Review Index:

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

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Display And Audio Quality

Display And Audio Quality

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The Nexus 7’s display is a 1280x800 IPS LCD panel. That’s a lot of numbers and acronyms, all of which are in the tablet’s favor. Promising an IPS display is the best way to capture the attention of a true geek when you’re selling tablets, cell phone, laptops or monitors.
IPS does not guarantee quality, however, and the Nexus 7 unfortunately proves this point. It does not display deep black levels. Test images showed performance that is no better than an average TN-panel laptop display. This also showed up in the gradient banding test – the image was mostly smooth but, in the darkest quarter, very noticeable bands became evident. I recall the Kindle Fire doing better in these tests. The iPad 3 is on a different planet. 
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Not all the news is bad, however. The IPS panel does allow for excellent viewing angles. There’s also no way to miss the display’s 216 pixels per inch. It’s not a Retina-level experience, but it’s close. Text displays wonderfully on this tablet and high-quality movies look extremely sharp.
Overall, the display’s traits make it about average for media content and extremely good for text. This isn’t what I was hoping for – when I hear IPS I instantly compare this display to other IPS display which are much, much better – but it’s not bad, either.
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Audio quality is a strength. The tablet was shipped with a promo copy of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, so I watched some action scenes. I then listened to some streaming music. In both instances there is some bass on tap (I could even feel the vibrations in my fingertips) and that bass can engage without making the mid-range sloppy. 
With this said, there are serious limitation to volume. A person in a quiet room can easily enjoy a movie without headphones, but adding any serious background noise will make the speakers much hard to enjoy. There’s no getting around the fact the speakers are small, so you should still plan to pack headphones when traveling. 

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

"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)

HTC's MHL adaptor ->
Samsung's MHL Adaptor ->
Kanex (3rd Party) MHL Adaptor ->
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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