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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iPad mini vs Nexus 7 Drop Test [Video]

As always, we bring you the drop test for the latest device you cared about. Although drop test dont usually mean anything at all. You wont buy your device based on how well it will fair in drops. Or you like to buy a tablet and drop it everyday then we have no comment. Anyway, this is the drop test between iPad mini and Nexus 7 from Android Authority. Who will fair better?

Google announced Nexus 4, 7 and 10 together with a new flavor of Jelly Bean

Despite the cancellation of Google event due to hurricane attack in the US, they finally announced the Nexus 4 smartphone(LG), Nexus 7 32GB variant (ASUS) and Nexus 10 high resolution tablet (Samsung) along with the new version of Jelly Bean called Android 4.2 via online.

“Today, we’re excited to announce three great new Nexus devices … in small, medium and large,” wrote Google in a blog post. “And they all run Android 4.2, a new flavor of Jelly Bean — which includes the latest version of Google Now and other great new features.”

Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 by Samsung, includes a 2560 x 1600 resolution Super AMOLED display with 299ppi making it the highest resolution tablet today. Surpassing the iPad’s 264ppi Retina Display. The Nexus 10 also features Samsung’s new 1.7 GHz Exynos 5 chips, 2GB of RAM, NFC, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 9,000mAh battery that Google says will deliver five hours of video playback, or 500 hours of up-time on standby. No SD card slot for additional storage and comes with Android 4.2 pre-loaded as expected from a Nexus device. The 16GB version will cost $400, while the 32GB model is priced at $500. Available November 13. Despite of the awesomely high resolution, we think that the Nexus 10 is perhaps on of the ugliest tablet to date. Samsung is not known for making beautiful tablets and this is one of their worst design for tablets.

Nexus 4

Nexus 4 is a smartphone by LG with Quad-core processor, 4.7-inch display (320dpi), wireless charging capabilities, Google Now, and a new feature called Photo Sphere for creating 360-degree, Street View-like panorama shots. The Nexus 4 will go for $300 starting November 13. Nothing breath taking about this device but it look way better than the Nexus 10. But sadly, no LTE support yet. But the pricing will draw alot of attentions to it.

Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 will now only be available in 16GB ($200) and 32GB ($250) models while the 8GB version will be discontinued (if you have one, keep it, remember its limited edition now, might worth alot in the future, or maybe not). Also, Google will now offer 32GB Nexus 7 model with HSPA+ connectivity for $300. Nexus 7 is still the best among the 3. And the pricing of this device is just crazy good. Not the best tablet in the world but certainly the best for its price.

Benchmark test: A5X vs A5 vs Tegra 3, New iPad’s A5X chip mainly used to power the Retina Display

At the launch of Apple’s third-gen iPad, the company’s Marketing Chief Phil Schiller claimed the device’s new A5X processor with quad-core graphics provided up to 4x the graphics performance of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip. Schiller also claimed the new chip provided 2x the graphics performance of the iPad 2′s A5 chip. NVIDIA was skeptical of the benchmark data behind the claims, but early benchmarks seemed to show A5X outperforming a Transformer Prime running Tegra 3 in the majority of tests.

New benchmark data provided by IGN shows the iPad 2′s A5 chip outperforming both the A5X and Tegra 3 with the A5X’s improved graphics going largely towards powering the new iPad’s high-resolution Retina display of 3.1 million pixels. The A5X shows a significant increase in performance over iPad 2 and Tegra 3 devices only when the chip is not forced to power the Retina display in “off-screen” benchmarks.

 

First IGN ran three tests: GeekBench for raw CPU power, and GLBenchmark 2.1 Egypt, and GLBenchmark 2.1 Pro for graphics. It also ran “off-screen” versions of the GLBenchmark tests to show the performance of A5X without having to power the Retina display.

