The New Nexus 7 Hands-On: More Power, Pure Google

The New Nexus 7 Hands-On: More Power, Pure Google

Google formally unveiled the newest iteration of its Nexus 7 tablet at today’s press conference in San Francisco. Turns out this past week’s leaked spec and grainy product shots (and last night’s pretty-darn-clear ones) were dead on: this thing is freakin’ sweet.

The company confirmed that the new Nexus measures 198mm x 120mm x 10mm — that’s shorter and wider, but 2mm thinner and nearly 50g lighter than the previous version’s dimensions.

It will feature a 7-inch screen with full HD 1920×1200 resolution (vs the previous 1200×800) and 323ppi. That makes the new Nexus the highest resolution 7-inch tablet on the market with the highest pixel density of any tablet.

It will run Android 4.3 on a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU (80 percent faster than the previous NVidia Tegra 3) with 2GB of RAM. It packs both 1.2MP front and 5MP rear-facing cameras, as well as a Slim Port HDMI video connection where there was previously none, NFC and — finally — inductive charging capabilities.

An unlocked US-only model will also feature 4G. It will retail for $US230 for the 16GB, and $US270 for the 32GB upon their release on July 30. The 4G LTE will cost $US350.

The company also announced the roll out of it’s latest OS rev, Android 4.3. This update is by no means an overhaul of the current Jelly Bean platform but rather a refinement to some of its rough edges. The new rev is expected to feature a raft of minor changes to the operating system, including a restricted profiles, which will allow parents to control what their kids can see and purchase on the device while giving each user a customised home screen.

In addition it will employ the powerful new Open GL ES 3.0 rendering engine. The original Nexus 7, the Nexus 4 and other select Android devices will begin receiving the update starting today.

We’ll have hands-on reactions and first impressions shortly.

Update: Hands-on impressions below.

After Google’s Nexus 7 announcement today, we had the opportunity to put the new device through its paces, and it did not disappoint. The new unit is noticeably lighter than its predecessor, and its narrower form factor makes it easier to fit in a back pocket without busting seams.

The new 7’s screen is brighter and slightly larger than last year’s model, packed with deeper colours and full HD resolution (which when combined with Netflix’s new 1080p streaming service looks incredible). The UI navigation is quick, crisp and snappy without the minor lag when flipping between apps or Chrome tabs.

The 5MP front camera is decent enough, certainly an upgrade from last year’s non-existent one, but its off-centre position causes my hand to cover the lens every time I shoot left-handed. We’ll be taking a closer look at the new Nexus 7 over the next few days, specifically how it stacks up against the likes of the iPad Mini and Kindle Fire, but the 2013 Nexus 7 initially looks to be a solid contender for tablet of the year.