini tablets easily surpassed its so-so battery life (seven hours when playing videos continuously). The new model is much better, lasting 10 hours and 38 minutes. This is still behind the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the iPad Mini, which last for 11 and 12 hours respectively, but neither has a screen as good as the Nexus 7’s.

The first Nexus 7 only had a frontfacing camera for use when making video calls, but the new model also has a five-megapixel, rear-facing camera. It’s not good enough for regular use as your main camera, however.

We’d have forgiven the Nexus 7 for a less-than-perfect performance given its low price, but its quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB of memory sped through our benchmark tests. The Nexus 7 is more than fast enough for playing the latest 3D games. In everyday use, we only occasionally encountered lag and stuttering when navigating the interface and apps.

Get new Android versions early
One of the best things about the Nexus is that you’ll get new versions of Android quickly. With other Android tablets you’ll have to wait weeks or even months for updates and some models will never get updated at all. New Android versions often include security patches as well as new features.Having said that, the new Android version included with the Nexus 7 – 4.3 Jelly Bean – is only a minor upgrade over 4.2, but there’s one handy new feature parents will appreciate, which is that you can now create a restricted account for kids, choosing which apps they can access. It’s not a complete child-control package. You can’t create a list of websites they’re allowed to visit, for example, but it’s still a useful feature to have. This builds on the user accounts feature introduced in 4.2, which let different members of your household have their own separate set of apps and files protected with a personal password.

However, one flaw with the Nexus 7, and indeed all other Android tablets, is the continuing lack of apps designed for large, high-resolution tablet screens. The number and quality of Android tablet apps is slowly improving, but the iPad still has a better selection.

Conclusion
The new Nexus 7 isn’t perfect, but its design is mostly blighted by niggling limitations rather than serious flaws. Overall it’s an excellent-value tablet, but if you’re keen on downloading apps and enjoying media files, you’re better off skipping the US$250 16GB model and paying around US$50 extra for the 32GB model.


Where To Get it?

  

Specs


Screen resolution: 1920x1200 pixels
Cameras: 1.2-megapixel forward facing; five-megapixel rear facing
Battery life (video playback) :10h 38m
Processor: 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad core
Video connector: HDMI using micro USB adapter (not included)
NFC: Yes
Separate 4G model: O2 exclusive, US$400

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