Disappointed that your front-facing Nexus 7 camera only captures images in low, VGA resolution? Cast your sad feelings aside, because it’s relatively simple to enable high-definition, 720p support on the Google tablet. The hardware was always capable, but is limited by software; specifically, it lacks a few lines of code that enables a higher-quality video capture profile.
I found the steps at the always helpful XDA Developers site by way of Liliputing. While the fix is easy, you’ll need to have root access to your Nexus 7 in order to modify the media_profiles.xml file. Out of the box, this file only has a profile for 640 x 480 video capture, even though the 1.3 megapixel is far more capable: A 1280 x 720 image, for example, is only 0.92 megapixels. Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is also plenty powerful enough to handle high-definition video capture.
Once you make the modification, you should have much higher-quality video capture from the Nexus 7 camera. Here’s a sample after the change; be sure to watch in 720p mode. A capture of the same scene before the changes can be seen here for comparison.
It’s rather unfortunate that the Nexus 7 doesn’t have a rear-facing camera because even with this software tweak, you’re limited to the front camera. But I’ll likely still make the change on my own Nexus 7 even though I don’t use it to capture video. The tweak will come in handy for my daily video chats on the small slate.