Has Your Nexus 7 Been Slowing Down? Could Cheap Memory be the Cause?

| June 19, 2013 | 35 Replies

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Do you have a Nexus 7? If you’re reading this website, there’s a good chance that you’re doing so on a Nexus 7, the “cheap” tablet from Google that broke out last year and upset the likes of Amazon and Apple. In fact, since the Nexus 7 was released, the 7-inch tablet market has grown and there are more players than before, yet none of them have managed to match that incredible sweet-spot of pricing and performance. Or at least, not like the Nexus 7 has anyway. I love my Nexus 7, and I use it on a daily basis to do a lot of the things I would have done with my Chromebook or on the PC. I check my e-mail, check the news, read books, read magazines and more on my Nexus 7. We’re sure that you guys out there have found some pretty cool uses for your Nexus 7s.

The price of this Google tablet was perhaps the biggest draw for most of us but, it’s looking like this low price tag might not be doing us any favors in the long run. For some time now, there has been reports of the Nexus 7 getting slower and slower over time, our staff can attest to this and I myself, have noticed my Nexus 7 showing some signs of age. One thing that has always bugged me about the Nexus 7, is the incredibly long time the tablet takes to rotate – is this just me?

Well, there’s word that the cheaper memory used in the Nexus 7 could well be the root cause of these issues, and it’s this memory that’s causing our Nexus 7s to show some signs of premature aging. There are varying reports of just what the issue could be – some of you reading this might have come across them yourselves – some say it’s a definite bug in the memory controller from Samsung, that happens when the internal memory reaches below 3GB. Others report that this is a localized ASUS issue and that the same thing happens on the Transformer line of Android tablets as well. Then there is, of course, the possibility that this is just another long-standing bug in Android itself.

The fact of the matter is that solid-state memory is not built to last, or at least not all of it. Not all solid-state memory is built to last for great lengths of time and the memory used in the Nexus 7 could well be only designed to meet a certain price point and not to last for a decent amount of time.

We know that there are smarter people than us out there when it comes to app development, hardware, specs etc etc. So, what I’d like to do is ask the audience, I want users Nexus 7 users, ASUS Transformer users (I’d like specifically those of the Prime, Infinity and TF300 variety, please) to shout out in the comments. Tell us whether you think it’s the memory controller from Samsung, if it’s an ASUS issue, an Nvidia problem or just an Android bug. That way, we can see what the most common cause of this problem could be. Also, shout out in the comments if you have a fix – even if it’s a placebo – we’d love to hear from you.

Category: Android Tablet News

About Tom Dawson ()

For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, I grew up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles and have been using Linux for years now. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I've loved every minute of it. As a big reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android and technology as a whole.
  • Roland Davison

    Whilst difficult for me to say if my NEXUS 7 performance has actually deteriorated, despite it being active and used for up to 16 hours per day, I really do wonder if Jelly Bean is a culprit, here? The question of longevity of solid-state components has been in the back of my mind, for some time, but with little reseach so far, out there, to go on, it is difficult to demonstate any conclusive results in performance.

    However, I have been using a two year old Chinese Tablet running ICS, through an HDMI cable regularly, and have experienced absolutely no issues at all.

    Definitely food for thought before we start salivating about Key Lime Pie.

  • Seb

    My Nexus 7 only lags after being on for a month or so without a restart. Why not try that?

    • http://androidheadlines.com/ Tom Dawson

      Here at AH, we’ve tried reboots – we do that often – and some of us have even done full factory resets to no avail.

      • Damon Jacobsen

        The rumor with the transform line is that a backup, factory reset 3x, then restore solves the slow down caused by ICS. I have yet to try this, but will do so this weekend.

        • Erik jensen

          and the result?

      • Jeffery L

        When I first got my nexus 7 it ran as smooth as butter. I showed it off taunted my wife and her apple devices. After 9 months of use and trying every trick in the book it runs like a sluggish 2002 piece of tech surely not something built in 2012 with very nice specs. Should we really have to wait for the keyboard to respond when the system decides it wants to bog down for no plausible reason? My android love fades more each day.

    • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

      Many people that are “tech geeks” like everyone here at AH, know that reboots or restarts fix most problems. I’ve restarted my Nexus 7 many times and it doesn’t really fix the problem.

  • BlueHawk

    Have you tried LagFix from the Google Play?

    • Chris Grey

      ^^ Requires root.

      • TheRealTachyon

        So?

        • Marvin The Paranoid Android

          Voids the warranty, even if the process is almost foolproof.

          • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

            And you can’t unroot? By now your warranty is just about up anyways.

  • Inse van houts

    My nexus 10 is also very slow, from the beginning: the screen takes a few seconds to turn on, rotation is extremely slow, freezes very often… I don’t know what the problem is, I hope android klp or 4.3 will fix it.

  • Adam McGrath

    I kind of think that it could be various apps bogging the system down. When I do a factory reset, it is pretty fast with nothing on it. But as I add more and more apps, it gets slower and slower. My explanation is like how you put a book in your hand, then another, then another. Before long, your arm gets really tired and crashes from the weight of all the books. It can’t move, it can’t do anything until you remove all the books. I don’t know much about computers, but that is the analogy I like.

    • jfwick

      Divide your many apps between multiple User segments to prevent overload. It is fast and easy to switch between Users who are all still you. Trash a User that slows down and add a new User with fewer apps you really use.

  • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

    I really started noticing my Nexus 7 lagging a few days ago. Just playing Beach Buggy Blitz, it was lagging in Gameplay

  • David

    I downloaded Forever Gone from the Play store and ran that. Saw a post on XDA about it. Seems to fix my issue. No factory reset required.

    • Chris Grey

      I call placebo on this. You don’t need to overwrite on a solid state drive which is what this application does.

