If you are considering buying a tablet and would like to learn some info on the Nexus 7 from a real user / tech guy then read below. I don’t side with Apple or Android or Amazon. So I try to compare everything fairly.
I’ve had the Google Nexus 7 tablet for about a week and it’s better than I expected.
I have had a bunch of Apple iPods and have a Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 (Android 2.3). So I might reference those one in a while in this article. Also keep in mind I never used Android 3.0 honeycomb so if I say a feature is new it’s possible it was in Honeycomb, but I’m comparing it more to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) which is more of a phone OS. I have never owned an iPad but use them a lot at work so I am aware of how they function and their features. I may reference those once in a while. I have not used a Kindle Fire enough to comment on it.
Why buy this?
I never was able to justify why I would spend $500 on a tablet when I can get a laptop for $500 and do more on it since it has a keyboard and is a full operating system. But the price of the Nexus and the performance got my attention.
Part of me wanted to see how a 7” tablets felt and what it can help in my daily life, but more importantly I wanted something I can play music on to my Bluetooth speakers with a good sized screen. It works excellent for music, games web browsing, email and internet. Everything runs very nice and it seems Android fixed most issues from past versions. I also love the latest Google Voice feature. Apples’ equivalent which is Siri is something you currently can’t get on an iPad. That is one big reason why I’d get this over an iPad. I can do things like say “Set Timer”, “directions to” etc.
People don’t compare this to the iPad but actually now that I’ve played around with it I feel you can kind of compare it to an iPad. Initially I really didn’t want the 7” screen and would have preferred a 10” but after owning it I do now prefer the 7” because I can hold it in 1 hand. With a 10” like the iPad it’s not as easy to hold. It’s a nice size for games and traveling.
The Nexus 7 is just as good as an iPad for games and will save you about $200 over an iPad if you are looking for a tablet device. Most popular games are available for Android. Android tablets have not been popular so some apps you might find still need some catching up.
Here are things I feel people might want to know or that I found important.
Works nice and very smooth, they added the feature Home Screen doesn’t rotate but this app will fix that for you and allow you to rotate the screen when you turn the device horizontal. It’s called “Ultimate Rotation Control”.
This still annoys me with all Android devices I’ve tried yet! I thought they would have fixed it by now. If you yell loud into the microphone it gets all distorted more than it should. The Nexus 7 still does this. Now I’ve only tested it in full on the Samsung Galaxy player. Both distort and annoy me. Apples iPod touch can hand yelling and loud sounds a lot better than the Nexus 7. It takes a lot to distort Apple device microphones. When I say Apple devices I am talking about the Apple iPod and assuming their other devices have the same mic. I do know the old iPod Nano video did have a horrible mic but that is no longer around. Maybe there is a better Android app out there for recording, I’ll have to still look around but I think part of this issue might be the “AGC”. Some apps let you shut it off. That definitely helped on my Galaxy Player 5. I record me playing guitar and stuff with music on these devices which is why the microphone to me is important.
The speaker is pretty good but not blasting. It’s kind of like an iPad speaker but a tad lower I would guess.. I don’t have an iPad with me to compare. The Nexus 7 speaker does feel a bit louder than my iPod speaker though. My Galaxy Player 5.0 has better speakers. They are a lot louder and more have a little more bass than the Nexus in my opinion. If you are using the Nexus 7 with Bluetooth speakers to blast music it’s not an issue. Don’t get me wrong you definitely can listen to music on the Nexus 7 you just can’t blast the heck out of a room with it like a stereo that no one can talk over. It’s a good volume.
There is no flash on the Nexus 7. There is only a front face camera, no rear camera. There is no camera app on it, but you can download it from the Play Store, just search for “Camera launcher for Nexus 7”. Photos and videos are what you would expect from a 1.2MP. Nothing amazing but does take pictures and video if you have lighting where you are shooting. There is no flash.
