What if all those aspects were available, and in one tablet? Enter; the Google Nexus 7 (2013).
The first generation Nexus 7 really blazed a trail for other manufacturers to follow. Amazon got in on the act, and Apple eventually released an iPad Mini to the market.
With the first-gen Nexus 7, Google did really well, but sadly the specifications started to pale in comparison to other devices hitting the market, it began to slow down and it was time for a refresh.
|New and old; on the left, the new Nexus 7, on the right|
We're going to take a look at the affordable tablet from Google again, in this order:
3. Operating System
Unlike the original Nexus 7, this tablet is matte-plastic centric. It doesn't feel cheap though, it feels pretty premium, and that was something missing in the 2012 version.
There's two cameras, one on the front (1.2MP) and another on the back (5MP). Both are pretty decent shooters, but they're nothing compared to a good smartphone camera or a DSLR or bridge camera, as you would expect.
On the bottom and top we find some stereo speakers, which produce some quality audio if you're listening to your music or watching a movie. Up on top there's the headphone jack too.
On the bottom there's also a micro-USB slot, which has the ability to power USB OTG, allowing you to plug in keyboards, mice and gamepads (provided you have a USB OTG cable).
Around the front, it's not much more than just a black shiny surface, only spoiled by the off-center camera.
It's slightly longer than the original Nexus 7, and it's also considerably slimmer, which makes it look rather lanky when held next to the 2012 version. However, it's much more comfortable to hold with one hand this way.
|Just a touch slimmer than the previous model|
Arguably, the battle of the latest piece of tech is won and lost on the specification of it. Luckily, the Nexus 7 is still on good standing as far as they are concerned.
There's 2GB of RAM, a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor from Qualcomm, as mentioned a 5MP camera (back), a 1.2MP camera (front), a 1080p full-HD screen at the resolution of 1200x1920, which translates to 323 pixels per inch.
|Translucency is there, you just have to find it|
Also inside are some of the emerging wireless technologies that are going to be made more of this year. This is of course wireless charging and NFC, plus Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy).
3. Operating System
As this is made by Google, you'll be getting stock Android straight out the box. When you turn it on you'll be prompted to update to Android 4.4.x, and so you get all the features and under-the-hood improvements that have been made since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean straight away.
Again, being as Google control this tablet, you'll also get updated to the latest version of Android around a week after it's announced.
|Ideal for multitasking|
In Android KitKat you'll be greeted with the new treats of translucent notification and navigation bars, as well as Immersive mode for when you're reading a book or watching a movie. In addition, you'll also get album artwork as the wallpaper of the lockscreen as well as advanced music controls.
Talking of translucency, it actually isn't automatically enabled in the stock launcher, so if you want to enable it you'll have to install a third party launcher that allows it, like Apex or Nova.
Some Android tablets are often slated for being laggy, or stuttering in performance when there's a graphically challenging task at hand. However, with the 2013 Nexus 7, this isn't the case. We haven't experienced a moment of lag yet when browsing the internet on Chrome, playing Real Racing 3 or browsing the social networks.
Battery lasted well in day-to-day tests, with us managing to average out about eight hours screen-on time before needing a recharge. This was with around 30 minutes of Real Racing 3 and general web browsing. Using the charger provided, it'll take around 2-3 hours for a full charge cycle.
One of the most frustrating parts of owning a Nexus, you'll realize, is that there are a lack of accessories for them when compared to the iPad. Thankfully though, we got our hands of two of the most interesting and special pieces of kit available right now to help you carry on spending.
Firstly we have the Qi Universal Wireless Charger Plate, which, as the name suggests, allows you to take advantage of the Nexus 7 2 wireless charging capability (or any device that is Qi-enabled). It's a nice addition to the already high-tech slab, and allows you to charge it without any cable quibbles. It works with the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 4 too, if you're wondering.
|Simply plug the plate in, and then place any Qi-enabled device on top to charge|
|It's just a bit smaller than the Nexus 7 (that's the case by the way)|
Personally, I chose the Poetic Slimline case, and for around £10, I think I got a good deal. The design is simplistic, and also as the name would have you believe; slim. There's hardly any bulk added, and it provides a fair bit of functionality as it utilizes the smart-wake function when you open the case (unlike the official cases from Google and Asus).
|No bulk added, perfect|
Overall, I couldn't recommend this case more. It's stylish, functional, and a bargain. Perfect for keeping your Nexus 7 safe when throwing it in your bag. However, I don't know how much it would go in the way of protecting your tablet if you dropped it on the floor.