Farewell, Nexus 7

Google's Nexus 7 has long been a favorite Android tablet here at TR. Its combination of a high-PPI IPS screen and reasonably snappy internals made it a perennial feature in our mobile staff picks. Alas, all good things must come to an end. Google's product page for the Nexus 7 now says the pint-size slate is no longer available.

As with the demise of the Nexus 5, the Nexus 7's ride into the sunset means that it's now less affordable to get into the world of Nexus devices. The Nexus 9, the only Nexus tablet available at present, starts at $399 on the Google Store. By comparison, Newegg is selling its remaining stock of Nexus 7s at $180 for the 16GB version. We can only hope Google has an equally good—and affordable—successor waiting in the wings.

Comments closed
    • DarkMikaru
    • 5 years ago

    That may be true for the WiFi versions, but the LTE versions have been pretty much out of stock for almost a year. My company uses them as a portable option for fleet tracking for our customers. Surprisingly, those Nexus 7 LTE tablets work great in that role. The GPS and radios are top notch, performing almost as well as our hard wired solutions.

    And though I would love to have a Wifi Nexus 7 once you use a tablet that has 4G you won’t want to use anything else. You’ll discover how limited wifi versions really are. To bad even used ones are north of 350. We’ve been testing alternatives and well, all tablets are not made the same.

    • Stochastic
    • 5 years ago

    I spent a long time waiting for a killer Android tablet to emerge (I was hoping the Nexus 9 would fit the bill), but alas, ’twas not to be. I ended up getting the new Dell XPS 13, and that has quenched most of the desire I had to own a tablet.

    • tootercomputer
    • 5 years ago

    I bought an iPad fully loaded in 2010. Wonderful, life saver for someone like me with visual problems who needed something portable and easy to hold to read pdf files. I h ave added few programs since the original ones I installed, but it has gone through various ios updates and now it runs like a pig, took it to Apple store, the geniuses reset it, made no difference. It still works, but its utility is severely compromised.

    I suspect all of these tablet devices simply get compromised- by software/OS updates over time that surpass the original hardware. My Gateway laptop from 2008 died just before Christmas of 2013, my wife got me a HP Split x2 laptop with the detachable screen that acts like a large tablet. Has t touchscreen, Win 8.1, core i3, 4g RAM, 128 SSD, 8+hours battery life. Most flexible and useful mobile device I’ve ever owned. So, there are some interesting alternatives out there.

    • Voldenuit
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]Sony/Nvidia get an honourable mention for not overdoing it.[/quote<] Just want to chime in: I have a Shield Tablet and it's essentially stock Lollipop skin, with some add-ons for streaming and the stylus. The preinstalled apps are mostly welcome: ES File Explorer, Gamepad Mapper (for games that don't have native gamepad support), some write/draw/note apps for stylus, Shield zone hub for games (that I don't use), integrated twitch streaming (that I also don't use). There's a fine line between adding functionality and adding bloat, and I think nv did a good job with the Shield Tablet. Also, I can't live without my microsd card slot. Not a big fan of cloud/streamed content/documents, I like my data local (although I do stream video and music from my local shares in addition to having local files on the microsd for when I'm AFN - Away From Network).

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 5 years ago

    Tablet wise there are so many options that the premium for the nexus 9 is unjustified. Phone wise the loss of the nexus 5 is a major hit to the android platform. It was a serious flagship phone and an easy choice to make. My nexus 5 screen just cracked and I can’t replace it.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    To be honest all we really need is Google to endorse a manufacturer that is willing to release a product without a skinned UI.

    The Kindle, The Hudl, Anything from Asus/Acer/Lenovo/Samsung/<insert no-name chinese tablet vendor> – they all suck because of the bastardised firmware. Sony/Nvidia get an honourable mention for not overdoing it.

    If you buy an iSomething you can be damn sure that when you explain something to another iSomething user, they will know exactly what you’re talking about because their iSomething is the same user experience as your iSomething.

    If you buy an Android device, it’s a total crapshoot. Everything from manufacturer A is completely different/upside-down/counter-intuitive if you’re used to skinned-Android variant #152312 from manufacturer B.

    Android’s motto of “Be Together, Not The Same” should apply to hardware, not to interfaces.

