Technologizer

Google Unveils a New, Nicer, Pricier Nexus 7 Tablet

At an event this morning in San Francisco, Google rolled out a new Nexus 7. The name remains the same, but otherwise, an awful lot has changed.

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Harry McCracken / TIME

Google's Hugo Barra brandishes the new Nexus 7 at an event on July 24, 2013 in San Francisco

It wasn’t all that long ago that Google announced its Nexus 7, a $199 7″ tablet built by Asus — it’s only around 13 months old. But so much has happened in tabletland since then that the Nexus 7 feels a bit like an old-timer. Lots of folks expected Google to replace it back in May at the company’s I/O conference. It didn’t. But at an event this morning in San Francisco, the company rolled out a new Nexus 7. The name remains the same, but otherwise, an awful lot has changed.

As its name suggests, this is still a tablet with a 7″ screen. It’s also still based on Asus hardware. But it’s svelter than its predecessor: 2mm thinner, almost 6mm narrower and 50 grams lighter. And Google packed far more pixels into the new tablet’s display real estate. It’s going from 1280-by-800 pixels and 216 pixels per inch to 1920-by-1200 pixels and 323ppi, giving it true HD resolution and making it, Google says, the highest-resolution 7″ tablet to date. (Apple’s iPad Mini has a bigger screen but far fewer pixels — 1024-by-768 — and barely over half of the new Nexus 7’s pixels-per-inch.)

Nexus 7

Google

Inside, the new tablet has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1.8x the computational oomph of the old one. It has double the RAM — 2GB — which should also boost performance, especially if you’re juggling multiple apps and/or browser tabs. It has HDMI output for TV hookups, wireless charging and NFC, and supports Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth Low Energy), providing compatibility with the coolest, most power-efficient Bluetooth add-ons.

Google says that the more potent features haven’t hurt battery life. Actually, it’s claiming an extra hour of performance: up to nine hours of streaming video or ten hours of web browsing.

The revamped Nexus 7 is the first Android device to ship with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, a fairly minor-sounding operating-system upgrade with features such as multiple user profiles with varying levels of access (so that your kid, for instance, can play only kid-friendly apps and can’t download new ones) and new copy protection, which Netflix uses to stream video at 1080 resolution. It also has access to Google Play Games, a new Google App Store focused on…well, you know.

Oh, and the tablet also has a new price. Instead of starting at $199, it’s a $229 tablet. (Yes, Google is opting out of the $199 tablet wars it kicked off with the first Nexus 7.) That gets you 16GB of storage. For $269, you can upgrade to a 32GB model; for $349, you can buy a 32GB unit with unlocked 4G LTE, which works on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. The Wi-Fi-only models will be available on July 30 from the Google Play store and will be broadly available at retail stores; the LTE one will follow “in the coming weeks.”

The original Nexus 7 was the tablet that pretty much snapped the Android-tablet market out of its doldrums. As an improved model of the original at a higher price, the new version is unlikely to be anywhere near as influential. But it does look pretty snazzy, and reasonably priced for what you get. More thoughts once I’ve had a chance to try one for myself.

Nexus 7 [Google Play]

RELATED: Google Takes Another Stab at TV with the $35 Chromecast Device

6 comments
csciria
csciria

No, it's not a $199 tablet but remember last year that was the 8 GB Nexus 7. The 16 GB was $249. So actually it's cheaper since you're getting 16 GB for $229 plus the other improvements.

TabletTalkApp
TabletTalkApp

The Tablet Talk app got a huge boost with the first Nexus 7. Looking forward to the launch of the new Nexus 7! 

JonWashington1k
JonWashington1k

One other impressive Android tablet to launch this week is the Pipo M7 Pro ($255) that for about the same price as the Nexus 7 II, features a much larger 8.9 inch display with 1900x1200 screen resolution, a Quad core processor, along with built-in GPS navigation... and is packed with other features and the latest technology that compares to the new Nexus -- there's also an 8" model similar to the mini iPad that became available last week– the Pipo U8 ($195) that's almost as compact in size as the Nexus 7", but features 65% more screen space in its 8-inch form, which truly makes a difference in user experience... both new Android tablets are available through a U.S. site called T ab l e t S p r i n t--  which also features $25 in Bonus Apps, including an Office Suite App and several premium 3D Games, including the popular Shadowgun --

aaron.s.low
aaron.s.low

I hope it still fits in the older nexus 7 dock

pearsenser
pearsenser

The price for this Nexus 7 needs to be a lot lower in order to sell. Manufacturers of Android and Windows 8 computers have already dug into the market with affordable tablets. http://t.co/NktR71zb7u