Google Nexus 7 2012 Edition Review (Gaming Performance and Benchmarks)

Posted by B. Johnson
Google Nexus 7 2012 Edition Review (Gaming Performance and Benchmarks)Hi guys, I’m glad you’re back to this awesome site!!

A couple of days ago, i’ve already talked about the latest gen Google Nexus 7 and a LOT.

I mentioned how this tablet was a really great and powerful tablet for gaming, despite having an affordable price point.

Not only for gaming, what makes me impressed a lot with this Google’s branded tablet is how it’s also able to deliver such an outstanding performance in full HD 1920x1200 pixels display, yet still lasts much longer in battery life, despite having the smaller battery capacity than the predecessor model.

That’s the reason why i always include this tablet in the list of top great gaming tablets that are well recommended for tablet shoppers out there.

Google Nexus 7 2012 Edition benchmarks and gaming performance

However, even though the 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7 is sooo amazing with all of the package it brings, we must never forget about the existence of its predecessor, last year’s Google Nexus 7.

This tablet was the pioneer that had opened up such a broad market not only for Google, but also for other 7-inch tablets to gain presence in tablet market globally.

Despite having some lower quality specs than the last gen model, last year’s Google Nexus 7 is still packing some awesome goodies though, like a quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 1280x800 pixel display and 12-core GeForce GPU, which were considered as industry standards when this tablet was announced last year.

As a matter of fact, even though the specs that Google Nexus 7 comes with are considered as last year’s industry standards, i personally think that this model is still a pretty great tablet at low price.

Right now, if you check this model around internet, i believe the price has been significantly reduced to almost around $130 to $150.

So this is why i’m so interested to bring this tablet in this review.

This model may not have the same quality of specs found on the last gen Google Nexus 7 (2013).

But damn, at just $130, having a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, with 1GB of RAM and 12-core GeForce GPU, plus 1280x800, is not something that you can always have everyday, right?

Anyway, in this review, bear in mind that i don’t actually own the device by myself. So this review is not gonna be an in-depth review of the tablet.

So in writing this “personal review”, it will be based on my knowledge about this tablet from many sources, like video reviews, articles and user reviews that i’ve gathered around the net.

Therefore, in this review, i’ll try to be honest in telling you the whole thing about this tablet, the strengths, the weakness, the issues, the problems and anything.

But before we go straight to the review, let me first give you the brief introduction of this tablet.

Introduction

The first-gen Google Nexus 7 was announced in June 2012.

I remembered exactly that this tablet was unveiled by Google at I/O conference, the same event where Google also announced Android Jelly Bean for the first time.

The first time i saw this tablet, i was like “wow, this tablet looks cool and powerful”.

The one thing that really made me impressed with this tablet was its price tag.

Can you imagine that, with just $199, you got a tablet with quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, 1GB of RAM, 12-core GeForce GPU, 1280x800 pixel display, a buttery smooth performance, a long lasting battery life and great solid design.

These specs may not be that impressive if compared with the latest tablets at that price point.

However, in 2012, having a tablet with those spec sheet was just amazing.

Even tech geeks would drool when this tablet was announced by Google. This of course was truly a remarkable achievement by Google.

Ever since this first-gen Google Nexus 7 was launched to the market, Asus saw a significant increase of the sales of this tablet every month.

If i’m not mistaken, i believe Asus managed to ship around 500.000 units of Google Nexus 7 every month.

This number may not be that impressive compared to the sales of Apple iPad. But that was acceptable given that Google Nexus 7 was still new on the tablet market.

In fact, the moment when Google Nexus 7 got launched, there were only Kindle Fire, Samsung GALAXY Tab 2 and some Asus Transformer tablets found on the market alongside iPad.

And they were not as popular than iPad for sure.

Now we go back to the present. Today, the first-gen Google Nexus 7 may not be the flagship model that Google wants to brag on its Play Store.

However, this model amazingly is still sold around the market to date.

And more impressively, this model now can be bought for as low as $130 for the basic 8GB model.

Well, that’s definitely a good deal, right?

So if you want to learn more about Google Nexus 7 based on my knowledge about this tablet from many sources, then you should definitely check out this review.

Without further ado, here you go.

Design

Google Nexus 7 2012 Review: Is it a Great Gaming Tablet?Design is one of many things that i really love from this Google Nexus 7. It may not have that premium feel and aluminum material found on iPad.

However, i really like how Google takes the control in designing this tablet, instead of Asus.

Okay, i know – Asus is also a great tablet manufacturer that is also able to make well-designed tablets.

