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back to article Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

When Google launched the Asus-built Nexus 7 Android tablet back in August 2012, it dropped a big mean city-raised alleycat among the budget tablet pigeons. Starting at only £160 for the 8GB version, the Nexus 7 offered performance, style and build quality (kind of) at a price that previously had only bought you shoddy no-name …

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JDX
Gold badge

iPad Mini 2

Assuming Apple do reveal this as expected, that will be the chief competition and it will be interesting to see a direct comparison since the prices will be reasonably close. For instance should Apple do a full retina 2048x1536 display in the mini 2, they win back the dpi crown but what about performance benchmarks?

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Re: iPad Mini 2

Prices are not that close. Think the iPad mini is 270 squid is it not? Making this 70 more for 16Gb versions. If they do go to 2048x1536 might find it struggles with the pixel pushing on games? It was a point made when the nexus 10 had high pixel density.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

"since the prices will be reasonably close"

Not sure how a 35% difference can really be considered "reasonably close".

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Re: iPad Mini 2

I'm sure Apple will ask more for a Mini than Google do for a Nexus, but just one day using both will indicate which is better value. The Nexus 7 tablet was a massive disappointment. Constant Wi-Fi problems. Battery carnage. Piece. Of. Shit.

iPad mini, OTOH: pricy, light, quick, colourful, utterly dependable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad Mini 2

@Frank Bough

Utter rubbish. No wi-fi problems, battery lasts for days.

Had mine since Christmas, wouldn't swap it for an over-priced shiny slab.

How are the user profiles going on your iPad? hmmmm

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Silver badge

Re: iPad Mini 2

Love my N7. Only niggle is a little back-light bleed and screen burn, but this is only noticeable in very low ambient light and a dark-ish image.

Assuming a year of QA improvements have addressed the bleed, I'm very tempted to upgrade at xmas.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

@frankbough - Why do I doubt by your comment that you actually owned one but are just spouting what FUD you've "heard"

I bought one of the v1's and have never had a problem with it. Quite a lot of my friends and colleges bought one after playing with mine and all love it months and months after owning it. Some even have iPads too but *prefer* the nexus. But not one have ditched the Nexus for either reliability or function.

Either you are trolling or you've made the whole prejudgement without ownership and experience and reading between the lines you don't want to admit that just perhaps you picked style over substance.

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JDX
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Re: iPad Mini 2

>>Not sure how a 35% difference can really be considered "reasonably close".

Similar ballpark in my view, especially by Apple standards.

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Thumb Down

Re: iPad Mini 2 - The screen on the current Mini is awful...

I'm in the market for a phone and tablets at both 10" and 7". I have been looking hard at the Apple offering, and find them expensive but with genuine plus points.

However...

I was in my local supermarket the other day and noticed they had the iPad and the Mini. The screen on the Mini was low resolution, washed out and frankly awful. It was so bad, I thought a ink-jet 'display' had been printed out and stuck on. I checked. It wasn't.

I will concede that the brightness could have been set wrong and that the harsh overhead lighting may not have helped, however the 'proper' iPad next to it looked as I would expect, having spent some time with a Retina iPad previously.

The Mini is for /my/ money, technically badly under-specified for it's price point. I will happily accept that the integration of iOS across devices and the quality of the app selection (as well as proper tablet versions of apps) is compelling, however the Apple Mini offering now is twice the price it should be.

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Pint

Re: iPad Mini 2

They're so cheap these days that you could buy one of each. Totally avoid the whole fanboi 'I-can-only-afford-to-choose-one-or-the-other' (very sad) nonsense.

Uh-oh. If you're in the UK then my assumption of inexpensive price (= UKP 140) is way off-base. Sorry.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

The current iPad mini is £70 more than the new Nexus, which outclasses it in almost every respect except, perhaps, build quality. It is £100 more than the old Nexus 7 (@ £170)

You can be sure that any "new" iPad mini will cost quite a but more than the current £270 (for the basic 16GB WiFi jobbie).

