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The new Nexus 7 is the best tablet available today, bar none

by Adel Gabot
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

When I stupidly broke my old Nexus 7 (I busted the screen by putting it unprotected in a back pocket, a habit I'd been doing for months without incident), I struggled with the decision of whether to have it fixed for almost the cost of a new one, or getting the latest version for just a little more. Guess which one I chose.

Admittedly, I just got the 16GB version, the entry-level model, of the new next-edition 2013 Nexus 7. I really didn't need the 32GB of my last one-last time I checked, I was only using 10GB, and I had already loaded up all of the apps I wanted. But I'm really glad I went with getting the newer one, rather than having the old one fixed. The 2013 Nexus 7 is a beaut, inside and out.

For starters, the body and construction alone are quite nice. It's thinner and lighter than the previous one, and slightly smaller (although just slightly longer than the old one). They reduced the size of the side bezels (but retained the size of the upper and lower bezels, which make it look much longer than it really is), so holding it in one hand is a lot more comfortable than before.

The back is now made of a smooth, soft-touch black plastic, and they dispensed with the nice, dimpled, grippy back of the old one (personally, I very much preferred that old back surface; why they had to change it I don't know). There is a large Nexus logo sideways in the middle, with a smaller Asus logo on the bottom.

The plastic power button and volume rocker on the upper right edge don't jut out much, so it takes more of an effort to depress them than you're normally accustomed to, but you don't really need to do it often; the software buttons are there. They split the speakers and placed them high and low on the back, as opposed to the single audio bar of the old one, resulting in a slightly louder and stereo-separated sound experience.

Google and Asus put in a camera on the back this time around- a 5-megapixel one for taking pictures of your food and whatnot. They retained the lower-megapixel camera in the front, but put it to one side as opposed to the center, so getting your mug into frame in video chats is kinda difficult. The microphone is on the right side below the volume rocker, and the headset jack is on the top right edge.

Continuing the mystery they started with the first one, Asus still didn't add a removable storage option on the thing; there is still no SDHC slot to expand the device's memory options, so if you got the extra moolah to spring for a 32GB model, better do so now than worry about your storage later.

There is, of course, the ever-present micro-USB port in the bottom for charging the Nexus (or connecting it for syncing to your computer), but Asus also made a provision for wireless charging, building in the wireless charging circuitry in the back that they put into the Nexus 4 smartphone (I don't have the wireless charger so I wasn't really able to test this yet).

The device is great on battery life, too, unlike its predecessor. On a full charge, I literally used it the entire day, and it had 70% power left at the end of it; my old one would've been dead long before then. The new Nexus 7 also sleeps soundly and quietly: the next morning when I woke up, it read 69%. My old Nexus 7 routinely lost 25-30% just sleeping overnight in the drawer.

The resolution of the screen is something to die for. The 7.02" IPS display packs 1080p resolution at 323 pixels per inch-the best in this size, solidly besting Apple's iPad mini, which still runs at an ordinary 163ppi. Colors were bright and rich without tint or oversaturation issues, and text was razor-sharp. The display is marvelous; I don't think there is another 7" tablet that can hold a candle to the new Nexus 7 display. Or any other device, for that matter.

But where the new Nexus 7 shines is speed. And boy, is it fast.

Using the new Android Jelly Bean 4.3 operating system (the latest version), it swiped through menus and ran through apps like a warm knife through butter. The device runs off a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, and has 2GB of RAM, so response time was blazingly fast. The Nexus 7 eats big, chunky apps for breakfast, and has yet to meet an app that can give it indigestion.

Personally, I use just a few basic apps thoughout the day: Chrome, Twitter, Email and Google Chat for connectivity, Flipboard and Zite for news, MXPlayer for my videos, Zinio for my mags and Moon Reader for my books. The new Nexus 7 zipped through all of them, and had a lot of processing power left over. I'm not one of those power users who regularly saddle their device with heavy number-crunching apps, but if I were, I'd be perfectly happy with the new Nexus 7.

Hands down, the device is the best tablet in its size, and we recommend it without any hesitation.

Asus hasn't released it in the Philippines yet, but you can get the 2013 Nexus 7 online starting at a very reasonable US$230 for a 16GB wifi-only model, or from local online sellers for a bit more. It also comes in a 32GB model, and in a 3G/LTE version.