But i think Google with its Nexus project wants this tablet to have the characteristic of Nexus device, not Asus tablet.

So as a result, Google Nexus 7 has this really Nexus-alike design all over the place, which really resembles with the design of Google Nexus 4, a smartphone that was launched several months after Google Nexus 7 made its debut.

Google Nexus 7 2012 Review: Is it a Great Gaming Tablet?I also like how the bezels and rounded corners of Google Nexus 7 are not really huge like the ones on Samsung GALAXY Tab 2, which look really awful and make that Samsung’s tablet look ugly and chubby.

But thank God it is Google that designs this Nexus 7.

For your information, besides Google Nexus 7 and Google Nexus 4, in 2012, Google also outed Google Nexus 10, a 10-inch tablet made by Samsung.

And as expected, the tablet looks really chubby with its Samsung GALAXY-alike design with huge bezels and fully rounded corners.

But we’ll talk more about this Samsung Nexus tablet later in my next review.

Anyway, the back side of Google Nexus 7 is also the thing that i really like from this tablet.

It has that soft touch finish and it fells really comfortable to hold in hands, it doesn’t feel slippery nor rugged in hand grasp.

So it makes holding this tablet such a pleasing experience to many users.

Even with one hand, this tablet still feels really good to hold and really light in weight, of course given that it is a 7-inch tablet and it’s not really thick compared to Samsung GALAXY Tab 2.

Google Nexus 7 may not have that solid aluminum finish all over its body, but the soft touch finish on the back already feels amazing for a cheap tablet like this.

So it doesn’t feel cheap or plastic, instead it still looks and feels elegant especially for tech geeks who use it.

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  • Released in July 2012
  • 7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
  • 1.2 MP front-facing camera
  • Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
  • ULP GeForce GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to 4.4.2 Android KitKat
  • 8/16GB/32GB Internal
  • No microSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • USB
  • Infrared
  • GPS
  • No GPRS
  • No EDGE
  • No Radio
  • No Java
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
The most amazing thing about Google Nexus 7 is definitely its specs.

If compared to the spec sheet of today’s tablets, the specs of Google Nexus 7 may not look that impressive.

However, given that this Google Nexus 7 is now sold for just around $130 to $150, then the specs that this tablet comes with are still considered as high-end in its class.

In the performance sector, Google Nexus 7 comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GeForce GPU on Tegra 3 SoC.

With these goodies, there is no doubt that Google Nexus 7 will scream in terms of performance.

And thanks to the Android Jelly Bean pre-installed on this tablet, the experience of this tablet is buttery smooth and super fast even when multitasking many apps at the same time.

The screen is also not disappointing for a tablet like this.

In fact, its 1280x800 pixel display is amazing for a $150 tablet.

The colors looking good, the sharpness looks really clear, overall, everything that you throw on the screen will look crisp and give eye-pleasing experience to the users.

Screen

As mentioned above, the screen of Google Nexus 7 is really great.

Amazingly, even when compared to other tablets in its class, like Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme (which are priced at $199), the 1280x800 pixel screen of Google Nexus 7 can still beat the 1280x700 pixel screen of these 2 tablets.

Whereas, Tegra Note and HP Slate 7 Extreme are packing some specs that are considered as higher than the ones found on last year’s Google Nexus 7, like 72-core GeForce GPU and Tegra 4, which both are just way more powerful than the Tegra 3 and 12-core GeForce GPU found on Google Nexus 7.

So it’s really great to see how last year’s tablet like Google Nexus 7 can still have the display that manages to top other competing tablets that are even priced higher than Google Nexus 7.

Unfortunately, this is the only thing that Google Nexus 7 can brag about against other tablets.

When it comes to hardware and performance, plus experience, then we all know that tablets like Tegra Note 7 or HP Slate 7 Extreme will no doubt blow Google Nexus 7 out of the water.

Anyway, talking about the screen of Google Nexus 7, it just looks amazing.

The fact that the price of Google Nexus 7 is now around $150 is also amazing because usually, at that price point, we won’t find any other tablets that have the same exact quality display like what Google Nexus 7 has.

Of course with the exception of Kindle Fire HD that has the same exact 1280x800 pixel display and it’s now priced at the same $150 with Google Nexus 7.

Overall, everything on the screen looks really sharp and crisp in naked eyes.

Colors are popping, objects look sharp and everything just looks clear on this tablet.

That’s not surprising given that this tablet comes with a display with 1280x800 pixel resolution, and this is still higher compared to other tablets in its class.

