Display & Speaker Quality
DAT DISPLAY. Yes, it had to be done - the display on the refreshed Nexus 7 is nothing short of gorgeous. It has wicked viewing angles, backed up by a 1920x1200 IPS display that looks great outdoors - something that truly took me for surprise.
Outdoor visibility is something hard for most companies to do, but ASUS has done it well with its panels in the past, especially on its Transformer range of tablets. The refreshed Nexus 7 is no different.
Google actually took a different approach to the refreshed Nexus 7's display, with a two-step calibration process that involves the panel maker doing some calibration first, then once again per Nexus 7 during final manufacturing. This is the reasoning behind the display having that 'pop.'
Another surprise is the way Android handles the extra pixels on the display. On the original Nexus 7, and its 1280x800 display, you were quite constrained about putting widgets on your desktop, but not on the refreshed Nexus 7.
Android handles the extra pixels perfectly, which gives you much more desktop real estate. I'm a regular user of Chrome, which only shows web pages at 960x600, but virtually all other content pushes out to the Nexus 7's display at the full 1920x1200 pixels.
It truly needs to be seen in order to be believed, but it is the best panel I've seen thus far on a tablet. ASUS and Google truly have outdone themselves with the panel on the refreshed Nexus 7. The outdoor visibility is a huge win, and they didn't even need to push 1920x1200, but they did.
For the $229 entry price, they could've given us a lower resolution, and it would still be a great buy. But $229 with a 1920x1200-pixel display that just so happens to be absolutely gorgeous? Many thanks, ASUS and Google.
Moving onto the speakers on the refreshed Nexus 7, which have been seriously revamped. The 2012 Nexus 7 didn't feature great speakers, so it looks like ASUS and Google went to extreme lengths to reverse this issue. The speakers on the Nexus 7 2013 model are great, absolutely great. The sound can nearly fill a small room, thanks to its dual speaker system, which mimics 5.1 channels in a way. You don't get 'surround sound', but you get enough sound to enjoy it from a few feet away.
I found myself using the speakers on the Nexus 7 more and more, versus never using the speaker on my Nexus 4, or the 2012 Nexus 7. If you want great speakers on a cheap tablet, then this could be the one for you.