Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Google Nexus 7 (2013): Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
January 20, 2015 | 0 comments
Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Google Nexus 7 (2013): Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back!

Just a while ago, i showed you one tablet comparison review of 2 Nexus tablets - Google Nexus 9 vs Google Nexus 10. This is actually my first comparison review on this website.

So in the next few days, i will keep cranking out more of comparison reviews of other tablets that i consider as worth sharing to you guys here.

Anyway, today, i want to keep the momentum going by giving you more of that same comparison review.

This time, there are 2 other Google Nexus tablets – the smaller ones – that i would like to pit side-by-side in my next comparison review.

Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Google Nexus 7 (2013) benchmarks and gaming performance

They are the first-gen Google Nexus 7 (2012) and the second-gen Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition).

Comparing these 2 tablets is probably a great thing to do given that these 2 tablets can be considered as 2 different tablets with different class of specs, despite being made by the same manufacturer, Asus.

So there's still a lot of great things to explore from both devices, especially in terms of performance.

Okay then, if you’re interested to learn more about these 2 tablets, especially my take on their gaming performance, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 (2012) and Google Nexus 7 (2013).

Introduction

As a second-gen model, it’s not that hard to guess that Google Nexus 7 (2013) is a much better tablet than the old-gen Nexus 7 released around 3 years ago in 2012.

And that’s true because the second-gen Google Nexus 7 brings many upgrades and improvements here and there on the hardware and software, compared to the first-gen model.

It has a much even faster processor, a much sharper display, better GPU performance, smoother experience, newer software build, more powerful gaming performance, longer battery life, a much cooler design and pretty much everything about this tablet is just better than the predecessor.

Not to mention, Google Nexus 7 (2013) now has a rear-facing camera, which is lacking on the first-gen model.

However, despite being inferior compared to the sequel model, i think there are still some good things to be loved from the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

Google Nexus 7 (2013)
Google Nexus 7 (2013)

First of all, on its hardware side, there is a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, coupled with 12-core GPU and 1GB of RAM.

And with this type of hardware specs, Google Nexus 7 is still undoubtedly fast in performance and really powerful in handling games.

And thanks to Project Butter that comes pre-loaded on this device, this tablet is able to deliver a smooth experience to the users.

When it comes to performance of these 2 Nexus tablets, no one can deny that the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is just a much better performer than the old-gen Google Nexus.

And that’s not so shocking given that Google Nexus 7 (2013) is armed with a much snappier Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and more powerful Adreno 320 GPU – which is slightly on par with flagship mobile GPUs on the market right now.

Tegra 3 processor is also powerful, but i think it’s already considered as outdated for today’s standards.

But the questions remain, with all of the improvements and upgrades found on the second-gen Google Nexus 7, is this tablet a much better gaming tablet than the first-gen Google Nexus 7?

Does this sequel model deserve to be positioned alongside other 7-inch rivals on today’s tablet market?

Is it worth it to upgrade your old-gen Google Nexus 7 with the next-gen model?

Well, hopefully we’re about to find out more about the answers of those questions at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around guys.

Design

As far as the design goes, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is actually not a huge departure from the predecessor. And that’s not shocking given that this latest-gen tablet is still made by no other than Asus.

Google Nexus 7 (2012)
Google Nexus 7 (2012)
Google Nexus 7 (2012)
Google Nexus 7 (2012)
Google Nexus 7 (2013)
Google Nexus 7 (2013)
This is probably why Google Nexus 7 looks really different than Google Nexus 10 since both devices are manufactured by 2 different companies, Asus and Samsung.

So no wonder if Asus doesn’t do a massive overhaul to the entire design of this tablet.

It still looks compact with its 16:9 aspect ratio but i think it now has more mature rear-cover than the first-gen model.

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Google Nexus 7 (2012) Google Nexus 7 (2013)
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
NFC
Infrared
No Java
No GPRS
No EDGE
No Radio
Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
4G LTE, Micro-SIM
Released July 2013
7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1200 x 1920 pixels, (~323 ppi pixel density), 16M colors
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait Qualcomm Snapdragon S4Pro Chipset
Adreno 320 GPU
2 GB RAM
Android OS v4.3 Jelly Bean, upgradable to 5.0 Lollipop
5 MP rear-facing camera
1.2 MP front-facing camera
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
NFC
No Radio, No Java
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
Non-removable Li-Ion 3950 mAh battery
Up to 9 hours for Talk time (multimedia)

If there is anything that sets these 2 tablets apart, then their specs is definitely the one.

