The Nexus 7 32GB review – Why buy a china tablet?

I may be a little bit backdated but I feel there is not so much ‘wow‘ factor with the new Nexus 7 2 (2013). And seeing that the new Nexus 7 2 is out, the older version of Nexus 7 will face a drop down in price. So if you have not owned a (decent) tablet yet – this may be the right time for you to get the ‘not so old‘ Nexus 7.


I’d say “Alternative to china tablets is the Nexus 7” – With it’s attractive price tag and still carrying a respectable specs, why buy a crappy china tablet instead of the Nexus 7? Of course it’s missing something physical like the back camera, hdmi out, and a memory card expansion slot. But I tell ya it’s a gentleman for being honest from the start – instead of the china tablets that have almost everything physical wise, they have taken the specs away (although it appears all amazing and powerful in paper – don’t be fooled!) and won’t be performing as good as the Nexus 7 when it comes to the challenge.

So if you are thinking “what is the best budget tablet” that you should buy? I will highly recommend the Nexus 7 – be it the WIFI version 16 / 32GB, or the cellular / 3G version 16 / 32GB version. It is not just a budget tablet, it is an ‘Excellent tablet’ which have won 2012 “Gadget Of The Year” and “Tablet Of The Year” beating the Ipad, Sony Tablet S, even Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. How is that for an excellent budget tablet?

Still not convinced why you should get the Nexus 7? Maybe I’ll help you to know each others first. Hop on in for the full review.


– It just feels right –

To be honest I was a little skeptic about getting myself a 7″ tablet at first. Comparing it to the rest of the 10″ tablets which sits side by side at the display booth, I felt the Nexus 7 is a little bit too small to be appreciated. I was blown away by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 though – at first look it seemed like the ideal size tablet – not too big and not too small either. But the price tag of the Note 8 is up right ridiculous (currently ranging from RM1390 to RM1699).


The Nexus 7 price currently ranges from RM699 for the WIFI 16GB version up to RM1049 for the 3G 32GB version. Some high end China tablets hit the RM700 mark too. Of course paper wise specs is okay, but based on my personal experience, most of them underperformed badly compared to those recognized brands that shares the same spec on paper. Plus, you will have more accessories and spare parts, not to mention support when you buy recognized brands.

And for hardcore flashers like me, there are a bunch of custom ROMs available for the Nexus 7 @ XDA Developers. So there are tons of mods and customizations that will keep you occupied.

Back to – it just feels right – well, what can I say.. after a few days using Nexus 7, it just feels right. I have not once said “The screen is too small” nor complained about the screen size. In fact my wife who I present the Nexus 7 to said it feels great to watch youtube. Holding the device with one hand is comfortable, although it does feel a bit heavy, but holding it while laying down doesn’t put too much stress either. Typing with both hands on the side in portrait mode is a bliss. The entire virtual keyboard is reachable with ease. While landscape mode will provide a slightly bigger and comfortable font size – I often find portrait mode is best for web browsing and landscape is for watching videos and playing games.

– It runs almost everything in Google Play, plus Tegra Zone games as well –


Nexus 7 is a gaming tablet” with plenty of processing power and enough RAM, gaming on the Nexus 7 is awesome. On some titles with high-end graphics with Tegra support, sometimes I feel like I am gaming on a real gaming console or PC even! My favorite so far is ‘RESPAWNABLES‘ by Zynga Run (reminds me of Team Fortress very much!)

  – It runs the latest Android 4.3 –

While Nexus 7 2 comes with Android 4.3 out of the box, Asus / Google was kind enough to offer ‘over the air’ (OTA) upgrade for Android 4.3 on Nexus 7. If you did not receive the 4.3 upgrade and want it badly, try the following and it should work :


how to upgrade nexus 71. On your home screen, open the app drawer and click ‘settings’

nexus 7 upgrade to android 4.32. From settings, open ‘Apps’

upgrading nexus 7 to latest android3. Go to ‘all’ applications list – find Google Services Framework

android 4.3 on nexus 74. Click ‘Force Stop’ – wait, then click ‘Clear Data’ then quickly…

nexus 7 ota android upgrade 5. go back to Settings and click ‘About’ – then check for System Update
(after upgrading to 4.3 I do not see that option longer, but you should have this in 4.2 or 4.1)

 I did this twice and was successful on second attempt. My first attempt failed and said I already have the latest version of Android available. Do this several times if necessary. You should be able to upgrade to 4.3 without any issues. Just make sure you are running stock. If you have your device rooted or running custom ROM, it won’t work and you will have to flash the 4.3 manually instead from XDA.

