Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs NVIDIA Shield Tablet Specs Comparison

Written by B Johnson January 26, 2016
Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs NVIDIA Shield Tablet Specs ComparisonThe market for gaming tablets actually have begun even when iPad made its first debut to the world few years ago.

(Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs NVIDIA Shield Tablet Specs Comparison)

Since this first iPad came out in 2010, it became a great gaming device and in fact, managed to steal huge profits in portable gaming market where Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS were usually competing head-to-head.

On the other hand, on Android camp, the existence of gaming tablets is actually not that prominent compared to iPad.

Even though flagship Android tablets are mostly good for gaming, I think it’s still rare to find the true Android tablets that are designed specifically for gaming.

However, that soon was answered by the arrival of a real gaming tablet from NVIDIA called NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs NVIDIA Shield Tablet benchmarks and gaming performance

Unlike other regular Android tablets, I think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is more serious as a gaming tablet than other counterparts out there because not only does this device have sufficient set of hardware for gaming, but NVIDIA also equips this tablet with its own Xbox-alike gaming controller (which can be bought separately).

Okay, there's Archos that is aggressive as well to deliver the true gaming tablets with its Gamepad series. However, compared to Nvidia Shield Tablet, of course even the second-gen Archos Gamepad 2 is just not on the same level of gaming performance with Nvidia's tablet.

This is actually the reason why today, I want to pit this “real” gaming device from Nvidia with another tablet which I thought would also be good for playing games – Google Nexus 7 (2012).

Okay, I know that there is a huge discrepancy regarding their gaming performances especially because NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a new-gen tablet, while Google Nexus 7 was released in 2012, which came with older gen hardware.

But I’m still interested to see which one of these tablets is a better gaming tablet in the whole aspect, not just performance.

Well, if you’re also interested as I am to see how they fare against each other in this review, as well as my take on their gaming performances, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 (2012) and NVIDIA Shield Tablet.


As far as the gaming performance goes, I think it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is just far more superior than Google Nexus 7 by miles (which we’ll get more on that later).

It’s actually not just in that area NVIDIA Shield Tablet is really good at compared to Nexus 7, but there are many other sectors that make this device a far better offering than Google’s tablet.

Okay, this may sound like I’m gonna fast-forward to the end of this review, but I think there are just too many benefits that you can grab on NVIDIA Shield Tablet over Google Nexus 7.

First of all, it’s equipped with the latest and greatest Tegra K1 processor.

And if you’re already familiar with this processor, then you’ll know how powerful it is for gaming.

And second of all, it has a lot to offer than Google Nexus 7: like microSD card slot, rear-facing camera, digital pen (stylus), much better sound quality and many other more.

But the questions remain. With all of the great things found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet, does this device have what it takes to be a better gaming tablet than Google Nexus 7?

Which one is a better tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet than Google Nexus 7?

Well, hopefully you’ll find out the answers of these questions at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around.


Besides hardware specs, I think design is also the one that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is really superior at compared to Google Nexus 7.

This tablet actually still inherits all the design elements found on its predecessor – NVIDIA Tegra Note.

So NVIDIA Shield Tablet still has the same dual-front-speaker grilles on the left and right sides (in landscape mode) and its front side also has that 2 layer colors for the speaker grill areas (gray) and for the screen bezels as well (dark black), which make this tablet look so modern and elegant.

What makes its design look so great is because thanks to the dual-front-speakers, the sound that comes out from the speaker grilles is really loud and clear, making the gaming experience more immersive than on any other tablets.

Impressively, the sound doesn’t get muffled easily even if your hands hold and cover some of the speaker grilles.

So this is the main reason why NVIDIA Shield Tablet has a much better design and sound quality than Google Nexus 7.

Meanwhile, as a member of Nexus family, of course Google Nexus 7 has some similarities of design with other Nexus devices.

The design of this tablet actually kind of reminds me with Samsung GALAXY Nexus S or LG Nexus 4, although these Nexus smartphones still look differently with the curved shape on top and bottom, while the left and right bezels are flat and sharp.

