2013 Google Nexus 7 from Asus: Mini Review

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Google recently announced the new Nexus 7 and it is really impressive. Apple will have alot of work to do to top this with its iPad Mini. Here we have a mini review on the new Nexus 7 for you. Its a very good review from ITProPortal.com. Have a good read. We apologize for being late.

Balance – that’s the key. Last year’s Nexus 7 set the bar for small tablets with just the right balance of features, size, and price. This year, Google and Asus have done it again, balancing size, performance, and a wallet-friendly price to hit the sweet spot for a compact tablet.

Physical features

The new Nexus 7 is slimmer, lighter, and more comfortable to hold than the original, which was already more comfortable to hold than the oddly wide Apple iPad mini. This model measures 200 x 8.6 x 114mm (WxDxH) and weighs 290 grams, with tapered sides and a soft-touch back that somehow feels a little classier than the weird faux-leather of the original Nexus 7. Asus still understands that narrowness, more than anything else, is key to making a device you might sometimes want to hold in one hand.

There are very few ports here – just microUSB, a headphone jack, and a microphone – and narrower, but not very narrow, side bezels framing a sharp 1,920 x 1,200 screen.

The screen is the big advance here. Asus swapped out the Nexus 7’s original 1,280 x 800 screen with a gorgeous 1,920 x 1,200-pixel IPS LCD panel. At 323 ppi, it’s almost exactly the same density as the iPhone 5’s Retina display and higher than any iPad. It’s bright enough for most circumstances, colours are very true, and the viewing angle is good – but it’s also small enough that the screen doesn’t totally kill battery life. We got 7 hours and 37 minutes of video playback with the screen turned up to max brightness. While that’s definitely shorter than the 10 hours that last year’s model, with its less dense screen, managed, it’s still quite respectable.

The Nexus 7 comes in three models. The first two are Wi-Fi only, with support for 802.11a/b/g/n on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands – the support for faster 5GHz Wi-Fi is another upgrade from last year’s version. The 16GB Wi-Fi model has gone on pre-order for £199 (expected to be RM999), and the 32GB version (which we were sent for review) retails at £239 (possibly RM1199). The third unit packs 4G LTE support and will retail at £299 (RM1499) (with 32GB of storage – there’s no 16GB option with the LTE slate).

All of the models have GPS, which makes this bright little tablet an absolutely killer in-car navigation system. The GPS on my test tablet locked in very quickly. The tablet also has Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, although surprisingly there’s no support for Google Wallet. Maybe Google Wallet is a thing of the past.

Performance, OS and apps

The Nexus 7 is the first Android 4.3 tablet, running a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro APQ8064 processor. Think of it as about two-thirds of the way up the current performance ladder, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone at the top. It almost doubles the performance of last year’s Nvidia Tegra 3-based Nexus 7 on pure processor and graphics benchmarks, and positively crushes the iPad mini on the Geekbench system benchmark: The mini scored only 748, while this guy registers 2,643. The Chrome browser beats the iPad mini on the Sunspider browser benchmark by about 30 per cent.

Real-world performance isn’t solely dependent on processor speed: It’s dependent on how many pixels you’re pushing, the OS, and third-party apps. That’s where the Nexus 7, running Android 4.3, runs into a bit of trouble. I run the same bunch of Android apps every time I test a tablet, and some of them either didn’t show up in the market or got buggy on the Nexus.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for instance, suffered from weird graphics artifacts. The UI in Netflix was sluggish, although videos played just fine. Asphalt 7: Heat, one of my standard test games, didn’t even show up on a search. Sometimes when searching Google’s own Play store, animations would get jittery or the text entry box would lose focus. The popular video player MX Player quit on launch. I suspect a lot of these problems are Android 4.3 issues which will get solved quickly as the app creators update their work.

I didn’t see any such problems in Google’s other built-in apps, and other apps such as Riptide GP2, Paper Monsters, Dead Trigger, and Photoshop Touch ran just fine. Most importantly, Google’s Chrome browser runs very, very well here, as do Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle app. I’d still recommend e-ink e-readers to many people because of their vast reserves of battery life and sunlight readability, but this will do a great job with children’s books and comics.

This has always been Google’s struggle with Android tablets: Making sure third-party apps are up to speed with the platform. Google has changed the home page of its Play store so only tablet-friendly apps show up, although you can still find “ugly” apps not designed for tablet screens by searching for them. Those apps still don’t look too bad on a 7in screen; it’s really with 10in tablets that you’ll run into problems.

