Google Nexus 7 (2013) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8: Gaming Performance, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on April 11, 2016 | 0 comments
Google Nexus 7 (2013) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8: Gaming Performance, Benchmarks and Battery LifeAs 2 of the tablets that were released in 2013, both Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 used to be really popular in their own category.

Google’s tablet was selling like hot cakes in 7-inch mid-end tablet market, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 was also doing well in high-end territory.

They are also really impressive in terms of specs and performance. So you can totally count on any of these devices to do many heavy tasks and even the ones that require powerful graphical performance.

However, despite having great performances, especially for playing games, there’s something about Google Nexus 7 (2013) that makes it better than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 or the other way around.

Google Nexus 7 (2013) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 benchmarks and gaming performance

I mean, Google Nexus 7 has more powerful gaming performance, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 has microSD card slot, far better cameras and it’s also got the S-Pen, which is one of the best digital pens on the market today.

So this is the reason why I thought it would be interesting to pit these 2 tablets side-by-side and see how they go in my next comparison review.

I want to explore the entire thing about Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8, especially to see which one between 2 of them that deserves to be the best tablet in the whole aspect.

Well, if you’re on the same page with me and want to find out my comparison between these 2 tablets, as well as my take on their gaming performances, then here check this one out, my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

Introduction

When it made its first debut in 2013, the second-generation of Google Nexus 7 made many tech geeks, especially the ones who owned the first-gen Google Nexus 7, really happy because this sequel model brought some upgrades here and there on the hardware and software.

It’s got a much sharper 1080p screen, bigger 2GB of RAM, more powerful CPU and GPU, better longer battery life, similar but nicer looking design, newer build of Android OS and it comes with one thing that was missing on the predecessor, the rear-facing camera.

Yeah – the 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7 now has a 5MP rear-facing camera.

This tablet is also now more powerful when it comes to gaming performance, as it handles games much better and smoother than on the previous-gen model (the one with Tegra 3 in it).

So long story short, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is definitely the perfect or better version of its predecessor.

But if that Google Nexus 7 is the better version of its predecessor, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely the best version of its own.

I mean, this tablet is the only 8-inch model that Samsung releases in its popular Galaxy Note series, but it’s already a top-notch quality tablet, especially as a note-taking device.

The most amazing thing about Note 8 is, besides having a great digital pen (S-Pen), there are many other things that totally make it a worth buying tablet, even if you’re only looking for a media-consumption device in the first place.

But the questions remain. With all of the great hardware specs found on both tablets, as well as their amazing overall qualities, which one between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Which one is the best tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it right now to buy any of these devices, especially as gaming tablets?

Well, at the end of this review, you’re gonna find out my final conclusion of this review as well as the answers of those questions above.

So be sure to stick around!

Design

As far as the design goes, the second-generation of Google Nexus 7 is actually not such a huge departure from the predecessor.

As a matter of fact, they both still look pretty similar one to another - rounded rectangular corners with flat design all around the side.

Probably the only thing that sets them apart is their rear cover finishes, with the second-gen model using soft touch matte finish, giving it good grip and making it comfortable to hold even in one hand.

This is actually the opposite with the predecessor that uses rubberized finish all over its rear cover.

The only similarity found on both tablets is the “Nexus” logo engraved in the center on their rear covers.

Meanwhile, in terms of design, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is also on the same page with Google Nexus 7.

I mean, this Samsung note tablet still borrows some of the design elements found on the previous-gen Samsung tablets, especially the ones released in 2013.

So it has that chubby rectangular design all around the side, giving it a fun aspect.

And as Samsung’s Note series, of course, there’s a specific slot on the back which is provided for the S-Pen stylus.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a really huge fan of the rounded rectangular design of Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

I’m not saying this tablet looks ugly.

But compared to the 2014 editions of Samsung GALAXY Note tablets, that look really awesome with the faux leather, fake stitching and fake metallic trimming, in my opinion, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 doesn’t look stand out compared to other flagship devices out there in 2013 like LG G Pad 8.3 or iPad mini.

Between the 2, I’ve got to say that Google Nexus 7 totally steals the crown here as the one with a much better more appealing design than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

It may not have the digital pen, but overall, Google Nexus 7 definitely looks more elegant and much sleeker compared to the chubby looking design on Samsung’s note device.