Smoothness and speed:
Yes very smooth! They finally got the Android OS where screens slide and effects are smooth like Apple devices. It sounds like a big fix for this was in the Jelly Bean Android OS. My galaxy player doesn’t have that nice smoothness. The Nexus 7 defiantly runs apps and transitions to screens faster and smoother than the Galaxy Player 5.0. You can watch some videos to see the smoothness but I’d say it’s the same as the iPad smoothness. I haven’t used the latest iPad though so don’t take me up on that. Just know its smooth! One issue I notice though on the Nexus 7, which is minor. Is if I’m playing music using the default music player and I was messing around with some widgets, adding them to the screen and stuff. The music hung for a quick sec. I was using volume widgets. This makes me think they need to set CPU priority to the music better or something. But maybe it was just a poorly made app I was messing with.
It lets you use animated wallpapers on your home screen which is kind of fun.
Mass USB Connection Option:
It looks like they finally killed this. This was where you can see your Android device files on your computer like a USB drive. But you still can see all the files and copy files to the Nexus 7 but it’s as a device. (On Windows 7) It seems to have caused Double Twist to not work but I bought Double Twist Air and synched over Wi-Fi which worked ok.
Yes finally you can take screen shots without a third party app. They may have had this in their previous version of Android too but it’s not in Gingerbread. For the Nexus 7 just hold the volume button and power button for a few seconds and it will take a screenshot.
It has a built in widget called “What’s this song” It works like Shazam and is built in for free. The music app seems to be like the previous Android Music app with some little improvements here and there.
I tested the Nexus 7 with my Sony USB stereo in my car. It recognizes it as a mp3 player only, I’m not too clear on how you would look for songs and playlists though. You probably can’t is my guess. I’d prefer to use the auxiliary jack on my stereo so I can’t control the music with the Nexus Interface. That works great for me there just no charging.
There is no vibration on the Nexus.
It doesn’t show you the exact charge percent when you have it powered off which would have been good. It only shows you an image that shows its charge in 25% increments. The Nexus battery life is very good just as the specs say.
I recommend charging the Nexus using their supplied wall plug that comes with your Nexus. The manual also says it will charge faster from the wall plug than a computer. This is defiantly true from what I found.
With the Nexus 7 on and connected USB to a Windows computer, it took me about 3.5 hours to get the charge from 17% to 46%.
Something that was strange was I left it plugged into my computer overnight and it never reached 100% charge. It was around something like 92%
But I then tested charging the Nexus 7 with the supplied wall charger plug. And while the Nexus was turned on it went from a charge of 75% – 98% in 1 hour.
So when they say use the wall plug charger you better just use that because it does charge faster. I do have an ASUS motherboard on a different computer I made that says its USB ports give off more power. So I bet that will charge it fast also but I didn’t test it on there. Most people won’t have that kind of computer.
There is no pre-installed note taking app. There are plenty of free ones on the Play Store. I use AK Notepad.
Web browsing is very fast and uses Chrome. I don’t have one to test next to but it’s at least the same speed as an iPad. Part of me wants to say it might be a little faster than the iPad 2 but don’t take me up one cause I don’t have proof.
Screen is really nice and I like the grip like backing on the Nexus 7. It makes it feel like it won’t slip out of your hand. I can hold it well in one hand. I have average sized hands for a male.
No SD card expansion slot which is a negative but get the 16GB because the OS uses a lot of space. I believe I had about 13GB free on the 16GB model. So I’d recommend you get the 16 GB model.
Overall ok on the apps but some still are better on the iPad. For example my cable TV company still doesn’t support watching TV on android devices where you can on the iPad. But I think now as Android tablets get more popular they will start making an app for the Android.
So that’s about it for now, I’ll stop there. So to sum it up, no need to worry about performance issues anymore on Android Tablets. For the price you can’t go wrong if you always wanted a tablet but didn’t want to blow $500 on one. The most unique thing about this tablet is the combination of having the new Google Voice, the screen size of 7” and the nice smooth interface like an iPad but combined with a fast processor. All those things is what makes it a little different than other tablets including the iPad. And also I would definitely get this over the Kindle Fire. I don’t see any reason for anyone to buy a Kindle Fire over the Nexus 7. The Kindle Fire has a lot of stuff locked down.
Below is a photo of a computer screen I took with the nexus 7, you can look at that to get a feel for how the camera works.If you click and open the image below you can see it at its native size without it having any edits on the image.