  • Ryan Phelps

    Find a recently purchased one and compare the performance. Be mindful of the apps installed.

  • Barry

    Mine was always fast till I added my partner as an additional user, then it started lagging… For me I think it just needs 2GB over 1GB of RAM.

    • http://androidheadlines.com/ Tom Dawson

      I’m starting to think that as well. I often have a number of apps open at any one given time, killing some off seems to help. Although I’m not a super-excessive user of my N7 anyway. It’s mostly YouTube, Netflix, and whatever I’m reading at the moment, be that web-based or from one of the apps.

      • Chris Grey

        A lot of this would be resolved if more effort was put into pushing on with HTML5. Why should you need multiple applications for Netflix and YouTube? All it does is mean devices are clogged up running multiple processes when it could just be running a single one- your browser. Few applications offer anything above the mobile web versions either. I positively preferred the mobile browser version of Google Reader until I had to sack it off due to Microsoft canning it.

    • Madox

      Yup I feel the same, ever since I added another user it lags especially after switching profiles.

  • http://atulmy.com/ atulmy

    Its not just Nexus7/tabs, even phones starts to lag after period of time. To me it seems the OS issue. Maybe Android ain’t able to manage those junk of so many free apps we put daily.

  • Rob

    My nexus 7 is slowing down (I’ve always assumed it’s memory), however I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks my htc one s is doing the same thing. It’s about the same age.
    I saw a post from somebody who said they factor reset their nexus 7 every 3 months to get around this issue.

  • Chris Grey

    This article seems a little confused. Memory, RAM, might cause a slow down, but it is unlikely the solid state storage would, which seems to be what is being referred to here.

    Yes solid state storage has fewer write cycles than traditional HDDs but even the heaviest usage on the cheapest drives wouldn’t cause any problems.

    I’d suggest a factory reset for anyone suffering slowdown. It is massively more likely to be some bloatware that you have installed that is causing the problem rather than a hardware issue. My Nexus is singing along after 6 months of heavy daily use.

    • http://androidheadlines.com/ Tom Dawson

      Hi,

      I’m reporting what else is out there as well as some of my own knowledge as well. Let’s say that ASUS bought the absolute cheapest NAND chips they could find, okay? So each and every time you load an app (that is installed to this NAND storage) it has to go into memory (RAM) the slower it does that, the more pronounced the “lag” will be. It’s perhaps essentially the same thing as loading a PC game into RAM from a 5400rpm, 7200rpm or an SSD.

      If ASUS had used really low-quality chips for storage, then I could definitely foresee some degradation happening a lot faster than your average SSD.

  • Frederik

    I have this issue on my Transformer TF700T, but it’s had poor (multitasking) performance from the start. I originally attributed it to ASUS’s non-uninstallable bloatware, but it persisted even after switching to CyanogenMod. LagFix does help a lot, and Seeder might, though I’m not sure about the latter. People on XDA claim that this is due to ASUS’s use of low-throughput memory. I think that is more likely than the memory failing. People accumulate apps over time that run background services and this could explain the progressive nature of the problem. I run Greenify to shut down as many background processes as possible.

    I think the bottom line is ASUS just builds crappy tablets. I’m sad to say because I really like the Transformer concept, but it is very unlikely I will buy another. My TF700T cost $499 excluding the dock, so that’s a lot more regrettable than that $200 N7…

  • Mike

    Riiiight. Android OS is perfect; its file and data management can’t possibly be the cause of this. It’s got to be some metal part that somehow decided to start goofing after 6 months of use. Dude, I am not Android hater – I have it – and I see this problem on other devices, too – it can’t be all phones and tablets have “cheap memory”.

    • http://androidheadlines.com/ Tom Dawson

      As I’ve said further up, I’m reporting what’s out there – as others are. Personally, I’ve been using Android for years, on a number of different devices and I’ve never experience this sort of degradation in a piece of hardware.

      My One X has a Tegra 3 inside it, the same CPU as the N7, and I haven’t experience this sort of loss in performance.

      • Mike

        Right. Because, they haven’t screwed up memory management until the latest version. Yes, I’m talking about Android.

        Just to clarify: using Android “for years” can be up to 5 [years] – because version 1 was released in September 2008. The expression of “doing something for years” sometimes sound a lot longer than 5. So, I wanted to make sure somebody doesn’t read that as 20, or something.

        And, again, I think that Android devs broke something. I hope it doesn’t start going towards similar direction that Firefox took (because its memory leaks are obvious for close to 2 years now, and devs are not doing anything about it). And, yes, “memory leaks” are what slows down the operating system.

        And, for the record, in layman terms, a “memory leak” refers to a situation when memory reserved by an application is never released back to the OS, so OS eventually runs out of it, and then it starts using backup space such as page files on the hard-drive, which is slower. In that case, the offending app is said to have a “memory leak”. Parts of operating system can also have memory leaks. Do not associate words “application” and “app” in this paragraph to “Android apps” (think of it as “software”).

  • TheRealTachyon

    I doubt it’s Asus’ fault directly. If there are in fact cheaper components in the N7, it’s unfortunately Google’s fault for setting such a low benchmark for pricing on the N7. Given the price point compromises had to be made. I don’t see why anyone should be complaining.
    That said, N7 users should be trimming their memory manually or using Lagfix. This would help keep responsiveness up and also prolong the life of the flash storage.
    Just make sure you make sure your device doesn’t have a brickbug affected memory controller before you run Lagfix.

    • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

      Lagfix works, but not for long. I used it and it only fixed the lag for about 15 minutes. It’s really a shame. But then what do you expect from a $199 tablet?

  • jfwick

    Test being 2nd User before a factory reset for touch and slow response problems. Google will not remember your apps and your problems as a 2nd User. It worked for me.

    • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

      What does that have to do with this article?