Metro Weekly

Google’s Nexus 7 official — more power, better screen, same 7-inches to work with

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As expected, Google today announced a refreshed Nexus 7 at their San Francisco press conference. The Nexus 7 was a surprise hit when it launched last year, with Google and manufacturer ASUS unable to meet demand, so unexpected were sales through Google’s Play store. It eventually found its way into retailers, and has since cemented itself at the top of the budget Android tablet line-up. This new version, then, has a certain degree of expectations on its shoulders. We can’t blame Google for playing it safe — the new Nexus 7 isn’t a radical departure from the original, more a remix of the formula into something thinner, lighter and with even better internals.

The much-praised screen has been bumped from 1280×800 to 1920×1200 — slightly higher than Full HD — giving a pixel density of 323 ppi. That screen is coated in scratch-resistant glass that’s also claimed to repel fingerprints and smudges, and covers the entire face of the Nexus 7. It’s an attractive face, with the slim, 0.1-inch bezels helping the screen feel larger than it is. It’s still not as impressive as the face of the iPad mini, whose slim portrait bezels help it feel like the screen occupies the majority of the device, but it’s certainly an appreciated improvement. Slim is the focus of the day, as the Nexus 7 drops weight to just 11.2 ounces, and trims 0.1 inches from its waist to a slender 0.3 inches. Complimenting this is the new, matte plastic back, which helps the Nexus feel not only better in the hand, but also more premium than the outgoing model — which hardly felt cheap. Finishing on the outside, you’ll find the rumored 5MP camera, a 1.2MP front-facer, and best of all a pair of stereo speakers featuring audio tuning from Frauhofer to ensure good quality virtual surround sound.

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Moving inside, the Nexus 7 has been endowed with powerful internals, upgrading its quad-core CPU to a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro teamed with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB RAM — which should provide a comfortable boost in power and graphics compared to last year’s model. Running on top of this is Android 4.3, which we’ve detailed here for you (don’t worry, you can thank us later), which brings enhanced features and security. You’ll also find NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11n, SlimPort support for transferring 1080p content to another screen, and — arriving later — a separate model with LTE support for Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

The new Nexus 7 is available July 30 from Google’s Play store, with the 16GB launching at $229 and the 32GB model costing $269. Eventually, like last year’s model, they’ll also reach brick retailers, as well as Amazon and other online outlets, if you prefer to take its new screen for a test ride before jumping in.

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