Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is not exactly a surprise. Nor is the fact that I’m able to work on a review of the product just hours after the device was announced. For years now, Google has had the uncanny habit of not only making big announcements at its I/O events, but then immediately sharing what it has shown off with developers and members of the press.
This year was over the top. Not only did Google hand out its new, 7-inch, $199 Nexus 7 tablet, but it also introduced a new version of Android (4.1) called Jelly Bean, upgraded its flagship phone, and... rolled out the Nexus Q. Perhaps the most odd of all, the Q is a spherical media player / amp which functions as a wired audio and video output for all of your Google content.
But the main course is obviously the tablet — a stock Google experience with a price point clearly meant to put a hurt on Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and sway potential buyers of Apple's lower-end iPad 2. Android as a tablet platform has stumbled thus far — can Google finally begin to make an impact in an increasingly crowded market? Read on for my full review to find out

Design and Display

Rumours surrounding the second-gen Nexus have so far mainly emphasised how it’ll feature an updated Full HD 1080p display and a sleeker, more refined bodyshell surrounding the glass panel.
Reports have repeatedly cited a 1920x1200 pixel resolution but most recently there’s been mention of an LTPS display technology being used, which stands for Low Temperature Polycrystalline silicon.
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There’s a lot of technical wizardry behind why this tech is advantageous but, in short, it offers a higher resolution, higher pixel density and smoother latency than conventional LCDs.
Here’s an excerpt from PCMag’s glossary:
‘The larger and more uniform grains of polysilicon (poly-Si) allow electrons to flow 100 times faster than they do through the random-sized grains of amorphous silicon (a-Si), enabling higher resolutions and higher speed. In addition, instead of surrounding the screen area, the row/column driver electronics are integrated onto the glass substrate, thereby reducing the TFT section and the wiring between the pixels. Thus, LTPS LCD pixels can be closer together and achieve densities of 200 dpi and greater.’
Neat stuff.
Other related rumours claim we’ll see a narrower bezel around the outside of the screen and an overall thinner profile for the whole device. A recent leak says it’ll be between 7.5mm and 8mm thick. The display pixel density has been touted as 323 pixels-per-inch (ppi) which would place the Nexus 7 secon-gen as the sharpest tablet on the market.


The first Nexus 7 used Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor, so there’s been some debate over whether the successor might opt for the updated Tegra 4 chip from the same manufacturer, or go for the now ubiquitous Snapdragon hardware from rival Qualcomm.
The most recent rumoured details suggest the Nexus 7 second-gen could have a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, which while now a little dated would still be an improvement on the old Tegra 3 and would also help to keep the cost down while significant (ie: expensive) upgrades are happening to the display and the like. The specific model quoted is Qualcomm’s APQ8064 chip which features an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU) and 2GB of RAM.
On the subject of storage, the same leak suggests 32GB of internal capacity and, as with previous Nexus models, there’s no word of microSD, which means it’s probably unlikely.
An earlier report suggested a starting price and implied this would apply to a base model with 16GB of built-in storage. Certainly we think an 8GB model is out of the question as the 8GB Nexus 7 first-gen did not sell as well as its 16GB counterpart, to the point where Google eventually discontinued it and shifted its pricing regime to make the 16GB the base model.
We think this time round it will just cut to the chase and start with 16GB as the base model at the lowest price.
Imaging isn’t a huge priority on tablets for most users so the rumour goes that there’ll be a 5-megapixel snapper on the back and a rudimentary 1.3-megapixel setup on the front for video calls.
Connectivity is pegged to include NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and microUSB. According to reports there will be two different versions, one will be Wi-Fi only and the other will be a 3G and 4Genabled model..