Google Nexus 7 (2013) review

Superb tablet but should you buy one?

9 / 10 (Excellent)


Test Duration: 60 days

The Google Nexus 7 2013 edition shown in black, white, front and side profile

The Good

  • Fast, slick and responsive
  • Fantastic screen
  • Superb value for money
  • Excellent battery life
  • Can be held comfortably with one hand

The Bad

  • No expandable memory
  • No physical home button might not be to everyone's liking
  • Average Camera / no flash

BEST DEALS from around the web
Buy the Nexus 7 (32GB) from £164.99


Where the Nexus 7 loses a few points is with the quality of the camera.

It's perfectly fine for the occasional snap here and there but don't expect miracles, especially in low-light conditions.

The fact there isn't an integrated flash obviously doesn't do it any favours in low-light but even in moderate light situations where you wouldn't normally use a flash (such as indoors during the day), the results are grainy at best.

Video recording

Video recording doesn't fare much better. In fact the few test videos I took I found the playback to be noticeably choppy. It's as though it's not capable of capturing at a high enough framerate.

Rather than spending too much time on this, I left it there. Bottom line is, unless you're desperate to record something and you don't have any other choice then I'd avoid video recording on the Nexus 7.

To be fair, most people don't buy tablets to replace their dedicated cameras or even smartphones, so whilst it's clearly not the best camera out there, I'm sure this won't matter to most people.

Lollipop, lollipop

The Nexus 7 comes installed with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) out of the box so the first thing you'll want to do is get it connected to your Wi-Fi so it can be updated.

The latest version of Android is called Lollipop and at the time of writing is on version 5.1.1.

Make sure you update to get the latest features, bug fixes and performance enhancements because Jelly Bean is so 2013!

This should be automatically setup and you'll see notifications when an update is available.

If for any reason auto-updates aren't turned on, you can manually check for updates by going to Settings > About Tablet > System Updates

Android Lollipop shown on a smartphone, tablet and smartwatch
Android 5 - Lollipop

What's great about the Nexus 7 being an official Google tablet is that you don't have to wait for the device manufacturer or network provider (in the case of smartphones) to push through any updates. When Google releases an update, Nexus users are always the first to get them!

Android Lollipop is another reason why the Nexus 7 feels so slick. Despite the tablet itself being a couple of years old now, Lollipop is bang up to date.

With every major new release, Google always makes great strides in optimising performance and keeping the Operating System looking fresh and modern.

Lollipop makes the Nexus 7 feel like a brand new tablet and is probably the reason why Google haven't worried about bringing out a newer model as yet.

Wi-Fi or LTE?

When the Nexus 7 first came out, it came in two flavours. The Wi-Fi only version and the LTE version (Long Term Evolution or 4G to you and me).

The LTE version still had Wi-Fi but also included a SIM card slot for internet access when you are out and about.

After looking around though, it doesn't appear the LTE version is still available. Unfortunately you can't buy them directly or through a data plan with any mobile operator.

So if you need a tablet you can take out and about with you and still be connected, then you're going to have to look elsewhere.


If you're looking for a cheap entry level tablet then you may well be tempted by Tesco's hudl2 or Amazon's Fire HD.

Whilst these are both great devices in their own right, you can pick up a 2013 Nexus 7 for around £140 now which isn't a huge amount more than a Fire HD or hudl2. (The 16GB model was £199.99 when new and the 32GB £239.99)

The Fire HD is good for reading ebooks, playing music and watching videos from Amazon's vast library of content.

The hudl2 is good if you're really on a tight budget and don't want to stretch to the extra expense of the Nexus.

Otherwise I wholeheartedly recommend the Nexus 7. It's fast, responsive, has a great screen and the battery lasts forever.

It's also a pure Android device, meaning the operating system is lean and clean and you're always going to be kept up to date with the latest versions of Android.

The smallish size is not going to be right for everyone. Productivity is still going to be fairly limited when it comes to writing long emails, documents and spreadsheets. It's certainly no replacement for a dedicated laptop or desktop but this should be fairly obvious to anyone wanting a mini-tablet.

On the other hand, that does make it light and easy to carry. (Yes it can even fit in your pocket).

If your motivation for getting a tablet is to browse the internet, use popular apps like Facebook and Twitter, keep up to date with your emails, listen to a bit of music, play a few games and watch the odd film or video then this is the tablet for you.

But you need to be quick, stock seems to be limited at the moment and fewer retailers are selling the Nexus 7 now. Check out the deals section below for the best, cheap Nexus 7 deals around at the moment.

Gl Rating


9 / 10 (Excellent)

CHEAP DEALS – buy the Nexus 7 here

Model From Best Price*
Nexus 7 (2013) - 32GB amazon logo £164.99 & FREE Delivery
Nexus 7 (2013) - 16GB amazon logo £120.40 & FREE Delivery
ebuyer logo £117.10 & FREE Delivery

*Prices correct at the time of writing