By September 9, 2013

Galaxy Nexus 7 2013 Android Tablet Review

About five weeks ago I gave my first impressions about the latest Galaxy Nexus 7 Android tablet. This joint venture between Asus and Google has a lot going for it, but I can’t write a review without complaining about stuff.

IMG_2666

The Good

In general, the N7.2 is awesome. It has plenty of horsepower to run many apps at the same time, and happily renders high definition video without a hiccup. I used to manage my apps in the original Nexus 7, making sure I didn’t have too many high memory apps open at the same time. Now I run Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Chrome (with several tabs open), Gmail, Mail, Tapatalk, Feedly and YouTube all at the same time constantly.

The build quality of the Nexus 7 2013 is way up in comparison to the original. One of my coworkers liked the feel of the Nexus 7 so much he bought one, eschewing his Apple iPad Mini. It says a lot when the upstart Android devices are getting closer to the heft and feel of an Apple product.

The Nexus 7.2 screen is awesome. I use the N7.2 for about 90%+ of my personal computing now, only going to my desktop when I need to do photo or video editing or play StarCraft 2. I do the majority of my blogging, shopping, and dicking around with social media on my Nexus 7.

Wireless charging is totally awesome. I use a Samsung Galaxy Qi charger, but any Qi-compatible charger will work. It’s magic, and I hope more devices support the Qi standard in the future.

Samsung Galaxy Qi Wireless Charging Pad Review-0
Wireless charging on any Qi-compliant pad like this Galaxy Qi charger by Samsung is amazing.

The Bad

The side bezel is narrower than the previous Nexus 7. At first I had a difficult time with my thumb position; my left thumb would barely touch the screen, and taps with my right finger wouldn’t register. I’ve trained myself out of this, but it still happens. The price to pay for a slimmer profile and a larger screen, but it’s a slight complaint.

For some reason my Logitech Bluetooth keyboard doesn’t play nicely with the Nexus 7.2. Sometimes a key will repeat seven to eight times, and turning the keyboard on/off reloads my current Google Chrome tab. Both of these things are really frustrating when I’m writing an entry for Gibberish or an email. I am not sure if it’s my 7.2 or Android 4.3 or something else.

On one hand the notification LED on the front of the tablet is a welcome addition compared to the 2012 model. It flashes to let me know that I have an email, instant message, etc. On the other hand, it’s only white. A multi-color notification LED is incredibly useful, as I wrote about in my Light Flow Android app review. I doubt there’s a significant cost between a white LED and a multi-color one, and this is a drawback that I encounter the most. What a stupid decision.

I also dislike the SlimPort microUSB to HDMI output decision. There’s already a more accepted standard out there for microUSB to HDMI, and that’s MHL. If Google / Asus didn’t want to support MHL, they could have at least followed the Nexus 10’s lead and used micro HDMI.

The Ugly

I returned the original Nexus 7 tablet three times before settling down with my final model. The Nexus 7 2013 has been a lot more solid and well-built, but I still had to return mine because the Qi wireless charging didn’t work. Apparently there’s a known issue with some of the earlier Nexus 7.2 builds. Some paste and fingerprints got smeared over the wireless charging parts and that kept it from working.

This isn’t as bad as the issues I had with my original Nexus 7, but I also mitigated the suckiness by pre-emptively preparing for a return. I rooted my Nexus 7.2 right away and created a full system image (nandroid). If I hadn’t, I would have had to completely reinstall all of my apps and reconfigure my accounts, etc.

Conclusion: buy it

The Nexus 7 2013 is a worthy successor to the original and surpasses it in every way except for price. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an Android tablet. As several as my iOS-using friends have found out, the $229 price point almost makes the N7.2 an impulse buy.

There aren’t any 7″ or 8″ Android tablets that can compete with the Nexus 7 2013 right now. The Galaxy Note 3 that was just announced has a better screen, but also carries a $699 off contract price tag (yes, it’s a phone, but it’s the next contender to the N7.2). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is a terrible choice compared to the Nexus 7 2013 and it’s more expensive to boot. The Tab 3’s screen is just awful.

You won’t be disappointed with the Nexus 7 2013 edition.

Strongly recommended

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