Google Nexus 7 (2013) brings a lot of improvements and upgrade here and there on the hardware. Not to mention, there are also some new goodies found on the latest-gen model.

First of all, the screen now has been bumped up to 1080p resolution on the second-gen Google Nexus 7, as opposed to the only 720p resolution the predecessor.

So obviously, in terms of sharpness, the sequel model definitely is far more superior than the previous-gen Google Nexus 7, especially since it still inherits the same 7-inch screen size just like the predecessor.

It goes the same with the performance sector of this tablet.

If the first-gen Google Nexus 7 is already blazing fast with its Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 12-core GeForce ULP GPU, then the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is now much even faster with the ‘snappy’ Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and more powerful Adreno 320 GPU handling all the graphical performance.

And you can certainly notice it when you deploy some of the latest graphically demanding games on both of these tablets. But we’ll get more on that later.

The great thing about the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 is, it now has the rear-facing 5MP camera on it, which is lacking on the predecessor.

It may not deliver decent quality photos just like iPad mini or Samsung flagship tablets, but i think, this should still be appreciated from this tablet.

Too bad, this Google Nexus 7 (2013) is still not equipped with microSD card though.

But that’s not surprising given that Google wants the users of this tablet to use its Google Drive service when they’re running out of space in the internal storage.

Overall, i think Google Nexus 7 (2013) is just far better than the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

It has much faster processor, more powerful GPU, smoother experience, newer Android build, much sharper display and of course, the rear-facing camera.

Not to mention, this second-gen Google Nexus 7 is no longer plagued with the problem that has been experienced by many users of the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

So according to them, this tablet became laggy especially after several months of use.

And the culprit for this issue was said to be on the quality of internal NAND flash storage that Asus uses on this device, which is not a good quality one.

Screen

When it comes to sharpness, it’s really obvious that the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 is far more superior than the predecessor.

It’s now sporting the 1080p (1920x1200 pixels) resolution on its 7-inch display, as opposed to the 720p (1280x800 pixels) on the previous-gen model.

So every thing that you throw on this tablet now looks much even sharper, more crisp and readable in far distance (or when the screen is not zoomed in).

So doing things like reading books/magazines and browsing the web are definitely a lot more fun and enjoying to do on this second-gen tablet.

User Interface

Similar just like the predecessor – in fact, similar just like the rest of other Nexus devices - Google Nexus 7 (2013) still comes with the stock UI of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, as opposed to the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the predecessor.

So basically, there is no significant difference in terms of design layout, features and visual presentations of both devices.

They still look and work pretty similar one to another.

But of course, as the new build of Android OS, there are some new goodies found on the second-gen Google Nexus 7, like PhotoSphere Camera app, new OPEN GL ES software (which is really important for the graphical performance of this tablet) and many more.

On the other hand, the first-gen Google Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

This software build actually had a lot of goodies when it first came out, like Project Butter, Tegra Zone (thanks to its Tegra processor), offline mode on Google Maps, Google Now, Google Voice Search and many more.

But all of these can also be found and they are even more improved on the second-gen model.

Having this stock Android UI is actually great for the tablet.

And that’s because now Google Nexus 7 (2013) has bigger 2GB of RAM, which provides users a much even bigger space in the memory.

Not to mention, thanks to this stock Android UI, not only is this tablet really fast and smooth in performance, but it’s also more efficient with the use of RAM and battery.

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On the performance standpoint, the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 is no doubt much faster and more powerful than the first-gen model. The 2012 edition of Google Nexus 7 may have its beast Tegra 3 quad-core processor.

However, if compared with the Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor found inside the second-gen Google Nexus 7, it’s really obvious that this tablet will not be as great and powerful as the second-gen model.

But basically, both of these devices are equally fast and smooth in terms of experience of their software.

So both tablets are more than capable to execute some basic daily tasks - like reading books/magazines, browsing the web, checking out photos, watching videos, editing documents or even using live wallpaper -, all in buttery smooth performance without any lag whatsoever.

However, the difference of performance on both tablets will be noticeable when they are used for playing games.

Google Nexus 7 (2012) with its Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, coupled with 12-core GeForce ULP GPU and 1GB of RAM.

Meanwhile, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is equipped with Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320 GPU.

The hardware specs of both tablets are great and powerful. But in the real time performance, the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 is definitely far more superior than the predecessor when handling games.