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Google Nexus 7 (2012) Asus MemoPad 7 HD
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
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
No Radio
No Java
Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
Released 2014, July
390 g (Weight)
DirectStylus 2
8.0 inchCapacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 16M colors (~283 ppi pixel density)
Dual bass reflex port audio enhancement
microSD Memory Card slot for up to 128GB
Internal 16 GB
5 MP rear-facing camera (2592 ? 1944 pixels) autofocus touch focus, HDR
5 MP front-facing camera with HDR
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
ULP GeForce Kepler 192-core GPU
HTML5 Browser
No Radio
Java MIDP emulator
HDMI port
19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery

As a tablet released 2 years before NVIDIA Shield Tablet came out, of course Google Nexus 7 is not on the same level with NVIDIA’s device in terms of hardware specs.

However, back in the days of 2012, the specs of this Nexus 7 actually are still considered as great and powerful.

It has a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 12-core GPU, 1GB of RAM, 720p display, 4325mAh battery, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and some other more.

On the other hand, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely in the different league here if compared with Google Nexus 7.

Its hardware specs are just so much more superior than Google’s tablet.

It comes with an 8-inch display sporting the 1080p resolution, a quad-core Tegra K1 processor, 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB of RAM, 5MP cameras back and front, 19.75Wh battery, Android 4.4.2 KitKat (upgradeable to Lollipop) and some other more.

Not to mention, there’s also an awesome DirectStylus 2 digital pen that comes with this tablet out of the box, which is a huge improvement over the DirectStylus 1 on Tegra Note.

And if you haven’t seen this digital pen in action, it is great and amazing, even as impressive as the S-Pen stylus on Samsung Note.

The writing experience is so real just like writing on a real paper and there's also palm rejection feature that prevents your palm from being registered when writing with the stylus on the screen.

And this is really vital for its writing experience.

So not only are you able to take some simple notes, but you can also create some beautiful digital paintings with this stylus.

It’s just amazing.


There are many things that put NVIDIA Shield Tablet on a much higher level than Google Nexus 7. And one of them is definitely its display.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with an 8-inch display sporting the 1080p resolution (1920x1200 pixels), as opposed to the 720p display (1280x800 pixels) found on Google Nexus 7.

So when it comes to sharpness, it’s just no-brainer that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is far more superior than Google Nexus 7.

Text looks readable even from far distance (or overview), images look more crisp and everything is just extremely sharp on this tablet.

And this makes NVIDIA Shield Tablet a great device for many things: like reading books, browsing the web, watching movies or even playing games.

The experience of enjoying contents on this tablet is probably unmatched by Google Nexus 7.

But even so, having only 720p resolution on a smaller 7-inch screen of Google Nexus 7 is actually still considered as pretty good for most of users.

Besides, this tablet is only powered by an old-gen Tegra 3 processor, which is only optimized to handle 720p display.

So I think it’s a great decision by Asus and Google to go with this medium-resolution display, making it perform faster and smoother, plus more efficient with battery life.

User Interface

Despite being a more powerful tablet in this review, there’s actually one in common of NVIDIA Shield Tablet that is also found on Google Nexus 7. And that is the use of pure stock Android UI.

So both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 7 come with pure vanilla Android UI out of the box, with NVIDIA Shield Tablet getting the newer Android 4.2.2 KitKat, while Google Nexus 7 receiving the old version Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

This is actually the reason why I’m always a big fan of these tablets.

As i’ve already mentioned a lot in my previous reviews, having the stock Android UI without any customizations from 3rd party manufacturers is actually great for the tablet itself.

And it’s because by using this simple UI, the performance of both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 7 will be a lot faster and smoother, and they’re also able to last much longer in battery life.

Not to mention, this software will not eat a lot of space in the memory (RAM) of these 2 devices, providing a huge free available RAM for users to multitask many apps at the same time.

However, it’s worth noting that NVIDIA Shield Tablet apparently is not so great in battery life, despite using stock Android UI.

