Update: Google has released a firmware update that should fix the touchscreen problem. Find out how to get the fix HERE.
The Nexus 7 2 refresh was recently released by Google to strong reviews, but users have also begun to complain about a variety of hardware and software issues that are plaguing the tablet. The Nexus 7 2 has had users reporting problems involving loss of sensitivity with the multi-touch touchscreen display, a faulty GPS, lagging and unexpected rebooting.
Google employee Paul Wilcox has responded to the complaints, saying that Google is investigating the problems with the Nexus 7 2 and offering advice to users on how to possibly fix the problems. Fixes include starting the Nexus 7 2 in safe mode and uninstalling certain apps that could be causing issues. Some users have had their issues resolved, but others report continued problems. In response to questions about if there had been a higher number of issue reports with the release, Paul responded, "I've noticed a few more reports Keith; sales of the new Nexus 7 tablet have only just begun so we're closely monitoring for feedback."
Here are the three big problems being reported with the Nexus 7 2:
Nexus 7 2 Multi-Touch Touchscreen Problems
The Nexus 7 2 suffers from what many users have described as "phantom touches". According to The Verge, users have reported that the Nexus 7 2 is registering finger taps even when the user is not touching the screen. One user on reported, "I'm noticing intermittent bouts of erratic multi-touch on the Nexus 7 (2013) 16GB. I exchanged one device already hoping that it was a HW defect, but my second device behaves in exactly the same way. Chrome, Dolphin, web-view, maps (especially maps) will often jump all over the place during pinch-to-zoom. Sometimes it works fine, but too often, it jumps zoom levels erratically. Edit: This also manifests as double taps and/or "ghost taps" when using the keyboard."
In a video a user is using an app that tests muti-touch accuracy, the problems can clearly be seen that touch detection is prone to inaccuracy:
It is worth keeping in mind that not all Nexus 7 2 users are reporting these errors, but a significant amount are. There are multiple apps on the Google Play store that can help users tests for the problem (HERE). The errors with the touchscreen are being reported in both the Google forums and xdadevelopers forum where a user JayBomb999 reported that he exchanged 3 Nexus 7 2 devices over the issue and ultimately returned all of them.
To recap my experience:
First N7 had erratic multi-touch, stiff power button, keyboard and other touch screen issues. Exchanged.
Second N7 had a good power button, but the erratic multi-touch and keyboard issues were still present. Exchanged.
Third N7 had a perfect power button and no keyboard issues, but the erratic pinch to zoom was still present (though less severe). Returned.
Paul suggestion of using safe mode has not fixed the issue when it comes to the Nexus 7 2 touchscreen.
Nexus 7 2 GPS Problems
The Nexus 7 2 GPS is also encountering problems, raising troubling fears that there are both hardware and software defects in the recently released tablet. The GPS issues actually occurred earlier than the touchscreen problems for the Nexus 7 2. Last week users of the device started to report that the GPS was faulty, it would work correctly for some time, but eventually it would stop working. The GPS icon would start flashing continuously and was unable to be used. It sometimes fixed itself for a short period of time after being rebooted, but other users reported persistent issues. The GPS signal apparently gets a satellite lock and work for 10-30 minutes but then drop out and enter searching mode.
The Nexus 7 2 GPS problem could be caused by a bug in the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean firmware which has been reported to affect the Nexus 4 also. Google has acknowledged reports and said they are looking into it. We are inclined to think this is an Android 4.3 update problem based off reports by some users like Ed Kirstein who said, "Yes, mine goes out in 2 or 3 minutes. I reset to factory new and find that it works until the apps get updated (including maps and earth and others) and then it goes flakey. So, maybe they broke it with the last update." James Skivers says, "I reached out to Google Play Support for help and they stated that they are aware of the issue, that it was affecting N7 owners, and that engineering should be issuing a patch fix at some point... they were very vague on any details when asked for clarification."
Currently there is still no reliable fix that works for all users so we will have to wait for the Google support team to take a look at it. Apparently some users who complained about the problem have been given Nexus 7 2 replacements.
Nexus 7 2 Lagging And Rebooting Problems
One of the most serious Nexus 7 2 problems is that some users are experiencing constant lagging, freezes and unexpected reboots with the Nexus 7 2. Users are reporting that there are random freezes during use and restarts. It happens across a wide variety of apps and games without clearly being tied to any particular hardware or software problem. This might signal the most serious design defect not simply tied to an Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, though some users have reported that getting the update fixed it for them.
Here is Google's official response to the complaints so far:
I've seen a few of you have mentioned that you've experienced this problem even in safe mode or after resetting you new Nexus 7 tablets. In order to look further into this issue, we'd like to collect more information from those who have experienced this issue after installing the updates offered over-the-air to your Nexus 7s after you took them out of the box.
If your Nexus 7 (2013) is experiencing restarts or reboots, follow these instructions: https://support.google.com/nexus/contact/bugreport/?src=10184840
Note that it's very important to generate a bug report immediately after experiencing a reboot (as in, within seconds) otherwise the report won't capture the data about what caused the restart. For this reason I strongly recommend doing steps 2-7 listed at the above link so you're ready to quickly capture a bug report if your tablet reboots itself. We appreciate this information as we look into your reports.
(Note that this link is only valid for reports about restarts or reboots on the Nexus 7 (2013), not any other issue.)
Try starting your Nexus 7 in safe mode (instructions and info here) to test if any app you've installed is causing the problem. If you run the device for a good long time and don't experience any reboots while in safe mode that's a good indication that an app you've installed is the source of your issue.
If it does reboot even in safe mode I recommend contacting the place you purchased the device from and asking about warranty service. If you purchased it directly from Google please see this thread to learn about contacting the Google Play Support Team.
Currently, some Nexus 7 2 users are wondering whether to return their devices in favor of a Galaxy Tab 3 or upcoming iPad Mini 2. At this point it is too early to judge if this will be a crippling problem for Google. This has the potential to be a major issue for the Nexus 7 2 that could seriously dampen sales.
Some degree of problems are expected during the launch of a new device, but the Nexus 7 2 appers to be plagued by them. Just a look at the Google forums show that many users are having problems with the tablet. A defect rate is to be expected, but Google must work speedily to resolve problems for the early adopters and assure them that they will get replacement tablets. This isn't enough to kill the Nexus 7 2 yet, but if Google allows the situation to get away from them it could.
Are you still going to buy the Nexus 7 2 after hearing about these problems and issues with the hardware and software?