Rating: 4.5/5.0

Pros: smooth performance, high resolution screen, affordable price

Cons: no microSD support, below average camera, few useful enhancements

The new Nexus 7, Google's latest tablet and the successor to last year's model, comes with numerous enhancements over its predecessor. These improvements include a better battery, a higher resolution display, and a faster processor. While not perfect, the Nexus 7 remains an excellent tablet with a variety of features.

The 16GB model costs $229 and the 32GB model costs $269. While slightly more expensive than the previous generation, the Nexus 7 provides an excellent overall experience at a decent price. Although its screen may seem small compared to the iPad Mini, and Android 4.3 lacks some features found in other tablets, Google's Nexus 7 remains highly competitive in the growing tablet market.

Design

The 2013 Nexus 7 weighs 1.76 ounces less than its 2012 predecessor, and with a width of 4.5 inches can easily fit in one hand. Volume and sleep buttons remain easily accessible, and the Micro-USB port allows for painless charging and data transfer. Additionally, two sets of speakers on the back provide quality audio.

While a front facing camera delivers video chat functionality, a rear facing camera allows users to take high resolution photos. Although the smooth matt finish deviates from the soft leathery texture of last year's model, the Nexus 7 still retains an elegant appearance; however, the design won't win any awards for originality due to a lack of any major improvements.

Features

A notable addition to the Nexus 7 is Google's new Android 4.3 operating system; however, 4.3 doesn't sport many new features. Several of the additions within Android 4.3 include Multi-User Restricted Profiles, Bluetooth Smart, and OpenGL ES 3.0. While Android 4.3 may include some extra polish, consumers probably won't even notice these refinements.

The Nexus 7 contains a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, Adreno 320 GPU, gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass. This tablet also comes with dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. Additionally, a microSD card slot remains missing from the new Nexus 7. This deficiency forces users to rely solely on the devices built-in storage space.

Performance

The Nexus 7 comes with an extremely high resolution display for a 7-inch device. When comparing it to almost any other tablet this fact becomes apparent. No other 7-inch tablet comes with a pixel density as high as the new Nexus 7 (approximately 323 pixels/inch). Reading small text on this device is remarkably easy and comfortable.

Performance remains extremely smooth on the Nexus 7. Apps open and close quickly, keystrokes register with no issues, and Web pages scroll effortlessly. Additionally, the dual speakers provide decent quality sound for a tablet. However, the front and rear facing cameras do not impress, and especially underperform in low light situations.

Overall Impression

The 2013 Nexus 7 easily supersedes its 2012 predecessor. Increased performance, a crisp display, and several OS improvements all compensate for any deficiencies within the device. While it doesn't annihilate the competition, the Nexus 7 boasts sufficient enhancements to earn itself a top spot among similar tablets.

The Nexus 7 performs well in any situation. With a multitude of apps to choose from this tablet can adapt to accomplish a variety of tasks. Users will find numerous ways to get a job done. Overall, the new Nexus 7 delivers extraordinary performance and value for such a small and compact device.