Google Nexus 7 Review
After months of rumors, speculation, and nerd rage, the Nexus 7 is finally here.
It's very clear that Google is gunning for the Amazon Kindle Fire with this form factor and price point, and as it sits right now, you can not possibly get more for your money tablet-wise than the Nexus7. Despite Google's horrifically bad handling of the launch of its tablet, the Nexus7 is here, and it's turning heads.
Design & Usability
Due to the smaller form factor and the lightness of the tablet, the Nexus7 is very easy to hold, and does not cause fatigue over time.
While the home screen does not allow you to tilt into landscape view (like almost every app), you can shift your grip based on the app you're running. It seems to be more comfortable to hold in a portrait orientation with one hand, though your mileage may vary.
Google gave its Nexus7 a 6 x 3.75-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800, netting it a pixel density of 213 PPI (pixels per inch), which is very dense for a tablet that will most commonly be used at a fair distance away from your eyeballs. Due to its size, if held at the correct distance, the Nexus7's pixels cannot be seen to the naked eye (unless you have "better than perfect" vision).
Perhaps one of the best things about the Nexus7 is the fact that Google crammed so much into its tiny body. Not only does it have Bluetooth connectivity for peripherals, but it also has an 802.11n wireless card and near field communication (NFC) to enable the use of NFC tags. While there is no microSD card or HDMI out, this tablet seems to have the hardware for some more interesting wireless capabilities.
May not have a camera, but still loaded with features.
Because the number of physical buttons is limited to the volume rocker and power button, most of your interaction with the tablet will be governed through the capacitive touch screen, which is not only responsive, but is supported by an operating system that makes the most of it. When unveiling the newest iteration of Android (Jelly Bean), Google revealed that they had been working on a way to make their interface work better, and all the hype is true: Throughout the day there was not one single hiccup in performance, not one stutter. Google's experiment, called "Project Butter," delivers.
The Google Nexus 7 is built around a 6 x 3.75-inch backlit IPS LCD display with a capacitive touch screen that is not only responsive, but quite beautiful. Because its pixel density is quite high for its size, it creates a fantastic image that makes individual pixels extremely difficult to see. Strangely enough, it does have some contrast errors that lead to some bizarre artifacting in gradients, but its color accuracy is the best in the realm of Android (even though it lags a little behind the iPad).
Google's searching by voice commands also got a major upgrade in Jelly Bean, as it can understand a wide range of accents and a few languages, most often coming back with relevant information. With the NFC feature, you can create tags that will make your tablet perform certain functions (like handing out a Wi-Fi password) by tapping the Google Nexus 7 to a programmed NFC tag.
As it sits right now, this tablet has the best battery life on the market so far, including the iPad with its behemoth battery inside. It seems that the 4325mAh battery is very big for a 7" tablet, and consequently, it allows you to take this tablet anywhere. You could even take this on an intercontinental flight to Europe from North America, and chances are good that it would last most of the way, if not the whole time. Asus and Google really loaded this thing.
Who says you can't get a lot of tablet for less than $200?
At the $200 price point, the Google Nexus 7 has a lot to offer that isn't even met by many $500+ tablets. With impressive hardware and fantastic software, the budget option from Google does not seem like a bargain-bin tablet at all, as it outperforms most tablets in many areas regardless of price.
By outperforming every other Android tablet in color performance, having a very high PPI, and no major issues, this tablet is currently the best of the best in the realm of Android at the moment: If you're looking for a media consumption device, this is it. If you're looking for a bunch of hardware options like HDMI out, or additional storage, you're out of luck.
As far as the battery goes, it's the best we've seen so far. If you want to watch videos on an airplane, you can reasonably expect to enjoy your Google Nexus 7 for almost 11 hours assuming you have your movies pre-loaded and the Wi-Fi off. While the battery itself isn't large relative to the iPad, it's very appropriately sized, and should keep you entertained longer than any other tablet on the market as of the publication of this article.
All in all, this is a tablet that makes the most of its limitations. While it isn't the top performer in every category, it certainly packs a performance punch for an extremely low price. If you passed on the Kindle Fire because of its limitations, you should know that the Google Nexus 7 costs the same, but is top of the line. This is easily the best bang for your buck in the tablet arena right now.
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