The latest Google Nexus 7 tablet has arrived in Singapore. Compared with its predecessor, the new version has a higher resolution display, a faster processor, twice the amount of RAM and adds a 5- megapixel rear camera. It also starts with 16GB of internal storage, instead of 8GB.
In Singapore, Asus is selling the new Nexus 7 at $379, compared with $399 for the 2012 version.
At 290g, the new Nexus 7 is lighter than the previous version. It now weighs less than the 7.9-inch Apple iPad mini, which is 308g. More importantly, its narrow design makes it easy to hold with one hand. However, the leathery back of the original Nexus 7 has been replaced by a soft touch version that feels more slippery.
The screen quality of the Nexus 7 blows the competition away. The 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution makes text and icons look crisp. Viewing angles are excellent on the in-plane switching (IPS) display, and colours look natural and not overly saturated.
With a similar Qualcomm CPU as the Nexus 4 smartphone, the Nexus 7 felt smooth and responsive to use.
It also scored well in benchmarks such as Quadrant (4,737), compared with flagship smartphones such as the HTC One X (4,812).
In Digital Life's battery life test, the Nexus 7 lasted 8hr 31min, which is comparable with the 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. It is also better than the iPad mini, but not the larger iPad 4.
The tablet runs the latest Android 4.3 operating system, which fixes issues encountered by some users such as sluggish performance after extended usage. A new feature also lets you set up a separate user account for your child. You can then disable access to certain apps and turn off in-app purchases.
The downside of getting an Android tablet is that Apple's iOS platform still has the lion's share of tablet-optimised apps, though Android has improved significantly. Games, especially, are more likely to debut first on the Apple App Store before making their way (if they ever do) to Android. Plants vs Zombies 2 is a recent notable example.
The Nexus 7 does not have a microSD card slot, so you are limited to its 16GB of internal storage. Unfortunately, Asus is not selling the 32GB version in Singapore yet, though it can be bought online from retailers such as Amazon. There is also no word on when the LTE version will be available locally.
At $379, there are cheaper small tablets apart from the Nexus 7, such as the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 ($298 for 8GB). But the Nexus 7 gets my vote for its excellent display and solid hardware.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5GHz)
Display: 7 inches, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels
Camera: 5 megapixels (rear), 1.2 megapixels (front)
Value for money: 8/10
Battery life: 8/10
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