Before I jump into the performance testing, story time!
Having used my own Nexus 7 a lot I had a good idea of what to expect as far as living with a 7 inch tablet. Beyond the performance improvements the other big difference was not having to live WiFi to WiFi by having access to Verizon’s LTE network as we traveled. To put our trip into perspective we decided to drive down from northern Ohio, down to Florida, all around Florida, up to Nashville, then to the Corvette Museum, then back home. All told, it was around 2700 miles of driving over a week. On top of that we did a LOT of site seeing as we drove. I wasn’t really sure where the Nexus 7 would come in handy but on more than one occasion it really did. The biggest convenience for me right out of the hole was not having to bring a GPS with us, the GPS in the Nexus 7 2013 was more than capable of handling our trip and with having an internet connection it made on the fly changes and searches easy to do. Of course I was also able to check in on Foursquare as we traveled as well as take and upload my photos.
Having the Nexus 7 on me was great, but there was one specific situation that I was extremely happy to have the tablet on me. When we were heading back north driving towards Nashville we had the unfortunate timing to be coming back up as severe storms where coming through that area, specifically the storms that spawned a lot of tornadoes and caused a lot of damage and a few deaths. Knowing they were coming, we pulled up the radar as we drove and could keep a close eye on a large red section on the radar that was coming our way, with this information we were able to outrun that cell and get to our hotel safely. The last thing I want to do is be stuck in a bad storm with tornadoes, we were able to stay up to date while in the car, giving us the chance if we needed to stop somewhere safe before running into it on the highway.
Enough of story time though, we need to put the Nexus 7 2013 through our benchmark suite. Sadly, nearly half of our tests have updated in some way shape or form causing us to not be able to use our past data. I took that chance and updated our suite with a few new tests. As a gamer, I was curious to see how well this Nexus 7 would perform in games, gaming is one of the biggest uses of both my wife’s and I’s Nexus 7’s. In 3DMark, the 2013 model tripled the performance compared to the old model. This was still noticeably less than the Shield that is designed specifically for gaming and the LG G2. Performance was spot on with the Moto X and the MAXX that both have a similar CPU and GPU configuration as the Nexus 7 2013. Our T-Rex test was similar as well in performance. Although I don’t have numbers to compare to just yet, I did run the Nexus 7 2013 through a new test that benchmarks at a set resolution to take the tablets screen resolution out of the equation. The last benchmark below for render quality will help show us when manufactures are downgrading render quality to sneak in a little more performance at the cost of quality.
For CPU performance the Nexus 7 2013 actually performed lower than the original Nexus 7 in the Google Octane benchmark. In SunSpider the numbers were a little better having a noticeable improvement over the older Nexus 7 but its performance wasn’t impressive compared to the other devices I have tested over the past year.
Although I can’t directly compare the numbers from our previous battery test to this one. The Nexus 7 2013 does have a higher result, but this test is less demanding compared to the old one. Our previous test was running a game benchmark for the entire time where this test has a more accurate mix. Although the Nexus 7 2013 outperformed the LG G2, going off of this benchmark, the fact that the battery size on this model is smaller, and the official estimated talk times on both the older Nexus 7 and this model I think that the older Nexus 7 had slightly more battery life.
As I mentioned before, the rear-facing camera isn’t anything to special but it is more than enough to get the job done when you need it. As you can see from the photos below it does a great job outside and inside when there is a lot of light (like the museum lighting) but when you try taking low light photos you are going to have to work hard to get a good quality photo. With that said, I’m still ecstatic that they put a rear facing camera at all. It was great to be able to snapchat and use the Nexus 7 2013 for my photos. In the past I had to take photos with my phone then swap back to my gaming on the Nexus 7.
Last but not least, a peak at some of the network performance we experienced on our trip. Of all of the driving I only ran into reception issues when inside a few all metal buildings and in a 10 mile stretch through the mountains. Here is a screenshot of the network performance that I saw at a random location in Florida in between Daytona and Orlando (the location shown in the screenshot isn’t correct).