If you have ever used any of the numerous entry-level Android tablets in the market, you would know how buggy the user experience can be. But the same operating system combined with a reliable hardware configuration can totally elevate the experience. That’s the first impression one gets while using the Google Nexus tab.
Google has recently stepped in the crowded tablet market with its own-brand, Nexus 7 which is the first tablet in Nexus line of devices and also the first device for the latest Android 4.1 version, codenamed Jelly Bean. What draws you to this tablet is the fact that it is pure Android experience, one not marred by any third-party user interface or OEM-branded apps.
What you will notice
This 7-inch device with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor has been manufactured by ASUS for Google. The device has 1GB RAM and comes with 8GB or 16GB internal storage, depending on the model. Additionally, a large 4325 mAh battery and built-in NFC, GPS, gyroscope and a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera. It measures 7.8x4.7x0.4 inch in size and weighs around 340 grammes making this ideal to carry around for consumption of media such as ebooks, videos, and most web sites. With a battery that’s more than twice as large as the batteries in most top-end smartphones today, you can easily juice out the device for up to 8-9 hours on a single charge.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the most responsive and smoothest Android experience yet. Gaming apps showed no lag and multi-tasking (multiple apps going at the same time) did not lead to any sluggishness. The main feature of Android Jelly Bean is what Google calls “Project Butter”, which centres around making the software smoother, faster and fluid. We have to agree with the claim. Android experience on other tablets will feels cobbled-together next to Nexus 7.
Being a vanilla Google device, the Nexus 7 is deeply integrated with Google’s ecosystem of books, music, movies, magazines and apps. You can’t miss the addition of Google’s natural search engine, Google Now where one can ask questions (as with Apple’s Siri or Samsung Galaxy’s S-Voice) and get responses. For example, merely saying “Google” triggers the search page that can be further used with just voice input. More importantly Google Now learns every time it is used. For now, it can give near accurate information like local weather forecast, traffic information on highways, read back calendar events or even help translate web content.
What you should know
The display resolution is 1280x800 pixels, which is quite impressive for its size. And, despite the difference in size and price, the screen is going to be compared with Apple iPad. We found that it does stack up relatively well, but the display of the Nexus 7 lacks the crisp clarity of the iPad when it comes to super fine text and that is because Nexus has a pixel density of 216 pixels per inch (ppi) leaving it behind the 326 ppi of the retina display iPad but ahead of most other Android tablets on the market. When compared to similarly priced tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and Motorola Xoom however, the Nexus 7 features the best display.
The unfortunate part of having the newest version of Android is that app developers haven’t had a chance to optimise their offerings for same and the 7-inch experience on Nexus. So, apps like Twitter and Facebook feel or look no different than on any Android phone. Existing apps designed for Android phones will work on Nexus 7 but there’s too much empty screen space since they don’t take advantage of the larger screen size.
A big advantage of opting for the Nexus 7 over rival Android tablets is software updates. Similarly, regardless of what model Nexus 7 you may own, you will always receive the software updates as soon as Google makes them available. Other Android tablets, for example, are currently stuck on older software versions of Android and have to rely on vendor to push the updates. Nexus 7 does not have a rear camera (just a 1.2 MP front camera) which should suffice for Google+ Hangouts and video chatting. But it is certainly an upgrade from the Kindle Fire, which had no cameras and no mic.
The fact that Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only will certainly keep a segment of folks away. The real competition to Nexus is not from iPad but Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7-inch). While Android version on Samsung tablet is yet to get an upgrade to Jelly Bean, there are a few aces up its sleeves. For instance, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 has a microSD memory card reader to expand memory while Nexus 7 comes with built-in storage memory of 8GB or 16GB. This may be a deterrent for users who would like to bring their own media files onto the tablet.
Where you can buy
There are several Indian e-commerce sites retailing the Nexus 7 at the moment. While the prices may vary among the sites, the 8GB version is being offered at around Rs 16,990 and 16 GB version at nearly Rs 21,490. The nearest competitor, Samsung Galaxy Tab II is priced at around Rs 20,000.