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Hands-on with the new high resolution Nexus 7 (Gallery)

Google's Nexus 7 was made available early and many of us were able to pick one up at Best Buy, Staples, and other local retailers. The Nexus 7 is a major improvement over the 2012 model.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 21 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Two Nexus 7 retail boxes

Last week I wrote about and was able to find one at my local Best Buy on Friday. After spending a couple of days with the new Nexus 7 tablet I am hooked on the high resolution display and narrower form factor.

If you are interested in the Nexus 7 tablet and would like the chance for a free 2012 version in MINT condition, along with two cases, please listen to and enter our giveaway.

Pricing and availability

Google announced the Nexus 7 last week and stated the device would be shipping by 30 July. Retailers, I believe Best Buy was first, jumped the gun on Friday and that opened the floodgates so that Amazon, Staples, and others let customers purchase them as well.

I pre-ordered on from Best Buy, but was able to find one at a local store so picked it up on Saturday morning and will return my pre-order one when it arrives. The 32GB WiFi model is available for $269, this is the one I purchased, and the 16GB one is $229. There will be a 32GB LTE model coming in the future for $349 that will support AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon data networks.

Retail package and first impressions

The Nexus 7 comes in a vibrant blue retail package, narrower and slimmer than the 2012 Nexus 7 retail package, much like the device itself. An USB A/C adapter and USB cable are included in the package, along with a small Quick Start Guide.

The first thing that stood out to me when pulling the Nexus 7 from the retail package was the narrower form factor. The 2012 model is thin and well designed, but it always felt a bit too wide for holding in one hand while manipulating with the other.

I also noticed the rather wide upper and lower bezel on the new Nexus 7 and am trying to figure out if this will bother me or not. I do like the all black color scheme, where the 2012 version had a silver frame.

Specifications and hardware

In my previous I listed some of the improved specifications found in the new Nexus 7. Key specifications include:

  • Android 4.3 operating system
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. Read Brian Klug's breakdown to see even more about the processor that shows it is more than just a S4 as well.
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • 7.02 inch 1920x1200 HD IPS display with Gorilla glass (323 ppi)
  • 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front facing camera
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • 3,950 mAh battery with Qi wireless charging
  • Stereo speakers with surround sound provided by Fraunhofer
  • Dimensions of 200 x 114 x 8.65 mm and 290 grams

The display is fantastic and is one of the aspects of the 2012 version that I wished was better when I purchased it. That is no longer the case as the Nexus 7 display can't be beat. The stereo speakers sound great and are a welcome addition.

I have an Energizer Qi charging plate that supports charging two devices wirelessly and one device with a cable. The convenience of charging without having to plug in the cable is great and I am getting spoiled by more and more of these devices having this functionality.

While I don't ever use my tablets to take photos and haven't sought out tablets with a rear facing camera, the camera seems decent on the Nexus 7. I like the photo sphere functionality and the Nexus camera experience.

Android 4.3 software

The 2012 Nexus 7 Android 4.3 update is starting to roll out so it will soon have the latest Android software to match the new Nexus 7. The new Nexus 7 comes with the latest version of Android and a couple things I have noticed so far are the ability to rotate the screen (took a separate utility on the previous Nexus 7), the new Play Games service, and user profile support. Steven shared his and I look forward to testing out more of these functions.

Experiences and functions to test

I read a few magazines I am subscribed to on Google Play and they look even better on the high resolution Nexus 7. I regularly rent videos from Google when I travel and look forward to testing out this functionality on my commute and future travel. The stereo speakers sound great with Google Play Music and will be great to share videos with family and friends.

The Nexus 7 is less expensive than the iPad mini and with my heavy usage of Google services it is a fantastic tablet option. I will be looking for a case to prop up my Nexus 7 for video consumption. As I use the Nokia Lumia 925 on T-Mobile, the Nexus 7 will meet my mobile Android needs.

Did any readers pick up the Nexus 7? Anything else you want me to test out on the device? I also ordered a Chromecast and will be testing out how well it works with the Nexus 7 soon.

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Included cable and A/C adapter

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Old and new Nexus 7 devices

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Back of the old and new Nexus 7 tablets

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Camera, power button, and volume button on Nexus 7

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Back of the Nexus 7 with Nexus logo

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Top stereo speaker and 3.5mm headset jack

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Bottom speaker and microUSB port

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Home screen and Google content widget

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Home screen in landscape orientation

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Quick controls on the Nexus 7

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Google Play Games service

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Reading a Google Play magazine

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Some apps don't work yet on Nexus 7 tablets

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Google Now in landscape orientation

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Internal storage status

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New User profile support utility

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About screen on Nexus 7

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Camera options on the Nexus 7

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Photo sphere is fun

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Photo sphere captured my entire back patio

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