The new Nexus 7 teardown – The highs and lows

Google's new nexus 7 is out, but how does the new tablet compare against the original?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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