The Nexus 7 is the tablet that helped establish the upper limit for Android tablets. Anything over £200 is now deemed expensive, and anything under by even a signifi cant margin can no longer get away with passing off poor build quality and specs under the excuse of an entry-level tag.
The Nexus 7 is the oldest tablet in our group test,
but has not dated at all and still has a pleasing design
and performance as solid as any of our other test
devices. Furthermore it is the only one to be running
KitKat at the time of testing, although interestingly it is
a somewhat different version of KitKat to the one
you’d see on a Nexus 5.
There’s no Google Experience Launcher with built-in
Google Now, and even some of the visual fl ourishes
like the translucent status and navigation bars are
absent. Nonetheless the tablet has benefi ted from
the Android 4.4 update, especially in the new OS’s
reduced memory requirements. 2GB of RAM was
always plenty on the Nexus to begin with but now with
an extra couple of hundred megabytes available you’ll
be hard pushed to ever use it all.
The Nexus 7 also has a glorious screen, with
resolution beating all but the Fire HDX. We were pretty
happy with the displays on the other tablets, but when
you put the 720p options alongside the 1080p
options the difference is extremely noticeable. With
its large bezels either end of the screen, the Nexus 7
feels as though it is primarily built to be used in
landscape mode, although is comfortable enough
upright for reading and similar tasks.
The tablet feels great in the hand. It’s slim and light
and the grippy, soft touch rear case makes it secure.
Our hands did tend to obscure the speakers that are
mounted on the back edges of the device; they were
suitably loud otherwise.
The fi ve-megapixel camera on the back was just
about average in quality and unlikely to get much use.
The front-facing camera was suitable for video chat
but rather awkwardly placed off to the side.