The display - Beautiful. Crisp. Gorgeous. Stunning. Bright. Colorful. Precise. I can use almost every word in the dictionary to describe the display. It's a best-in-class display, and would have to rank as one of the best that my retinas have had the pleasure of eyeballing. ASUS did something quite incredible cramming in a 1920x1200-pixel IPS display into the 2013 Nexus 7.
The shape and feel - ASUS and Google worked together to provide a tablet that is the perfect weight and size, in a form factor that is killing the larger slates on the market. The refreshed 2013 Nexus 7 is a joy to hold, fitting in one hand without a problem. The rubberized back is gone, which in my opinion, was a good move.
Powerful hardware - This is an understatement, as I would've been impressed with just the high-resolution display, but when it's mixed with such a great performing SoC, this is a match made in heaven. Sure, it doesn't win all benchmarks, but that's not the most important part of a tablet now, is it?
Google services - Still unbeatable to this day, even with Apple being Google's biggest competitor. Microsoft has the tools, money and manpower behind it to compete, but this would take 5-10 years to get to the point Google is at now. Where would Google be in 5-10 years with hardware like Glass coming out in 6-12 months? I'll leave you with those thoughts...
The pure Android experience - Another win for ASUS and Google here. We have no pesky, annoying bloat UI here - just the pure, beautiful, slick and fast Android UI.
It's priced super competitively - One thing that the Nexus 7's main competitor can't do is match its 7-inch slate at this unbeatable price. Apple's iPad mini is still priced at around $420, which is not just a slight increase in price over the 2013 Nexus 7's pricing of just $229, but close to double the price. Apple simply cannot compete, and to rub things in a little, the iPad mini's display is just 1024x768 - quite pathetic, really.
The camera - ASUS provided a rear-facing camera this time, compared to no rear-facing camera on the 2012 Nexus 7. But unfortunately, it's not good enough. It does the job, but it could definitely do with improving. Sure, we can't ask for much at $229, but the camera part itself doesn't cost much, maybe a $249 or $269 price point would've been better with an 8-megapixel higher-end rear-facing snapper.
It scratches easily - Getting to the business end of things on my review, I took some last-minute photos of the 2013 Nexus 7, and noticed that I had a hairline scratch on the rear of the device. This is really disappointing as I treat my tech like gold.
No expandable storage - This is something I don't think we'll see on the Nexus devices anytime soon, but if Google really wanted to kick Apple and its other various competitors in the guts more, they could ramp things up a little and include microSD expandability. Google doesn't do this as it would cannibalize its 32GB model, which makes sense to them as a business, but not to you and I as consumers.
Power and volume rocker placement - This is a really small issue, but it's something I didn't like - ASUS placed the power button and volume rocker on the right side of the device. I would have preferred these buttons on the left side of the device.
I could sum this Final Thoughts up in just a couple of words: the refreshed Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet on the market. Somehow, Google and ASUS made the best tablet, better. It has improved internals, an absolutely gorgeous 1920x1200-pixel display, wireless charging support, SlimPort support, and oh-so-much more.
It's incredibly light, looks great, feels great, and performs admirably. If you're a Google user, of which I am, you're going to fall in love with the Nexus 7. It has completely replaced my 2012 Nexus 7, something I have no idea what I'm going to do with now.
I have used the iPad mini for a few hours, and the refreshed Nexus 7 absolutely crushes it. The iPad mini has such a poor display, where the refreshed Nexus 7 stands high and proud with its high-res display. Apple has its work cut out for them, as they're going to have to not only trump the Nexus 7 in terms of specs, but it's going to have to meet Google at a very low price point.
If you're in the market for a new slate and haven't picked anything up yet, the Nexus 7 is for you. If you have the old Nexus 7 and are itching for an upgrade, the same advice applies. If you're an iOS user and have the full-sized iPad, but are a couple of generations behind (non-Retina models), then this is the tablet for you, unless you want to wait and see if Apple unleash a Retina iPad mini in the next couple of weeks.
The refreshed Nexus 7 is a gorgeous piece of tech, and is one of first things to truly excite me in this seemingly stale mobile world we've come to know and love.