Sunday, July 28, 2013

Google Nexus 7" Tablets in Amazon Best Sellers Top 5

Proof is in the picture -

Ever since Amazon launched the first Kindle, the Top 5 spots have been mostly dominated by some version of the e-Reader or the other, which I sometimes felt a bit odd, by the way. Now, I do trust Amazon's Top Sellers list since it has a couple of non-Kindles in the coveted spots. The Topmost spot has been grabbed by the 2nd Gen Google Nexus 7 16GB version. The 32GB version is at #4.

Is the Google Nexus 7 really worth the top echelons? Cautionista takes a closer look. This 2nd Generation Nexus 7 is also made by Asus. I was able to grab one from the local Staples today. Looking at the lines at Staples, I think the tablet is going to be sold out pretty soon...

Here's what I think of the various aspects of the Google Nexus 7 :

CPU Power

Google and Asus finally got their processor right with this tablet. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz CPU that drives this device is a huge and much needed CPU upgrade. Browsing is pretty fast, the apps and games load and play smoothly. Needs to be seen if the speed is maintained as I load more apps and as the Operating System keeps getting updated with some bloat. But, for now, the CPU performance is way better than my 1st gen Nexus 7.

Battery Life

Even though the CPU is much more powerful, Asus has upgraded the battery and power management on the tablet. I was able to get around 8 hours on a full charge before the final warnings of low battery started showing. I was trying out surfing, email, some apps and some games. OK, maybe it's too early to sing praises to the battery, I will let it go through a few cycles of discharge/charges and then update the review. At least, looks like no letdown in terms of battery performance.


Wow! That's the only word in English that can completely describe the feeling when the display comes alive. The 1920x1200 Full HD IPS display that boasts more than 300 pixels per inch will bring out a gasp from you for sure, like it did for me when I tried playing an HD movie. Our family pictures got a new life when viewed on this 7.02 incher. The text also feels much more crispier, so it's real easy to read even at relatively smaller font sizes, meaning you can read more without scrolling. The viewing angle is amazing, you don't see any fade-out even when looking at it from really odd angles that most users wouldn't. I bet this IPS display will help if I'm trying to show pictures or video to someone else. They wouldn't have to come too close to me to see the screen well. A popular tablet manufacturer once said that such high resolution is not really needed for smaller displays and that our eyes really can't tell the difference. Well, I invite that tablet maker to take a look at the new Nexus 7. Again, the display is just - wow!


The Android

The Android 4.3 Operating System looks good so far. I liked the personalization feature that allows separate profiles for users, but from the looks of it, I don't think I will be using that feature for long because everyone in the family already asked for one of their own. Maybe for the holidays, not now.

Touch me

The touch screen is very responsive. I didn't feel any lag at all. I tried out the usual gestures of swipes, scrolls and zooms. Smooth and fast. Nowadays almost all tablets come with capacitive touch screens and this one is no different. Google has mentioned the Corning brand name this time in tech specs so that folks can have more confidence in the screen. I did invest in a screen protector (also sold by Asus) just in case, as some members of our family like to maintain long nails.

Point and click

The 5MP rear-facing camera does a decent job of capturing those quick moments when you don't have your main camera handy. This was missing in the first gen Nexus. I remember that one of my first digital cameras, back in 2002, was a high-end 5MP one that I paid more than 400 bucks for! The front facing camera is decent enough to Skype with my sister's family across the state, especially in low lighting conditions. If you already have a 1st gen model, you know that the low light performance was not that great for the front camera. Google did another great job with this upgrade.


The new Nexus is thinner and lighter than the 1st gen one. To really understand the difference, you need to hold the old one with both hands for sometime and then keep it down and pick up the 2nd gen. The bezels on the two sides when you hold the tablet horizontal are bigger than the other two sides. I feel this is a good feature that will let you hold the tablet easily while watching movies or playing games. Otherwise you will need to take precaution to not cover portions of the screen and your fingers will feel the strain. Anyway, compared to the old Nexus 7, I'm sure you will feel less fatigue while holding the new one for longer durations.

Hear hear

It's quite welcome to have stereo speakers in the small form factor. Compared to the other tablet maker's offering that's mono. The speakers sound decent. Maybe the track I played was not the best in town, or maybe I'm not an audiophile, but I couldn't hear much of a difference compared to the 1st gen model, although Google claims that they have the technology from the founders of MP3 format. Who knows, the founders may not be keeping up. Anyway, this is not a dealbreaker for me as I can always connect to better speakers using Bluetooth or the audio jack, if needed. As is, the speakers sound pretty good.


The 16GB version costs a bit over 200 bucks and the 32GB model a bit under 300. With the host of upgrades that this device came with, I think it's a bargain when compared to the 1st gen Nexus 7. Note: Prices may vary.


As with the 1st gen, this model also doesn't come with a micro-SD slot. I believe Google's philosophy is to move most data to the cloud, and internet connectivity is taken for granted most wherever you are, so this is not a killer. I purchased the 32GB model, just to be on the safe side because I read the technical specs before dashing to the store and was well aware that the device didn't come with a micro-SD memory expansion slot.

Not trying to be greedy here, but there were rumors that the 2nd gen Nexus would come with Qualcomm Snapdragon S6. That didn't materialize. It's possible the S6 didn't meet the several criteria for the Nexus - like power consumption, production schedule, cost etc. I think that's OK, the S4 processor itself is a forklift upgrade when compared to the Tegra3 on 1st gen.


Google and the hardware manufacturer Asus have listened to us customers and upped the ante on several features of their co-branded 2nd generation Android tablet. Kudos to the development team. The processor, display, sound, touch, battery, OS, handiness, camera - all quite impressive. So, I voted with my money and purchased the 32GB version. I honestly think the Asus-made tablets would remain in the Top5 Amazon Best Sellers list for many days, weeks or months to come.

Image Courtesy: