Kindle Fired: Nexus 7 Hands On, And Yeah We Like It….
So recently Google (manufactured by Asus ) came out with it’s very own tablet and took the full fledge plunge into the hardware business. Announcing the little tablet at Google IO (along with it’s odd ball cousin the Nexus Q) and then promptly putting it up for pre-order this bad boy is selling like hot cakes and Larry, Eric and Sergey are taking their victory lap and while they are doing that I’m enjoying what is fast becoming my favorite Android device. So let’s get into my thoughts on the Nexus 7 after taking about three days to play around with it and put it through it’s paces.
Taking the Nexus 7 out of it’s multi-colored box for the first time the first thing one notices is how nice it feels in the hand the plastic leatherish texture back (sorry I don’t know what to call it) is a nice touch and it certainly makes the tablet look premium despite it’s very low price. In terms of build quality it’s a solidly built tablet and feels more substantial than my old Tegra 2 10 inch despite being much lighter and obviously smaller in size. The screen 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi) and the tablet weighs in at 340 grams which is 11.9931 ounces. Certainly light enough to be comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The form-factor makes the tablet accessible to the hands and I was impressed by the viewing angles overall. The Tablet works particularly well in landscape mode for games. Let’s just say it’s very thumb friendly. Interestingly Google opted to put the tablet in it’s vertical orientation by default though this issue has been remedied with various launchers most notably Nova and MoDaCo. Noticeably absent from the design is a rear facing camera and in my opinion good riddance it’s hardly needed on a tablet though some would consider this a gripe if given the option I would have gone with the camera less model for less money. The reason being is on the aforementioned Tegra 2 tablet that I own I used the camera a total of 8 times maybe. Camera are not that useful on tablets though a 7 inch tablet does make the idea of a rear facing camera slightly more appealing. The front facing camera is sufficient, though I’m not writing any letters home, (more details on that below). The volume rocker and power button are on the right side of the tablet near the top where they should be. They are slightly recessed which makes the built in screen shot thing really hard to do on the fly but that’s a minor gripe as you can see on my EVO LTE hands on I complained about how easy the volume rocker was to hit. You can’t have it both ways I suppose. Flipping the tablet over will display the beautiful black texture back (for the retail version anyway io versions are in white) which has the Nexus logo etched in it and micro holes that add to the look and feel. The speaker is the base of the tablet near the micro usb port (YAY) where you of course charge the tablet.
The Display is 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi) as I mentioned earlier. My beloved EVO 4G LTE has 312 ppi and further camparison the iphone 4 S has 326. I mention that to say the IPS display on the Nexus 7 is nothing to shake a stick at. The color accuracy was more to my liking than my super lcd on my evo which has a tendacy to blow colors into Disney mode and make them look less realistic. However the IPS display is inferior to the super lcd 2 on my EVO. Bang for the buck is what you get. The screen on the Nexus 7 gets no complaints from me or my wallet. The glass on the display is manufactured by Corning and is scratch resistant though it’s important to note that it is NOT Gorilla Glass so handle with a bit of care.
The Nexus 7 does not have a rear facing camera but at least the front facing one is there for your communication needs. Google opting to include this is a no brainer, as we all know and love Google’s increasingly more integrated chat services. How about the quality though? The 1.2 Megapixel camera is ok and pretty standard fare. One thing missing (that of course we have added back) is the dedicated camera app. If your considering one of these for the camera obviously you should pass and with that on to more important parts of the device.
Processor and Performance:
Though you may find it odd I haven’t brought it up to this point this tablet has a Tegra 3 processor in it. Before spending a great deal with this tablet I hadn’t a lot of actual hands on time with the Tegra 3 processor and though the one in the Nexus 7 is clocked at 1.3 GHz (out of the box anyway of course we have oc’d it already.) There is absolutely zero lag when placed in tandem with Android 4.1 JellyBean’s project butter. The thing flies especially when I tried Nova Launcher. It does games fabulously the one thing I thing is missing from most comparisons between the Tegra 3 and the S4 is how much better the Tegra 3 is at graphics. The Tegra 3 is much better at high end graphics in my opinion. Lets hope Google works out Playstation certification cause this is a game machine. Android 4.1 needs it’s own hands on article. Google Now is a fabulous edition to the OS and it works well. Even better than Siri and her many alternatives on Android. Not much more to say about it but that it has no real lag. It was slightly (though visibly) snappier than my EVO LTE and is almost as good at media content consumption (yes almost). Nothing I can throw at the tablet could slow it down and that’s the honest truth. For the money $200-250 this is the best value on the market. Nexus 7 will not let you down on power. WiFi only keep that in mind the Nexus 7 is only as useful when on the go as your access to goo WiFi networks. The radios are sufficient enough to get the job done and I don’t have any WiFi gripes at this time. There are so many things that are probably more appropriate for a full review. I didn’t get a chance to try NFC or Google Wallet with the tablet yet those things I will revisit at a later time. You may have noticed I hadn’t brought up battery lie yet as it was not a problem. It hasn’t been on the charger very much in 3 days I’ll say that. Looks to be acceptable if not excellent.
Media and Audio:
It can be said that the main purpose of this device is to plug one into to the Google Play services and that’s precisely what it does. Magazines, books, music, movies and t.v. shows abound the Nexus 7 is in no way lacking for content services. Even if you don’t like the meager (when compared to Amazon) pickings on Google Play you can always use anyone else you purchase your content from like say Amazon. There are work arounds to get most of you alternative services going on the tablet if it doesn’t work for you out of the box and as always being rooted will help you with this. Of course with XBMC announcement for Android as well as the continued expansion of Netflix and the forthcoming all you can eat magazine services, make our options for content even more varied than before. Nexus 7 does it all and it does it well. I however have two minor gripes. With the sound of the external speaker being so nice one would expect to plug in the headphones and be blown away. Not so. Headphones are not up to par on this device. Hopefully Google can tweak this later but you can always count on the 3rd party apps or the development community to boost your audio experience.
I can sum the Nexus 7 up by saying it’s one helluva machine and it’s the Android tablet I have been waiting for. It seems Google was just hoping to get by with Honeycomb and were diligently at work on the marvel that the current version of Android truly is. The Nexus 7 is the best device at delivering the Android experience right now. Of course our thoughts do wander to the Galaxy Nexus but with that dated processor and sub par cam and display (at least by today’s standards) I have to give that title to the Nexus 7. As long as you are near a WiFi hotspot you are good to go. I have to say it’s pretty much the perfect Android device. It rivals the Kindle in price and the Ipad in elegance …..finally. It’s good to see the Android experience evolve to this point and the Nexus 7 is proof of concept. More to come.