Google Nexus 7 (2013) Android tablet (preview)

The new Nexus 7 features a slightly different design but has a host of upgraded specifications

After a myriad of leaks over the past few weeks, Google's new Nexus 7 was officially unveiled overnight. Retaining the same name as its predecessor, the new 7in tablet features a slightly different design but has a host of upgraded specifications, headed by a full HD display.

The new Google Nexus 7 — officially titled the Google Nexus 7 (2013) — might look pretty similar to the original model but there are plenty of improvements. The most noteworthy new addition is the 7in screen, which now has a full HD resolution of 1920x1200.

The display is a significant upgrade over its predecessors 1280x800 screen, and the Apple iPad mini's 1024x768 resolution. It offers a very high pixel density of 323ppi, so it's even higher than Google's larger screened Nexus 10 (299ppi) and therefore should display very crisp text.

The new Nexus 7 is 2mm thinner than its predecessor (8.65mm), while it also weighs 50g lighter (290g). The biggest design change is the back of the tablet, which doesn't retain the faux-leather material of the original model. Instead, Google has opted for a soft-touch but smooth finish.

The new Nexus 7's screen now has a full HD resolution of 1920x1200.
The new Nexus 7's screen now has a full HD resolution of 1920x1200.

Interestingly, the Nexus branding on the back reads the right way in landscape mode, which suggests the new device is meant to be used in that orientation. The previous Nexus 7 was clearly designed to be used in portrait orientation.

The new Nexus 7 has significantly upgraded internals. It is now powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with Adreno 320 graphics, and has 2GB of RAM instead of the 1GB of last year's model. It comes in 16GB and 32GB models but there is once again no microSD card slot to expand the on-board memory.

Google has also added a rear-camera on the new Nexus 7, a feature that wasn't present on the original device. The 5-megapixel snapper doubles as a full HD, 1080p video recorder, while the front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera remains the same as last year's model.

The Nexus branding on the back of the tablet reads the right way in landscape mode.
The Nexus branding on the back of the tablet reads the right way in landscape mode.

Other new features include dual stereo speakers compared to a single speaker in the previous model, NFC connectivity, and built-in wireless charging based on the Qi standard. However, there's been no word on any wireless charging accessories. The Nexus 7's micro-USB port is also SlimPort enabled, which means it can be used to output HDMI video and audio using an optional microUSB-to-HDMI adapter.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to run the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean. Most of the new features are minor ones, including restricted users profiles for children, Bluetooth Low Energy support, and OpenGL ES 3.0. The latter is targeted at Android games and will allow for lens flares, reflections and more sophisticated shadows in graphics, according to Google.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to run the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean.
The new Nexus 7 is the first device to run the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean.

The new Nexus 7 has the same 3950mAh battery as its predecessor. It promises up to nine hours of active use and HD video playback, up to 10 hours of Web browsing or reading and up to 300 hours of standby time. The 32GB 4G model will support the 1800MHz LTE network band used in Australia by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

The new Nexus 7 is available in three models: a 16GB Wi-Fi version for $299, a 32GB Wi-Fi model for $339, and a 32GB 4G version for $439.

The Wi-Fi only models are on sale now through a number of Australian retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith.

A promotional video of the new Google Nexus 7 can be viewed below.

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Ross Catanzariti

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