As for raw CPU power, a Tegra 3-powered ASUS Transformer Prime and Galaxy Tab 10.1 scored higher in GeekBench than both the iPads:

Tegra 3′s quad-core configuration blazes past the dual-core A5X, garnering GeekBench scores of 1540 and 750, respectively. Interestingly, the A5X’s average score fell a few points short of the iPad 2′s standard A5 chip, 753. Both the A5X and the A5 also fell shy of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1′s Tegra 2, which received an overall score 905. The gains made by the Tegra 3 are easily chalked up to its two extra cores, but it is also boasts the highest clocking speed of the group at 1.6GHz, compared to the 1GHz clock of the A5X, A5 and Tegra 2.

However, Apple’s stats showing 4x performance were specifically related to the new chip’s quad-core graphics. When it comes to the graphics tests with GLBenchmark, iPad 2 scored higher than the third-gen iPad in both tests. Meanwhile, both iPads beat out the Android tablets. IGN noted the tests “ran at the native resolution of whatever device it was running on.”

For the Egypt test, the iPad 2 (1024×768) produced 6,709 frames at a framerate of 59 frames-per-second, while the new iPad (2048×1536) ran 5,974 frames at 53 FPS and the Transformer Prime (1280×800) generated 5,955 at a rate of 52 FPS. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 (1280×800), on the other hand, produced only 2,465 frames at a surprisingly low 21 FPS.

The results of the off-screen tests (pictured above) show the A5X producing 15,412 frames at a rate of 138 FPS compared to the iPad 2 that has 10,143 frames at 90 FPS. The A5X significantly outperformed Tegra 3 when not powering the Retina display, but it did not quite provide the 4x performance that Apple’s stats claimed like shown in the picture below.

[Source]

Mobile World Congress 2012: Wrap-up [MWC2012]

At what must be one of the most beautiful venues on earth to have a conference such as this, we’ve got Mobile World Congress 2012, a yearly event which takes the whole world’s mobile device market and gathers it up into one big week-long masterpiece. Of course it’s not as perfectly simple as that, and if you’ve never been to the event or have never tried to follow along with the news that spills forth from it before, you may very well have a hard time fitting all the pieces together. That’s why we’ve got this easy to read, easy to decipher guide for you to work your way through all of the devices and services announced, displayed, and teased during the events – have a look!

 

What we’re going to do here is separate everything by brand. First there’s a big set of smartphone and tablet manufacturers, then we’ve got Google, then the big processor manufacturers, Microsoft, and the rest. I should also let you know that we’re not quite done yet here, with a selection of other oddities still up our sleeves set for release over the next few days as well. Continue checking our [MWC 2012 portal] for the full pack!

One of the first events we attended was an LG booth preview, this meeting / miniature keynote had us also able to check out the full line of devices announced the week before MWC 2012 by LG. We were able to check out the full LG Optimus L-Style family including the L7, L5, and L3 in all their mid-range glory. Next we had a peek at the all-powerful LG Optimus 4X, a Tegra 3 toting next generation smartphone following up on the original world’s first dual-core smartphone, the LG Optimus 2X. Another follow-up nest-generation device we got to handle was the LG Optimus 3D Max, and the LG response to the Galaxy Note, the LG Optimus Vu, a massive smartphone / tablet hybrid with a 4×3 height x width ratio.

Sony decided to doll out a couple more Xperia devices, each of them slightly unsurprising to a fine degree. We first got official word that the Xperia P existed, then got a hands-on experience with the device. We also finally got to handle the fabled Sony Xperia U in all its square goodness.

“HTC brought its A-game and threw it all out on the floor”

If there was one smartphone manufacturer that brought their A-game and threw it all out on the floor, drew a line in the sand, and said “let’s do this thing”, it was HTC. They both introduced and described their brand new hero line of devices, HTC One. This line of devices features high-quality sound from Beats Audio, fabulous high resolution and sharp displays, HTC ImageSense for fabulous photos inside of Sense 4.0, and a high quality overall experience in each device. The devices dropped like this: first there’s the HTC One V – the lowest spec’d device with a classic shape.

