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We got our hands on Google’s new, 2013 edition of the Nexus 7, which the company unveiled yesterday. First impression: This is a worthy upgrade from last year’s model.

The most striking new feature is a stunning new screen, upping the resolution from 1,280 x 800 pixels to 1,920 x 1,200, for a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch. That makes images richer, curves smoother, fonts crisper, and color transitions more gradual. It’s comparable to Apple’s “Retina” display.

The new Nexus 7 also adds a rear-facing camera, which the old model lacked. It’s got a respectable 5 megapixel resolution (handy for Instagram fans who want to do more than taking selfies), while the front camera is still 1.2 megapixels.

Inside, it’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor running at 1.5GHz, with a 400MHz Adreno 320 graphics processor, and has either 16GB or 32GB of storage, depending on which model you buy. There’s 2GB of RAM for the apps to use.

The addition of optional 4G LTE wireless will be a welcome change for those who were disappointed by the original model’s Wi-Fi-only ways. (Google later added cellular data, but too late for those of us who bought the 2012 Nexus 7 early on.)

And there are a few cosmetic changes: The audio port has been relocated from the lower right to the upper right, the texture of the plastic back has been changed, and the speaker grille on the bottom is a subtler, flush design instead of the inset grille of the old model. Also, the silver-colored bezel around the outside edge is gone.

The volume buttons are still annoyingly right next to the power button, though.

The new Nexus 7 will sell for $230 and up when it goes on sale at the end of this month.


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