I would imagine that a "retina" mini is going to cost at least £50 more than the current model (the cheapest "retina" iPad is £70 more than a non-retina iPad 2), so you could be looking an a 16GB WiFi iPad Mini 2 costing between £120 and £140 more than the Nexus 7 mk2.

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Re: iPad Mini 2 - The screen on the current Mini is awful...

N4+N7 = £400. I'm not convinced of the need for 7 and 10 inch tablets together. I'd go for a powerful 11.6" laptop and larger external monitor to leave all computing needs covered.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

And a way lower resolution and DPI, and half the RAM (all more in line with last year's budget Android tablets), and fewer apps (as well as the problem that most apps have either been designed for either a 3.5" or 10" device, not 8" - what was once the advantage of specifically designed UIs for two sizes of devices now becomes a disadvantage as they move to a greater number of sizes).

It was very slightly thinner, and lighter, but the 2nd generation Nexus fixes those issues (and is now lighter than the ipad mini), as well as making the specs even further even the lead.

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Re: iPad Mini 2 - The screen on the current Mini is awful...

I agree about its poor specs (I suspect a lot of people buying it think they're getting the specs of a full price/size ipad for "less" money - Samsung have done a similar trick with the S3/S4 Mini phones, which are actually lower spec, with many people not realising). Though just to comment on:

"as well as proper tablet versions of apps"

But what's a proper "tablet" version? It's more a question of devices of different sizes, but the problem is now that all of the IOS apps for "tablets" were designed for a 10" tablet, so it's wrong to assume that they magically work on an 8" device as well too. I mean, why does a 10"-designed UI work fine on 8", but a 5"-designed UI not work well on 7"?

Android has been designed to work with a range of four different sizes, with developers aware of there being hundreds of devices, for years. Whilst a model of "specifically design for one or two models" can work better, it blows up when they they try to generalise that to having more different models.

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Re: iPad Mini 2 - The screen on the current Mini is awful...

Apple clearly felt they had to go ahead with a poor resolution for the mini iPad, just to have an answer to the Nexus 7. Indeed, most of the presentation was comparing the two devices.

Now that they had one more year to work on it, they better announce a resolution that is a lot better than the first version. Whether they can do that within the same price is another question.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad Mini 2

This goes beyond trolling, you may even be damaging the Apple image with this nonsense.

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FAIL

Re: iPad Mini 2

@Frank Bough: Utter crap.

I have both. I use both, every day. iPad Mini has generally higher quality games, and also a better Kindle app and I prefer its Marvel comic app too. It's also a fast grab for various other things like evernote.

But the N7 is my go-to device for power user stuff and movies. The various wifi toolkits, the use of mail and calendar adjustable-size widgets (so scheduling at a glance), not to mention much, much better NAS video streaming through ES File Explorer & DicePlayer on that lovely screen (File Explorer on iPad has quirky behaviour and stutters *badly* on HD rips, and the screen is pixely by comparison).

Both have good and bad points. But note I have the original 'slow' N7 and it still is a must-have tool that complements the iPad Mini's shortcomings.

Please comment based on actual knowledge, not frothy conjecture.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

Frank Bough is right the 1st gen Nexus 7 is garbage with non gorilla glass screen, tin sounding speakers, horrid battery life. Oh yeah and profiles is garbage too. If you have 2 profiles and each has the same app guess what that same app takes twice the space. Garbage garbage garbage.

With that being said if the new Nexus 7 rights those wrongs for the price it is a grand bargain.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

Without commenting either way, in the tablet market I'm not sure performance benchmarks are as important as perceived speed and UX.

