Nexus 7 Review

I decided it was time to get a tablet, and after doing some research, I settled on a Google Nexus 7. I got it to read books, web browsing, videos and email. This Nexus 7 review is about how I use it and what I think of it.

I chose the Nexus 7 32GB with Wi-fi.

Interface and Interaction

There are two aspects to talk about in this Nexus 7 review: the physical device and the software interface.  This is a 7-inch tablet which have some characteristics that differ from other tablet or phone sizes.  When thinking about if a 7-inch tablet is for you, you should think about how you are going to use it.

What I like to do with my tablet:

  • read books and magazines
  • quick emails
  • videos when traveling
  • quick web browsing
  • My kids like to play games on it – this is not a criteria, but a reality.

Physical Interface and Interaction

nexus7The first thing to mention is that it fits in my hand nicely.  The 10-inch tablets are not bad, but this is comfortable.  I read reviews that said the lighter weight of the 7-inch tablet makes a difference when reading.  Well, it is true.  Neither are heavy, but the 7-inch tablet is very nice when reading.

I travel a fair amount and like to watch movies on the plan in the hotel.  I find the Nexus 7 to be a great movie device on the plane.  In a cramped economy seat, the iPad is almost too big.

Software Interface and Interaction

I’m not sure what generation to call these devices, but they are in the 4th or 5th iteration   Thus, all of the tablets are pretty nice to use.  Yes, you need to get used to a few things and there are differences between versions, but it is easy to use.  It passes the kid test with ease and I have no problems with it.  The fact that I don’t think about it much says the most.

The one area that my iPad was nicer is with the media library experience.  With Android, there is no native media library.  You are also not locked into a specific format.  My Nexus 7 plays everything I throw at it, but I browse by file name.  No big deal.  Thumbnails are nice, but you don’t see them when the video is playing.

Key Features

I’ve grown to like tablets for their simplicity and convenience.  They are instant on for the most part and take up little space. I never have problems on the plane with them, but it is reare I can pull out my laptop with the seat in front of me reclined.

Good Screen

I came from an iPad first generation, so I had experience with tablets.  They really are consumer, or reading devices.  Thus, a good screen is obviously important.  When you spend most of your time consuming content, the better the screen the better your eyes will feel and the better things will look.

The screen isn’t brilliant in the sun, but I sit outside in San Diego and read fairly often.  Yes, we do get bright sun here on occasion, so I would not deduct any points for the screen.

Android OS

No, I am not an Apple fanboy.  I’ve spent too much time troubleshooting restrictions on Apple devices.  Yes, they are nice.  The OS is simple, but their model is to lock in on a proprietary format for everything and leverage one of the worst bloat apps ever; iTunes.  Android OS has its short comings, but it works well and doesn’t complain when I want to do simple things like add content.

By definition, the Nexus devices have the lates version of the OS.  That is a little odd, but the fact that Android has fragmented is an issue for the OS.  Always having the latest version is nice.

Apps

This is not a review of apps or the Android app store (Google Play), but I should point out that I have not had any issues with apps.  Every time there is one that I’ve thought I wanted, I was able to find it.  Game are smooth and fast and things work well.  I’m sure there are bad apps out there, but look again at what I want this thing for.  Kindle is stable, the browser is stable and email is stable.  I don’t push it hard or need to.

Size

I went back and forth on getting a 10″ or 7″ tablet for a long time.  After some time with it, I am very happy about the size.

Reading a book with a 7″ tablet fits in my hand nicely.  I didn’t think this would be as nice as it is, but it does work out well.

10″ on a plane can be a bit obnoxious.  You are not far from your neighbor, and you’ve got a screen bigger than most planes give you.  I am not watching inappropriate moveis or anything, but I am watching movies I haven’t seen.  You never know what will come up.

Cost

Is this a feature?  I don’t know but it is a selling point coming in hundreds less than the proprietary competitor with lesser hardware.

Features I Didn’t Need

The Nexus 7 doesn’t have every feature.  And candidly, I don’t need them all.  Here are some I don’t use or don’t miss.

  • 3G/4G – I’ve got my phone for mobile data and I don’t need to be connected all the time. I have not had a situation where I wished I had mobile data in my tablet.  When mobile, my phone works just fine.
  • Camera – the Nexus 7 does have a front facing camera, but I haven’t used it.  I have not wanted a rear facing camera either.  My phone does that well.

Details and Specifications

From Google play:

SCREEN

7″ 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning® glass

CAMERA

1.2MP front-facing camera

SIZE

198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm

WEIGHT

340g

WIRELESS

WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
NFC (Android Beam)

MEMORY

32 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
1 GB RAM

USB

Micro USB

BATTERY

4325 mAH (Up to 8 hours of active use)

CPU

NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor

SENSORS

Microphone
NFC (Android Beam)
Accelerometer
GPS
Magnetometer
Gyroscope

Pros and Cons of Nexus 7

I am very happy with my Nexus 7.  Ultimately, this is a very worth buy particularly if you are looking for a reading device comfortable in your hand.

Cons

  • Battery life could be better – after months of use, sometimes an app will drain it down, but it is easy to find the culprit
  • It may be small for some scenarios and some people
  • The media library experience isn’t the best – basically a file browser and a third party player, but it plays movies just fine.
  • No SD slot – plenty of memory so far, but some of the competition have them

Pros

  • Screen resolution for size is great.  This translates to easier reading.
  • 7″ size is great for reading e-books.
  • Fast
  • Nexus means most up to date android OS
  • Cost – no brainer great value

Conclusion

I think I am sold on the 7″ tablets for how I want to use them.  When it comes to work and other activities, I am likely going to fire up the laptop anyway.  This is easy to use and I’ve had relatively few complaints (battery could be better).

This device may not fit every situation, but what does?  If you want to sit outside and read, it is great.  Same for web browsing and email.  Photo and video editing?  Nope, you need a real machine for that.

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