The new Nexus 7 vs the competition, how does it stack up?

by: Joe HindyJuly 24, 2013

Nexus 7

The new Nexus 7 was announced today and the Internet has been ablaze with the information all day. It’s a pretty impressive device and one that all Android fans have the potential to enjoy. It has amazing specs, a cheap price point, and best of all, it’ll be available on July 30. While it’s pretty much the common sentiment that the new Nexus 7 will be the best 7-inch tablet on the market when it gets released, we have to ask ourselves if it really is that much better.

With that in mind, here is a direct comparison with some of the more popular 7-inch tablets in the industry. For a full list of the new Nexus 7 specs, check out Andrew Grush’s earlier post detailing the official specs. For this comparison, we’ll take a look at the 5 major specs that people care about. Those are the screen, the CPU, the battery, the RAM, the storage, and the connectivity.

Nexus 7 vs Nexus 7

Versus the old Nexus 7

Of course one of the biggest competitors to the new Nexus 7 will be the old Nexus 7. One of the best selling Android tablets ever, the old Nexus 7 was a turning point in the tablet market for Android. It introduced competent construction, good specs, and a great experience for such a low price that OEMs have been struggling for the last year to catch up. Well, everyone except Amazon, but we’ll get to them momentarily. Here is the direct comparison.

  • Screen – The new Nexus 7 screen is a 7-inch display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution (323ppi) vs the old Nexus 7, which was 1280 x 800 (216ppi). Winner: new Nexus 7.
  • Processor – The new Nexus 7 has a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. Since Google themselves said the processor was 80% faster, that means it beats out the old Tegra 3 powering the old Nexus 7.
  • Battery – Google didn’t release the specs on the battery, but stated it could get 9 hours of video playback. That is longer than the old Nexus 7 was rated for, so the win goes to the new Nexus 7.
  • RAM – new Nexus 7 has 2GB. Spoiler alert, that beats everyone. Win goes to new Nexus 7.
  • Connectivity – 802.1 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4G LTE for the new Nexus. 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and only 3G connectivity for the old Nexus. LTE always wins. At least, it seems to with consumers.

Okay, so the new Nexus 7 beats out the old one by leaps and bounds. In virtually every category the new Nexus beats out its predecessor. The only thing that remains unchanged are the storage size options. Both Nexus devices still come in only 16GB or 32GB variants. The overall winner by a long shot is the new Nexus 7.

ipad mini vs nexus 7

Versus the iPad Mini

What kind of comparison would this be if we didn’t stack the new Nexus 7 up against what is mostly likely its stiffest competition, the iPad Mini. When shopping for a tablet, even Android fans may consider an alternate OS since they already have an Android phone. So why not an iOS tablet? Here’s the comparison.

  • Screen – The iPad Mini comes with a 7.9-inch display with a 1024 x 768 resolution (163ppi). That’s not even close. Win goes to the Nexus 7.
  • CPU – We’re sorry to report that the dual-core A5 in the iPad Mini cannot stack up to the 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro.
  • Battery – The iPad Mini is rated for 10 hours of surfing the web and web browsing, according to Apple’s official website. The new Nexus 7 boasts 9 hours of continuous video playback. That’s pretty intense. Winner is Nexus 7.
  • RAM – The iPad Mini loses with a laughable 512MB of memory.
  • Connectivity – The iPad Mini comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and LTE. So does the new Nexus 7. However, the iPad Mini does not support AT&T and T-Mobile LTE (LTE band 4), while the Nexus 7 does. It’s very narrow, but the Nexus 7 does win this one as well..

Okay, so the iPad Mini didn’t take quite the beating the old Nexus 7 took thanks to the LTE connectivity, but it still lost in all 5 categories. That’s a big win for Google.

versus the Nexus 7

Versus the Kindle Fire HD

Next up is yet another one of the biggest competitors out there for both the new and the old Nexus 7. That is the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Amazon’s flagship tablet has been a massive success and will likely continue to be until Amazon releases a new tablet. Plus, it’s less expensive than both the old and new Nexus 7 and price matters to a lot of people in the tablet market. Here’s the comparison.

  • Screen – The Kindle Fire HD comes with a 1280 x 800 display much like the old Nexus 7. Also, much like the older Nexus, it loses to the newer Nexus.
  • CPU – Amazon’s Kindle Fire packs a 1.2GHz dual-core chip from last year. This one is pretty obvious.
  • Battery – Okay, so you don’t have to read this three more times. The battery on the Nexus 7 is rated for 9 hours of continuous video playback. Nothing on this list beats that.
  • RAM – The 2GB on the Nexus 7 beats the 1GB on the Kindle Fire HD.
  • Connectivity – The only Kindle Fire product that can use 4G LTE is the $400, 8.9-inch variant. That’s not the 7-inch variant, so the Nexus 7 wins. Both support the same Bluetooth and WiFi.

