NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- One year after the original, Asus and Google (GOOG - Get Report) once again partnered to create a new Nexus 7 tablet. In brief, my testing has found that it's the best tablet in its class and I strongly recommend it, especially the upcoming SIM-unlocked LTE version.
However, Google and Asus could have added an even better Nexus 7 version if they had just read the market demand correctly. I will tell you how shortly.
But first, what about the Nexus 7 as it is? Physically, it happens to be the market's most well-designed seven-inch tablet, for two main reasons:
1. It's narrow, with minimal bezels on the left and right sides -- although the upper and lower bezels are anything but narrow. This shape makes the Nexus 7 into the iPhone 5 of tablets, in terms of how easy it is to hold in one hand.It also would have made the Nexus 7 suitable as a phone -- but more about that later. 2. It's got a very grippy rubbery backside, stretching around the edges. This is key for any handheld device: It must not be slippery! It's remarkable that most device makers frequently miss this. Asus and Google didn't miss, this time. Then you combine these superior physical traits with the market's best display of its kind right now, 1200x1920 in this seven-inch size. The result? A display doesn't get much better than this. Under the hood, the specs are largely similar to last November's Nexus 4: Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon CPU, Adreno 320 graphics, two gigs of RAM, and it comes in 16- and 32-gig storage versions. Basically, one of the fastest tablets on the market. Software-wise, the one new thing that sets the Nexus 7 apart by virtue of the new Android 4.3 OS is its ability to have multi-user accounts. I've been calling for this on tablets since at least this article published March 15, 2010: Well, although a very mild version of multi-user login was introduced with Android 4.2 less than one year ago, the new version in 4.3 improves the situation materially. You can now not only add additional user accounts, but also restrict each of them just like you can do on most PCs. This is long overdue, and well ahead of what iOS offers right now.