      • NTMBK
      • 5 years ago

      It needs to be kept up to date, too. Being pure stock Android isn’t much use when it’s three versions out of date.

        • Chrispy_
        • 5 years ago

        The reason phones stop being updated is because the vendors can’t be bothered to do all the work re-skinning and bastardising Android when a new version comes out.

        All they have to do with a stock UI is to make sure it’s compatible with the hardware, which should be easy enough because most of the hardware is just off-the-shelf parts used by multiple vendors anyway.

        • designerfx
        • 5 years ago

        Being pure stock android is one of the few things that can guarantee things are not kept out of date, actually.

    • Chuckaluphagus
    • 5 years ago

    I picked up one of these for $110 used just this past October, and it’s an excellent device: fast, well built, great display. It’s running Lollipop with device encryption turned on, and aside from a longer boot-up time it doesn’t seem to have affected performance at all. I use it mostly for reading and video, but occasionally for a game or two – it’s held up very well in that regard.

    Is there anything comparable for the same cheap price? One of the main advantages to a Nexus device is that you’re not screwed over as to system updates and patches. Were my 7 to die, I’d either go for another one or find a good device I can root and throw Cyanogen on.

    Also, to those of you who are saying that their Nexus 7 2012s became much slower with Lollipop – my father had the same problem with his, and found that a factory reset solved the problem. He said his device went from effectively unusable to fine after that.

      • Zyphos
      • 5 years ago

      My 2012 N7 was a sluggish, unusable, device after the initial Lollipop upgrade. I tried everything including the 5.0.2 OTA when it became available. I gave up. I rooted, TWRP’d, F2FS converted, and installed SlimKat. A breath of fresh air. Pre-upgrade performance returned with some occasional slows. I blame most of the problems on the horrible flash chips they put in the 2012.

      I am hesitant to return to Lollipop, even with the recent 5.1 OTA. People are saying after a days the sluggish behavior returns.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 5 years ago

    A 5.5 inch phone has lessened my “need” for a 7 inch tablet. Still have my 2012 Nexus 7, just don’t really use it anymore. Definitely miss the affordable Nexus line though. Hoping my OnePlus One lasts until I can get the successor to the Nexus 6 at a reasonable price.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 5 years ago

    I keep looking at the shield tablet. Anyone have experience with those?

      • tviceman
      • 5 years ago

      Its great, but it isn’t nearly as light or slim as the Nexus 7. If you want performance, it’s the fastest 8″ or smaller tablet you can get.

      • [+Duracell-]
      • 5 years ago

      I have one. It has a few minor issues (really gummy buttons, sometimes has trouble waking up), but I absolutely love it as an every day tablet. Blows the water out of the 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7.

      It’s definitely heftier than the Nexus 7, but it’s a solid piece of hardware.

      • Voldenuit
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]I keep looking at the shield tablet. Anyone have experience with those?[/quote<] Day 1 Shield Tablet (16 GB) owner here. I'm pretty happy with it. Got it with the flip cover and gamepad. It's my go-to device for Netflix, e-books, online recipes when cooking (handy kitchen counter reference), and has actually supplanted my PC for gaming (got hooked on Kritika: The White Knights). There are some issues, however. There is a rash of cracked trim on the edges, and I think mine has a hairline on one corner. It seems mostly cosmetic and hasn't been worth me RMAing; it's worth noting that the tablet has been handled with kid gloves from day 1 and never dropped once, nor have I noticed it overheating in long gaming sessions. The palm rejection for the stylus is beyond useless. This seems to be common on capacitative styluses, and the shield tab is no exception. It's so bad that it's practically unusable for serious note-taking/drawing, unless you have a prosthetic hand like Luke Skywalker. I'm sure there are better devices out now than the shield tablet. It was the fastest gig in town when it came out, but has been matched/eclipsed by the newer SoCs. I'd wait to see if nv has something cooking with Tegra X instead of jumping on a current gen shield tablet, TBH.

    • squeeb
    • 5 years ago

    My first gen (2012) just kicked the dust – pretty good considering it got everyday usage since purchased. Also, had to deal with the flash speed degradation the first models were known for.

    My 2013 is running strong – and Amazon still carries these for 165 – get one while they last!