Then there’s the HTC One S international version and the T-Mobile HTC One S as well – note here right away that the HTC One naming scheme will stick around no matter which carrier these devices are on, HTC holding strong to their hero line guarantees. Plus there’s the HTC One X as well as its AT&T relative by the same name. HTC One X is the hero of heroes and comes with either an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor or a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor depending on if you get the international or AT&T version, respectively. We got hands-on looks at the HTC One V, the HTC One S, and the HTC One X as well.

“Nokia was a fantastic force this year”

Nokia was another fantastic force this year at MWC 2012, not least of all because of their awesome set of booths which both showed off their devices and provided press and brand friends an excellent place to work and relax during the week’s madness. The devices Nokia dropped were pretty neat too, starting with the Nokia Lumia 900 DC HSPA Global Edition which we also got hands-on time with. There was also the physical keyboard toting Asha 202, 203, and 302 which we also got hands-on time with right after the release event. There was but one mid-range touchscreen device from the group in the Lumia 610 (hands-on), then the giant game-changing device that rattled the whole event was the Nokia 808 Pure View complete with an undeniable 41 megapixel camera on its back – have a look at our hands on with 41 megapixels as well, and head to our Nokia MWC 2012 round-up for a different guide to the awesome madness.

Three companies that brought one device each that triggered our “must touch” sensors were ViewSonic, Toshiba, and Panasonic. For the first manufacturer it was for the ViewSonic ViewPhone 4S, complete with an ultra high-resolution display and the ability to use two SIM cards. Then there was Toshiba with their unnamed NVIDIA Tegra 3 toting tablet complete with 7.7-inches of HD display and an ultra-thin profile. Then for Panasonic we got two hands-on looks t the ELUGA device, first in a classic hands-on experience, then with the dunking of the device in the water for good fun had by all.

The folks at ZTE surprised us with several new devices including both Windows Phone and Android in a wide array of configurations. Perhaps the most impressive of these was an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor toting smartphone by the name of ZTE Era. We got hands-on with the ZTE Era as well as the Windows Phone Tango smartphone ZTE Orbit.

“Samsung had an odd set of devices on hand”

Samsung had a highly odd set of devices on hand for us to get hands-on experiences with including the Samsung Galaxy Beam with its cool projector top and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with its Galaxy Note abilities, S-pen (the tablet having no slot despite the silo on the original Galaxy Note,) and Galaxy Tab 10.1 stylings. For those of you looking for one solid device with no such super odd abilities on top, check out our hands-on with the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze, complete with everything you need for speedy daily living.

Two more groups that surprised us with some super excellent devices running high-powered processors were Huawei and Fujitsu. With Huawei we got hands-on with both the MediaPad 10fhd and the Ascend D Quad, a device which you’ll also see a massive amalgamation of this weekend in a post about the model they made specifically for and of this device. It’s a horse ascending into the air, all made out of the Ascend D Quad smartphone! Then there was the Fujitsu unnamed NVIDIA Tegra 3 smartphone which despite it having no finalized features just yet, seemed pretty impressive at the time.

ASUS revealed several new tablets in their now-named Transformer Pad series including the brand new 300 series as well as the high powered ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 LTE. Then of course we got another glimpse of the ASUS Padfone, this time with a release date and a stylus headset!

We covered the Google keynote for the Mobile World Congress main series of keynotes, of course, it having Eric Schmidt speaking on the development of the world for countries and communities that have no access to the internet at all. He also spoke on privacy and how Google Chrome as well as Android have it and continue to allow you the control to keep yourself as private as you like. He also spoke of legal matters and there were quite a few above-average quotable moments also, especially in the Q and A section of the keynote. Schmidt mentioned Google Bucks and 3D-capable personal robots as well. Check out our round-up of the Google keynote for all of this information arranged once more.

“Qualcomm took some awesome shots at the competition with the Snapdragon S4”

For processor power we go to see great offerings from each of the big powerhouses, first up Texas Instruments with their OMAP 5 2x dual-core SoC as well as information on how they’ll be teaming up with Harman and iRobot for future OMAP 5 toting devices. Qualcomm took some awesome shots at the competition with the Snapdragon S4 and Gobi 5th gen while we took a look at the Qualcomm Snapdragon MDP for S4 and spoke with the team, this resulting in the note that Intel is still uncompetitive in the mobile marketplace.