– It’s fast.. snappy and it FEELS fast –

I got a Samsung Galaxy S3 with similar specs comparable with the Nexus 7 (a little bit higher on processor with the S3 running a Quad Core 1.4Ghz Cortex A9 while the Nexus 7 running a Quad Core 1.2Ghz Cortex A9) but while the S3 only display a resolution of 720 x 1280 compared to Nexus 7 resolution of 800 x 1280 (and both having 1GB of RAM), Nexus 7 feels a lot snappier when browsing the web and when switching between applications (the higher the resolution, more processing power is needed – therefore you CAN’T have too much resolution which will eventually KILL the whole system down – A BIT OFF TOPIC HERE > have a look at the Acer Iconia A700 / A701 failed attempt in doing so – with a whopping resolution of 1920×1200 it practically overkill the Quad Core processor making it one of the worst / sluggish Quad Core tablets ever)

nexus 7 youtubeThe Nexus 7 offers a good 800 x 1280 pixel resolution, 7 inch 216dpi IPS screen which produces vivid, bright and stunning color reproduction.

You boost the old Nexus 7 too much, is it really the perfect tablet with no flaws?

Well, the answer is a definite “No” of course. However we must take into consideration that this IS a BUDGET tablet (an excellent one indeed). But still, there are things which I see may be better if improved – such as the placement of hardware buttons (and nothing is perfect in this world by the way).

– Where is the power and volume buttons when I need them –

nexus 7 buttons

I find it difficult to reach both the power and the volume buttons and most of the times I have to ‘see’ to touch or my skinny fingers will have to go for an ‘exploration’ before I could find what I am looking for.

I agree that this placement may have been designed to prevent accidental invoke of these keys, but I found it inaccessible at most times. If they redesigned and put these buttons at the top and side (ideal for potrait usage) or top and bottom (ideal for landscape usage) then it would be reachable and still avoid accidental invokes.

volume control widget

But of course, being Android – there is always a 3rd party app for that. I suggest the ‘Volume Control Widget‘ available from Google Play for free. This allow you to place a widget right on your home screen that enables you to control the volume in an instant.

nexus 7 stand case

And of course, for the power button I have a magnetic flip case which when opened will instantly wake the device up. And when closed will put the display off. In addition, I have also installed the ‘Lockscreen‘ widget by Android In Spain which I used in all of my android devices without issues. So instead of pushing the power button, I just need to gently tap on the widget icon to shut the display off.

– The camera is just OK for video call and low res stills –

This is where the ‘budget’ kicks in.  And I believe it is fair as tablets are not meant for taking pictures (selfies is okay, video chat is okay, but not group pictures or pictures or sunset or JUST NOT okay, it’s too big for a camera!). I have nothing good to say about the 1.2mp front camera. It’s just there because it is needed for video chat and low res stills. I am just glad that it comes with a camera at least.

nexus 7 camera review

Unfortunately there are no app bundled to invoke the camera (Google / Asus is a bit shy with the cam, we know..) so go ahead and install ‘Camera Nexus 7‘ the official app to invoke it (the app is actually hidden, this will un-hide it).

– The speakers too are just.. okay –

nexus 7 speakers review

I expect the speakers to be louder, but it’s not. You gonna have trouble listening to music or movies / youtube in loud public places. It also places it at the bottom part of the unit but was placed well so that if you are holding it with both hands in portrait mode, you are not going to muffle out the speakers.

nexus 7 micro usbThe Nexus 7 comes with a premium look and finish but still light on the price tag

At the bottom of the device locates the mini USB slot for charging and data transfer – also the standard 3.5mm audio jack that is just right. Instead of the Galaxy S3 which have the 3.5mm audio jack on top – you will see wires dangling if you use earphones. With Nexus 7 you won’t see any because it’s already at the bottom.

– The verdict –

To those who are tight on budget but wants a good tablet (and doesn’t care much about the camera) – get the Nexus 7. And if you have a bit extra money, get the 32GB version instead because it is really worth it. Drop me a line if you’re planning to buy one cheaper than retail, I may be able to get some brand new units for you (lower than RM699 of course) while stock lasts.

Nexus 7 is a keeper!” – Neato4u.


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One Response to “The Nexus 7 32GB review – Why buy a china tablet?”

  1. Play Angry Birds Go on Nexus 7 | Neato4u's Blog Says:

    […] gaming tablet! With NVIDIA Tegra 3 that runs on Quad Core processors (not the 2012 version) – see also my review here – it is more than capable to run this silly game. Come on Angry Birds Go! now you’ve […]

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