    • CheetoPet
    • 5 years ago

    At least they finally released the 5.1.0 image for it. My roommate is hoarding my Nexus 7 for various candy crushing type games.

    • MathM
    • 5 years ago

    My Nexus 7 2013 died about one month ago, only 13 months after my original purchase. Now Asus wants me to pay over 250$CA to change the motherboard. That’s about what I paid for it one year before.

    Needless to say I’m quite annoyed and disappointed at that. I guess when it comes to cheap tablets, you get what you pay for.

      • ronch
      • 5 years ago

      Same here. Owned the tablet since October 2013. Broke April 2015. Crappy touch screen, flexy chassis. Like it’s made of Tupperware.

      In fairness though, it had a fast SoC, great display and thin profile.

        • XTF
        • 5 years ago

        Bought mine in September 2012 and it’s still good, apart from the slowdowns of Android 5.

      • nico1982
      • 5 years ago

      I’d rather not generalize on a single anecdotal evidence, because the only cheap part of the Nexus 7 2013 is the price.

      Build quality while spartan, has never been a particular issue. The SOC was top tier and it is still quick enough. The screen is way above average. Browsing/video battery life has been among the best, all categories. And it ran stock Android.

      With the advent of 5+” smartphones and phablets, the 7″ became a bit uncomfortably small but it has been a reference point among tablets. I would welcome a Nexus 8 following the same philosophy.

        • tuxroller
        • 5 years ago

        This has been my experience as well.
        Received my n7 2013 for Xmas 2013. Perfect condition (I keep it a case that both covers the screen and will prop up device at various angles).
        The touchscreen IS wonky, however. Occasionally I have to toggle the power switch (turn screen on and off) to get rid of phantom touches or non responsiveness.
        For me, however, it’s a small price for fast updates and an otherwise tremendous tablet.

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    My Nexus 7 2013 actually bit the dust two weeks ago. Apart from the crazy touch screen digitizer which meant touch inputs went nuts all the time, the thing seems to be so flimsy that the slightest force will cause the screen to bend. Alas, it cracked. I’m now using a low end Samsung SM-T110 tablet that my brother-in-law got as part of a subscription plan. I guess he didn’t want it so he gave it to my wife. My wife didn’t want it either so she gave it to me. I didn’t want it either but I kept it in the closet anyway. Guess everything happens for a reason. I think I’ll use it until I save up for a proper tablet.

      • tuxroller
      • 5 years ago

      … Are you the Hulk?
      Either you’re a gamma irradiated green giant with anger (and probable issues with holding rabbits) or you got a defective device.

        • UberGerbil
        • 5 years ago

        Yeah, I’ve never seen the screen bend on my N7 2013 in over a year of normal usage. In fact I just grabbed it by the corners and tried to get it to flex — gently, but with more force than I apply in normal usage — and I saw none.

        My 2012 started looking pretty beat up — that silver ring around the edge was just paint on plastic and it chipped rather badly in several places — but other than one small scratch on the screen it’s still doing fine (other than struggling to run Lollipop). It feels weirdly fat when I pick it up now after using the 2013 model (and OMG, the bezels!)

        • ronch
        • 5 years ago

        I’m not exaggerating, dude. It’s really flexy and flimsy. We actually bought 3 of them. I’m not someone with particularly big, strong hands either.

    • Leader952
    • 5 years ago

    I replaced my aging Nexus 7 8GB (2012) last December with a New Evga Tegra Note 7 16GB for $120.

    [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834099001[/url<] Currently the price has climbed back up but sales do happen ever so often to drive the price close to what I paid. The specs are all around much better than the original Nexus 7 and the addition of the rear camera and SD Slot are a plus. I sold my Nexus 7 for $75 so the upgrade only set me back $45.

      • willmore
      • 5 years ago

      Catch a Sero 7 Pro from Newegg on sale for $44 after rebate. It’s everything the 2012 Nexus 7 could have been–good backside camera with a flash, vibration, uSD slot, mHDMI port, GPS–along with all the N7 brought to the table–that nice display, quad+1 processor, good graphics, power efficiency, NFC, etc.

      Then, throw DOPA on it and enjoy even more!

        • Leader952
        • 5 years ago

        When was it available for $44?

        It currently costs $160 for a refurbished one.

