Google has done away with the Nvidia chip found in last year's Nexus 7 tablet, replacing it with a quad-core Qualcomm Snadragon S4 Pro chip and doubling the amount of RAM to 2GB.
The improvement in performance is immediately noticeable. While we had few complaints about how last year's model glided through tasks, the new Nexus 7 makes last year's model look almost slow. Video playback is smooth, apps open quickly, multitasking is lag-free and the tablet is excellent for gaming, with GTA 3 and Temple Run 2 running on the tablet with no lag.
Upon benchmarking the new Nexus 7 using Antutu, Google's latest tablet scored almost 19,000, making it much faster than its predecessor, which scored 13,600 last year.
The new Google Nexus 7 is the first device to arrive running Google's Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system straight out of the box. It will also likely be one of the first devices to receive an update to Google's even newer Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system once that's released.
Though Android 4.3 adds little over previous releases, there are a few welcome features. Chief among these is OpenGL ES 3.0 support, which should lure developers to create more graphics heavy games for the Android ecosystem. However, the benefits of this feature are yet to appear, although it makes the device more appealing in the long run. Bluetooth Smart support has been added too, which means the tablet can pair with next generation Bluetooth accessories.
Android 4.3 also adds improved support for restricted profiles, which is likely to attract business users and parents to the tablet. This feature, improving on the Profiles feature that debuted in Google's original Android Jelly Bean iteration, lets business people set up restricted profiles for employees so that they can't download any malicious apps, and lets parents fiddle with the tablet's settings so that kids can't make in-app purchases.
As for the Android experience overall, the Google Nexus 7 offers a completely vanilla user interface, adding to the overall smoothness of the device. This also means that the tablet arrives as a blank canvas, and without Samsung's Touchwiz or HTC's Sense user interface onboard we found the tablet much more easier to personalise than some rival Android competitors.
This also means that the tablet doesn't come preloaded with a lot of apps that you'll never use, instead offering just Google services and the usual pre-installed Android apps.
Check out our full Android 4.3 Jelly Bean review.
Next: Cameras, battery and storage
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