The new Nexus 7 teardown – The highs and lows

The new Nexus 7 teardown – The highs and lows

Summary: Google's new nexus 7 is out, but how does the new tablet compare against the original?

TOPICS: Android, Google, Tablets

Google's new Nexus 7 has finally seen daylight, and one of the new units off the assembly line has made its way into the hands of repair specialists iFixit, where the experts have done what they always do with new devices – they took it apart.

(Source: iFixit)

While the new Nexus 7 looks very much like the old Nexus 7, it is in fact a very different animal, from the 7-inch 1920x1200 IPS LCD screen to the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Pro S4 processor.

On the outside, the new Nexus 7 is thinner, narrower, and taller than the original model, and the textured coating on the back of the tablet is gone.

Internally, the new Nexus 7 offers a few surprises. First, the battery is a 3.8 V, 15 Wh, and 3950 mAh unit, which has less capacity that the 4326 mAh battery of the original Nexus 7, but still lasts an hour longer thanks to more efficient components.

Inside the new Nexus 7 is also an induction loop to facilitate wireless charging. This is the first time that I've seen this feature on a tablet, and I look forward to seeing it on more devices.

(Source: iFixit)

The hardware inside the Nexus 7 is also top-notch, and is a big win for component maker Qualcomm.

  • Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU (shown in the red square below)
  • Adreno 320 GPU (on the Snapdragon SoC)
  • Elpida J4216EFBG 512 MB DDR3L SDRAM, four ICs for 2 GB total (shown in the orange squares) 
  • Analogix ANX7808 SlimPort transmitter
  • Texas Instruments BQ51013B inductive charging controller
  • Qualcomm Atheros WCN3660 WLAN a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radio module
  • SK Hynix H26M51003EQR 16 GB eMMC NAND flash
  • Qualcomm PM8921 quick charge battery management IC
(Source: iFixit)

The highs

  • Powerful hardware
  • The sharpest 7-inch display on any tablet, with 323 pixels per inch
  • Great sound system
  • Great battery life
  • The purest Android experience
  • iFixit gives it a 7 out of ten for repairability

The lows

  • The user interface is still not lag-free
  • No SD card slot, so no easy storage expansion, which I find annoying, but this allows Google to upsell a a more profitable higher capacity Nexus 7
  • A no-frills tablet

Should you buy?

With prices starting at $229 for the 16GB version, this tablets is both good value and well made, and it is a no-brainer for someone looking for a decent tablet at a good price.

If you owned an original Nexus 7 then this is a solid upgrade, but it seems that some of the rough corners – especially user interface lag – haven't been fully smoothed out. The lag isn't horrendous, but it is still there, and it if such things bother you then this small annoyance will quickly grind at your soul.

Topics: Android, Google, Tablets

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  • Hmm

    Have you actually touched this device? The user interface is very much Lag Free from my personal experience with the Tablet.
    • lag

      I was considering getting a Nexus 7 mk1, and was trying it out near an iPad mini. I went back and forth between them and the response of the iPad was just better for scrolling and pinch/zoom.

      I also liked the 4:3 screen rather than the 16:9.

      I was almost taken in, almost parted with money, but then I remembered all the things the iPad wouldn't do, and the things I didn't know it wouldn't do (but that I would want it to do in the future) and walked out.

      Was a close thing though, and was down to the touch experience just feeling exact, whereas the nexus had a miniscule lag.

      The nexus was still loads better than my aging HTC desire, but wasn't good enough for me to buy at that moment. I didn't need a tablet, but it would have had a good home and would be useful.

      In case ur wondering, the jobs I expect the iPad not to do right (or free) is support webcams, and interface with bluetooth devices like OBD2-bluetooth adapters. Maybe some would work with the iPad, but I just have more faith in Android supporting weird and rare usage cases.
      • Android carputer?

        I use OBD2 with android. as a carputer that does everything from GPS to webcam recording, (IP webcams mounted anywhere you like in car) Android does it where iPad would require jailbreaking and still fall short in many areas (multitasking especially).
    • Which version of the Nexus 7?

      Are you sure you're talking about the new Nexus 7 and not the old one? (I wish we had a differentiator in the name)

      I have the old one and I also think it's fine in terms of lag but then again I'm not really pushing it either.
      • I thought that the tech community already had...

        ...a convention for it.

        The Nexus 7-12 for the 2012 model and the 7-13 for the 2013 model.
        *shrugs* Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I've read.
    • I Have . . .

      . . . a first gen Nexus 7 and an iPad mini. Trust me, there is a lag, especially in a direct comparison. Other than that, I can't find fault with the Nexus.

      What I really wanted confirmation on is that the new N7 is equipped with a GPS chip? Google says yes but I was hoping it would be highlighted here. For my application, I need the GPS.
      • GPS

        As an owner of the 2nd gen Nexus 7 that just released, I can confirm that it does have GPS (as well as a notification LED for when you receive new notifications).

        Any other questions, feel free to ask and I'll gladly answer. It's a great device. It has better quality on board flash memory and a better IO controller to eliminate lag that we all experienced with the first gen Nexus 7 (at least, I experienced for sure).
        Christopher Skaggs
        • Lag impression

          How do you feel about the lag issue? And how does it compare to the 1st gen Nexus 7 in terms of lag?
      • Re: Trust me, there is a lag

        Why is it those who claim there is a "lag" on Android always say "trust me"? Seems there is no independent corroboration of it.
    • Was hardware acceleration turned on?

      It normally is not turned on by default. The feature is listed in the Developer Options. Once on, it makes a noticeable difference. I've turned it on both my ASUS Transformer Prime and my Galaxy Note 2 without any problems.

      I still don't understand why it's not on by default and why it's still in the Developer Options.
      • Force GPU rendering

        that developer option is not enabling/disabling GPU but forcing the OS to use it ALWAYS for 2D rendering instead of the OS dynamically selecting between CPU/GPU for rendering methods.
  • I don't get it...

    "The user interface is *still* not lag free".

    What do you mean "still"?

    I have a Nexus 4 which is completely lag free and it's a lot less powerful than this thing.
    Have you actually *used* the device?
    • Hardware Acceleration could be the difference.

      It's not turned on by default. At least not in versions of Android 4.1.2 and below.
      • it is turned on, but not forced

        all versions above 4.0 have GPU rendering active but the OS is not forced to use it by default.
  • Maybe there are better tablets

    But for the price and specs you can't go wrong with this one - the 1st generation is still a valid option.
  • Article: "Should you buy? ... [Nexus 7] is both good value and well made"

    Probably the best tablet deals going today are Barnes & Noble's AOSP HD and HD+ tablets. Good quality tablets at a low price: the 7-inch HD starts at $129 U.S. and the 9-inch HD+ starts at $149 U.S. And the best part? They now get Google Play.

    Am not dissing the new Nexus 7, but IMO the Barnes & Noble HD (and HD+) tablet is a much better value.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Nook issues

      Now that the Nook HD can access Google Play does it allow you to install apps from unknown parties? For the average user that's a bad idea but for those of us who know what we're doing that is a big advantage without having to root the device.

      I sideloaded Flash on my 1st gen Nexus 7 and I'm able to watch Amazon Instant Video on it.
  • Have the new ipads eliminated lag?

    My ipad 2 was horribly laggy. The scrolling was terrible.

    Maybe apple has fixed this?
    • Maybe there is a problem with your finger.

      My iPad 1 does not lag at all.
      • Ignore him

        Neither did TodBottom's, because he never had one.

        He's spent years slagging off Apple anywhere he can and mocking anybody that buys Apple equipment.

        It is inconceivable that he actually owns any.
        Henry 3 Dogg