The revamped Nexus 7 is more than just the next stock Android gadget offering from . It’s the company’s re-do of what it should have done right the first time. The search ( maps, mail, …) giant, with its ginormous, seemingly all-inclusive Android ecosystem, has finally entered the premium tablet market.

Easier to hold, faster than ever

The first thing I noticed about the new Nexus 7 is that, despite sharing the same name as its predecessor, it’s an entirely different product. The previous-generation Nexus 7 looks antiquated lying next to this shiny new toy. The new Nexus 7 is easier to hold—the bezel is 3mm thinner on each side, so you can comfortably cradle it in one h while using the other to grip the hrail on your train ride to work. One-hed use is much easier this time around, though I would have loved to see some sort of option to shift virtual buttons to the side of the screen where my thumb naturally falls. (’s Optimus UI implements this functionality in the dialer application on the company’s Optimus line of Android phones.) ditched Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor this time around, in favor of Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 o. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because this is the same processor that the -manufactured Nexus 4 hset contains, essentially making the new Nexus 7 a slightly bigger Nexus 4. The Nexus 7 certainly feels much faster than its predecessor. Games apps launch quickly multitasking between the Home screen Now is a cinch. I noticed some stuttering on relatively simple tasks like posting a photo to Facebook from the image gallery—but that could be the fault of the apps themselves. posits that its newly revamped Nexus 7 can support up to 9 hours of continuous use away from a charger. In our own battery tests, the Nexus 7 lasted 8 hours, 47 minutes on a single charge while repeatedly playing back a locally stored, high-definition video. That’s a bit less than what advertises, much less than the 10 hours, 12 minutes that last year’s Nexus 7 managed. rhaps the difference is due to the bigger battery pack lower-resolution screen on last year’s model. Though the Nexus 7’s battery life results are average for a tablet of its size, direct comparisons are difficult, as the id mini the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD don’t have high-resolution screens. If you were a fan of the last Nexus 7, you probably wished that had added a rear-facing camera to hle all of your Instagram-posting needs. ll, it’s finally here—but while the 5-megapixel camera is certainly capable, you won’t want to rely on it for vacation photos. otos taken at the stock Android camera app’s low-light setting came out too dark; better-lit photos are adequate for posting to the Internet, but not for archiving the days of your life. The Nexus 7 comes with a few other goodies, including an MHport, support for wireless charging, NFC capabilities. The new stereo speakers are a dramatic improvement, too. If you have big hs hold the device in lscape orientation, however, you might muffle the sound—which can be inconvenient when you’re trying to play a game or watch a movie without headphones. Annoyingly, the Nexus 7 doesn’t supply any expable storage, so you’ll have to opt for the priciest model— probably buy into some cloud storage, too—if you’re a media junkie.

g, that screen!

ether it’s dark in your house or very bright on the train, the Nexus 7’s new 1200-by-1980-pixel D display is quite a sight—literally. I was stunned to see a display of this caliber on a device priced at under $250. At 323 pixels per inch, the resolution makes for crisper text in apps like the Kindle ebook reader. At full brightness, last year’s Nexus 7 display looked dimmer than the new Nexus 7’s display, though the new colors on the new model seem a little oversaturated, like a bag of Skittles. In general, I enjoyed reading text more on this year’s Nexus 7 than on last year’s, thanks to its slimmer body brighter display.

Better than all the rest

Based on specs alone, the id mini has some work to do. Its current processor is a bit more dated than the one that new Nexus 7 runs on, the mini packs only 512MB of RAM. The mini’s display is bigger than the Nexus 7’s it features a different aspect ratio, but it’s not a Retina display, which gives the upper h. And whereas Apple’s 16GB id mini sells for $329, ’s Nexus 7 starts at $239, its 32GB variant costs only $30 more. If you need that much space on an id mini, Apple asks you to fork over an extra jamin. The only upside to Apple’s offering is its superior collection of tablet-optimized apps. The ay store is full of apps, but fewer of them are specifically made for tablets.

First with Android 4.3

The Nexus 7 is the first device in the Nexus family to use Android 4.3 lly Bean, an incremental software update with features like support for OpenGES 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0 support, the ability to restrict certain user accounts. That last capability might come in hy if you plan to buy this tablet for yourself your family. There aren’t many tablet-optimized applications available for Android yet, but is changing the way it showcases those particular apps, to make them easier to find. Beyond that, you’ll still have access to the applications that come with every stock Android device, including Gmail, Hangouts, Maps. You’ll also have access to ’s new stock camera application, which debuted in the ay editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 HTC One last month. Because it’s a Nexus device, this Nexus 7 will receive the most timely Android software updates, so you won’t have to worry about software fragmentation or getting left behind with an older version of Android.

Bottom line

I can’t help but feel a little trepidation. The previous-generation Nexus 7 had quite a few issues to contend with after its update to Android 4.2.2 lly Bean. If I let the battery die, the tablet wouldn’t turn on without a hard reset, the tablet became buggier slower to use over time. I hope this new Nexus 7 won’t suffer from those foibles—because if history repeats itself, will have to do much more next time around to rid us of our bad memories. The second-generation Nexus 7 offers strong features at an affordable price. If you’re a seasoned tablet user, whether you should buy this tablet will depend primarily on whether you are tied to ’s ecosystem. Still, this particular device can hold its own against any other 7-inch tablet currently available. At the moment, it has some of the best specs, a bright screen, a few other little goodies— it’s hardly a splurge. If you’re in the market for a 7-inch Android device, this is the one to get. Follow on Tumblr today.