With the Google Nexus 7 coming soon to India, we can look at its competition, i.e. some of the tablets that have been recently launched in the country. The refreshed Nexus 7 has great specs and has been priced attractively, but there are other factors in the equation too. Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 has the much-touted software features, while Asus’s recently-refreshed Fonepad has an attractive price tag and the ability to be used as a phone for voice calling. So, will the Nexus 7 come out on top when it hits India or will the competition get the better of i? Let’s find out.

The new Nexus 7

The new Nexus 7

The New Google Nexus 7  vs Asus Fonepad
The fact that both tablets have been made by Asus won’t ease the competition. The company recently upgraded its Fonepad tablet and now the Intel-powered slate has a faster processor and enhanced storage of 32GB. Right off the bat, the Fonepad has one leg up on the Nexus 7, which will most likely be launched in a 16GB avatar in India. Tablets are fast becoming the go-to option for media consumption on the go and the extra storage will certainly help Fonepad get more interest.

But where the Nexus 7 will have the advantage is the display and the processor. The WUXGA (1920×1200) resolution of the Nexus 7 is miles ahead of the 1280×800 resolution panel on the Fonepad. And the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor should best the Intel Atom Z2460 processor in benchmarks as well as power management. The Nexus 7 also has double the RAM (2GB) and the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Fonepad has voice calling

Fonepad has voice calling

One major advantage for the Fonepad is the fact that it has voice calling, which seems to be a popular spec point for many tablet buyers. Another point in the Fonepad’s favour is the larger battery – 4,270 mAh vs the Nexus 7’s 3950 mAh battery. Both are rated for 10 hours of use, but we think real world experience will be different and the lower resolution and the (relatively) under-powered processor will help the Fonepad.

In terms of design, there’s not much separating both tablets, but the dimensions of the Nexus 7 (200 x 114 x 8.6mm) are more suited for one-handed handling than the Fonepad (196.4 x 120.1 x 10.4 mm) since the Google tablet is narrower and thinner. The matte black back of the Nexus 7 will also be more palatable to all tastes than the Fonepad’s champagne gold and silver trims.

The battery life and the extra storage on the Fonepad could sway some users, but the Nexus 7 has the edge here thanks to more powerful hardware, the latest software, the better display, and a sleek design (on paper at least).

The New Google Nexus 7 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 310
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 310 is one of the two 8-inch models in the company’s portfolios. The Tab 3 311 has 3G as well as WiFi, while the 310 is a Wi-Fi-only affair. The Tab 3 311 is priced at Rs 25,725, which will put it slightly beyond the Nexus 7’s expected price range of Rs 18,000 – Rs 20,000. For the sake of this comparison we will pick the Tab 3 310, which will fit the ballpark range thanks to its price of Rs 21,945.

The 8-inch tab has a bigger display, which is always a plus point, but comes with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which once again pales in comparison to the Nexus 7. It is 7.4 mm thin though and as such is slimmer than the Google slate. This one runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, just one rung below the Android 4.3 on the Nexus 7.

The Galaxy Tab 3 311 is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1.5GB RAM. This is comparable to the Nexus 7’s 2GB of RAM, but the Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset in the Nexus device provides more muscle. One great advantage for Samsung is that the Tab 3 comes with 16GB internal memory that can be expanded by up to 64GB with a microSD card. This is simply not possible on the Nexus 7.

Samsung's 8-inch Tab 3 is very similar in design to recent Samsung smartphones

Samsung's 8-inch Tab 3 is very similar in design to recent Samsung smartphones

The Samsung tablet sports a 5MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front camera. The Nexus 7’s back camera has the same megapixel count and performance should be more or less in the same territory. The front-facing camera on the Nexus 7 is a slightly lower 1.2-megapixel unit, but we reckon the slight difference won’t be noticeable in video calls.

The battery of the Nexus 7 once again comes up short and this could be a real problem area for the tablet as we are seeing smaller tablets come with large battery these days. The Samsung device has a healthy 4450 mAh battery and coupled with the lower resolution display and the dual-core processor, the battery should ideally be much better than the Nexus 7’s.

Samsung has been touting its software offerings ever since the Galaxy S3 and this time the Tab 3.0 benefits from some of them. Users will get My Offers, which alerts them to the best local offers from more than 350 brands and 25,000 merchants in India, 25 edutainment games, 20 HD games, the My Music app that gives access to 500,000 songs, and the My Movies app for streaming trailers, videos and movies from over 2,000 catalogues. In addition, the Multi-Window feature on the tablet allows users to work on two apps simultaneously. Another feature, Pop up Video, allows a small video window to be played over any other app or screen, while the Smart Stay feature follows the user’s eyes to keep the screen on as long as it is being watched. These are all Samsung exclusives and will not be found on the Nexus 7 (unless you go looking for third-party apps).

Those who are invested in the Samsung scheme of things will feel right at home with the 8-inch Tab 3 because its design follows the same language as the Galaxy S4 and any other 2013 Samsung phones. But the physical home button and capacitive keys might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially on a tablet. The on-screen buttons of the Nexus 7 are definitely more conventional.

On paper, we would give this win to the Nexus 7 based on specs alone, but Samsung’s software innovations have been received better than most people thought so that’s still an edge for the Korean company.

Sadly enough, there's no release date

Sadly enough, there's no release date for this Nexus yet

The verdict
The new Nexus 7 bests the Asus Fonepad in terms of specs, but the Tab 3 has Samsung’s strong marketing muscle and software innovations in its favour, despite the lower specs. Not to mention, the refreshed Nexus 7 is not yet available in India, while both these tablets are and that head-start in the market is an advantage that cannot be denied. We would say that the 8-inch Tab 3 will be the strongest competition for the new Nexus 7 and this is still an open game.

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