So if you’re expecting to get an eye pleasing experience on an affordable tablet, then Google Nexus 7 can certainly provide you that.

Features

The key features of Google Nexus 7 when this tablet made its first debut on the market were its Google Voice Search and Google Now, which can be found on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

As you may know, Google Voice Search is a feature that allows you to search anything on the web by using your voice.

So everytime you turn on the Google Voice Search on this tablet and search something, the voice dictation on this tablet will instantly recognize your words and then try to process the search by using Google search.

As the result, you’ll be presented with the pile of cards that consist the answers of what you’re looking for in a simple white and gray interface.

The other feature called Google Now is actually integrated with Google Voice Search.

With this feature, everytime user make a search by using Google search, this Google Now will remember all of the searches made by that user and then will automatically use those searches as the recommendations in order to personalize the tablet according to that user’s needs or what he/she likes.

For example, suppose you always try to check out the news about your favorite soccer club, say, Manchester United through Google News or search.

Thanks to Google Now, your tablet now recognizes that you love to hear the news about Manchester United.

So every time there is something interesting happening to that soccer club, your tablet will pop up the latest updates to you, like match scores, articles, etc through the Google Now feature, of course, in the form of cards in white gray interface.

Besides as the remainder of updates of something you really like, Google Now can also recognize everything about you, like your home location, the places you visit everyday, your daily schedule, even your favorite restaurant, and then will try to help you everytime you need it by giving you some recommendations in the form of Google Now cards.

Google Now and Google Voice Search were the only small parts of entire goodies on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean that you’re gonna get from this Google Nexus 7 back in the days where this tablet made its first debut.

Today, this first gen Google Nexus 7 already makes a jump to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (and i heard this tablet will also get Android 4.4 Kit Kat in the near future).

So there are so many other new great stuff on this update that will definitely make this tablet even more useful and versatile in the future, like “OK Google” voice command for updated Google Voice Search,

User Interface

2012 Google Nexus 7 comes with stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

So that means, the User Interface of this tablet is no different than any other devices especially tablets that are installed with that same stock Android build.

The homescreen is clean, the app drawer is clean as well, and there are no bloatwares nor heavy custom skins (like on Samsung or Sony Xperia devices) that weigh this tablet memory.

So as the result, the whole performance and experience of this tablet is guaranteed smooth and fluid.

And just like any other Android tablets out there, except Kindle Fire, on the homescreen, you’re given the power to control the look of your tablet’s homescreen by using wallpaper, live wallpaper, widgets, app shortcuts, live widgets and many other elements that make your tablet look awesome for you.

Performance

Performance is one of the main selling points of Google Nexus 7.

Having been armed with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.2GHz per core, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GeForce GPU, this tablet runs and works really fast and smooth for daily use.

Opening multiple apps at one session is not gonna affect to the whole performance of this tablet.

It’s still smooth and super fast, thanks to its 1GB of RAM that is already enough to empower this tablet.

Using live wallpaper is also not gonna create such a huge impact to the experience and performance of this tablet entirely. It still runs really smooth and fast.

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When this Google Nexus 7 was announced by Google at I/O conference, this search engine giant bragged about how this tablet was really a powerful gaming tablet given that it had some powerful hardware in it, like a quad-core Tegra 3, 1GB of RAM and the most importantly, 12-core GeForce GPU.

With this type of specs, then no doubt that Google Nexus 7 is capable to run any high performing graphics intensive games like Dead Trigger, Asphalt 7: Heat, Modern Combat 4 or Horn in buttery smooth performance and in full graphics.

However, when being faced with the latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne or Dead Trigger 2, then we will see how the internal hardware on this first gen Google Nexus 7 are not that powerful in handing these 2 latest games.

Compared to the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 (2013), Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2 look much better graphically than on the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

When these games being run on the latest-gen Google Nexus 7, they have more detailed graphics and more visual effects than on the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

And that’s not so surprising because the Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320 GPU on Google Nexus 7 (2013) are just way more powerful compared to the Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GeForce GPU on Google Nexus 7 (2012).

So to make this simple for you, if you’re getting the 1st gen Google Nexus 7, there is no doubt that you can play some older heavy games in buttery smooth performance and in full graphics, like Asphalt 7, Dead Trigger 1, Modern Combat 4 or ShadowGun.

Unfortunately, when this tablet is being faced with games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GT Racing 2, Dead Trigger 2 or the next GTA San Andreas (which is gonna launch this December by the way), then this tablet will suffer in graphics and whole performance.