Much like the old Nexus 7, the new Nexus beats the Kindle Fire HD in every category. Also, there are people who say the Amazon App Store is inferior to the Play Store. Since the Kindle Fire HD runs Android and doesn’t have access to the Play Store –or any other Play Services for that matter– that could be taken as another con for the Kindle Fire HD. Winner here is the new Nexus 7.

asus memo pad hd 7

Versus the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7

The ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 is a curious Android tablet. It has a phenomenal price of $149 and specs that actually aren’t half bad. Is it as good as current tablets? Not really, no, but it’s a lot better than almost everything else that costs only $150. You can probably guess how this comparison will go.

  • Screen – The ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 sports a 1280 x 800 display. It can’t beat the 1080p display on the Nexus 7.
  • CPU – The MeMO Pad has a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. This is still pretty decent for a tablet, but the Nexus 7’s quad core processor is still superior.
  • Battery – Like the others, the MeMO Pad is rated for 10 hours of general use. It can’t beat 9 hours of video playback. Winner is the Nexus 7 again.
  • Memory – ASUS packed 1GB of RAM into the MeMO Pad which is half of what the Nexus 7 gets.
  • Connectivity – The MeMO Pad doesn’t have network connectivity at all. Just Bluetooth and WiFi.

It’s very hard to call the MeMO Pad a bad deal at $150 because it’s actually a very good deal. That said, the Nexus 7 beats the MeMO Pad in every conceivable category except price. Don’t get us wrong, the new Nexus 7 is sold at a very reasonable rate and it’s also a great deal. The winner is, of course, the Nexus 7.

hp slate 7

Versus the HP Slate 7

Last on our list is the HP Slate 7. This fun little tablet is a recent release by HP and while it hasn’t sold a gaggle of units like Google or Amazon, it’s still a cheap, 7-inch competitor. It’s actually even cheaper than the ASUS MeMO Pad, as it retails for about $139.99 on most sites these days. With similar specs, that makes the Slate 7 a pretty decent deal. However, much like the MeMO Pad, you can probably guess how it’ll come out against the Nexus 7.

  • Screen – Most tablets here have at least a 1280 x 800. The HP Slate 7 has an inferior 600 x 1024. It doesn’t quite matter though, because the Nexus 7 beats both of those anyway. 
  • CPU – HP packs a 1.6GHz dual-core processor into the Slate 7. It doesn’t even come close to comparing to the new Nexus 7.
  • Battery – Probably the weakest battery on the list, the Slate 7 gets about 5 hours of continuous media. That is far less than the 9 hours that the Nexus 7 boasts.
  • Memory – You’ve read it 4 times already, why not once more? 2GB of memory beats 1GB of memory.
  • Connectivity – Not only does the Slate 7 not get any network data, but it also gets Bluetooth 2.1. The Nexus 7 is the obvious winner.

Much like the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7, the HP Slate 7 fell to the latest Nexus 7 in every single category but price. While most of us would gladly fork over an extra $100 for all the wonderful things you get with the new Nexus, we recognize that many people only want to spend about $150 on a tablet and in that one instance, the HP Slate 7 and the MeMO Pad win. In every other category, Nexus 7 all day long.


It’s interesting to note that the only tablet that wasn’t thoroughly trounced by the new Nexus 7 was the Apple iPad Mini. Not because it’s in any way an equal tablet, but because the iPad Mini is the only other tablet on this list that supports at least some LTE networks. Otherwise, it’s truly impressive how the Nexus 7 is such a vast and amazing improvement over everything currently in the market. There is no doubt that this tablet will sell like hotcakes in the coming year because it so thoroughly trounces its competition in everything.

It’ll be exciting to see if Apple releases a competitor. We doubt they will, because a cheap, well spec’d tablet seems outside the purview of Apple. Nevertheless, it could be interesting. We expect Amazon to reply as well sometime in the coming year and we wonder if they’ll be able to compete with Google as well.

Of course we want to hear from you as well! Will the Nexus 7 be your next tablet? Let us know what you think about this new beast in the comments!

  • James J. Brown II

    I’ve had the Note 8.0 for about a month and must say it’s pretty sweet. Still buying the new Nexus 7 though! Love that stock experience :-)

  • rainedfond

    Lol. You make the comparison looks very funny and interesting!
    I think Old Nexus 7 build quality is bad. For the price, of course, it’s just as good. How’s the build quality of the New Nexus 7?