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Google Nexus 7 (2013)Samsung GALAXY Note 8
4G LTE
Micro-SIM
Released 2013, July
Weight 290 g (Wi-Fi), 299 g (LTE) (10.55 oz)
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 v5.0 (Lollipop)
5 MP rear-facing camera, 2592 ? 1944 pixels, autofocus
1.2 MP front-facing camera
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
GPRS
EDGE
NFC
GPS
HSPA+, LTE
Wi-Fi 802.11
Bluetooth v4.0
microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort)
No Radio
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
No Java
Non-removable Li-Ion 3950 mAh battery
Up to 9 h (multimedia) Talk time
Released April 2013
8.0 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels (~189 ppi pixel density)
Exynos 4412Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
Mali-400MP GPU
2 GB RAM
Android OS 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
5 MP rear-facing camera, autofocus
1.3 MP front-facing camera
MicroSD card slot for up to 64 GB
16/32 GB Internal storage
SIM Micro-SIM
GPRS Class 12 32 - 48 kbps
EDGE Class 12
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band,
Bluetooth
Infrared port
USB
No Radio
GPS
Java
Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery

Compared to the predecessor, of course the second-generation of Google Nexus 7 brings some improvements here and there on the hardware as well as software.

It now has more powerful performance, bigger RAM, a much sharper display, smoother experience, newer features and more efficient battery life.

Not to mention, now this tablet comes with a 5MP rear-facing camera, which is nowhere to be found on the previous-gen model.

Unfortunately though, just like the predecessor, the second-gen Google Nexus 7 still keeps the tradition going by not providing expandable storage through microSD card slot.

And this contradicts with Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that of course has it for up to 64GB, which gives plenty of storage space for users to keep their favorite media contents or games on this device.

However, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still far behind Google Nexus 7 in other departments.

Its 8-inch display only sports 1280x800 pixels resolution, as opposed to Google Nexus 7 that comes with a smaller 7-inch screen but higher 1080p resolution.

Beside of that, this Google’s tablet is also more superior than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 in terms of performance as well as the support of LTE connectivity.

However, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 also has its own strengths compared to Google Nexus 7.

First of all, there’s the digital S-Pen stylus, much better quality cameras and it also has the support for Java, although this platform has been abandoned on today's touch screen devices.

Screen

The 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7 was released around July of 2013, which was 3 months away from the debut of Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

So as a newer-gen tablet, of course this Google’s tablet comes with some higher-grade specs on it.

Screen is one of them.

Google Nexus 7 comes with a 7-inch display, which is smaller than the 8-inch screen found on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

However, this Google’s tablet sports higher-resolution 1920x1200 pixels or 1080p, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still stuck in 720p territory.

So in terms of screen sharpness, it’s no-brainer that Google Nexus 7 has the edge here with its 1080p display compared to Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

And the fact that this tablet comes with a smaller screen size also makes Google Nexus 7’s display looks much even sharper because all the pixels in 1080p resolution is crammed on a smaller screen, resulting in higher pixel density.

However, having only 720p resolution on an 8-inch display is actually not too shabby at all for Samsung GALAXY Note 8, especially when we all know that Samsung’s flagship devices mostly have gorgeous looking screens.

And besides, by using this medium resolution screen, not only does this tablet perform fast and smooth, it’s also very efficient with battery life.

User Interface

Google has been consistently using the pure stock Android UI on all of its Nexus devices. And Google Nexus 7 is not going to stop that tradition.

So just like the other members in Nexus family, this Google’s 7-inch tablet comes with stock Android OS based on Android 4.2 Kit Kat when it first launched in 2013.

This is totally the opposite with what happens on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

So unlike Google Nexus 7 with its stock Android UI, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 looks more attractive with heavily-customized UI from Samsung called TouchWiz UX.

And given its note-taking ability, there are some features and pre-loaded apps on the UI that are tailored to work with the S-Pen, like the lasso feature, note app, drawing app, etc.

Impressively though, even with that fully-customized UI, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still capable to survive in long hours of battery life.

So I believe Samsung has made some great tweaks mostly on software and processor to make this tablet more efficient with the use of battery.

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The first-gen Google Nexus 7 used to be known as one great gaming device, mostly thanks to its 12-core GeForce ULP GPU that comes with its Tegra 3 processor, which is really powerful in graphical performance.

And now, we got the sequel model of its tablet – the 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7. So how great does its performance deliver especially for playing heavy games?

Well, the answer is, of course, this tablet is now way more powerful than the predecessor.

So some of the latest and most-graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA Vice City, Modern Combat 5, NOVA 3 or Dead Trigger will certainly run really fast and smooth without any lag whatsoever, even in full graphics.

Unfortunately, according to what I’ve seen on YouTube (Chris Nacca/oode), GTA San Andreas doesn’t run smoothly when played in full highest graphics: with maximum resolution, draw distance, visual effects and dynamic shadows.

So the game runs slow, buggy and its fps is really low when played in full highest graphics.

But the good thing is, this game provides the options to set its graphics to lower level. So you can still play this game on Google Nexus 7, but only in low setting of graphics.

