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The Nexus 7 is your new best small tablet: First Look

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First Look: The Nexus 7 is your new best small tablet

2:29 /

It doesn't outright obliterate the competition, but the new Nexus 7 includes enough improvements to win the best small-tablet crown. For now.

The new Nexus 7 is a vast improvement over its predecessor in nearly every way. It's even lighter than the first generation iPad Mini, and with a really narrow build, it's one of the easiest tablets to hold in one hand. There's an easy-to-find power button and volume rocker in the side, and a headphone jack on the top. There's a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front and a 5-megapixel back camera. They're not bad cameras, but are pretty typically unimpressive, even for tablet cameras. The back texture isn't as inviting or comfortable as the originals, but it's not unpleasant, either. There's a micro-USB port on the bottom, and with the purchase of a $30 SlimPort adapter will also double as an HDMI port. It has speaker grills on the top and bottom, which allows for a pretty effective surround sound. It ships with Android 4.3, which gives you three major new features: Restricted User Profiles allows you to add a kid- friendly profile; OpenGL ES 3.0 improves polygonal graphics performance; and Bluetooth Smart allows the Nexus 7 to connect to a newer generation of Bluetooth devices. Near Field Communication support returns, and we also get wireless charging-- which according to Google, will allow any Qi-compatible charger to fill the Nexus 7's battery. However, the actual charging speed was painfully slow compared to a wire charge. The screen has a 1920x1200 resolution and responds quickly to touches and swipes. Switching between different apps is fast, and scrolling through web pages is smooth and zippy. WiFi speeds were consistently high with no spotty connection issues when within a reasonable distance from the network. In our official battery test, it lasted an impressive 11.5 hours while running a movie in Airplane Mode. Real Racing 3 and Riptide GP2 both looked really impressive with smooth frame rates and sharp graphics with minimal aliasing on the edges. 2D games like Angry Birds also pack in the pixels and look impressively sharp. While it doesn't completely blow away the competition starting at just $230 for 16 gigabytes of storage, the new Nexus 7 has enough improvements to easily earn the best small tablet crown-- at least for now. I'm Eric Franklin, and this has been the first look at the Google Nexus 7.

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