        [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834738002[/url<]

          • willmore
          • 5 years ago

          Several times in recent memory. I picked one up a couple of months back and I know I’ve seen the same sale since then.

            • Leader952
            • 5 years ago

            Please post here if you again see a sale price like that.

            • willmore
            • 5 years ago

            You need to sign up for their newsletter to get the promo codes, but yeah, I’ll mention it here next time I see it.

            • DarkMikaru
            • 5 years ago

            You sure you weren’t thinking about the Sero 7 LT (Lite)? Now that one I’ve seen for ranging from 45 to 60 depending on the deal you get. Though I doubt you could make such a huge mistake. I gave my Sero 7 LT to a friends kid to play with, just to slow and the screen not vibrant enough for me.

            But, great find man. We all love a great deal!

            • willmore
            • 5 years ago

            Nope, Sero 7 pro. Got it right here. 🙂 Running DOPA which is a little better than stock (and way more customizable).

      • tviceman
      • 5 years ago

      It’s a shame Nvidia didn’t bump the resolution up. Even 1680×1050 would have looked a little bit better without killing native res performance.

        • Leader952
        • 5 years ago

        They probably needed to hit the $199 price point. A larger screen would have pushed them to or above the Nexus 7 (2013) model.

        As a replacement for my Nexus 7 (2012) the screen resolution was not an issue. The added features (back camera, SD slot, 16GB) were more important for me and getting it for $100 less than the Nexus 7 (2013) was nice.

        • tuxroller
        • 5 years ago

        The GPU was anemic enough as it was. There were severe, well known bandwidth issues with the tegra3.

          • Leader952
          • 5 years ago

          We are talking about the Tegra Note 7 which uses the Tegra 4 which is a large step up from the Tegra 3 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro that is in the Nexus 7 (2013).

      • tuxroller
      • 5 years ago

      The 2013 N7 is a whole ‘nother beast from the 2012 model.
      It’s held up remarkably well. Still snappy, still excellent battery, and can still play all the games.

        • Leader952
        • 5 years ago

        The Tegra 4 SOC is much faster than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064–1AA SoC that is in the Nexus 7 (2013).

        [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/7508/nvidia-tegra-note-7-review/4[/url<]

    • sweatshopking
    • 5 years ago

    if the nexus 9 is 400$, suddenly the surface 3 looks like not a bad deal. didn’t realize it was so pricey.

      • rxc6
      • 5 years ago

      I never thought about that comparison. Maybe because I always thought that the N9 is very overpriced. You are right though.

      • Welch
      • 5 years ago

      Yeah you need to have the Nexus 9″ at that magical price point of $299.99 for it to make sense, with a 7″ offering at $199. Both of which would carry a minimum of 32gb, upgrade options up to 64gb or 128gb IMO. I’d like to think the standard would be 64gb these days, but we all know how those things go.

    • Kevsteele
    • 5 years ago

    Lollipop killed my Nexus 7 (1st gen)’s performance. I’ll keep struggling along with it, but I’m now thinking about browsing the Windows 10 side of the tablet fence, something that wasn’t on my radar before…

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 5 years ago

      My friend has a 1st-gen Nexus 7, it’s incredible how sluggish the thing is now. It was so snappy at first and ever since maybe 18 months ago, every update (even the “performance” ones) has made it slower no matter how many times she factory resets it.

      Do all Android devices face such quick deaths from software updates? It’s horrid.

        • Zyphos
        • 5 years ago

        No, I don’t believe all Android devices face this. I think the 2012 N7 just lucked out with horrid flash chips. Also, Lollipop had a major memory leak in it’s initial release. That made most of the devices unusable quickly. Don’t mistake that as defending Google, just stating facts regarding device behavior with updates. The 4.x updates were pretty smooth, in my experience.

          • Ninjitsu
          • 5 years ago

          Yeah, pretty much my thoughts too. And I guess after Google shifted to independently updating apps and some core services of the OS, it’s hard to tell what exactly is causing the issue – the OS or the apps.

        • Firestarter
        • 5 years ago

        No, my Nexus 4 of the same vintage is faster than ever

        • UberGerbil
        • 5 years ago

        It’s only the N7.2012 (of the devices I’ve used) and only since Lollipop. Prior to that, all the system updates either improved things or left performance essentially unchanged. The initial 5.0 release killed things on the 2012, and it’s only gotten slightly better since.