Meanwhile, I think Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely on the lower level here in gaming performance compared to Google Nexus 7.

It’s powerful of course, but it’s not as powerful as the performance of Google Nexus 7.

And that’s pretty obvious because this note-taking tablet is only powered by a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor and Mali-400 GPU, as opposed to Google’s tablet that brings a newer and more powerful Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor as well as Adreno 320 GPU on the table.

Luckily, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with huge 2GB of RAM.

So this definitely helps a lot to keep its performance steady especially when used to play some heavy games.

And I know that Mali-400 GPU on Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually still a powerful GPU. So I’m not really surprised to see this device capable to handle some heavy games even in full graphics.

According to YouTube, there are some heavy games that run great on Samsung GALAXY Note 8, even in full graphics.

To name a few, there are: Modern Combat 3, GTA Vice City, Gangstar Vegas, Asphalt 7: Heat and Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Impressively, GTA San Andreas also runs smooth on this device, but of course only in medium to low graphics.

Between the 2, Google Nexus 7 is just more impressive and more powerful in gaming performance than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

It has more powerful graphical performance and it also handles almost all latest games perfectly even in full highest graphics.

However, Google’s tablet doesn’t support microSD card slot, unlike Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that has it for up to 64GB.

And I think the existence of expandable storage is really vital these days especially for gaming device, making sure that you have enough storage space to install many of your favorite games.

And if you decide to pick the basic 16GB model of Google Nexus 7, there’s not enough space for you here because the available free internal storage is only around 11GB (while the other 5GB is for the system).

So in order to install new games, you must be willing to delete some of your games or existing media contents on this device.

The only solution for you here is either buy the bigger 32GB model of Google Nexus 7 or otherwise, you switch to Samsung GALAXY Note 8 as any of these models provide bigger storage space.

But if you want to get a more powerful gaming tablet that also has microSD card slot support on it, you can also go with other tablets like Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9 (Tegra K1), HP Slate8 Pro or HP Slate7 Extreme.

Anyway guys, if you want to know more about their gaming performances, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Cameras

Unlike the previous-gen model, the 2013 edition of Google Nexus 7 now brings a rear facing camera to the table. So it is 5MP shooter but there's no LED flash on it.

Meanwhile, on the front side, there’s another 1.2MP camera that enables you to do selfies or video calls.

However, as I’ve seen on some video reviews on YouTube (MKBHD, theVerge and PhoneArena), the rear-facing camera of this tablet has nothing to write home about, especially in terms of quality and sharpness.

So if you love photography, you’re probably gonna be left disappointed by its rear camera.

Meanwhile, the 5MP rear camera on Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is probably more reliable to use for taking decent quality photos or videos than the rear shooter of Google Nexus 7.

That’s because we all know that Samsung’s flagship devices mostly have great cameras. And Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is of course no exception.

However, I haven’t seen any photo or video taken with the rear camera of this tablet. So I’ve got nothing to share here especially in this regard.

But then again, most of Samsung’s flagship devices usually have decent quality cameras. So you can probably expect the same on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

Battery Life

Besides getting some new upgrades on the hardware and software, Google Nexus 7 actually also gets major improvements on the sector of battery life.

And that’s shown perfectly by some battery benchmark tests held by some tech sites which showed an impressive battery life out of this tablet.

Google Nexus 7 impressively managed to survive in 8 hours and 30 minutes for moderate use, which is remarkable for a tablet that is only powered by a smaller battery capacity than the predecessor (3950mAh VS 4325mAh).

I believe the processor (Snapdragon S4 Pro) inside this device as well as pure stock Android UI really help a lot make this tablet more efficient with the use of battery.

So even with that higher 1080p resolution display, Google Nexus 7 still lasts relatively long even in heavy use.

The same story repeats itself also on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

So according to some battery benchmark tests, this Samsung note device is capable to last around 13 hours and 50 minutes when used to browse the web with WiFi.

And I think this is a great achievement by this tablet especially because Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with heavily customized UI which usually squeezes a lot of power from its battery.

But of course, if you used any of these tablets to do some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen at all, their battery lives would drop significantly, probably just around 5 to 6 hours, depending on some variables like screen brightness, amount of apps running in the background and other things.

My Personal Opinions

Okay, we’re finally getting to the final conclusion of this review. So which one between these 2 tablets is the winner in this review?

Well, let me start first with Google Nexus 7 (2013).

On paper, of course, Google Nexus 7 is definitely the one that is more powerful in hardware specs than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

And that’s clearly because this Google’s tablet comes with some of the best internals on the market in 2013.

It has a full HD 1080p resolution display, a newer-gen Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, a more powerful Adreno 320 GPU, newer build of Android OS, more appealing design and the most importantly, it’s really powerful for playing games.

