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Google Nexus 7 tablet review

Size, price, and display quality make a killer combination

Last updated: July 2013
Photo: Google

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With the newest version of the Nexus 7, Google challenges every other tablet, small and large. It’s light and narrow with a dazzling display. And its $229 price tag (for the 16GB version) should make it an easy sell.

Look and feel

When you buy a small tablet, it’s because you want a small tablet. One of the Nexus 7’s biggest strengths is its narrow design. It has a 7-inch display, but in a package just under 4.5 inches wide.

That makes the Nexus 7 easy enough for most people to comfortably hold for prolonged periods in one hand. I was even able to slip it into the back pocket of my jeans (although I’d never really carry it around that way).  At 0.64 pounds, it’s also extremely light.

Display quality

The display looks terrific. It's bright and crisp. And its 1920x1200 resolution is the highest we’ve seen in a small tablet, while its 323 pixels per inch also makes it the densest tablet display we’ve tested.

Despite the smallish screen, movies are fun to watch because they look so good. I found book text to be very sharp, and photos in magazines also looked great. To read magazine copy, though, it’s better to go into the Text View that Google Magazines offers, because type on magazine pages tends to be small.

We’ll report soon on our more detailed lab tests of color, brightness, and viewing angle.

Find the best model for your needs and budget with the help of our tablet buying guide and Ratings.

Android 4.3

The biggest change with this version of Android is the addition of restricted profiles. If you want some control over what your kids are doing on the tablet, this is the way to get it. For example, you can buy the first few levels of a game that requires in-app purchases, and only those levels will show up in the game on your child’s profile.

Android 4.3 also supports a new feature called Bluetooth Low Energy, which lets you link other devices, such as fitness monitors, to the Nexus.

Games

Graphics in many of the games are superb on the Nexus 7. Google says Android 4.3 is the first mobile platform to support a graphics standard called Open GL ES 3.0. Combine that with the high-resolution display, and games look a lot more realistic. I tried a game called Riptide GP2, a jet-ski race game, and was impressed by the shading, water effects, and other graphics.

We're putting the Google Nexus 7 through its lab-test paces now; stay tuned for those results and our final Rating of the tablet.  

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