  • I’m surprised to not see the latest Nook devices listed in the comparison. Especially since they now have the Google Play Store which is more than can be said of the Kindle devices.

    My wife & I respectively use a 2nd gen 16GB Nook Tablet and an original Kindle Fire, both of which are running CyanogenMod. I will most likely upgrade both devices to the new Nexus 7.

    • JosephHindy

      The Nook series was considered but given their recent thing about turning over the hardware aspect to a new OEM (meaning Nook isn’t making the next Nook Tablet, someone else is), we decided to give them a pass.

      For the record, the Nexus 7 beats it in every category anyway :) but we wanted to spare Nook the comparison since their next tablet may end up being a real competitor. I would be excited to see what comes through the pipes from them next.

  • Antony Greenman

    Isn’t it safe to assume that these other ‘competitors’ will be making upgraded versions as well though? It would be like waiting for a next-generation console to release a month before the other (only comparing xbox with playstation as competitors here) and talking about how it’s the best console available, listing all the specs and features.

    I understand that there is something to be said about being first (see: Nintendo Wii) but at the same time I can’t help but feel like a brand new tablet that JUST released will always beat tablets that have been out for a year+.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I own a Nexus 7 and most likely, come next week, will be buying the NEW nexus 7, it just seems like maybe it’s a moot point.

    • JosephHindy

      Well the most important thing is that all these tablets are still in the same price range. So until these OEMs come out with new tablets, what you’re looking at here is the sub $300 tablet market as it stands right now. We also wanted to demonstrate how massive the improvements were over prior generations :) thank you for the comment!

      • Antony Greenman

        Fair enough, if nothing else it will be good supporting evidence for convincing my wife that we need one! I really am quite excited about picking one up.

        We fight over the one we already have as it is!

        • JosephHindy

          Oh there are a number of us on staff who cannot wait to get our hands on this thing :)

    • thartist

      I guess the obvious point of the article is that if you’re looking for a 7 inch tablet now, the new Nexus 7 is NO DOUBT what you want.

      • Joel

        unless you are on a budget and the MeMo 7HD fits it and performs all reasonable expectations for $80 (33%) less.

    • loloyd

      This is not exactly a moot point. I myself am looking for quite a bulk purchase of tablets (25 pieces) for a very unique event in my country related to my job, and I found this comparison to be very insightful to my course of work.

  • Magnetic1

    If you play music like in musical instrument, you should not even dare compare android device to the ipad mini.
    If you want to know what “light speed ahead” means then play
    SMULE on ios and then on android.
    And then try any other music app that you can find on android; it’s very lacking right now.
    However Nexus 7 looks great with LTE. And what’s Antutu like?

    • JosephHindy

      As I’ve been led to believe, most recording artists still prefer using PC and Mac apps to record their albums as opposed to an iPad. Also, I’m sure artists that do record using a tablet use a higher quality iPad than the iPad Mini :)

      • DainLaguna

        It doesn’t change the fact that those apps are still optimized for the mini and run just as well.

        I love android and this new nexus7, but I’m tired of making excuses for the android app ecosystem because that’s obviously not gotten us to parity with idevices

  • Bryan Z

    Very cool I own a nexus 4 as my second phone so I’m excited to check this out

  • mrjayviper

    seems a bad comparison just based on specs. iOS/Windows 8 RT doesn’t require as much RAM or cpu power as android. not an apple fanboy here (ditch that for a HOX + TF700 months ago).

    • JosephHindy

      Yep, that’s also because iOS doesn’t multitask very well and Windows RT doesn’t…well it doesn’t run too much of anything :(

      However, you can still tell a lot just by the specs. A good device has a few good specs. A great device has all good specs :) and the Nexus 7 has all good specs!

      • ajm531

        Hey Joseph i wanted to point out and correct me if im wrong but i believe the new nexus 7 still trumps the ipad mini even in the connectivity department because of the simple fact that its 4g lte bands allows it to run on tmobiles 4g lte, at&t’s 4g lte, and verizons 4g lte. So yeah one of the more overlooked but extremely impressive features of the nexus 7 2. Basically google is saying “SUCK IT CARRIERS”. I hope they do this with the nexus 5 or what ever its called.

        • JosephHindy

          According to Apple’s official website, the iPad Mini supports: LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25). AT&T and T-Mobile is band 4, which is unsupported. Verizon is band 13, which is supported. So yes you are right, T-Mobile and AT&T LTE is not supported by the iPad Mini. I’ll have to change that! Thanks for catching it :)

          • ritad

            AT&T advertisers the following on its website as to how it supports the Ipad Mini. Is the 4G network the same as band 4? Why would AT&T offer cellular plans for the mini if it was unsupported? I don’t really understand a lot of tech stuff – but am trying to figure it all out.