        I finally bit the bullet and “up”graded my 2013 to Lollipop. The performance hit on that hardware was nowhere near as bad, though the UI was still littered with layout bugs and plain stupid design (some of which have been corrected in 5.1.x, some of which still persist).

      • drunkrx
      • 5 years ago

      Still use mine… for an alarm clock. About all it can do after the updates slowed it down.

        • UberGerbil
        • 5 years ago

        Try uninstalling anything that runs in the background. Bring up the Apps page of Settings and look at Running apps (yes, this takes forever when it is “Lollipoop’d” — do it while you’re watching TV or something). Stop everything that is using a lot of memory (say >40MB or so). Consider uninstalling some of those, especially if they run several Services (which are going to run whether you launch the app or not).

        Eventually you’ll get it back to a useable state — but you may be left with something that doesn’t run much more than the clock app.

      • Chandalen
      • 5 years ago

      glad I’m not the only one that was horrified by the performance after ‘upgrading’ to Lollipop.

      • jessterman21
      • 5 years ago

      I’m not having those problems with Lollipop…

      Mine seems to work okay, but I only keep it half-full, since the storage speed sucks so bad (always has). And it basically comes to a complete stop if you have more than one application running at the same time (always has).

      Anyway, it’s basically my daughter’s gaming machine now – and my wife’s Crossy Road crackpipe…

      • raddude9
      • 5 years ago

      Same thing happened to me, but I fixed it by freeing up space (> 2GB). My Nexus 7 is running better than it was before now (apart from it having less usable free space of course).

      • UberGerbil
      • 5 years ago

      Indeed. My 2012 N7 was unusable after the upgrade to Lollipop. I was finally able to mitigate things by basically uninstalling anything was running in the background. Basically, if the app info had it listed as running a service, or if it ever brought up a top-bar notification, I uninstalled it. Yahoo Weather — gone. MLB At-Bat, nuked.

      Of course, doing that took almost forever when you had to wait several seconds for any touch to register, and then watch the screen visibly redraw (sometimes it actually timed out and turned off the display while I was waiting for one screen to finish drawing, which was pathetically hilarious).

      Once I did that things got significantly better. And the updates to 5.1 seem to have improved things also. But the only way I could make it useful was by basically uninstalling every app that made it useful, so… yeah. At this point, it’s a clock. If I didn’t already have an N7 2013 this experience would certainly have soured me on the whole Nexus concept. As it was I held off upgrading that thing until 5.1.x was out, just in case. (And I still don’t see what “Material Design” is supposed to be about — a few cosmetic changes plus a lot of UI rearrangement that forces me to do several additional touches just to achieve the same frequently-used functionality is not an improvement)

      • DarkMikaru
      • 5 years ago

      Agreed. My old Nexus 7 (1st Gen) HSPA+ 3G/4G started exhibiting the same issues. Sluggish as all get out!! However, after a bit of tinkering I found a way to get 90% of the performance back. I think it’s the fact that the flash in the 7 is so slow and only 512MB of Ram are the issues. If you do this, it’ll almost run like new.

      1) Settings -> Apps -> Downloaded. Go down the list of apps and “Force Stop” any and all that you don’t frequent often. You’ll be amazed at home much of a difference you’ll see immediately.

      2) In that same option area – clear the data and or cache as well. Keep in mind though, that if you clear the cache in your browsers you’ll have to put in passwords and log-in’s again so be mindful.

      3) Feel free to even “Disable” some apps if they fall into “I’m never going to use that” column.

      That should do it. Only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to keep disabled / forced stopped apps to stay that way. Because after you reboot all those changes go away. So I just make sure to leave it on/sleep. Any ideas guys?

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Alas, poor Nexus 7! I knew him well.

      • Peter.Parker
      • 5 years ago

      Too big or not too big, that is the question…

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        That’s what she…reflected on!?

          • willmore
          • 5 years ago

          Bro, do you even Shakespeare?

            • Peter.Parker
            • 5 years ago

            Sure, I shake my spear all the time!

    • trackerben
    • 5 years ago

    It wasn’t just the champion of sub-10″ Play-ready tablets, it was about the only one worth keeping.

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