Last year, at the end of 2012 when the top 10 slates of the year results came in, our site and many other sites seemed to consider the Nexus 7 the tablet of the year. This means that the Nexus 7 2013 has some very big shoes to fill and boy does it fill them! We recently tested the device and reviewed it in detail in the video below.
The device was launched this summer and it’s a product coming from Google and ASUS. It’s priced at $229 in the 16 GB version, at least on Amazon. This 7 inch tablet runs Android 4.3 and features a matte black case, with great build quality. The device is very solid, as far as build goes and the case is soft touch polycarbonate. Nexus 7 2013 measures 8.7 mm in thickness, weighs 290 grams, which is 50 grams less than Nexus 7.
This model is 1.5 mm longer than the predecessor, 6 mm narrow and 1.8 mm thinner. It can fit in the pocket of your jacket easily, by the way. We’ve got a narrow screen bezel here and ASUS shaved 2.75 mm less on each side. Sadly, the top and bottom still feature big bezels. This is a panoramic tablet with a 16:10 aspect and stereo speakers at the back, on each side.
The physical buttons are all placed on the right side and the microUSB at the bottom, plus audio jack at the top and the 5 MP camera in the back, in a corner. At the front, top side there’s a camera and ambient light sensor, plus we’ve got a notification light at the bottom, in the center below the screen.
Overall, we like the design because it’s elegant and slim. On the hardware side, we get a 7 inch IPS LCD screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, with 16 million colors and 323 PPI density. Inside there’s a quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with 1.5 GHz frequency and new Krait 300 cores, that are closer to a Snapdragon 600 than S4 Pro.
We’ve got a 5 MP back cam, 1.2 MP front cam, Adreno 320 GPU, 16 or 32 GB of storage, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 GB of DDR3L RAM and dual band WiFi. There’s also a LTE version of the device, by the way. Other specs include an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, SlimPort microUSB port with TV out support.
The device supports Qi standard wireless charging and on the battery side there’s a 3950 mAh unit, below the capacity of the 4325 mAh unit on the Nexus 7. The new Nexus 7 has a 15 Wh battery, while the old slate had a 16 Wh battery. The battery gets charged to the max in about 3 hours and you have to know that the consumption in idle mode has dropped compared to the Nexus 7 by 50%.
In our tests we lost 12% of the battery life by taking 70 pics and some video and 55% after YouTube video playback with 50% brightness. The 55% were lost in 3 hours and a half and the rest of 33% were lost during 2 hours of FIFA 14. Overall you should get 7 hours of video playback, which is below the iPad Mini, but still decent.
With good battery management, you will be able to reach one day of usage for the Nexus 7 2013. On the audio side we’ve got stereo speakers and the slightly curved edges will allow them to be heard properly with no muffling, even when placed on a flat surface. The speaker quality is very good, the voice is clear and the volume is high. The bass could be a bit better, but the volume is better than on the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 2012.
Moving to the video/screen experience, the device packs a 7 inch IPS LCD, with vivid colors, no oversaturation and over 500 lux units of brightness, as shown in our tests. That’s on a white background, while on a black one the screen reaches between zero and 1 lux, which is also very good. This is probably the brightest 7 inch tablet ever… We’ve also got good view angles, outdoor visibility is good and so is the contrast. The screen is magnificent and text is very crisp!
As far as the camera goes, we’re dealing with a 5 megapixel unit with autofocus, 1080p 30 FPS video capture and face detection. The UI is typical for Android 4.2 devices and up and the options include exposure, location, Photo Sphere, a countdown timer, picture size, white balance and scene modes. There’s Panorama and I have to say that overall the camera is a pleasant surprise.
The colors of the pics are natural and the brightness is quite good, especially in this cloudy period. The resolution of pictures is 2592 x 1944 pixels, we’ve got touch focus, but there’s no HDR or ISO sadly. The video capture is done in Full HD at 30 FPS and the continuous autofocus is slightly exaggerated. Finally, the video capture outputs a file with 12 Mbps bitrate.
The camera is not bad at all and there’s even some nifty photo editing shown in the video review. The default browser here is Chrome and it’s priced fast, achieving over 2k points in Browsermark 2.0. On the benchmark side, we compared the Nexus 7 2013 with the Nexus 7 obviously and the Galaxy Note 8.0. All of them are quad core slates, one with a Snapdragon, one with a Tegra 3 and one with Exynos. Nexus 7 2013 scores 4758 points in Quadrant, passing the 3656 points of the Nexus 7 and being below the 6900 points of the Galaxy Note 8.0.
In AnTuTu, Nexus 7 2013 rules the pack, with 20k points, beating both rival models with 10k and 3k points respectively. In NenaMark 2.0 the score is 58.6 FPS, past the 55 FPS of the Nexus 7. Meanwhile in Vellamo we had the lowest score of the trio, 1593 points, while in 3DMark we doubled the score of the other rivals with 7100 points. We also tested the temperature of the device, that reached 32 degrees Celsius after one hour of FIFA 14, which is very, very OK.
Nexus 7 2013 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, that brings restrictions to multi user setups, as shown in the video. Android 4.3 also comes with OpenGL 3. support, Bluetooth Smart, LE support, dialpad autocomplete and WiFi scan only mode, for improved location accuracy. There’s also support for 4K resolution screens, an improved Photo Sphere and better eMMC memory controller management via fstrim.
The app list is pretty predictable here, with the likes of Google Earth, Maps, Currents, Drive, Keep and Google+ bundled. There’s also the Play suite with Books, Music and Games included. The tablet works flawlessly and there’s no lag to worry about. Now for the Pros and Cons of the device…
Here are the Pros:
superb screen, excellent brightness
fast Android updates when they come
better battery life in idle mode and web browsing
narrow screen bezels on the sides
slim and comfy device
pretty good camera
improvement over Nexus 7
And the Cons:
top and bottom bezel are too big
less video playback battery
not enough bass for speaker
back gets dirty easily
Nexus 7 2013 is an excellent tablet, proved by the very few flaws it has, if any… It gets a 9.3 out of 10 from us for design, 9.5 for hardware and 9.8 for OS and UI, with the latter not beging a 10 because I hate the whole two dropdown thing. The final grade is 9.53 out of 10 and this is a very solid candidate to the title of best tablet in 2013.