            Connect to the Internet virtually anywhere on
            the nation’s largest 4G network

            DataConnect Pass***

            30-days of data for when
            you’re away from Wi-Fi.

            No activation fee

            No overage charges

            Cancel at any time

            Includes FREE Wi-Fi
            at more than 30,000
            AT&T hotspots nationwide!

          • JosephHindy

            AT&T and T-Mobile count their HSPA+ network as 4G. The iPad Mini supports HSPA+ for both T-Mobile and AT&T.

      • Piyush

        what the hell are you talking windows RT has best multitasking than all platform , i know android can multitask but its not true multitask like windows if android ram is lowered the app reloads again and ios 7 is getting true multitasking. please don’t make android name bad. just search YouTube multitasking in windows RT you will be amaze.

        • JosephHindy

          I’m sorry, I was attempting to make a joke about the poor Windows RT sales. I’m a big Windows fan, actually, and even I can see that Windows RT was well below expectations in almost every area for Microsoft.

      • abazigal

        Specs hide a lot of things.

        Specs don’t tell you how smoothly something might run (Touchwiz still lags even with quad-core and 2gb of ram).

        Specs don’t tell you how reliable something is (remember the firmware bug in the nexus7’s flash storage which caused it to lock up when you went below 3gb of storage?).

        Nor do specs necessarily promise a good user experience. What Apple has demonstrated is that you don’t necessarily need to have good specs for a device to look great and work great and provide that great user experience. In fact, even though each of their products is seemingly out-specc’ed by individual products from the competition, they often end up working great together because of synergies like airplay mirroring and imessage.

        All in all, I feel that specs tell only one (fairly small) side of the story at best.

        • loloyd

          If Touchwiz still lags even with great hardware, then the problem possibly lies on the software, or more probably, PEBKAC.

          In my view, what Apple has only demonstrated is its capacity to shun emerging markets and/or budget-conscious consumers and play high and mighty on commercially-driven apps and solutions that have been offered for free in the cloud since the advent of Yahoo and furthered well by Google. Apple has only made the “fashionable geek” widespread whereas the “more critically thinking geeks” go for Android-based platforms.

          Specs may only tell one side of the story, but I fully enjoy all the synergies in all my Android devices and apps, thank you very much, from my low-cost phones to my old Nexus 7.

  • King-Podigy-X

    Does it come with a Micro SD card slot? No, so it loses.

    • Sox05

      Does the iPad come with a Micro Sd card slot? No, you lose dummy.

    • Alex Zhao

      That’s why we need more expensive 32 gb version

  • Glen

    you’re comparing first iteration iPad mini with 2nd iteration of the Nexus 7, should wait till new iPad mini comes out before making that comparison, just saying

    • Misti curia

      They will do both… And it is relevant as the first gen mini is on sale and if someone wanted to buy a 7″ tablet right now they would be wise to look here

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      With Apple pricing history, even if the Mini2 is better spec wise, it will more than likely not be a better value to budget minded consumers, or those already swimming in the Android ecosystem. That’s not to say the Mini2 won’t be worth its price…

    • AntzinPantz

      In that case shouldn’t we be comparing the nexus 10 with the original ipad because it’s the first generation of each families, just saying.

      • Kevin

        what I think he meant was current gen nexus 7 with last gen iPad mini

  • Nanda Linn Aung

    comparing with old machines aren’t not very helpful. the fact that nexus 7 new one will cost 1/3 of Galaxy S4, it is actually quite tempting… anyway, nice tablet.

  • Yes I totally agree here, the new N7 looks very promising. I mean to think this thing is going to be better than my Galaxy S3 in terms of raw cpu power and pixels, but at less than half the price I paid for it off contract last September, can’t wait to get it.

  • Valtheus

    I think Nexus 7 seems to be a very good tablet in 7 inches, and with a cool price. Right now in a matter of specs, looks like its on top with the competition. There was a time that iPad seemed the only choice. Now things have changed and android becoming a mature OS, android based tablets can only get better. Apple finally has competition.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Finally has?

      More like been had competition for the past 2-3 years.

      • Valtheus

        Hmmm… i am not so sure its that long but you are right in a way. I should have said it finally has “real strong” competition.