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Re: iPad Mini 2

Still not even a mini-SD card reader onboard - at least Apple give you an add-on reader

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad Mini 2

@AC

"How are the user profiles going on your iPad? hmmmm"

I don't know, I do know how the N7 goes when you fill it up with Films though and that's S>>>LLLL>>>>OOO>>>WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

and

S...T....T..T..UTER....EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

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Re: how a 35% difference can really be considered "reasonably close"

1. 50% is a lot, 35% is reasonably close

2. considering that the 35% price difference is between XXX device and Apple device, the latter is a bargain in fact

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Re: iPad Mini 2

"270 squid"

So Android tabs can be purchased in squids? Good to know says Zoidberg!

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Re: iPad Mini 2

Why does everyone assume that Apple will add retina to the Ipad Mini? The MB Air still has a shit screen.

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Anonymous Coward

I’m seeing more and more folk out and about holding up tablets to take the kind of pictures they’d once have snapped on a compact camera or a phone

Of course you see them .... they look so ridiculous that they are hard to miss!

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Anonymous Coward

I'm thinking of acquiring a Thornton Pickard wooden tripod for my tablet. With that and a large black cloth to hide under, with a suitably positioned hole for the rear facing lens, I'm all set.

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

now version 4.3 - and updates are rolled out directly from Google not from the manufacturer.

Er?

It's got Google on the box so Google is the manufacturer. Ok so it is made for them but they are as far as the end user concerned, Google are the manufacturer.

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Re: Eh?

The Nexus 7 is manufactured and branded by Asus, this is clearly indicated in the article and on the pictures of the box.

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No talk of the known issues on this device?

Like GPS stopping or touch point tracking issues on the screen. Rose tinted glasses?

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Re: No talk of the known issues on this device?

It's the kind of "in depth" review you can write by googling and looking at some pictures :-)

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@ Steve Todd

It may be that Google's fixes for those two problems were already in place and so the reviewer didn't experience any problems.

I haven't tried myself but the update released last month claims to solve both.

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Re: No talk of the known issues on this device?

If I'd come across either of these issues (or any others) I'd have reported them.

The GPS radio has worked perfectly every time I've used it, including for a solid two hours as a satnav. The same goes for your touch-point tracking issues, it simply was not an issue I encountered on my review device. I can't criticize a device for a glitch that in my personal experience doesn't exist no matter what you or I may have read elsewhere.

As for the thoroughness of the review, other sites will be able to provide you with page after page (after page) of interminable bench test results if that is what floats your boat. That's not how El Reg's consumer tests have ever been done, I approached the new Nexus 7 in the same way, and with the same critical thoroughness, as I did the Xperia Z Tablet, Galaxy S4, Asus FonePad etc etc etc.

As a device I think it's pretty darned good, especially for the money. My review reflects that. Fell free to disagree.

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Re: @ Steve Todd

For a limited value of "released" that is. It isn't an automatic OTA upgrade yet, and I have heard of people who still have problems so it isn't a 100% fix.

I'd have expected that the issues be mentioned, even in the negative (like the author saying that he'd tried to provoke them and had seen no sign of these problems). Again, rose tinted glasses.

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Re: @ Steve Todd

I can attest that the software update JSS15Q does NOT fix all of the multi-touch problems for everybody.

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Re: @ Steve Todd

That's the same build my review device updated to as soon as I turned it on and hooked it up to my Wi-Fi. What problems are you having? I'll see if I can replicate them.

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Re: @ Steve Todd

Al, to recreate, install YAMTT from from the Play Store and drag two fingertips around the screen. It will only trace their path sporadically, false touches will appear elsewhere on screen. Touch the screen with three fingers and it goes completely haywire.

Note, this was only a problem on my first device (which also updated to the same software version as yours). I took it back to the shop and got a replacement which passed the above test with flying colours and has no problems at all. Thus I feel I can safely say it was a hardware fault.

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Re: @ Steve Todd

Not come across that app before, can see it coming in handy in the future, thanks for the info.

