Google’s Nexus range of tablets and smartphones have always been a great option for savvy shoppers. Affordable pricing with great all round specs means the devices are perhaps the best option for everyone except the most intense users. Google latest tablet, the new Nexus 7, is no exception. Priced from just $229 in the US and £199 in the UK, the tablet is significantly cheaper than Apple’s iPad offerings, although slightly more expensive than the Kindle Fire HD which is currently priced at $199 / £159. But does it match up to these bestselling competitors, and can the Nexus 7 save Google’s version of tablet Android against these formidable rivals?
Google has high hopes for sales of the new Nexus 7 - 3.5 million units are expected to be sold before the years out. Like Apple’s latest iPad, Google’s opted not to change the name of the Nexus 7. The New Nexus 7 however is a major change from the previous Nexus 7, so it’s important to ensure you’re purchasing the right version of the tablet. Shoppers in the UK will be able to get their hands of the new device from August 28th and some US customers have already started to receive their tablets.
The basic version of the tablet comes from 16GB memory and only WiFi, although a 4G mobile version and a 32GB version are also available for slightly more offering either (or both) extra storage and the ability to use the device out and about without finding an open WiFi network.
The tablet has some perfectly respectable stats: 2GB ram, a 7″ screen with a 1200p resolution (equivalent to 323 ppi, which puts it into the ‘Retina’ category of screens), along with perfectly respectable 5 megapixel and 1.2 megapixel cameras. The 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor works well enough, but this is clearly the area Google has opted to save costs in.
Specs aren’t everything though, and as any tablet owner knows the quality of the build of their devices is important. Tablets have a tendency to get dropped and smashed screens, owners worst nightmare, are all too common. In both drop tests and water resistance tests the new Nexus 7 outperformed the iPad Mini, with the drop test not causing any significant damage to the Nexus 7 while the iPad Mini had its screen smashed.
The original Nexus 7 had quite a few faults that only emerged after some time with the device. Many users found that draining the battery completely led to them being forced to perform a hard reset to turn the device back on. Others discovered the tablet got slower the more they used it. It’s too early to say if the new device will have similar issues, but Google appears to have put real effort into resolving these to ensure the new device is a success.
How does the Nexus 7 compare with the current iPad Mini? It beats it hands down, as the iPad Mini’s processor and RAM are outdated. The RAM is only a quarter of what’s in the latest Nexus 7. While the iPad Mini has a bigger screen it is lower quality. However if you’re a loyal iPad user and don’t really want to switch then there might be good news for you: leaks suggest that a new iPad Mini might be coming soon, perhaps along with the iPhone 5S on September 10th.
Comparing to the Kindle Fire HD 7″ should be easier as both devices run Android, but Amazon’s fork limits somewhat the Kindle Fire. The battery in the Kindle Fire lasts for a similar time period, the processor is slower at 1.2GHz and the RAM half at 1GB. The resolution is quite a bit lower, only reaching 216ppi compared with 323 for the Nexus 7. However the Kindle Fire is a cheaper device by some margin and comes with some great Amazon content benefits, especially for those with Prime. The choice here really comes down to what you use your tablet for: for watching movies and reading books at home the Kindle Fire HD is a better option, for general use we prefer the Nexus 7.