I’ve already seen a lot of video reviews on YouTube about how both of these Nexus tablets perform when playing graphics intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Both tablets are able to run this game in the full highest graphics setting. However, this game runs much smoother on the second-gen Google Nexus 7, while on the first-gen Google Nexus 7, this game runs a bit laggy in full highest graphics (although still playable).

On other game – GTA San Andreas – however, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is not really strong when handling this game.

This GTA game runs really really laggy if it’s set in full highest graphics and resolution.

This is probably due to the high-resolution 1080p display on this tablet. Or probably its Adreno 320 GPU or Snapdragon S4 Pro processor are not adequate to handle this game in full graphics.

Meanwhile, the same happens on the first-gen Google Nexus 7 with Tegra 3.

In fact, I don’t think this game will run smoothly even in medium graphics setting, with all of the visual effects, shadows, objects, resolution running together in the game.

But overall, it’s really obvious that the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is far more superior for playing the latest graphics intense games than the first Nexus 7 with Tegra 3.

But even so, the first-gen Google Nexus 7 is actually not too shabby at all, as it’s capable to run games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, Horn, Dead Trigger, GTA Vice City or Need for Speed – all in buttery smooth performance and in full highest graphics - as seen in many video reviews on one YouTuber named Chris from oode.

Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Google Nexus 7 (2012) and (2013), including what games that will run on these 2 tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Battery Life

Something weird happens on the battery department of these 2 Nexus tablets. The first-gen Google Nexus 7 is powered by 4325mah battery inside.

On the other hand, the second-gen model is equipped with a much smaller 3950mAh battery.

So supposedly, the first-gen model is going to win in battery life than the second-gen Google Nexus 7, right?

Well, that’s wrong. Despite using a smaller battery capacity, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 also comes with new battery saving mode on its software and there are also some tweaks and improvements made by Google on its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, making this tablet more efficient with the use of battery life than the first-gen model.

So basically, if you’re moderate user, you’ll be able to enjoy this tablet all day long without even charging in one day.

So you can do things like watching movies, reading books, browsing the web, playing games, listening to music, editing documents, checking emails, checking out photos, etc – and this tablet is still capable to provide you an all-day-long battery life.

However, if you’re a power user and you use this tablet to do some heavy tasks intensively without resting the screen at all, then of course, its battery life would drop drastically to just probably around 4 to 6 hours in one day, forcing you to recharge it twice in a single day.

But i think, the battery life of this tablet is still relatively good, especially as a media-consumption device and even a gaming tablet.

My Personal Opinions

So in conclusion, i think it’s not that hard to guess that the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 is just a much better tablet than the predecessor.

I’m not saying that the first-gen Google Nexus 7 sucks because that’s not true.

This first Google Nexus 7 is still a decent quality tablet for enjoying media contents or even playing games, mostly thanks to Tegra 3 processor, 12-core GPU, 1GB of RAM and ‘okay’ 720p display.

However, when it’s pitted side-by-side with its newborn sibling, there’s no doubt that the next-gen Google Nexus 7 is just a perfect version of the predecessor.
  • It has a much sharper 1080p display,
  • faster processor,
  • more powerful GPU,
  • smoother experience,
  • newer features and pre-loaded apps,
  • OPEN GL ES software,
  • better gaming performance,
  • longer battery life (despite using a smaller battery),
  • the rear-facing camera (as opposed to the NO rear-facing camera on the predecessor)
  • and pretty much every thing about this tablet is just great, even better than the first-gen Google Nexus 7.
To sum this up, i’ll try to answer some of the questions i’ve asked previously above:

Is this tablet a much better gaming tablet than the first-gen Google Nexus 7?

Of course, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is just a far better gaming tablet than the predecessor. No doubt about that. The difference of their gaming performance is so noticeable when playing heavy graphics intense games.

Does this sequel model deserve to be positioned alongside other 7-inch rivals on today’s tablet market?

Yes, definitely – despite being priced at just $229 for the basic 16GB model, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 still stacks up against other 7-inch rivals on today’s tablet market, alongside Kindle Fire HDX 7, LG G Pad 8.3, Sony Xperia Z or even iPad mini 2.

Is it worth it to upgrade your old-gen Google Nexus 7 with the next-gen model?

Yes, no doubt about that – the second-gen Google Nexus 7 now has much sharper display, faster processor, more powerful GPU, the rear-facing camera (finally), newer Android build, newer features, OPEN GL ES software (for its graphical performance), longer battery life, better gaming performance and many other great things that make it better than the previous-gen Google Nexus 7.

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

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