As you say it must have been a hardware fault, maybe an early batch with something amiss in the screen layers. Like your second machine my review device works perfectly with YAMTT no matter how many fingers I use.

Cheers

Al

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Re: No talk of the known issues on this device?

Got one a week ago. upon booting I was asked for wiifi and then to update before even creating the account. Intense daily allover use and I've yet to see a GPS or multitouch or any other issue. This little device is just perfect.

I miss the great ipad games though.

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Shut up and take my money!

Whilst there's nothing at all wrong with my (rooted) Mk1 Nexus 7 in terms of functionality, the better display on the Mk2 makes upgrading a no-brainer, IMO.

In fact, the only real downside I can see is that the change in the dimensions of the body means that the rather funky Bluetooth keyboard I bought for my Mk1 won't clip onto the Mk2's chassis, and that's not exactly a showstopper.

Hopefully it'll be as easy to root (and hence remove various bits of Chocolate Factory spyware) as the Mk1

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re: Battery life

"broadly similar times" is doing it a disservice.

Snapdragon is so much more efficient than Tegra that the battery life soars.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7231/the-nexus-7-2013-review/2

AnandTech did some testing. The web browsing battery life is through the roof.

This is one hell of a tablet at any price. The price it's at, there's no competition.

I'm annoyed they leave out an SD slot and USB OTG, though. I don't mean microSD, I mean full size SD! It would be lovely to pop the SD out of your camera and quickly review your photos. I don't know why Google is allergic to storage expansion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: Battery life

"I don't know why Google is allergic to storage expansion."

That way they don't have to pay Microsoft patent protection money (or do they?)

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Re: re: Battery life

>I don't know why Google is allergic to storage expansion.

Just a thought, maybe it's got something to do with this thing they call the cloud.

Personally I wouldn't touch it, the cloud that is, but these things are aimed at the general population and they are more likely to buy into it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: Battery life

I can't see any clouds around me, sorry! But hey, I live in London, none of those really big, trendy cities, where wifi and clouds are allegedly everywhere, and you can graze for free, hoping from one to another. That said, given the sim slot in the nexus, I should have no problems depositing my terrorist and porn materials in the cloud.

...

oh, I see. Well, next time then, maybe ;)

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Re: USB OTG

USB OTG support is the same as on the Mark 1, as I understand it - it's there, but you need to install some software to use it.

GJC

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Re: re: Battery life

get an EyeFi card - I have one and sync with my Note 10.1, I agreed I'd prefer a full sized slot and just popping a card. But generally it works about as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: Battery life

Yeah, it was actually the original LG-built Nexus 4 that couldn't be persuaded to do USB OTG; it just didn't have the right hardware so it couldn't be fixed by a software mod.

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Re: USB OTG

Unfortunately the 2nd generation Nexus 7 is affected by some bug that stops this working (at least for Nexus Media Importer) - see http://nexususb.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/android-4.html . My Galaxy Nexus works fine with it, but my 2013 Nexus 7 doesn't, even with my trying the workaround several times. Hopefully this will be fixed - but given Google's dislike of anything to do with external storage, who knows...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: Battery life

You live in London, and you can't see any clouds? I call BS!

Unless you're in a bunker, or it's one of the 3.5 sunny days that your city gets

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Bronze badge

Re: USB OTG

Works fine for me on a first generation N7 - regularly plug in either a USB drive or a mouse (use a BT keyboard)

I think I have "Nexus Media Importer" to make the import of data easier, I can't recall if it was essential - but if it was it was about the same as the cost of the USB OTG cable (the trial version is time limited, to confirm operation IIRC - although it's a while since I've installed it)

The mouse comes in really handy for remote/virtual desktop style operations - the USB drive allows me to take a TB drive in the car, and play any video the kids want in the car - or to take a USB stick and be a bit careful about loading it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: Battery life

rainclouds - plenty. No option to up/download anything onto/off them. Just bucket loads of wet water thingies deposited from them.

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