The Nexus 7, Google’s first tablet PC, redefines what consumers expect from a budget tablet PC. With a $200 price tag on the base model, Google is clearly looking to take a bite out of the market share enjoyed by the equally priced Amazon Kindle Fire.
Speaking of competition, approximately 5 minutes with the Nexus 7 makes it clear that there is none. People familiar with the Fire’s clunky and lag-prone software may think this isn’t saying much, but the Nexus 7 is also one of the best Android based tablets you can buy of any size or price.
Tablets with comparable specifications, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, are listed on Newegg.com for $249.00, although a newegg promo code or similar discounts can bring that figure down.
Nexus 7: First Impressions
First impressions of the Nexus 7 diverge greatly from those of other tablets in its price range. When you pick it up, it does not evoke the feeling of a budget item. Its build feels sturdy and high-quality.
The bezel on the sides is made of plastic and the back contains a soft rubber finish, making it comfortable to hold. Unlike other devices with a similar rubber finish, the Nexus 7 does not seem to draw and accumulate dust in its crevices.
How Portable is Nexus 7?
Tablets are designed to be held. Of course you can lay it down on a flat surface or buy a kickstand accessory, but a majority of the time you’ll be holding the device in your hands like a book.This makes the weight of tablets an essential consideration.
In this regard, the Nexus 7 does rather well. At 0.75 pound, it isn’t exactly in the class of E ink-based readers, many of which weigh under 8 ounces, but it does make the Nexus 7 among the lightest tablets around.
It is certainly lighter than it’s primary competition: the 0.91-pounds of Kindle Fire, the 0.77 pounds of Toshiba Excite and the 0.76 pounds of Galaxy Tab 2.
Features & Specifications
The 7″ Nexus 7 sports a 1280×800 HD Scratch Resistant screen, with a 1.2 MP front-facing camera. A rear facing camera goes missing in the budget tablet. Like Galaxy Nexus Prime, even Nexus 7 is void of any buttons, the soft buttons are built inside the screen, supported by Jelly Bean.
With 1 GB of RAM, 720p HD video Recording, NVidia Tegra 3 Quad Core 1.3 GHz Processor, complete with NFC Android Beam, Google Wallet, Micro USB, 4325 mAH Battery, the Nexus 7 comes with a $25 voucher for Play Store.
Nexus 7 Performance
Google designed the Nexus 7 with special attention to reducing cost without sacrificing performance. With the help of Nvidia’s Kai reference platform, it seems to have accomplished this.
Add to this the amazingly smooth and buttery Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the power of Google Now, predictive Keyboard and Google Voice Assistant, not to mention the pre-loaded Chrome browser.
In video playback tests, the Nexus 7 lasts an incredible 10 hours – merely a half hour shy of Apple’s iPad and better then all other 7-inch tablets. Amazon’s Kindle Fire by comparison only lasts about 7 hours in similar tests.
The drawback to this phenomenal battery life is a slightly longer charge time, requiring about 3 hours and 50 minutes, compared to the likes of the Galaxy Tab 2’s 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Shortcomings of Nexus 7
For all it does well, the Nexus 7 does fall short in a few obvious ways. The most problematic of which is the exclusion of a memory expansion slot.
Android devices have always maintained an advantage over Apple products with their ability to expand storage by means of memory cards, so it is particularly perplexing that the Nexus 7 is without this feature.
The $200 base model only has 8GB of memory, making it less than ideal for loading up with large media files like movies and TV shows. For most users, it may make more sense to spend the extra $50 for the 16GB version.
If success is defined by achievement of an objective, then Google has done a fine job in that it blows away other 7-inch tablets. It is well designed, competitively priced and outperforms other devices in its class.
More importantly it extinguishes it’s main competition, the Kindle Fire. However, just around the corner is the Kindle Fire 2.0, and rumors of a 7″ iPad that could put the pressure on the Nexus 7.
Bottom line, dollar for dollar it’s the best 7″ tablet out there right now.