Google’s Next Nexus 7 Tablet: 6 Things I’d Like to See

I use a Nexus 7 regularly, having bought the 16 GB version soon after it launched last summer. Here's what I'd like to see in Google's next Nexus 7 tablet.

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Jared Newman / TIME.com

Google’s Nexus 7 seems on track for its first annual refresh, with Reuters reporting that a new version of the 7-inch tablet will launch in July.

Citing two unnamed sources, Reuters says the new Android tablet will have a Qualcomm processor, a higher-resolution display (1920-by-1200 would be my guess) and a thinner bezel design. Once again Asus will be the manufacturer, and Google hopes to ship 8 million of the tablets in the second half of 2013, Reuters claims.

I use a Nexus 7 regularly, having bought the 16 GB version soon after it launched last summer. And while I have no regrets, there are certainly a handful of things that could use improvement. Here’s what I’d like to see in Google’s next Nexus 7 tablet:

More Storage Options

Although the first Nexus 7 managed to hit a $200 price point by offering just 8 GB of storage, Google quickly realized that most people want more. So last November, the company scrapped the 8 GB model, dropped the 16 GB model’s price to $200, and started selling a 32 GB model for $250. Why stop there? Let’s see a 64 GB Nexus 7 in the $300 range, for those who really need the extra space for movies, music or games. (A microSD card slot could be nice, but it’s unlikely as Google prefers built-in storage for Nexus devices.)

A Much Lighter Design

As someone who uses the Nexus 7 regularly, the first time I picked up an iPad Mini was a revelation. Apparently it’s possible to have a full-blown tablet that’s as easy to hold as an e-reader. And while I wouldn’t call the Nexus 7 heavy, it does start to weigh down on your hands and wrist during long reading sessions. Reuters reports that the next Nexus 7 will have thinner bezels around the screen, but that only makes sense if the tablet doesn’t require as much effort to grip. Let’s hope a lighter design is on the way.

Longer Battery Life

On paper, the Nexus 7′s battery stacks up well against the iPad with up to 10 hours of advertised use, but that’s not always the case in the real world. In my experience, playing high-end games can wipe out the Nexus 7′s battery in as little as a few hours, and 10 hours of web browsing seems like a very generous estimate. Standby is also an issue, as the Nexus 7 loses its charge much faster than the iPad when it’s not in use. I’ve gotten in the habit of charging my Nexus 7 every couple of nights regardless of runtime, whereas my iPad can sit untouched for a week and retain most of its battery life. According to Reuters, Google is switching from Nvidia to Qualcomm for the processor in the next Nexus 7 for “power reasons,” so perhaps the new chip will bring better battery life.

Double the RAM

The 1 GB of RAM inside the existing Nexus 7 isn’t always enough. Moving between apps is sometimes sluggish, and opening lots of browser tabs can grind the tablet down. Though I can’t be sure that memory is always the culprit, my guess is that a bump to 2 GB would make for a pleasant performance boost. It wouldn’t be unheard of, considering that most high-end smartphones are now shipping with 2 GB of RAM on board.

A Google-Branded Game Controller

Lately I’ve been using my Nexus 7 as a portable gaming machine, connecting a SteelSeries Free controller via Bluetooth and propping the console up in my lap with a Breffo SpiderPodium. It’s an fine setup, but I’d rather see something tailor-made for the Nexus 7 from Google, something like the attachable gamepad on the Razer Edge. This is a long shot, I know, but maybe it’s not so crazy in light of the sudden interest in Android gaming.

Support for External Displays and Miracast

On a related note, I wish the Nexus 7 could connect into a television or external monitor. That way, you could play games on the big screen or watch videos without needing another set-top box. Although the Nexus 7 has a  microUSB port, it doesn’t support MHL which means you can’t connect a USB-to-HDMI adapter. And while Android now supports wireless screen mirroring to other Miracast-supported devices, Miracast isn’t supported on the existing Nexus 7. Whether wired or wireless, some way to connect to larger screens would be helpful.

8 comments
TonyTasmaly
TonyTasmaly

All of thous things are nice to have but You forgot one thing very important Item a nice car charging dock! I been waiting for the dock for a year now! if it is not going to happened in the future that would be very disappointing! 

conjurenation
conjurenation

I don't get the knock against the weight of the Nexus 7.  The difference in weight between the N7 and the iPad mini is just one ounce.  Anyone who tells you that the Nexus 7 is tiring to carry must have some very weak hands.  It's much lighter than many hardback books (and even some softcovers) that people hold and read for hours at a time.

luckylager74
luckylager74

igot this nexus tablet about two weeks ago and havibg nothing but trouble it wont connect to my internet no techiands ho anything about them very frusterating

deepysea
deepysea

The Nexus 7 is a great tablet but its #1 problem is its cheap glass screen, unlike the Kindle and the iPad that use gorilla glass.  I've accidentally busted two Nexus 7s already and won't be buying a third unless they improve it.  Also, the Kindle and the iPad have MUCH better customer support--Google just refers you to Asus in Holland.

BobbyJoseph
BobbyJoseph

A must-have feature - voice calling! Then more ppl will buy Nexus 7 to use as a phablet, Samsung is soon coming with Galaxy Mega series (5.8 & 6.3") and their current tabs support voice calling via bluetooth headsets!

ZainiChia
ZainiChia

I really don't think RAM is the main cause of the performance lags. Even the most powerful iPads STILL only uses 1GB of RAM, but everything is still as smooth as can be. I think the problem is really with the hardware-software optimization.

nileshgr
nileshgr

@ZainiChia RAM requirement on Android is more than iOS because the former allows background processes much like your laptop or desktop. 1 GB might be enough for an iOS device, but 2 GB is minimum required for true multitasking (I'm talking this after transitioning from a 1 GB phone to Nexus 4)

newmanjb
newmanjb

@ZainiChia Well, I've run into memory issues with the iPad as well--the occasional crashed, big slowdowns when moving between lots of  browser tabs, the browser's need to pull tabs out of memory and then refresh when you go back to them, that sort of thing. It's not terrible but not a non-issue either in my view. I think iOS has always done a better job of doing more with less, which is why it doesn't need as much RAM to stay relatively smooth. But yeah, I don't think RAM is the only culprit.