For reading, it’s nigh impossible to beat the new Nexus 7. Seriously, the screen and features are just that good, and it starts at just $229. Even Engadget says, “The display is the best we’ve seen on a small tablet . . .”
The only potential weakness I’ve found with the new Nexus 7 is that the battery life isn’t amazing (though it isn’t horrible). On average, you can expect a day and a half to two days use.
Oh, that screen
Did I mention the screen is gorgeous? The color reproduction isn’t perfect, but it’s close, and the clarity is unsurpassed. I defy you to find a pixel with your naked eye. At 323 ppi and1920 x 1200, you’d have to have some insanely good vision.
There are 323 tiny pixels crammed into each square inch of that screen. The iPad with Retina Display, for comparison’s sake, boasts 264 (which is still high). The iPad has a very, very good display, but the Nexus 7’s is just a bit better.
Will Apple beat 323 ppi with their next set of tablets? Maybe, but it won’t change the fact that the Nexus 7’s screen is downright awesome. The sharpness and clarity aren’t just pretty, they’re also better for your eyes. Here’s an article from when the Retina iPad came out that explains more, but basically, sharper screens equal less eye strain.
Build and form factor
The new Nexus 7 also feels pretty sleek. The Corning glass feels awesome, and the back has a nice, and somewhat grippy rubberized texture. The buttons aren’t up on the very edge of the device (near the screen), but down a bit on the curve (you’ll know what I mean when you pick one up) which takes a little getting used to, but it’s easy after a few presses.
There’s still no SD card slot (booo), but the micro USB port supports USB OTG, which means you can get a little USB adapter for less than $4.00 and plug in external storage if you want. In short, if you’re low on space, just move some audiobooks and comics to an external USB drive.
The bezels on the top and bottom are pretty large, whilst the ones on either side are very, very narrow. Holding it in landscape is thumb-friendly, and the narrow form factor allows for a one-handed grip in portrait even if you have relatively small hands. Oh, and it’s apparently very durable.
This thing runs Android 4.3, which is pretty sweet. As you may know, the operating system is extremely customizable and has a wealth of apps to choose from.
Yes, iOS has a higher quantity of tablet-optimized apps, but, essentially, I think the app race between these two giants has become something of a wash in most cases. If not, it will be soon with Android’s recent surge in tablet popularity.
So what’s the verdict?
This thing is awesome. I work with, test, and use a whole lot of devices every day here at OverDrive. I get to play with all of the major new tablets as they launch, and have a good idea of what each can do.
If battery life is the most important consideration for you, you might want to pick a different tablet (like an iPad with Retina display). But the battery life isn’t horrid–it won’t keep you tethered to a wall socket all day long, and it can charge extra fast with a Qi wireless charger.
I read a ton of eBooks, and I’ve done so on a ton of different screens. It makes me extra sensitive to display quality, and let me tell you, ASUS and Google have knocked it out of the park on the new Nexus 7.
So if you surf the web a lot, read a lot of eBooks, or play a lot of HD games, this is the tablet for you. At $229 (16 GB), you get oodles of bang for your buck–one of the best deals on the market.
For anyone who is interested, the Nexus 7 (32 GB) would look beautiful in my Christmas stocking (I’m subtle).
If they stepped up the game this much on the Nexus 7, I can’t wait to see the next iteration of the Nexus 10.
Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer with OverDrive