But the good news is, this tablet can be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop straight from NVIDIA.

And I know that this latest Android software brings a lot of improvements especially in battery life.

So hopefully, by updating to Lollipop, this tablet could last much longer than before, especially for gaming.

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As far as the gaming performance goes, I think both tablets are great in that area.

I mean, back in the days of 2012, Google Nexus 7 used to be one of the best gaming tablets out there on the market.

It’s even capable to handle some of the latest graphically demanding games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, Dead Trigger, GTA Vice City, NFS: Most Wanted or one awesome medieval RPG called “Horn” – all run smoothly in full highest graphics.

As a matter of fact, this tablet also has the power to play Asphalt 8: Airborne even in full highest graphics, even though this game doesn’t run so smoothly.

However, when pitted with NVIDIA Shield Tablet side-by-side, of course, this Google’s tablet doesn’t stand a chance to compete in gaming performance because NVIDIA Shield Tablet is just way out of its league.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet is equipped with a quad-core Tegra K1 processor clocked at 2.2GHz, accompanied by 2GB of RAM and a staggering 192-core GeForce Kepler GPU – as opposed to the 1.2GHz Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GPU found inside Google Nexus 7.

So right on paper, we can clearly see how extremely powerful NVIDIA Shield Tablet really is. It’s just a beast for gaming.

nd it’s not just on paper actually, but also in real-world performance.

So all the games like Modern Combat 5, Asphalt 8: Airborne, NOVA 3 or even GTA San Andreas will all run perfectly on this device even in highest graphics setting.

This really contradicts with Google Nexus 7 that is really laggy when playing GTA San Andreas in highest graphics.

Not only that, besides playing all heavy Android games, NVIDIA Shield Tablet also has some other strengths that Google Nexus 7 just can never have.

And those are the ability to stream games from PC and also the power to play console quality games right away on this tablet.

So with NVIDIA Shield Tablet, you can basically stream games from your GeForce GTX-powered PC and play the games smoothly on this device.

You can also play some Tegra K1 games that are actually ported from the PC/console versions of the games, like Trine 2 (PS3), Half Life 2 (PC), OddWorld: Stranger's Wrath (Xbox classic) and many other console-quality games that are designed for Tegra K1 hardware.

There’s also one other great thing that makes NVIDIA Shield Tablet a so much even better offering than Google Nexus 7. And that is its great sound quality, thanks to the dual-front-speaker grilles.

And with the release of Xbox-alike gaming controller from NVIDIA specifically for this tablet, playing games on NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely a far better experience than on any other tablets out there.

So if you’re looking for the better gaming tablet between Google Nexus 7 and NVIDIA Shield Tablet, I think it’s not that hard to recommend you NVIDIA Shield Tablet because it’s just a far more powerful than Google’s tablet.

The good news is, you can now get this awesome Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1 for only $199 with 16GB of internal storage (and microSD card slot as well). And this is probably THE BEST DEAL right now.


Besides gaming performance and hardware specs, there’s also one more thing that makes NVIDIA Shield Tablet a much better device than Google Nexus 7.

Actually 2, and they are the existence of 5MP rear-facing camera as well as the microSD card slot support for up to 128GB.

On the other hand, Google Nexus 7 has no microSD card slot nor a rear-facing camera. So if you’re really into photography, then your hobby will be accommodated very well on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

Impressively, the quality of cameras on NVIDIA Shield Tablet is actually great even on par alongside other flagship tablets out there on the market like iPad mini or Samsung GALAXY devices.

So I believe you won’t be disappointed by the cameras of this tablet, even if you're an expert in photography.

Battery Life

Sadly, despite being all powerful tablet than Google Nexus in this comparison review, too bad that NVIDIA Shield Tablet doesn’t have such a great battery life.

So according to some reviews, this tablet has poor battery life, especially when used for playing heavy 3D games intensively.

I believe its Tegra K1 – which is really power-hungry – is the one to blame over this issue (or probably its 1080p display).

