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The Nexus 7 Review: Google's First Tablet Gets Benchmarked

Testing The Nexus 7's IPS Display

LCD Performance (Background Info)

As its name suggests, the Nexus 7 employs a seven-inch screen. Putting it under our microscope confirms we're dealing with an IPS-based panel that's on par with competing displays. Unlike the Kindle Fire, Google's Nexus 7 boasts a 1280x800 resolution, putting it in the same league as larger 10.1” tablets like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus' Transformer Prime.

Of course, given its smaller screen, the Nexus 7 needs to pack pixels in more densely to enable the resolution of a larger screen.

SpecificationsScreen SizeResolutionPPI
Google Nexus 77”1280x800216
Amazon Kindle Fire7"1024x600169
Apple iPad 2 (3G)9.7"1024x768132
Apple iPad 3 (3G)9.7"2048x1536264
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.110.1"1280x800149

Well, now we know why the Nexus' screen looks so crisp. Using more pixels, LCDs can offer a wider range of colors and provide greater image detail. Check out Why We Need (Or At Least Want) HD Tablets... to understand how PPI corresponds with image detail.

Is the Nexus 7 on par with what we get from Apple's current-generation iPad? Uh, no. But it’s significantly better than just about any other tablet, including the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire.

Interestingly, the Nexus 7 is able to render about 50% of the Adobe RGB (1998) and roughly 73% of the sRGB gamuts. Compare that to the iPad 3, which gives us about 65% and 94%, respectively. Google's Nexus 7 delivers better overall color fidelity than competing tablets, except for the the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and iPad 3.

If you look at the 2D LUV gamut map, you see that Google’s tablet excels in red and blue production. That’s often a weak area for other tablets. However, compared to the Kindle Fire or Transformer Prime, the Nexus 7 falls short in highlights (bright colors), and it seems to be incapable of rendering rich green hues.

Overall, though, the Nexus 7 does offer an exceptional viewing experience. While gamma is a little low, color temperature is accurate at 6500 K. Google doesn’t use a very bright display, but the Nexus 7 still manages to achieve a ~1000:1 contrast ratio, which helps to offset a potential problem with plugged shadows.