Google announces thinner, lighter Nexus 7 with higher-res screen, arrives July 30th for $230

When we reviewed the Nexus 7 last summer, we said it was the best tablet $200 could buy. A year later, that still might be true if it weren't for the fact that there's a new Nexus 7 in town. One that's a bit better specced and a bit more expensive than the OG model. Today Google took the wraps off an updated version of its smaller tablet offering, this one also made by ASUS, which takes everything you know and love about the original and makes it just a little bit better. For one, the already-solid screen has been bumped to 1,920 x 1,200, giving the new Nexus a pixel density of 323 ppi. The 7-point touch IPS panel sports glass that's not only scratch resistant, but also fights off fingerprints and smudges (we'll believe that one when we see it). Of course, putting a stunning display on a device is pointless if you don't have the horsepower to serve up lots of smooth, high-quality content. So, Google gave the CPU a bit of a bump, moving to a 1.5GHz quad-core S4 Pro from Qualcomm that comes paired with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Oh, and all those wonderful new components should be well utilized by Android 4.3, the exciting (if incremental) OS update released alongside Google's new tablet.

In addition to NFC and 802.11n connectivity, ASUS and Google have baked in Bluetooth 4.0, thanks to Jelly Bean's new support for the standard (yippee!). There's also SlimPort support for pushing 1080p content to your TV. The front-facing camera remains just 1.2 megapixels, though, hopefully ASUS has moved to a higher-quality sensor. There's now a camera around back as well, a rather pedestrian 5MP shooter, but it should be good enough for scanning QR codes, performing image searches and taking the occasional YouTube clip of your cat/child/hedgehog/drunk celebrity. Despite all this, the latest version of the Nexus is a smidgen lighter at only 11.2 ounces (317.5g). It's significantly thinner too, at 0.3 inch (8.65mm), down from 0.41 inch (10.45mm). Even the bezels have been slimmed down, reaching an impressive 2.75mm on the sides. While the experiment with the Nexus Q might not have ended so happily, the focus on audio quality seems to have informed Google's efforts with the new Nexus 7. The tablet has a pair of stereo speakers, and Frauhofer worked with the companies to kick out top-notch virtual surround sound.

In less surprising news, there's also an unlocked LTE edition en route. What is curious, though, is that there will be only one such model, and the same device will work on AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon's 4G networks. The LTE edition comes with 32GB of storage and costs $349, though a firm release date has yet to be announced. As for the WiFi-only versions, the 16GB Nexus 7 will set you back $230, while the 32GB model weighs in at $270, and both will be available on July 30th from the Play store. They'll also be popping up at plenty of retailers like Staples and Best Buy; even Amazon will be selling it! Finally, as for regional availability, the new Nexus 7 will be launching in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Spain, with more countries "coming soon."