Nexus 7: Connects missing links for Android
With Microsoft ready to launch Surface tablet along with Windows 8 and recently released Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and iPad mini launch speculated to happen very soon check out my review on 16GB version of Nexus 7 tablet after using it over a month now to see if it really lives up to expectations which previous android tablets have not being able to achieve.
I sold my iPad 2 and when I decided to switch over to Nexus 7(you may probably think of this as a downgrade) I ordered this tablet via a seller on E Bay and my shipment was delivered within 15-20 days in good condition, hassle free.
Form Factor and Design
• Measures at 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm(lhw)
• Weighs 340 gm
• Carries an overall minimal look
• Lacks rear camera
• Scores high on portability
It surely packs a premium feel to the build quality and a rubberized back which feels like thick textured plastic allows better grip while holding the tablet it also does away with the worry of your tablet picking up scratches or dirt smudges on the rear section with frequent use.
No physical buttons below the lower bezel with the one similar to home screen button on the iPad. There is a power button with volume rocker on the top right hand side of the tablet, has decent bezel space. Nexus 7 has a front facing 1.2 mp camera with light sensor which can be used for video calls/conferencing, surprisingly the placement of 3.5 mm headphone connector is towards the lower section of the tablet and not on the top, which is slightly intrusive while using tablet in portrait mode.
it cannot fit in your regular day to day apparel however it is easy to carry around in a sleeve case and would probably fit well in your suit or rear pocket in your jeans.
Nexus 7 comes with a backlit LED IPS display that has resolution of 1280x800 pixels at 216 dots per inch(dpi) which is 48 dpi short of iPad's retina display at 264 dpi. Watching HD videos, scrolling through pictures in the gallery and accessing other multimedia content looks good however while accessing apps like Facebook, Twitter I noticed that the screen looks slightly washed out on colour and contrast reproduction, maybe it could be something related to poor colour calibration.
You would need to tweak the brightness settings for Nexus 7 as I noticed that screen display scores the highest as a battery hogger. No hassles experienced while reading e-books, minor lag noticed while rendering PDF pages with image content. Display glass is made up of corning scratch resistant material, however catches smudges very easily so a screen guard is a must.
Hardware and Battery Performance
• Nexus 7 runs on NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad core chipset(SoC)
• ARM Cortex A-9 processor that clocks at 1.3 GHz
• 1 GB memory
• 12 core ULP GeForce @ 416MHz graphical processing unit(GPU)
• Takes around 30 seconds to boot.
• Comes with non-removable 4, 326mAh battery.
• Takes 3 hours to full charge
Multi-tasking between apps works efficiently on this tablet, screen transitions are extremely swift, Nexus 7 surpasses my expectations in handling graphic heavy games when compared to my Galaxy Note. Tegra optimised HD versions of popular games on Google Play store like Samurai II Vengeance, Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, Galaxy on Fire 2, Max Payne Mobile, Shine Runner are must play on this tablet
Nexus 7 lasted between 6-7 hours on a battery test I ran with Wi-Fi on throughout, 30% gaming, 50% web browsing(inclusive of uploading and downloading content), 20% watching HD videos on tablet and YouTube. I tried doing a standby test with 30% battery left once which lasted 1 day 12 hours and still 7% battery left.
Nexus 7 tends to get a little warm on the lower left side of the screen during extended usage, luckily it does not overheat like an oven which I experienced with Samsung Galaxy SII. Speaker performance is not so good, Stereo effect is hardly audible with the external speakers, while listening to videos and music with a headset quality is slightly better.
This tablet has standard Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and is NFC enabled, There are two mics provided for noise cancelling action on the tablet, which works well for voice based Google Now search service.
Google has recently introduced turn by turn navigation for Google Maps in India, you can take advantage of the live traffic updates allowing you to take a look at estimated travel time from home - work - home, as it covers major cities in India, also check out display cards of places nearby, which makes it worth putting it on the car dashboard for using navigation features on this tablet.
OTG connectivity issue has being resolved with a workaround of installing a paid app Nexus Media Importer available on Google Play store, allowing you to mount flash drives and SD cards from a card reader to transfer content on the go, connecting game pads, keyboards and mouse.(Requires compatible OTG cable)
Storage is another area of concern for Asus when it comes to lack of expandable memory slot supporting SD cards, even with the 16GB version, actual available memory space you would get would be around 13.2 GB and I would not recommend this tablet in case you want to carry lot of multimedia content on your tablet and downloading few graphic heavy games would clog your tablet memory in no time. I was able to manage my storage needs with the 16GB Wi-Fi version I had of iPad 2, so it does not make much difference to me.
Thankfully Nexus 7 does not come with too much of bloatware pre-installed and my tablet was immediately updated to version 4.1 after the initial set up process was completed, over and above the smoothness and lag free navigation and usability on Nexus 7, there are features like smart widgets which resize according to the space available on a home screen, you can expand a specific widget which may occupy larger screen space, other widgets would adjust in size accordingly. Push
Notifications have also improved on Jellybean OS, you get content preview in the drop down menu while accessing notifications and Smart update feature is a god send, In my opinion it is not possible always to update apps and games over 300 MB in size for a small tweak or improvement patch released by the publisher.
Most popular apps are compatible for Nexus 7 on Google Play store, however there is still work to do for Google to match up to the vast library of apps available for iPad.
Nexus 7 has the ability to shine as a strong performer for Google and without any doubt is the best 7 inch tablet to go for today, a slightly expensive variant offering 3G connectivity and expandable memory would be a big plus for Asus in augmenting sales figures for this tablet in India.
This tablet works best as an e-book reader, portable gaming device and for watching multimedia content. Gaming on a 7 inch tablet is much better than getting your fingers sore juggling with touch screen controls on a 10 inch screen, As a device promoted by Google you can be rest assured that you would receive OS updates much earlier to tablets made by other vendors.
You can wait for Asus to officially release this tablet in India and the official pricing is going to stay in the current range of Nexus 7 8GB version is available for around Rs 15, 000 and 16GB version for Rs 20, 000 on EBay India site and other online retailers, it is a true value for money product in the 7 inch tablet category.