Intel certainly does appear to be taking a good run at the market recently, on the other hand, here at Mobile World Congress with the Orange Santa Clara Medfield phone in all its glory. Then there’s NVIDIA, which if you simply take a peek at our hands-on with Shadowgun Deadzone multiplayer, you’ll only see a tiny fraction of what we’ll be publishing soon – and don’t forget about the massive amount of Tegra 3-toting smartphone released this past week alone.

Microsoft took each of these chipmakers and put them all in one room together with the Windows 8 Publishers Preview, having a tablet each from each manufacturer to show off Windows 8 for the consumers of the future. We also saw the preview on a wide variety of computers and saw how it all works together as you would expect it to. The app interface was incredibly fast and fluid, the shoe system worked extremely well on tablets as well as any PC with the ability to run a USB stick. You can also download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview right this second if you’d like to.

Of the oddities we’ve posted thus far, I recommend you check out the following: Skype for Windows Phone and MTV’s under the thumb Social TV for starters, then FXI Cotton Candy the world’s smallest PC to keep your sweet tooth hungry. You of course then must also view our look at the Neonode 3D touch for tablets and phones hands-on experience we’ve got along with the one vehicle we checked out: RIM’s own BlackBerry vehicle, the QNX Porsche 911 complete with BlackBerry phone and PlayBook tablet integration.

[Via]

ASUS Transformer Pad 300: Best Value for Money tablet [MWC2012]

Asus Transformer Pad 300 is the most affordable Asus gets with tablets without getting cheap: the TF Pad 300 drops the aluminum for plastic and the price dips a $100 below the Transformer Prime to $399.
The new Asus Tansformer Pad 300 is so far the most affordable tablet from Asus. Asus drops the aluminium enclosure with plastic and drastically reduces the price to around RM300 cheaper. The Pad 300 is still a serious computing machine powered by NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 chip, but it’s slightly bulkier. The Transformer Pad 300 is 0.39” (9.9mm) thick and tips the scales at 22.4 ounces (635 g).
The screen on the TF Pad 300 is almost the same great screen as on the Transformer Prime – it’s an IPS one with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. When it comes to connectivity, Asus is likely to offer 4G LTE as an option. There’s also 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory.
We think the Pad 300 has great value for money with such specs in such price. What do you think?
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Asus PadFone: Phone+Tablet+Netbook, All in one! [MWC2012]

There are so many questions about mobile device purchases these days: Do I need a tablet when my phone already does so much? Do I need a laptop if I can do so much on my tablet?

Today in Barcelona, at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, Asus debuted an all-in-one answer to those questions — its PadFone. The 4.3-inch Android 4.0 smartphone comes with a tablet dock accessory that can transform the phone into a full-on tablet.

Asus has been previewing the device since June of last year, but it says it will finally be ready to ship in April. There’s no word if it will be available in the United States; the phone would likely require a carrier and Asus doesn’t have any U.S. carrier partnerships right now.

Asus is well-known in the laptop market, and has only recently started to branch out into the tablet market.

The phone is packed to the brim with new technology, including a dual-core Qualcomm processor, 8-megapixel camera with a Fuji image processor, and it has a high resolution qHD AMOLED display.

The PadFone Station — the tablet part — has a 10.1-inch screen and an extra battery that can keep both the phone and the screen powered on for up to 16 hours, Asus claims. When the phone is docked into the back of the tablet, you can navigate the phone’s Android 4.0 operating system on the tablet.

But what about those who still want a keyboard? There’s an add-on for that; a keyboard dock will be available for the PadFone Station to dock into. It will work a lot like Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer or Transformer Prime, which are on shelves now.

Asus also announced a PadFone Stylus Headset — a digital pen for writing on the tablet that doubles as a Bluetooth headset for making and receiving calls when the phone is docked. Lots of double duty here.

It should be interesting to see how it works, and we look forward to a closer look in April, when we’ll also find out what the whole package will cost.

More pictures below:

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