Google originally entered the tablet market in earnest in 2012, releasing its original Nexus 7 Android tablet. Its arrival came during a dark period for Android tablets, with other devices, like Samsung's original Galaxy Tab range and Motorola and HTC's ill-fated Xoom and Flyer respective tablets failing to gain any real traction.
For this reason, when first announced many people were all too ready to dismiss the Nexus 7, feeling Apple had already secured control of the tablet market with its popular range of iPad devices. However, to everyone's surprise the Nexus 7 proved a hit, winning over many new tablet buyers with its combination of top-end specs and affordable sub-£200 price tag.
Now one year on, Google's looked to pull the same trick with its new Nexus 7 and has once again partnered with Taiwanese tech firm Asus to release a radically upgraded version of its first own brand tablet.
Design and build
While we were fans of the first Nexus 7's design, it's no secret it didn't look as top end or luxurious as its Apple competition, which features a more robust feeling metal chassis, and black and white colour options.
Aware of this, Google and Asus have completely redesigned the new Nexus 7, working to make it smaller and lighter, with it measuring in at a modest 200x114x8.65mm and weighing 290g. This makes it over 2mm thinner and a massive 50g lighter than the first 197x120x10.5mm, 340g Nexus 7.
One of the chief ways Google and Asus have achieved this feat is by decreasing the new Nexus 7's bezel size. While nowhere near edge-to-edge, there is far less dead space around the Nexus 7 display's sides. This is a welcome boost as the decreased dimensions and weight make the tablet actually usable one handed for certain tasks, like reading on the tube - which outside of people with bear claws for hands wasn't possible on the original Nexus tablet.
In terms of button and port placement the new Nexus 7 is all but identical to the original, with its power and volume controls lining its top right-hand side and single MicroUSB charge and connection port sitting neatly at its bottom.
Outside of its button placements, the new Nexus 7's design is very different. The new Nexus has a single, smooth finish chassis that wraps around its Gorilla Glass front face. This is a marked departure from the three piece design of the original Nexus 7, which had a glued on textured plastic backplate, smooth grey polycarbonate sides and Gorilla Glass front. Using the Nexus 7 2013 we found the move from a three-layer design to a two part a pleasant one, with it making the tablet feel a little less bolted together and far more pleasant in hand.
The move is also a boon in terms of build quality as, while fairly solid, the old Nexus 7's grey sides are prone to picking up chips and marks. Testing the new Nexus 7 we found the single-colour and one-piece chassis is far more robustly built, being able to survive an accidental spill onto our flat's hardwood floor, issue free.
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