Meanwhile, being a tablet released 3 months before Google Nexus 7 (2013) came out, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 still ‘inherits’ some hardware that are already considered as older-gen internals on tablet market in 2013.

Its display only sports 720p resolution, its Exynos 4412 quad-core processor is not up to par with the one found inside Google Nexus 7 and its Mali-400 GPU is an older-gen GPU, which is definitely less powerful than the Adreno 320 inside Google’s tablet.

And the worst part is, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 with its older-gen specs and less powerful gaming performance, still costs around $400 to $450, which is more expensive than Google Nexus 7 that now can be had for less than $200.

However, the higher price tag of Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually still acceptable because this tablet has a lot more things to offer than what you can get from Google Nexus 7.

First of all, it has an amazing digital S-Pen stylus, which matches the drawing experience just like drawing on a real paper (all thanks to N-Trig for its technology).

And then, second of all, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 also comes with expandable storage via microSD card slot for up to 64GB, which is nowhere to be found on Google Nexus 7.

And this feature has been really vital these days especially for many users out there that still prefer to buy tablets with the support of expandable storage.

Last but not least, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 also comes with fully-customized UI that offers more attractive visual interface as well as useful features that cannot be found on the standard stock Android UI of Google Nexus 7.

However, between the 2, I’ve got to say that both tablets are equally great, especially in their own category.

Google Nexus 7 is a great media-consumption device, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is an amazing note tablet for taking simple notes or even drawing some professional paintings.

So if you’re looking specifically for a note tablet with good performance and amazing digital pen experience, then look no further, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely the one you should consider to buy.

But if you’re only looking for a gaming device that is also great for enjoying media contents like movies, books, music or for browsing the web with fast 4G LTE connectivity, then Google Nexus 7 is also a good destination for you.

Anyway, to end this comparison review, let me try to answer some of the questions I've previously asked above:

With all of the great hardware specs found on both tablets, as well as their amazing overall qualities, which one between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Between these 2 tablets, I think Google Nexus 7 has the edge here in gaming performance because first of all, it’s got the new-gen hardware.

Besides, this Google’s tablet is sporting a much higher resolution display (1080p) than on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually pretty great for playing heavy games. But when compared to Google Nexus 7, of course, its old-gen hardware are no competition here with the internals found inside Google’s tablet.

However, both Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 are not the best gaming tablets on the market right now, especially in mid-end category.

And that’s because there are many other options out there with more powerful gaming performances.

To name a few, there are Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9 (Tegra K1), HP Slate8 Pro, HP Slate7 Extreme or Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7.

Which one is the best tablet in the whole aspect?

Okay, Google Nexus 7 may win in gaming performance and also, in hardware specs. But Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually the one that deserves to take the crown here as the best tablet in the whole aspect.

I mean, this Samsung’s device has a lot more things to offer to users, like its awesome S-Pen stylus, more decent quality cameras, more features on its UI, long lasting battery life and it’s also pretty great for playing games.

It may not have a sharp 1080p display or newer-gen CPU/GPU, but that doesn’t make Samsung GALAXY Note 8 a less appealing offering than Google Nexus 7.

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still a great and reliable tablet.

Is it worth it right now to buy any of these devices, especially as gaming tablets?

Well, Google Nexus 7 is of course more powerful than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 in gaming performance. And it's totally worth it to buy Google Nexus 7 for playing games.

However, either Google Nexus 7 or Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually not the best gaming tablets on the market right now.

There are many other better and more powerful options like Nvidia Shield Tablet, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9, HP Slate7 Extreme or HP Slate8 Pro.

Pros and Cons

Google Nexus 7 (2013)

Pros:
  • a sharp 1080p display
  • huge 2GB of RAM
  • powerful performance, especially for gaming
  • smooth experience, thanks to stock Android UI
  • the addition of a 5MP rear-facing camera
  • great battery life
  • quick software updates from Google
  • nicer looking design
Cons:
  • the rear-facing camera is not that great, according to many reviews
  • the gaming performance is not that powerful anymore for today’s standards
  • NO LED flash
  • NO microSD card slot

Samsung GALAXY Note 8

Pros:
  • It has microSD card slot for up to 32GB
  • The S-Pen stylus is a top notch digital pen
  • great for enjoying media contents
  • huge 2GB of RAM
  • decent quality cameras
  • pretty good for playing heavy games
  • cellular connectivity
  • its UI has tons of useful features
  • solid battery life
Cons:
  • 720p display is not on par with other current flagship tablets
  • software is heavy and filled with many features that people rarely use
  • design is not elegant and rather feels bulky in the hands


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

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