Apple’s iPad mini has a superior app experience, it’s true. You’ll find more and better apps in Apple’s app store, and they’re pretty much all guaranteed to run smoothly. But the Nexus 7’s app situation is good enough for that not to be a deal-breaker.

Android 4.3’s other flagship feature makes this an excellent kids’ tablet. Android 4.2 allowed for the creation of multiple user accounts on your tablet, and now “restricted profiles” have been introduced to let you create accounts that can only use certain apps. I created one and found that the restricted account was locked out of the Google Play store. YouTube threw up an error message but worked anyway; all the other apps I allowed my virtual child to use worked fine.

Multimedia

With no memory card slot, I suggest buying the 32GB Nexus 7 (with 26GB of storage available) over the 16GB unit. The price difference is only £40, and you’ll want the space. The new Nexus 7 adds a 5-megapixel rear camera to the tablet, keeping the 1-megapixel front camera as well.

The new Android 4.3 camera app’s UI is extremely simple, although you still get some options like capture size, a countdown timer, a few scene modes, panorama and Photo Sphere. Photos taken with the main camera were clear enough in good light, although bright areas were washed out and there was some visible colour noise. In low light, the noise really ramped up. Front camera images tended to be very soft, even smeary (but not blurry) in low light. The main camera captured 1080p video at 30 frames per second indoors and out; the front camera captured 720p at 30 frames per second. There’s no image stabilisation, but there is a time-lapse mode.

The front camera is fine for video chatting, and the main camera will do just fine for augmented-reality apps, bar code scanners, language translators, and all the things you really should be using a tablet camera for. People taking snapshots with tablet cameras generally look like idiots – don’t be one.

Asus amped up the volume of the stereo speakers here, and they’re now quite loud, although they’re still tinny. Fraunhofer surround sound gives some real stereo separation in material coded for it, like Google Play movies. Still, the only way you’re going to get bass is with headphones.

The Nexus 7 had no problem playing MPEG4 and H.264 videos in resolutions up to 1080p, as well as streaming Netflix and Google Play movies. There’s no DivX or Xvid support by default.

The Nexus 7 doesn’t come with any wired means to output video to a TV, but it works with Google’s new $35 (£23) Chromecast to play some streaming (not local) media on TVs, and there’s also a SlimPort micro-USB-to-HDMI adapter available that works with this Nexus 7 and last year’s Nexus 4 smartphone.

Verdict

The new Google Nexus 7 will be the right small tablet for most people when it comes across to the UK (hopefully pretty soon, according to Currys it will be September). Regarding rivals, the cheaper £159 Amazon Kindle Fire HD is only the right choice right now if you’re heavily invested in Amazon’s media world, although a new and more competitive model is probably coming soon. If you want to go a lot cheaper, then obviously you’ll be sacrificing a great deal for a really budget Android slate – not the least of which will be the new Nexus 7’s superb screen.

At the higher end, the £269 iPad mini has an unmatched range of apps, but you’ll pay for that heavily in terms of a grainier screen, higher price, and more awkward form factor. And the £339 Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has a Dirk Diggler-like “one special thing” in terms of its pen support, although you should only commit the cash if you need that pressure-sensitive pen.

Small tablets are most often used for some media, some gaming, some web browsing, and some e-reading. Provided third-party developers update their apps for Android 4.3 – and I think they will, soon – the new Nexus 7 is ideal for all of those, thanks to its sharp screen, comfortable ergonomics, and solid performance at an ideal price. All this means that Google’s latest tablet effort gets one of our Best Buy awards.

Write in to us for any queries!

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Everything Google Announced at Today’s Event [Wrap-up]

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Google’s Sundar Pichai just got done hosting breakfast at the press event in San Francisco and even though our expectations weren’t high, the event was packed with awesome goodies. Not only did Google show off Android 4.3 and all the new features, but some seriously great hardware was announced too.