This actually really contradicts with Google Nexus 7 that has a decent battery life, probably thanks to its less-power-hungry Tegra 3 processor and 720p display.

But the good news is, the Android 4.4.2 KitKat on NVIDIA Shield Tablet can actually be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop straightly from NVIDIA.

And I’ve heard a lot that this new software brings huge improvements mostly to the battery life, despite having heavier visualizations than previous firmware.

So hopefully, by updating to the new Android firmware, this could really help a lot to solve the average battery life issue on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

My Personal Opinions

So in conclusion, after checking out and reviewing some of the important aspects on both Google Nexus 7 (2012) and NVIDIA Shield Tablet, I think it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely the one that comes out as the winner here in this comparison review.

And there are many reasons to back up that conclusion.

First of all, NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with much higher more powerful hardware specs than Google Nexus 7.

And then, it’s extremely more powerful for playing games than Nexus 7.

There’s also an amazing digital pen (DirectStylus 2) that is on the same level with the S-Pen of Samsung Note.

Not to mention, this tablet is also equipped with 2 elements that Google Nexus 7 is really lacking. And they are microSD card slot and a 5MP rear-facing camera.

So by looking at these strengths found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet, I think it’s not that hard to make the final decision to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet instead of Google Nexus 7.

Okay, Nexus 7 may be really cheaper and it’s still pretty good for gaming, not to mention, it also has longer battery life.

But I think, if you can add an extra cash to your budget, you can get a so much even better all-around tablet than Google Nexus 7.

In fact, for only $199, you can actually grab Nvidia Shield Tablet with 16GB storage at Amazon.

So to sum this up, I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve previously asked above:

Does NVIDIA Shield Tablet have what it takes to be a better gaming tablet than Google Nexus 7?

Yes, definitely. Thanks to its more powerful Tegra K1 processor and 192-core GPU, this tablet is more than capable to “eat” all Android games on the store right now, even the heaviest most graphics intense ones.

Not to mention, this tablet also has the power to handle some console-quality games that are designed for Tegra K1 hardware.

Which one is a better tablet in the whole aspect?

Of course, it’s definitely NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

It has more powerful hardware specs, it has an amazing stylus, it has microSD card slot for up to 128GB, it has a rear-facing camera (which takes great pictures), it’s far more powerful in gaming, it has more elegant design, it has better sound speaker quality and pretty much everything about this tablet is just amazing.

Is it worth it to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet than Google Nexus 7?

Yes, totally. What this tablet has to offer to you is just UNMATCHED by Google Nexus 7, even by the second-gen Google Nexus 7.

So you'll make no mistake if you decide to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet, especially if you love playing games.

It's really cheap right now (only $199), but what this tablet has to offer to you is probably unmatched by any other tablets out there.

Pros and Cons

Google Nexus 7 (2012)

  • Regular software updates from Google
  • Powerful gaming performance
  • Super smooth experience with stock Android UI
  • Great battery life
  • Good build quality
  • NO microSD card slot
  • NO rear-facing camera
  • Some users experienced that this Nexus 7 tablet became laggy over the time especially when the internal storage is loaded with many files
  • For today’s standards, it’s not so powerful anymore for playing heavy games

Nvidia Shield Tablet

  • Has microSD card slot for up to 128GB and a rear-facing 5MP camera
  • Extremely powerful for playing games
  • Powerful for playing console-quality games
  • It has a great quality digital pen/stylus (DirectStylus2) that matches the quality of S-Pen on Samsung Galaxy Note
  • A decent quality cameras
  • Great sound quality thanks to dual-front-firing speaker grilles
  • Pure stock Android OS
  • Exclusive access to Nvidia Hub (where you can find many console-ported games here)
  • Modern-looking design and amazing build quality
  • Smooth experience
  • Fast software updates from Nvidia
  • It's now cheap to buy ($199 for the basic 16GB model)
  • Average battery life, especially for playing heavy games
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