Apple gets a tablet! Microsoft gets a tablet! Google gets a tablet!
Fresh from Microsoft’s recent announcement of its own branded Surface slate, the whole sector is getting an Oprah moment as Google joins the fray with its latest stock Android tablet. While the new Nexus 7 appears closer to the Kindle Fire than the new 2012 iPad, its use of the most buttery rendition of the Android operating system to date — Android 4.1 Jellybean — makes it a contender against rival tablets from Apple and Microsoft. How does the ASUS-made Nexus 7 stack up against the competition? Let’s take a look at the specs, shall we?
The brains: One of the first things folks will likely notice is that this thing’s got more cores than an apple (pardon the pun, por favor). Powering the Nexus 7 is an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor that’s married to a GPU that flaunts a dizzying 12 cores. The Nexus 7 is obviously designed with graphics and gaming in mind. As mentioned above, the operating system is Android 4.1 Jellybean, which features a smoother, improved user interface compared to Android 4.0 — also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Google also touts excellent power efficiency with the slate thanks to the use of a "4-PLUS-1" CPU design.
Battery life: Speaking of power, Google claims a 10-hour battery life for the Nexus 7 when browsing the Web or reading e-books. Battery life goes down to about 9 hours when viewing high-definition video. Standby time is estimated at 300 hours. The battery itself is rated 4,325 mAh.
Display: The Nexus 7 sports a 7-inch backlit IPS display with a 1,280 x 800 resolution. That translates to more than a million pixels, which should mean a vivid display that also displays sharper text for you pixel counters. The screen itself features scratch-resistant glass from Corning.
Dimensions and weight: Google’s slate measures 198.5 millimeters across, 120 millimeters wide and 10.45 millimeters thick. That’s 7.8 inches, 4.7 inches and 0.4 inches for folks who don’t use the metric system. Weight is 340 grams or about 12 ounces.
Memory: The Nexus 7 comes with 1GB of RAM. Actual storage comes in two flavors — 8GB for the base $199 version and 16GB for folks willing to pony up an extra $50. Admittedly, storage is one of the more not-so impressive aspects of the tablet, especially given how it does not come with a microSD slot. And yes, you can supplement that with cloud storage though frequent travelers will still have to deal with those times when a wireless connection simply isn’t available.
Wireless capability: The slate features both Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n.
Camera: The Nexus 7 tablet comes with a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for voice chat aficionados. Sadly, it doesn’t come with a rear-facing camera. On the plus side, that prevents you from looking like a doofus when snapping photos with a tablet in public.
Other features: Rounding out the Nexus 7’s list of features is a Micro USB port, microphone, near-field communication or NFC via Android Beam, an accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer and gyroscope.
So there you have it, Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet. In terms of specs, it’s certainly an impressive beast although niggles like its piddly storage keep it from reaching tablet perfection. Given that price point, though, you really can’t complain.
For more about slates, make sure to check out our Tablet Hub.