The Nexus 7 remains one of the best tablets on the market and the Nexus 7 LTE on Verizon Wireless combines always on connectivity with the Nexus 7 (review) we liked so much when the device arrived last year.
Google makes sure the Nexus 7 is running the latest version of Android and Verizon delivers access to the fastest and largest LTE network in the U.S for a combination that works really well.
For users coming from the first Nexus 7, the Nexus 7 (2013) that Verizon is selling is step up in design and in the display. Users will get a nice looking 1080P HD display and a thinner soft-touch design that feels like a major improvement from the first model.
Verizon sells about a dozen tablets including the iPad mini Retina, which is another thin tablet with a nice looking display that is still pocketable. For users comparing the iPad mini and the Nexus 7, there are distinct advantages for each device, but they are both among the best tablets Verizon sells.
At $249 on contract or $349 off the Nexus 7 LTE is affordably priced and a better option than some of the cheaper models sold by the carrier. The unlocked price is the same as the unlocked Nexus 7 on AT&T or T-Mobile from Google.
Nexus 7 LTE Design
The Nexus 7 LTE design is exactly the same as the WiFi only model that we reviewed last year. This device is thinner than the previous Nexus 7 with better looks and an improved feel to the soft back of the device that makes holding the Nexus 7 LTE for longer periods comfortable.
The Nexus 7 is slightly thicker than the iPad mini Retina, but not enough to sway a buyer one way or the other. The Nexus 7′s smaller screen allows for a narrower design that means it will fit easily in the back pocket of a pair of jeans while walking to a coffee shop or even just on the way to the car. The Nexus 7′s narrower design also makes it feel more like reading a paperback book while holding the device.
The video above compares the Nexus 7 (2013) with the Nexus 7 from 2012. The device in the video is the WiFi model, but there are now physical differences in the design.
Nexus 7 LTE Display
When it comes to the Nexus 7 display the 1920 x 1080 resolution delivers a very nice looking canvas to read, browse the web game and watch movies. The high-resolution and small screen mean users experience a display with pixels packed so close that it is not possible to see individual pixels while reading, looking at photos and watching movies.
When it comes to watching HD movies on Nexus 7 LTE users can enjoy HD streaming from Netflix and from the Google Play Store. Other apps like HBO Go also work on the Nexus 7. After watching SkyFall in Netflix on the Nexus 7 LTE the display remains an impressive feature of this affordable device.
Nexus 7 LTE Connectivity & Performance
The Nexus 7 LTE allows us to connect anywhere without looking for a coffee shop or draining smartphone battery life by using a mobile hotspot. In areas with good coverage the Nexus 7 achieves impressive LTE Speeds of 20Mbps down and 7.84Mbps up. This is fast enough to stream HD movies and to download large files, though users can easily burn through limited data plans.
While testing the Nexus 7 at the office in a poor coverage area the speeds dipped to 3G levels, but users are likely to connect to WiFi in these locations. Because LTE speeds and coverage vary greatly it is a good idea to see how Verizon coverage is in the places you plan to use the Nexus 7 before picking a carrier.
Inside the Nexus 7 LTE is equipped with the same 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor and 2GB of as the WiFi only model. This is not the newest processor, but it is powerful enough to deliver a snappy user experience with quick app switching and loading. When it comes to playing games users can still enjoy nice looking graphics on top Android games.
Two speakers on the rear edges are part of the new design, and they deliver better sounding audio than the original Nexus, but still send the audio away form the user. Thanks to a new piece of software users can enjoy improved sound and a virtual surround sound experience that is not going to beat a home theater, but a nice touch for a small tablet.
Nexus 7 LTE Battery Life
The Nexus 7 LTE battery life is listed at 9 hours of active use like the WiFi only model. This is a little generous for use on LTE, but we still enjoyed 7-8 hours of user on the Nexus 7 in a single charge. The Nexus 7 LTE is much better than the old Nexus at staying charged when in standbye mode, but not as good as the iPad mini Retina. If we leave both tablets untouched on a stand for a week, the iPad mini will still be running while the Nexus 7 is out of juice. The Nexus 7 LTE also includes Qi wireless charging for easier charging without plugging in a cable.
Nexus 7 LTE Cameras
Users can take photos and videos with the Nexus 7 LTE cameras and can use Google Hangouts and Skype to video chat with friends and family. The cameras are nice in a pinch, but won’t replace a smartphone or a point and shoot for taking photos of someone. A Sample Nexus 7 (2013) video is above and images are below.
The Verizon Nexus 7 LTE ships with Android 4.4.2, the latest version of Android and thanks to changes to Android apps since our original Nexus 7 (2013) review apps like HBO Go and others now work on the Nexus 7. We expect to see a new version of Android this summer at Google I/O in June and Nexus devices are normally first in line for updates. We could see a slight delay for the LTE version on Verizon as the carrier likes to test updates longer than competitors in many cases.
The Nexus 7 LTE on Verizon Wireless delivers a great user experience and is one of the best tablets the carrier offers with 4G LTE connectivity. Some users will prefer the look of the iPad mini but the Nexus 7 LTE is a good choice and a good value at $249 on contract with 32GB of storage.