Product Notes: Nexus 7 (2013)

Announced in late July 2013, the new Nexus 7, a 7" tablet manufactured by ASUS, is a substantial revision of the initial and very succesful version released in 2012. The new Nexus 7 was released concurrently with Jelly Bean 4.3, the latest major release of Google's Android operating system. The most notable hardware changes from the previous Nexus 7 include a Full HD display, a faster processor (Snapdragon S4 Pro), an increase to 2.0 GB of RAM, and a 5.0 MP rear facing camera (the previous version had no rear facing camera). Overall, the new Nexus 7 is faster, smaller, and has a better display than the previous version, while retaining a relatively low price point (starting at $239 for the 16 GB version).


When compared to the 2012 model, the device is noticeably thinner and lighter, and can be held comfortably with one hand. The larger top and bottom bezels are convenient resting points for thumbs when holding the device in landscape orientation, and the narrow design helps when holding and using the device with one hand in portrait mode. Even with the smaller size, battery life has been improved to 9 hours of active use. Standby time has increased largely due to the power management features in Jelly Bean 4.3. The back of the device has a matte rubber finish with a soft texture that provides a firm handhold on the device.

The differentiating feature of the new Nexus 7 is its Full HD (1920 x 1200) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display. It has the highest pixel density and widest viewing angle of any currently available tablet. Given the other improvements in this version, ISC sees the Nexus 7 as a class-leading 7-inch Android tablet in mid-2013.

Operating system

The Nexus 7, like other Nexus-class devices, ships with stock "pure" Android without any UI overlays or manufacturer or carrier-installed software. Jelly Bean 4.3 has incremental additions and improvements to Jelly Bean 4.2, the previous "current generation" Android OS. These include restricted user profiles that prevent such profiles from making purchases, accessing certain apps, etc (though these profiles only apply to apps that choose to implement them). Also new are Bluetooth SMART/low energy, and OpenGL ES 3 graphics. There are also tweaks to processing and power management that give improved performance and battery life. Switching between multiple applications is notably smoother and standby battery life is greatly improved.

On August 22, 2013, Google began rolling out the JSS15Q over the air update, which fixes GPS and multitouch known issues found on the intitially shipped version of the Nexus 7. ISC recommends applying the patch as soon as possible.

Compatibility at Penn

The new Nexus 7 functions as expected with AirPennNet, ISC Exchange, and other University services.

The University's Computer Connection stocks the Nexus 7.

Information Systems & Computing (ISC) offers a variety of device evaluation units. Local Support Providers can request to evaluate mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, eReaders, and Chromebooks by contacting ISC Client Care at

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Date Posted: August 7, 2013 Tags: Android, Tablet

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