A week with: The Nexus 7.2, Google's answer to the iPad

 

Price: from £199
Size: 7in
Operating system: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Memory: 16GB or 32GB internal storage
Display: 1920x1200 Weight: 290g

What is it?

Google's answer to the iPad, only sleeker, thinner and a bit less expensive. The second generation of Google and Asus's 7in tablet – the first sold a reported one million units a month and led Apple to create the iPad mini – is perhaps the final proof that Android is a serious player in the tablet market.

What's so good about it?

Well, first off it's light (290g) and it fits in your palm, which makes it feel more user-friendly, to my mind; the matt-black polycarbonate back is nice to handle, too, though it perhaps lacks the design cachet of iPad's metallic spine. Its other major plus point is its 1920x1200 display, which, frankly, is absolutely cracking. It offers rich, razor-sharp colours and runs Netflix in HD.

Usefully, it has a wide panorama of viewing angles, so you can watch House of Cards slumped in just about any position you fancy.

That stuff's all fine, but how does it run?

Smoothly is the answer; very smoothly indeed. The earlier Nexus's NVidia chip has been replaced with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, which, roughly translated from tech-speak, means its designers have made it as smooth as unction, with quick app-opening, excellent video playback and no lag when you play games on it.

The new, improved battery also means it carries on being smoother for much longer, with an hour of Netflix draining it by just 10 per cent. And for much lighter use, it is likely to last nearly a whole weekend.

Sounds like love. Any drawbacks?

There are a couple. It comes in only two models, 16GB and 32GB, which sound fine, but they quickly fill up. And inexplicably, it isn't supplied with a microSD card slot (an oversight also found on the earlier model), so you can't expand on the internal storage.

The 5MP rear-facing camera leaves a fair bit to be desired, too. It should be a major feature but, in practice, unless the light conditions are ideal, it disappoints. Too much light and the screen flickers, so you aren't sure how the picture will turn out. Too little and it just doesn't turn out at all.

Is it worth it?

There's no two ways about it, the Google Nexus 7 is the best 7in tablet on the market. It wipes the floor with the competition. Its slick performance and HD screen are what you might expect in the upper price bracket for tablets, not something that starts at £199.

Should you upgrade though, if you have the older Nexus 7?

Probably not. The improvements, though useful, are not exactly profound (camera on the back, better battery, etc). Still, if you are a tablet virgin, you could do a lot worse than buy a Google Nexus 7.

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