Here’s a rundown of everything Google announced at today’s event:

Nexus 7

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1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro (80% faster than previous Nexus 7)
2GB of RAM
Bluetooth 4.0
4G LTE available in single U.S. Model
NFC
10 hours battery life with Wireless Charging
1920×1200 True HD
323ppi (world’s highest ppi for a tablet)
30% wider range of colors
Dual stereo speakers with Virtual Surround Sound from Fraunhofer
1.2MP front camera
5MP Rear Camera
16Gb – $229 (32Gb and 64GB also available)
2millimitters thinner than original Nexus 7
Slimmer bezel and lighter
Runs Android 4.3
Launches July 30th

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Android 4.3

Support for Bluetooth Smart
OpenGL ES 3.0 Support
DRM APIs to allow 1080p video streaming
Multi-Users with Restricted Profiles
Notification access for third-party apps
Textbooks for Google Play
50 billion apps downloaded on Google Play
Reveenue per user has increased 2.5x in the last year
1Million+ applications

Improved Google Apps

Google Drive – new title layout
Chrome – full screen mode, translation.
Google Maps – Discover new places with Explore feature. New full screen mode
Hangouts – Screensharing

Google Play Games app

Lists games you play and friends on one screen
See friends’ achievements
Social and Public Leaderboards

ChromeCast

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Plugs into back of TV via HDMI to receive video streams from a laptop or tablet
Project any Chrome tab to your TV
Runs simplified Chrome OS
Works with both Android and iOS
Casts music as well
Costs $35
Available now on Google Play

 

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Big iOS Titles Go Free As App Store Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

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As the App Store’s fifth anniversary approaches, a whole host of developers have begun makes some of their most popular apps and games for iOS completely free. Some of the titles included in the sale are Infinity Blade II, Disney’s Where’s My Water?, and Traktor DJ, which is usually priced at $20.Big iOS Titles Go Free As App Store Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

It’s unclear whether the giveaways are to celebrate the App Store’s birthday, or whether the timing is just a coincidence. The Verge was first to spot the changes, and they note that none of the titles on sale have ever gone free before.

So this isn’t just your average App Store sale where the likes of EA and Gameloft make all of their older titles super cheap in an effort to boost sales. Some of the most popular iOS titles are included, such as gems like Tiny Wings and Day One, a wonderful app that makes keeping a journal super simple.

Here’s a full list of the titles that have gone free so far:

Apple hasn’t mentioned the freebies yet, and none of the apps acknowledge the reductions in their descriptions, so we can’t confirm why they’re been made free yet. But this week marks the App Store’s fifth birthday, and it certainly appears that this is part of the celebration.

If that is the case, we’d expect to see many more titles reduced in the coming days.

If you spot any other apps and games that have been made free this week, let us know in the comments section below.

[Via]

Watch WWDC 2013 Keynote [Video]

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If you missed the WWDC 2013 keynote by Apple showing of few great stuffs such as iOS 7 and the new Mac OSX together with a one of a kind Mac Pro, you can now watch it here for the full keynote. If you are only interested in the iOS7 part, forward all the way to 80 odd minutes. Have fun watching!

 

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20 Awesome iOS7 Screenshots [Photos]

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Apple has posted some gorgeous new images on its website alongside video walkthroughs. Here’s iOS 7 in action:

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The new Home screen.

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Photo App

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Apple WWDC Round-Up. Everything you have to know.

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Apple just finished its WWDC keynote and holy crap, there is a ton of new stuff coming to iOS 7 and OS X. A radical looking Mac Pro was also showed off alongside some MacBook Airs with all-day battery life.

To help save you some time, here’s a list of everything new Apple introduced today at WWDC 2013 that we’ll be updating throughout the day as new info become available.

iOS 7

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  • Completely redesigned interface
  • New Lockscreen
  • New translucency and Parallax allows you to see layers of info
  • Weather app has interactive displays
  • Calendar has new minimalist UI
  • Multiple page support in Folders
  • Notification Center now available on Lock Screen
  • FaceTime audio calls
  • Notification syncing
  • Phone and Message blocking
  • Activation lock disables phone if stolen
  • iPhone beta available to developers today
  • Coming this fall

We think the new design of iOS does somewhat resembles the UI design of Windows Phone and that is awesome. We would expect this from Jony Ive, the man behind MacBook designs. Check out more screenshots of iOS7 here.

Control Center

  • Swipe up from bottom of device to access toggles quickly
  • Turn on Airplane Mode, adjust brightness, AirDrop, etc.

This is what everyone has been waiting for. Better late than never. Finally here.

Multitasking

  • New interface shows app cards
  • Multi-tasking for all apps with great battery life
  • Puts apps into scheduled background cycles
  • Adapts to network conditions

New app cards interface is pretty cool.

Safari

  • New full-screen look
  • Pull down from top brings up smart search field
  • iCloud Keychain support

Camera

  • Redesigned UI
  • New filters
  • Accessible from Control Center

New filters? YAY!

