In the 1994 movie ‘Star Trek: Generations’ the character of Guinan tells Captain Picard about the Nexus, a sort of temporal energy ribbon where all your hopes and dreams appear to have come true. “Its like being inside joy” she says of this ‘space ribbon’. It is a description that also fits the new Google Nexus 7, the latest update to the future-classic Android tablet. Just like Star Trek’s Nexus, this new 7-Inch masterpiece also feels like it can bring any passing whim to life…Its a little slice of space age magic.
Pathetically nerdy framing device aside, the new Nexus is truly a joy to use.
Essentially an update on the original Nexus 7 (but only inasmuch as tablet technology had advanced a lot in the last year or so), the newest member of the family Nexus has experienced a slight price increase (from £160 to £200 for a 16GB model), but that is to be expected given the updated technology available here, not to mention the rough and tumble of the decade’s economics thus far…
Frankly, it would be forgivable to expect a much larger price hike based on the strong sales of the original, but Google are smart people and they understand that the Nexus’ low price is a major selling point.
The 2013 Nexus 7 is lighter and thinner than its predecessor (the original weighed 340g, whereas the new one weighs just 290g). The new outer casing looks the part, for sure, but it’s actually the area that we found the most problems with…
For starters, the ‘improved’ screen is actually a major drawback; it is a case of form over function, of style over substance.
Essentially, the new screen has been embiggened, but to the detriment of the device itself. Due to this ‘improvement’, it is now tough to hold the Nexus without placing a digit on the touchscreen, which is problematic. It’s fine if you’re actively engaged in something, but a total pain in the you-know-where if you’re watching a video clip or navigating a menu. Unusually for Google, this comes across as poorly thought out.
The back is no longer coated with plastic, which makes it as slippery as a greased up iPhone. This will make the 2013 Nexus harder to keep hold of (and may increase its chances of sliding down in-between the sofa cushions and thereby being lost forever).
The screen, on the other hand, is beautiful. It’s as good as almost anything out there. It’s not a Retina screen, of course, but it’s easily the best you’re going to get for the asking price.
In addition, the 2013 Nexus is quicker than a whippet with a firework lodged tightly up you-know-where – and we mean that. You can put this thing to sleep (for hours, if you like) and yet, the second you boot it up again, the New Nexus is wide-awake, ready to rock and/or roll. As a matter of fact, the battery life, although not quite as good as the older Nexus, is good enough that you could probably let it sleep for days before you had to even think about charging.
Generally speaking, this is the old Nexus 7 but smaller, thinner and faster. It really is a joy to use, as well as an absolute steal at the price. Almost intuitively, this tablet knows what you want it to do and then does it.
Sure, Android OS eats about 6GB of the memory (causing immediate memory problems if you buy the 16GB version), but it really is worth it. The Nexus series are arguably the best Android models out there, with the OS and the tablet being literally made for each other, so it does make sense in the end, we suppose.
Overall, the New Nexus 7 is not without its faults. There are things we preferred about the original Nexus 7 and there are things we prefer about this one. As an upgrade, however, the 2013 Nexus 7 is still a sound investment.