When it was first released the 2012 Nexus 7 was a fairly powerful tablet, running off a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and boasting 1GB RAM. One year on, considering it costs less than £200, the 2012 Nexus 7 is still very reasonably specced, easily beating most other 7in Android tablets, such as the HP Slate 7. But compared with the 2013 Nexus 7, it doesn't hold a candle.
This is because Google has loaded the 2013 Nexus 7 with an ultra-powerful quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and doubled its memory to 2GB of RAM. Benchmarking the new Nexus 7 using Antutu we found the upgrade rang true, scoring a robust 18,244. The first Nexus 7 scored an, at its time reasonable, 13,634.
We found the scores were a fairly accurate representation of both tablets' real-world performance. For everyday tasks, such as surfing the internet or checking email and Facebook accounts, we found both Nexus 7s were more than up to the task. Both opened apps and webpages in seconds, streamed video smoothly and generally felt fairly nippy.
It was only when we started challenging the two Nexus 7s with more taxing tasks that we noticed a real difference. While the 2012 Nexus 7 managed to run demanding 3D games, they ran a fraction of a second smoother and faster on the 2013 model. We also found the 2013 Nexus 7 was better at multitasking. For example, running the two head to head with several videos open in the Chrome browser, the 2013 Nexus 7 remained usable throughout, while the 2012 version began to stutter when running videos in three tabs.
Winner: The 2013 Nexus 7
The original Nexus 7 didn't feature a rear camera, instead featuring a bare-bones 1.2MP front camera designed purely for video calling. The absence of a rear camera was reportedly a design choice made by Asus, intended to help keep the 2012's overall cost down. While we're still not fans of taking photos on a tablet of any kind, the lack of a rear camera was an issue for some buyers.
To rectify this, Google has loaded the 2013 Nexus 7 with a 5MP rear and 1.2MP front camera. Image quality is adequate, with images taken on the 2013 Nexus coming out reasonably crisp and with average colour and brightness levels when taken in regular lighting conditions. But in more adverse conditions, such as low light, image quality rapidly deteriorated to the point where pictures taken on the 2013 Nexus 7 were all but unusable.
Winner: The 2013 Nexus 7
Next: Battery, storage and overall