With its blazing quad-core processor, solid build quality and high-resolution screen, the only thing "budget" about the Google Nexus 7 is its bottom line. Reviewers say it's one of the best tablet values you can find.
More than what you pay for. The Nexus 7 has been upgraded in almost every way. It now sports a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro system, which includes a quad-core CPU and a single-core GPU. It delivers performance that's a clear step-up from the last-generation Nexus 7, though not quite as good as the much more expensive iPad mini with Retina Display (Est. $400 and up) . The touch screen is beautiful and responsive, with a 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution that's in the same league as the new iPad mini.
What every tablet needs. For a lower-priced tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is well equipped. You still can't upgrade the installed memory with a microSD card or otherwise, but the base model is equipped with 16 GB of memory. Critics say that while the base configuration is an excellent buy, step-up versions with 32 GB of memory (Est. $270) and 32 GB plus LTE connectivity (Est. $350) offer an even greater value proposition compared to competitors like the iPad mini with Retina Display. Because this is a Google-sold tablet, it's reasonable to assume that the Nexus 7 will be first in line for Android updates, and it was among the first to get the Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade (in November 2013). Noteworthy new features include a 5-megapixel rear camera, though reviews say it's not a particularly good one. Support for wireless charging is also now on board.
As good as an Android gets. The Android operating system is slightly more complex -- and much more configurable -- than the iPad's iOS, reviewers say. That can lead to the occasional stutter or slow load or response times. But most experts say these should be too minor to be deal killers for most. Fewer Android apps are optimized for tablet use, but most designed for smartphones translate well to the 7-inch screen size of the Nexus 7 (though the same can't be said of larger, 10-inch Android slates). CNET complains that Google did away with the grippy back panel. Experts appreciate the 7-inch form factor for its easy portability.
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The Nexus 7 nabs an Editors' Choice award and lands on CNET's list of the top five tablets. "With a beautiful screen, fast performance, a comfortable design and overall great media options, the Nexus 7 is easily the best 7-inch tablet available and one of the top tablets on the market," Franklin says.
Review: Google Nexus 7 (Summer 2013) Review: The Best Android Tablet Gets Even Better, Eric Franklin, July 25, 2013
PCMag.com's reviewer says the Nexus 7 isn't perfect, but finds it close enough, giving the tablet 4.5 stars out of 5 and an Editors' Choice award. "Google has delivered a powerful, good-looking tablet for an almost shockingly low price," Segan writes.
Review: Google Nexus 7 (2013), Sascha Segan, July 29, 2013
3. Laptop Magazine
The Nexus 7 wins yet another Editors' Choice award in Laptop Magazine's detailed critique. "The Nexus 7 is now the best 7-inch tablet and offers the most value of any slate under 10 inches," Prospero says.
Review: Google Nexus 7 (2013) Review, Michael A. Prospero, July 25, 2013
4. Computer Shopper
William Harrel gives the Nexus 7 a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and an Editors' Choice award in this lengthy, testing-based review. "If you're looking for the best 7-inch tablet to date, this is it -- and the race is not close," he says.
Review: Google Nexus 7 (2013) Review and Ratings, William Harrel, Aug. 1, 2013
5. The Verge
While most devices have difficulty cracking a 7-out-of-10 rating from TheVerge.com's notoriously hard-to-please reviewers, the Nexus 7 receives a 9.0 score and hearty praise. It's comfortable to hold one-handed, the screen is "incredible," and performance is called "nearly flawless."
Review: Google Nexus 7 Review (2013), David Pierce, July 26, 2013
The Nexus 7 offers tremendous value, Molen says. Performance is strong overall, and the new display is "incredible." He concludes: "As long as you don't mind the selection of tablet-optimized apps in the Play Store, you'd have to be an extreme power user to not enjoy the latest Nexus 7, and you'd most definitely be paying through the nose to land anything better."
Review: Nexus 7 Review (2013), Brad Molen, July 29, 2013
The latest Nexus 7 gets a 9 (Nearly flawless; buy it now) rating from Wired and a spot in its list of the best three tablets. "The 2013 Nexus 7 sets itself apart from the hordes of tablets crowding store shelves by offering the most premium Android tablet experience available at a decidedly economical price tag," Bonnington says.
Review: Google Nexus 7 (2013): Still the Best Android Tablet, Christina Bonnington, Aug. 9, 2013
More than 1,600 owners weigh in here with their opinions of the Google Nexus 7, giving it an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. We see reports of balky screens, iffy reliability and poor customer support, but those are dwarfed by the number reporting complete satisfaction and few or no issues at all.
Review: Google Nexus 7 Tablet (7-Inch, 16 GB, Black) by Asus (2013), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013