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Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Jelly Bean Review: Android Shows Smooth Movies

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Performance

The Nexus 7 may be a small tablet, but Google has gone big on hardware. Inside it is an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC paired with 1GB of RAM. This won’t set any records, but it does put this $200 tablet on par with many far more expensive Android options.

 
We ran our usual array of tests, but I’ll tell you the result right away – it’s Tegra 3, and it acts like Tegra 3. It’s fast, but also a known quantity. 
 
Let’s start with SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1. This is a benchmark we’ve used for some time, so we have many points of reference. 
 
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Here we see that, of the tablets we’ve tested over the years, the Nexus 7 does take the crown. Now, there is one important caveat here – this is a browser benchmark, and this tablet runs Chrome instead of the standard Android browser. This might explain the small victory over the similarly equipped Transformer Prime.
 
Next up we have Geekbench. This is a processor heavy benchmark that makes good use of all four Tegra cores. Let’s see how that impacts the performance results.
 
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We see that even here, the Nexus 7 manages to defeat the Prime, which has the same processor. This indicates that there are some driver and/or operating system enhancements giving Google’s tablet an edge. Apple’s iPad 3, which has only two CPU cores, is way behind the Tegra 3 powered competitors. 
 
Next we’ll take a look at GLBenchmark, which can tell us how well this small tablet handles 3D graphics.
 
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Here we see the iPad 3 dominate the Tegra powered tablets thanks to its tremendous graphics power. The Nexus 7 performs essentially the same as the Prime does when in its Balanced power profile. 
 
I should note that this is not a bad showing – it just looks bad compared to the iPad 3, which carries incredible GPU power to support its Retina display. The Nexus 7, like all Tegra 3 tablets, will have no problem playing 3D games developed for Android.
 
Battery Life
 
The Google Nexus 7 carries a 16Wh battery. That’s not going to impress the iPad 3, which struts around with a 42.5 Wh battery. But then again, this is a smaller device. The Kindle Fire shipped with a battery of similar size. 
 
Endurance has traditionally been a sore spot of small tablets. It seems that the power savings provided by a smaller display does not outrun the capacity that must be cut from the battery. Does the Nexus 7 buck that trend?
 
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The Nexus 7 did pretty well in our tests, easily defeating earlier 7-inch models like the Kindle Fire. The Nexus 7 offers just over 5 hours of heavy-load web browsing and does extremely well in the YouTube test, actually beating the Prime with Ice Cream Sandwich. I don't think anyone is going to be disappointed with the battery life offered here.
July 26, 2012 | 01:46 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Thanks for the review.

Knowing how unforgiving you can be when it comes to Android tablets, your strongly positive conclusion carries even more weight. The minor quibbles you have with this device will probably be overlooked by the vast majority of users, and they will like it even more than you like it. Watch out crapple.

July 26, 2012 | 02:09 PM - Posted by JSL

"Let’s if Google’s new tablet can since a different tune."

what? lol

"This is the sort of ugly-but-useful feature that Apple never refuses to place on its products."

...but apple does refuse these types of 'features' because they're asthetically displeasing.

July 26, 2012 | 02:10 PM - Posted by Zanthis

Hay man, soomtoimes it hard too tipe!

July 26, 2012 | 08:02 PM - Posted by JSL

continuing...
"which is very thing along the sides"
you mean "thin" right?

While the device doesnt have a dedicated hdmi mini port out, it does have the ability to stream from usb to hdmi like many other newer Android devices using MHL. All that's needed is an MHL USB-HDMI cable adaptor ($25-$30)

Adaptors
HTC's MHL adaptor -> http://i.imgur.com/MFHJy.png
Samsung's MHL Adaptor -> http://i.imgur.com/8d86S.jpg
Kanex (3rd Party) MHL Adaptor -> http://i.imgur.com/nRx4Q.jpg
There's so many to choose from out in the market, listed simply 3 of many.

Other than that, good job on the short review.

July 26, 2012 | 08:57 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yeah I have that Samsung one, it came with my Infuse. It requires USB power though, which kind of sucks :(.

July 26, 2012 | 11:43 PM - Posted by JSL

They have to be active adaptors... just imagine how fast it would drain your device if it wasnt.

:|

I have the oem HTC one. It's a little more compact than the samsung one.

July 27, 2012 | 12:25 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

heh, I suppose but still, I'd rather have the adapter have it's own battery pack or something, just so it'd be a bit more portable. Running out of plug space on the ol' surge protector here :P hehe.

July 27, 2012 | 10:13 AM - Posted by JSL

I wonder if one could use one of those usb battery packs (like the portapow) to power the adapter. I dont think it would be an issue as long as it puts out atleast 1 amp.

July 27, 2012 | 01:53 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hmm.. I'll have to try that!

July 27, 2012 | 06:15 AM - Posted by Widg3ts (not verified)

Agreed. A great article.

For clarification, when I see IPS, i think "not bad", not "great".

Declaring a minimum minimum by using the "IPS" tech, is useful. It says, this may not be the bee's knees, but you'll definitely know it's not the Bee's butt.

July 27, 2012 | 08:05 AM - Posted by JSL

'Retina' displays are IPS LCD's... just an fyi.

July 27, 2012 | 06:17 AM - Posted by Widg3ts (not verified)

"Back in the day of Android 3.3" Lol. Honeycomb +

July 30, 2012 | 11:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice article, but holy typos and grammatical errors, batman! Doesn't anyone edit these things?

August 6, 2012 | 06:39 PM - Posted by John Higgins (not verified)

Seems there is a decent amount of variance when it comes to the display quality and more specifically black level. My N7's black level is very good and I have seen two reviews that used measuring equipment and both showed a solid black level that was better than the ipad 3 each had also measured though they were basically close enough to be a wash.

I have yet to see an ipad 3 screen but my n7 is far superior to my own ipad 1 and 3 ipad 2s that I have used on occasion.

Will be interesting to see if later batch N7s are more consistent in this area. Asus has been having some mega QC issues lately (the Zennbok Prime being an example) so I wouldn't hold my breath.

December 5, 2014 | 05:15 AM - Posted by thomas job (not verified)

The nexus 7 is awesome peeps. I was thinking of buying the iPad mini (1st gen) but I hated the tiny amount of ram (512mb) , slow processor (1ghz dual core) , low res screen (1024x768) and the lack of widgets. The nexus 7 fixes all of these probs and delivers a smooth os, a bright and crisp screen (1920x1200) , plenty of ram (2gb) and a fast processor (1.5ghz quad core). This makes the tablet good for anything you wanna use it 4. So I bought it.

google nexus

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