New Photos App –

  • Collect photos into ‘Moments’ based on location, date, or people.
  • Look across photo collection by pinch-to-zooming through Photostream
  • Share photos via AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, iMessage, etc.
  • See comments from people you’ve shared the picture with directly in image

AirDrop

  • Share images with friends
  • System-wide support with apps with share-sheets
  • Works on iPhone 5, iPad 4, 5th Gen iPod Touch

Always a fan of AirDrop!

Siri

  • New interface with wave animation
  • All new female and male voices
  • Can now control more of your device such as adjusting brigthness
  • Wikipedia and Bing search results integrated directly into Siri

Siri is now sexier! With new voice!

iOS in the Car

  • Get iOS on your car’s dashboard screen
  • Get directions, play music, have iMessages dictated to you and more, eyes free.
  • Supported by more than 12 car manufacturers in 2014

App Store

  • Search for apps by age range
  • Find apps based on current location
  • Apps are updated automatically (John McCain is well pleased)

iTunes Radio

  • Built directly into iOS Music app.
  • Featured Stations stream music based on its theme.
  • Share stations with friends, or create your own based on favorite artists
  • Preview and purchase songs directly in the app.
  • Support on Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple TV
  • Free for all users
  • Completely ad-free for iTunes Match subscribers
  • Launches in the U.S.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks

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  • OS X names will now be California-themed
  • New Finder Tabs
  • Tags for files – keep track of files by adding a tag in OS X
  • Multiple Displays – much more powerful. Menus and dock appears on both displays.
  • OpenGL 4 support
  • Time Coalescing – helps improve your CPU efficiency by up to 72%
  • 1.5x faster at waking a system from standby
  • Accelerated Scrolling optimized for Retina displays
  • AppNap – lets you pause apps to prevent battery drain
  • Developer preview available today
  • Releases Fall 2013

Safari

  • New Sidebar with reading list, bookmarks and shared links
  • Big performance improvements
  • 1.44x faster in SunSpider JavaScript benchmark than Chrome and Firefox
  • Improved CPU energy uses

iCloud Keychain

  • Remembers your website logins, credit card numbers, etc.
  • Can suggest to auto-fill your forms for you with private info

Notifications

  • Reply to iMessages, Email, FaceTime calls right from desktop
  • Get push notifications from iOS apps on your Mac
  • Tells you what you missed on your lock-screen
  • Apps update in the background

Maps for OS X

  • Street Maps
  • 3D Flyover
  • Info cards
  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Send directions to your iPhone

iBooks for Mac

  • Access to 1.8 million books in iBookstore
  • Read books from your desktop or iOS
  • Interactive books just like in iOS

iWork for iCloud

  • Create iWork docs from a web browser
  • Works on OS X or Windows
  • New iWork releases coming to Mac and iOS later this year
Macbook Air

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  • All-day battery life thanks to Haswell processor
  • 2X GPU execution units with 40% faster graphics
  • 11-inch MBA will have 9 hours of battery life
  • 13-inch MBA now has 12 hours of battery life
  • 45% faster SSD storage
  • Faster WiFi 802.11ac card
  • 11-inch starts at $999 with 128GB storage
  • Ships today
Mac Pro

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  • New unified thermal-core body
  • Intel Xeon with up to 12-core
  • Fastest ECC memory
  • PCIe Storage that’s 10x faster than any previous Mac Pro drive
  • Thunderbolt 2 support. 20GBps throughput
  • Dual workstation GPUs
  • 4k display support
  • 1/8th the size of old Mac Pro
  • Made in the USA
  • Coming later this year

AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule

  • New design
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Room for harddrive storage to beam files
Company Stats
  • 600 million iOS devices sold to date
  • 24th WWDC
  • attendees from 66 countries
  • 6 million registered developers
  • WWDC sold out in 71 seconds
  • 1 million daily vistors at the 407 Apple Stores in 14 countries
  • 50 billion apps download from the App Store
  • 300 million iTunes in the Cloud users
  • 900,000 apps in the store
  • 375,000 iPad apps
  • 575 million App Store accounts (more accounts with credit cards than any store)
  • $10 billion has been paid to developers ($5 billion just last year)
  • 72 million Macs installed
  • 28 million copies sold of OS X Mountain Lion
  • 35% of Mac users are now using OS X 10.8

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