  • hifonicy

    This will be my next tablet… super device :-)

  • Maazoo

    very biased comparison :(

    Android devices are much power hungry as compare to iOS. In apple devices, the specs are not the issue because every thing available on App Store runs flawlessly. while you have to check your device specs if you are using Play store.

    Also Apple devices last many years . . even iPhone 3gs is still used today and apple still supports it, and in contrast to that if you are on ginger bread you are in serious trouble. ..

    and i am pretty sure that build quality of iPad mini will be still far better than new Nexus 7 and that’s something. . .:P

    • AbbyZFresh

      And that is where the moto x comes into play to change that perception of android.

    • Valtheus

      How does Apple still supports iPhone 3GS? Unless you mean that 3GS did not had any OS upgrades for years now, a bunch of new OS features are missing and many apps just don’t run.

      And how do you mean their devices last for years? Any device can last for years, if you re using it only as a phone, but at some point its no longer compatible with everything in the App Store.

      I wouldn’t hold my breath on that “better” iPad mini if i were you. Android 4.3 is a far better OS even than iOS7. Yes, Apple invented smartphones and tablets, but now they even fail to follow the competition.

      • abazigal

        In the very least, any new security update can be quickly and effortlessly pushed to all end users within the same day. Compare this with Android smartphones, where it often takes longer (if they even come at all).

        • Valtheus

          I won’t disagree with you on that. Thats an issue i have pointed out many times about android. At least big manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Sony etc. have to pick up their pace with those updates.

    • Misti curia

      This was just a hardware comparasion really

    • JosephHindy

      Well the iPad is 11 hours of general use. That could mean anything from reading a book to web browsing to playing Angry Birds. The Nexus 7 does 9 hours of continuous video playback in 1080p HD. 9 hours of that is practically unheard of and the iPad Mini would certainly not be able to play true HD video for that long. It’s not a weakness in iOS, that’s an “everybody” thing. No tablets can play video that long on just battery.

  • abazigal

    Let’s ignore for the moment the absurdity of comparing a 8 month-old tablet

    against a brand new offering.

    I have nothing to say about the disparity in resolution, though it is only a matter of time before the ipad mini gets a retina display. Also, the ipad uses a 4:3 screen ratio, which some people may prefer for web browsing or reading.

    The ipad mini is able to run tablet-optimised apps (and run them well despite having a mere 512mb ram and A5 processor), because it has the same specs as the ipad2, whose popularity led to many apps being developed for it), which often sport a far superior UI compared to blown-up phone apps. I am not familiar with Android. How plentiful is the market for tablet apps to date?

    Let me get this straight – the Nexus7 wins despite a lower battery life? Not to mention that no one has actually stress-tested the Nexux7, so the actual battery life may end up being a lot less (Apple being one of the very few companies I know who actually understates the battery life of their products).

    Plus, a major bummer is because I live outside the US, I face quite costly shipping fees if I want to import a Nexus7 tablet, making the potential savings a lot less compared to springing for an ipad or ipad mini. Warranty and aftercare support would be a problem as well.

    It’s close, I tell you that. However, I feel that making a buying decision often involves more than just blindly comparing specs without considering the full picture, because specs alone don’t always tell the whole picture.

    • Mark Landry

      you are right on most points there Id just like to point out that many apps are now tablet friendly on android and most scale up just fine anyway, If you build your app correctly you almost dont need to worry about tablets as the android framework handles it just fine, though there are many tablet specifics you can add.

    • iDroid

      10 hours of web browsing (iPad Mini) 9 hours or video playback (Nexus 7). I would have to say that video playback is more demanding then web browsing even on an LTE network. But screen resolution, and processing are crowned on the Nexus’. Apps are growing for android, but the iPad has more that are optimized.

      I own an iPad mini and an old N7, and other then the apps, they were pretty on par when I bought them. The Nexus is starting to slow down, but just in time for the 2013 edition. Apple has some work to do to the Mini for it to challenge the new Nexus.

  • akshay
  • Trent Richards

    I think it’s funny that so many people are complaining that they compared the iPad Mini to the new Nexus 7. They mentioned the iPad Mini because this article was about looking at your other small tablet options. Do we expect any of these to beat the hardware on a newly released product? Of course not, but if you are trying to inform consumers of their options that are currently available it would be wrong to not include the iPad Mini.

  • neteru1920

    can I connect the ‘new nexus’ to a television or monitor?

  • Sameer

    My novo 9 spark has the same or higher specs as new nexus 7 novo 9 is the only tablet having retina display with 2048×1536 red. Having alwinner a31 quad core CPU . But good improvement Google keep it up

  • How can you possibly compare w/o taking into account price? Might as well compare to full iPad.