Google Nexus 7 review: Catching Fire

GSMArena team, 15 August 2012.
Pages: «123456789»

Google Voice Search

Google's Voice Search has seen a makeover with the Jelly Bean update, and that is in large part thanks to Google Now. The two platforms are virtually one and the same, with Voice Search being accessible through the Google Now interface, and Google Now results showing up when you use Voice Search.

To activate Voice Search, simply hit the microphone button on the homescreen search bar, or you can even say "Google" on the Google Now screen and the Nexus 7 will automatically start listening for voice commands.

Naturally, search is where Google excels, and with its enhanced looks and heavily updated Voice search, it gives Siri a run for its money. You can ask Google everything you would normally type into a search engine, and you'll oftentimes get a Google Now card displaying the result. Most of the time, Google Now will even read the answer to you.

Asus Google Nexus 7 Asus Google Nexus 7 Asus Google Nexus 7 Asus Google Nexus 7
Voice search is an integral part of Google Now

Voice Search utilizes the company's Knowledge Graph to gather the snippets of information needed to give you a satisfying answer. That's certainly bringing us a step closer to a more advanced virtual personal assistant, but just like the competition, Google need to go a long way before it becomes useful for daily tasks.

For queries that are more obscure, Voice Search will display standard results from Google search, just as if you were to type them into the engine yourself.

Offline Voice typing and smart Keyboard

Voice typing also works offline. To make it happen, Google has baked the voice recognition algorithms needed to run it into Android itself. Not only does this make Voice typing faster, but also eliminates the need for an internet connection.

Currently, you can download up to 15 localized language packs for offline voice typing, although we imagine that Google are working on adding more. The language packs are quite small in size (the default English (US) pack comes at just 22 MB), so you don't need to worry about them consuming your precious storage.

With Jelly Bean, the Android keyboard's nuts and bolts got updated as well. It now features smarter dictionary and learning algorithms, so the more you type, the better it can predict what you're trying to say. It resembles Swiftkey's smart dictionary system, but only time will tell if it performs as well.

Asus Google Nexus 7 Asus Google Nexus 7 Asus Google Nexus 7
Offline Voice typing comes in several languages

Synthetic benchmarks

The Google Nexus 7 packs a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9 inside its Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, alongside a ULP GeForce GPU. It's the first quad-core 7 inch tablet on the market, and with the new Android optimizations coming directly from Google, we expect some pretty good benchmarks.

For our comparison units, we've included the Nexus 7's most relevant competition: a series of 7 inch tablets from Samsung, as well as the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. We felt the 10.1 deserved to be compared despite its larger display, because we're curious as to how its quad-core 1.4 GHz Exynos chip compares to the Tegra 3.

The first benchmark, BenchmarkPi, shows a promising result - the Nexus 7 ranked in the top end of the table, although it is bested by the (much more expensive) Galaxy Note 10.1.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 351
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 420
  • Google Nexus 7 421
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 470
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 499
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 520

In Linpack, we again saw the quad-core Exynos found in the Galaxy Note 10.1 take the top spot, but the Nexus 7 did quite well for itself as well, handily beating out all of the other 7 inch tablets.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    185
  • Google Nexus 7
    124.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    105.2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
    86.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    76.8

The Nexus 7 performs outstandingly in our 3d graphics test. A score of 55.6 fps is by far the highest we've seen amongst 7" tablets, and indicates that the Nexus 7, with its Jelly Bean optimizations, will be a perfect tablet for gaming.

NenaMark 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    58.9
  • Google Nexus 7
    55.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    43.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
    43.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    33.9
  • Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
    24.7

The Ice Cream Sandwich release brought with it many optimizations to the JavaScript engine, and the Jelly Bean update has done the same. The SunSpider and Browsermark benchmark tests show the Nexus 7's proficiency at web browsing, beating out the new Apple iPad and falling short only of the Galaxy Note 10.1.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    1194
  • Google Nexus 7
    1703
  • new Apple iPad
    1722
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
    1953
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    1992
  • Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
    2253
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2867

BrowserMark

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    162657
  • Google Nexus 7
    131788
  • new Apple iPad
    103264
  • Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
    94666
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    93377
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
    89659
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    57995

Our synthetic benchmarks show that the Nexus 7 is all that it is hyped to be: a great-performing device at a very competitive price.

Next Page »

Pages: «123456789»