Camera, Closing Thoughts
We won't dive too deep into the Nexus 7’s camera, as generally speaking a tablet camera isn’t used particularly frequently. However, Asus decided to include a 5-megapixel rear camera on the new Nexus 7, where there was no rear camera on the 2012 model, just in case you want to take a quick snap of something after reading an e-book, or watching an episode of Arrested Development.
The included 5-megapixel camera isn’t the most amazing I’ve seen, but I’ve also seen far, far worse on tablets, so it fits somewhere in the middle. I was surprised by its sharpness and clarity in nearly all shooting situations, including low-light, although sometimes images can look overly post-processed from software trying to achieve this. Images can also appear a little grainy in dark conditions, with the software preferring a high ISO to long shutter speeds to gather more light.
In near-perfect conditions, the Nexus 7 is a very capable camera, taking vibrant, well balanced photos with decent dynamic range. There isn’t a huge range of shooting modes or settings to control image quality, but I found automatic white balance to function accurately the majority of the time, and photos were rarely overexposed.
Color quality is an impressive aspect of the Nexus 7’s camera, with images mostly coming out with good accuracy, even in low light. Unfortunately overexposure and washing out becomes a significant issue when you’re shooting into the sun, or in scenes with a lot of back lighting, but this is typical of mid-range camera setups, and I wasn’t expecting anything better either at this price point.
With an average F-number and no flash, it’s no surprise that the Nexus 7 is unsuitable for photography in low-light conditions. A high ISO will often save your photos from being an unusable blurry mess, but it’s no HTC One or Nokia Lumia 925. Comparing it to some of the cameras I’ve seen on past Asus devices, the low-light performance is a smidgen better than I was expecting, but again it’s nothing amazing.
The cameras on the Nexus 7 do add to the feature set, but won’t replace either your smartphone’s sensor or a traditional point-and-shoot, and so should be used sparingly.
From the moment I powered on the new Nexus 7, I knew the refreshed model would easily be the best 7-inch Android tablet you can buy. With a fantastic 1080p display that’s ideal for gaming, reading and video watching, plus a design that’s slimmer and lighter than last year’s model, Asus clearly knows how to refine their designs to produce a solid tablet.
Not only this, but the Nexus 7’s Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC is very speedy, making short work of multi-tasking and 3D gaming. But what’s even better is that despite a smaller battery, more powerful internals and a slimmer design, the Nexus 7 actually lasts longer than its older brother, thanks to clever software and firmware optimizations.
Although the Nexus 7 has only an average camera, no expandable storage and a selection of tablet apps that doesn’t quite cut it up against the iOS App Store, the device is still a superb choice. For just $220 you’re netting yourself a premium-quality system at an unbelievable price, making it hard to pass up for anyone looking at a portable, multimedia tablet.
Pros: Awesome high-resolution display incorporated into a refined, comfortable design. Powerful internals and long battery life facilitate gaming and multimedia uses. Unbeatable price for a very good tablet.
Cons: Not enough awesome Android tablet apps compared to iOS. Lacks microSD card slot.