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Cory Streater's Review of the Second Edition Nexus 7

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Cory Streater #1

Cory Streater
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Posted Aug 7 '13 @ 6:08 PM

It's been referred to as the Nexus 7 (2013), ASUS Pad K008, and the Nexus 7 Second Edition — the latter taken from the warranty booklet that's included with the device. I'll roll with the latter to differentiate between it and the original Nexus 7.

n7-top-view.jpg

I was (still am actually) a huge fan of the original Nexus 7. The screen never really blew me away, but at 7" it was the perfect combination of form, fit and function. I didn't root, install custom ROM's, nor unlock its bootloader. It did what I wanted it to, and it did it well — it fit comfortably in my hands and allowed me to watch movies and surf the web while lounging around.

In the brief review that follows, I'll be comparing both the original and second edition of the Nexus 7.

Ergonomics

Compared to the original Nexus 7, its successor is slimmer and lighter. I personally find the additional thickness of the original model more comfortable in the hands — particularly when watching TV shows and movies for extended periods of time.

Both are finished with a soft touch coating. However, the original model features a pinhole design, while its successor is totally smooth. Build quality looks and feels solid on the second edition.

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Both the volume rocker and power buttons are stiff on the second editon, and positioned at a maddeningly awkward angle — particularly when taking screenshots.

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Accessories

The original Nexus 7 included a measly 19" USB cable. The second edition arrived with a 36" cable, which is better, but still on the stingy side. The bulky 2A output power adapter included with the original model has been replaced with a compact 1.35A adapter.

The USB port on the original model is cut at an angle and depth that makes it incompatible with many aftermarket USB cable plugs. The second edition doesn't have this issue — plugs of all types fit snug and secure.

usbport2.jpg

Setup

Disregard the product announcement that claimed an hour of additional battery life despite its smaller battery. They drain equally as fast under the same load. That said, the screen on the new model is brighter, and the internals are beefier, so in that sense it's amazing that battery life is as good as it is.

On initial power up of the Nexus 7, it prompted me to configure the default language and WiFi settings. Once connected, a message displayed notifying me that a system update was available. It then downloaded the update, rebooted, and proceeded with the install.

The screens that followed are all standard in Android — signing into or creating a Gmail account, backup configuration, GPS options, and owner information.

Screen

The original Nexus 7 has a 7" 1280×800 display, with a pixel density of 216 pixels per inch. Colors are weak and washed out. The display’s brightness fails to increase sufficiently for bright image content, causing bright image detail to be compressed and lost.

I was happy to see this fixed in the second edition. Google bumped up the specs to a 7.2" 1920x1200 HD display, with a density of 323 pixels per inch. Text is crisp. Colors are rich. Brightness is significantly better.

Performance

Overall, Android on the second edition Nexus 7 performed well. Web browsing and general app usage is perceptively faster.

That said, the camera app locked up and the Nexus 7 rebooted while taking my first picture. As it was booting, a popup displayed informing me that an Android update was available — this is in addition to the one I had done previously. The update took approximately 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I've experienced two additional reboots while using the camera app, and another while using the Hangout app.

Camera

The camera managed pretty decent close ups, but terrible distant shots. I'm of the opinion that manufactures should either do a camera right, or not do it at all. Bad camera's are a useless waste of space — particularly on a tablet.

Close up:

IMG_20130727_112943.jpg

Distant:

IMG_20130727_113232.jpg

Sound

The speakers on the original Nexus were fine in a dead silent room, but insufficiently loud in other environments. In contrast, the second edition Nexus 7, with it's stereo speakers, is sufficiently loud, crisp, clear and vibrant. This alone is worth the upgrade.

Conclusion

The second generation offers up some significant improvements over the original Nexus 7 — particularly the display quality, USB port, and speakers. Maximum storage capacity has also been increased to 32GB, which is something I desperately needed due to how much time I spend on the road.

At $229 for the 16GB, and $269 for the 32GB model, you are definitely getting a lot of bang for the buck with Google's second generation Nexus 7.

That said, if you're tight on funding, hang on to what you have. The original Nexus 7 is still an awesome device despite the flaws I pointed out above.


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Treknologist #2

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Posted Aug 8 '13 @ 12:32 PM

Nice review, Cory. I own the original Nexus 7 and, though I'm impressed with what Google and Asus did with the new model, I'm not looking at upgrading right now. At least not for the 7" size. The Transformer Prime I have is another story. That is showing its age already and I plan to replace it with a Nexus 10 if they announce an upgraded one.
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dgw #3

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Posted Aug 8 '13 @ 2:08 PM

The bulky 2 mAh output power adapter included with the original model has been replaced with a compact 1.35 mAh adapter.

 

Surely this sentence should read, "The bulky 2A output power adapter included with the original model has been replaced with a compact 1.35A adapter." mAh measure charge capacity; A alone measure current/output.



Cory Streater #4

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Posted Aug 8 '13 @ 4:04 PM

The bulky 2 mAh output power adapter included with the original model has been replaced with a compact 1.35 mAh adapter.

 
Surely this sentence should read, "The bulky 2A output power adapter included with the original model has been replaced with a compact 1.35A adapter." mAh measure charge capacity; A alone measure current/output.


Correct.

Lee Bo #5

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Posted Aug 12 '13 @ 7:30 AM

Thanks for the review.  I'm still debating on giving my 2012 edition to my son and getting the 2013 model.


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Ahowe125 #6

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Posted Aug 12 '13 @ 7:56 AM

Thanks for the review.  I'm still debating on giving my 2012 edition to my son and getting the 2013 model.

 

I never used the original version, but this thing is awesome! I think its worth every dollar I paid for it. 


| 32GB Verizon HTC One - S-Off, Unlocked and Rooted on NuSenseOne-Kitkat RC-1.4 |
| 16GB Nexus 7 (2013) - Unlocked and Rooted on Stock 4.4.2 |
| Jet Black Pebble Smart Watch (Red Slickwrap) - Official SDK 2.0.2 |

C Sab #7

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Posted Aug 12 '13 @ 11:57 AM

If only I was intending to get the 2013 version of the Nexus 10 or I could write a review to match this one.