So these latest games tend to have frame drops in the game and the graphics presented in the game are not in full graphics setting.

And if these games indeed can be run in full graphics, the whole performance will be pretty laggy and slower than in low graphics setting.

On the other hand, if you’re getting the second-gen Google Nexus 7 (2013), it’s no single doubt that you can play any graphically demanding games across the Google Play Store so perfectly smooth and in full graphics setting.

However, there is the reason why this tablet is more powerful for gaming than the first-gen Google Nexus 7, right? And that is its price point that is higher than the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

The 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7 now can be bought for $229 (but i believe Google will drop the price soon to $199, especially this holiday season).

Meanwhile, the 1st gen Google Nexus 7 can be had for less than $150 today. So with this different price points, you’ll know what that makes them different.



Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Google Nexus 7, including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Battery Life

Battery life is the one that i really like from the 1st gen Google Nexus 7. With the 4325mAh power battery, it’s believed that this tablet could last around 1 solid day in one single charge, of course in mixed usage.

However, if you intend to use this tablet for playing games or watching HD movies in marathon, then you can only expect this tablet to last around 7 to 9 hours in heavy usage.

Well, that’s pretty great for a cheap tablet like this. So if you’re looking for a tablet with long lasting battery life, then this Google Nexus 7 is the one you’re looking for.

User Opinions

Personally, i really like this tablet a lot.

I really love how Google designs this tablet beautifully and makes this tablet worth showing off to people.

I also really like the internal hardware inside this machine.

With Tegra 3 quad-core, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GeForce GPU, you can throw anything on this tablet and it still runs smoothly with no lag whatsoever.

However (okay, this is the bad part), according to the complaints from the users of this tablet, not just one or 2, but many of them, they experienced that after several months of using this tablet, somehow, this device started becoming laggy and the performance was not the same anymore like when they firstly got it.

I heard that this has something to do with the flash storage that Asus is using on this tablet, which is not really good quality flash storage.

So if you decide to get this tablet, then you must be ready to face this issue in the next few months.

The other thing that really makes this tablet less attractive to buy is its gaming performance.

I’m not saying that the gaming performance of this tablet is bad.

But it’s just that, if you are a hardcore tablet gamer and will always want to get the latest games on Google Play Store and be able to play them in full graphics setting, then you’re gonna be left disappointed with this tablet.

Older games like Asphalt 7, Dead Trigger 1, ShadowGun, Horn, Modern Combat 4, GTA Vice City will no doubt run perfectly fine on this tablet and in full graphics.

However, latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 5 or Dead Trigger 2 will definitely find it really hard to be played on this tablet, especially in full graphics setting.

So these games tend to run slow, laggy and not in full graphics.

So if you’re willing to get a pretty good tablet that is able to play OLDER graphically demanding games as mentioned above, then you’ll be okay with this first-gen Google Nexus 7.

However, if you want to get more powerful and more reliable tablet to handle any graphics intensive games in the next 2 years ahead, i recommend you to pick up either Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition), Tegra Note, HP Slate 7 Extreme or Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

These tablets are affordable to buy in around $199 -$229 price range, but they’re really powerful for gaming.

Conclusion

So to sum this up, with just less than $150 for this Google Nexus 7, you can absolutely have a really great tablet for playing games, reading books, watching HD movies, listening to music, browsing internet or just simply checking emails.

This tablet is really fast in terms of performance, beautiful in terms of display, comfortable in terms of design and powerful in terms of hardware.

However, as last year’s model, then Google Nexus 7 will have its cons that if compared to the latest tablets in that price range, will make this tablet less interesting to buy.

If you’re willing to add more cash to your budget, in around $199 - $229, you can pick up either one of these best alternatives, like the last-gen Google Nexus 7 (2013), Tegra Note 7, Kindle Fire 7 HDX or HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Tegra Note 7 and HP Slate 7 Extreme come with Tegra 4, 1GB of RAM and 72-core GPU, so games will look much even better on these 2 tablets than on the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

Meanwhile, Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition) and Kindle Fire 7 HDX come with Snapdragon quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320/330 GPU respectively, so games will also look great and have way more graphics plus visual effects than on the 1st gen Google Nexus 7.

So it’s up to you now, are you willing to hand over your $150 for an average powerful tablet that has issue with flash storage, or otherwise, are you willing to snatch other alternatives like Google Nexus 7 (2013), Kindle Fire 7 HDX, Tegra Note 7 or HP Slate 7 Extreme, which are just way better than the first-gen, in terms of performance, hardware, battery life, experience and gaming capability?

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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