You can get used to uncomfortable ergonomics or bad design but you can never get used to a mediocre display. I’m not sure if there is a biological reason behind this but it has held true for me at least. The display is the single most important aspect of any mobile computing device in my opinion, be it a laptop or a smartphone. The bigger the screen gets, the more the emphasis on its quality. Last year, the Nexus 7 was unveiled with a 7-inch panel with 1280 x 800 resolution resulting in a PPI of 213; quite excellent for its time. The rest of the display however was quite mediocre, befitting of a $200 tablet.
The new Nexus 7 however completely changes things. The panel still measures 7-inch in diagonal but now has a staggering 1920 x 1200 resolution with 10-point multitouch. That’s 323PPI. That’s nearly the same pixel density as the iPhone 5. Compare this to the iPad 4 which has a ‘Retina Display’ with 264PPI and you’ll get an idea of the level of sharpness here. And sharp is what this display is. Try as you might but there is no individual pixel to be seen here.
Brightness and contrast levels have received a significant boost from last year as well. In fact this is the brightest tablet screen I’ve ever used, beating the likes of iPad 4 and simply decimating the older Nexus 7. This is further helped by the fact that there is no longer the terrible dynamic brightness at play here. You will still notice it a bit here and there but it’s a marked improvement from last year’s model. The increased brightness is certainly helpful outdoors since the glass used to cover the display is quite reflective.
The IPS panel underneath the glass covering is of significantly higher quality than the older version. Where the colors were previously quite muted, they’re nice and punchy without being over saturated here. It’s a pity though that Google choose to bundle awful wallpapers with the tablet that really don’t do the display any justice. Choose the correct one, or play a HD movie and watch what this screen is capable of. It’s pretty evident that special care was taken into the calibration of this display.
To sum it up this is simply the best display available on any tablet at the moment. If the rest of the specs of the tablet were kept the same as the old Nexus 7, the newer one would be a worthy upgrade simply by virtue of its display alone, it is just that big of an improvement. More than that I hope this sets off a precedent in the tablet market where the display is no longer compromised.