Google Nexus 7 Review
So what’s the hoopla surrounding the Google Nexus 7? Well, unless you’ve been hiding underground in a bomb shelter waiting for the end of the world, you know that it’s all about the Jelly Beans with this one. Specifically, the outstanding reason why this has been given the Nexus moniker, is that it’s packing the most up-to-date version of the platform – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean! It’s not an entirely new experience per se, much like how Android 3.0 Honeycomb was a major departure from Gingerbread, but there are enough new elements thrown into the mix to give it some distinction over its predecessor in Ice Cream Sandwich. Meaning, if you’ve been sitting idly with Gingerbread, this will undoubtedly be a dramatically new experience for you, but if you’ve been using an ICS device, or even a Honeycomb one to an extent, you’ll see many commonalities.
Right away, we’re still exposed to all of the core foundational aspects of Android – like its rich level of personalization thanks to its vast and ever-so-useful set of widgets. However, they’re not particularly new since most of them are the same ones we’ve seen with ICS – and Honeycomb as well! Still, we do notice that Jelly Bean is more refined with its layout since it’s brandishing a cleaner appearance than what we’ve seen previously. Gone are the TRON-like highlights that we saw with Honeycomb, and instead, it follows in tandem to what we’ve seen with ICS already – with that being softer toned highlighting elements and text. Still, there are some obvious untouched characteristics with the experience – such as Android buttons being incorporated into the interface, the multi-tasking pane, and the same ICS app panel that breaks down apps and widgets.
“My Library” widget on the homescreen aggregates our stored/purchased content. Certainly, it adds a splash of interest, but it’s also another reminder from Google that the tablet is becoming an all-in-one content solution.
There’s no questioning that Android has the best notifications system of any platform, but with Jelly Bean, Google has managed to solidify it functionality even further. Specifically, the new gestures in play with the notification panel are pretty useful, as we’re able to preview snippets, like email, directly from the panel by simply executing pinch gestures. Additionally, there are even more intuitive functions that help increase productivity – like having the option to share a screenshot or photo from within the notification panel, as opposed to going into the gallery. Simply put it, these new functions are not only appreciated, but they show how comprehensive it is over competing platforms.
With a major platform update, one would probably expect to see new layouts with existing core organizer apps, but sadly, we don’t find anything out of the ordinary on the Nexus 7. In fact, the clock, calendar, address book, and calculator all maintain their layouts. Yeah, they’re all optimized for the tablet form factor, which is made known by the 2-panel layout we’re accustomed to seeing, but it still would’ve been nice to see some improvements.
Email, of course, is pretty much the same as it has always been with Android as whole – fantastic! Again, there are no noticeable changes with the presentation and functionality of both the standard Email and Gmail apps. Nonetheless, we’ve made it clear already that it would’ve been nice nonetheless to see even a minor update to celebrate the new software – but hey, at least the setup process is still a painless one!
If we’d have to choose, we prefer typing with the portrait style keyboard of the Google Nexus 7 over its landscape counterpart – mainly because our thumbs are better equipped in comfortably encompassing its layout. As for the keyboard itself, it’s nearly identical to the ICS one. Still, we would’ve liked to see numbers at least incorporated into the top row of buttons to lessen the time to switch between layouts. Regardless of that, it’s super responsive in allowing us to keep a moderate rate of input.
gestures aren’t new as we all know, but Jelly Bean throws in new one into the mix. We’re all familiar with the swipe down gesture from the top of the display, which reveals the notifications panel at any time, but now there’s a swipe up gesture from the bottom bezel to gain access to Jelly Bean’s Google Now service.
Back during the early beginnings of Palm’s webOS, we were enamored by the possibilities associated with Synergy, seeing that it was being promoted as a serious personal digital assistant. Well folks, Google Now may actually be just that! Relying on complied data that consists of our search history, calendar, and location, it’s here to provide specific suggestions to us. Presented to us in these stylized “cards,” it’s pretty cool that most of its suggestions are automated. From informing us about traffic on our route home or telling us about inclement weather, it’s unbelievable how it’s able to deliver these useful suggestions. And the more we take around and use the Nexus 7, the more it learns our habits and provides us with tangible suggestions. Honestly, it’s still in the early stages, but we’re excited to see how Google refines the experience even more down the road.
Google Voice Search:
Google’s expertise has always been centered around internet searches, but with the arrival of Jelly Bean, we’re seeing a monumental upgrade in the experience that makes good use of Google’s knowledge graph. Similar to what’s offered by Apple’s Siri, Google Voice Search follows in succession by providing tangible search results – all by simply speaking. Not only is it accurate with its recognition, but it’s also intelligent as well! From computing basic math, conversions, and answering some obtuse questions, it’s really effective in coughing up some relevant searches. Even better, the voice is more natural sounding and distinct when compared to Siri’s robotic tone.
Processor and Memory:
A cheap price point means an equally weak processor, right? Actually, that’s not the case with the Nexus 7, as it continues to impress us with its serious knocker under the hood. Running the show behind the scenes, its 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM is sure to wow many people – especially when you figure in its price point! Beyond that, the tablet operates at a very responsive rate to make the Jelly Bean experience even more gratifying. Some might be shocked by its low benchmark scores with Quadrant, but it doesn’t depict its true real-life performance. Whether it’s kinetic scrolling or opening apps, nearly everything is accompanied with a buttery smooth operation, primarily thanks to…
Project butter! In the past, we’ve seen even some of the highest spec’d Android devices exhibit signs of choppiness and lag with their operations, but with Jelly Bean’s arrival, Google seemingly eliminated the issue – albeit, we do notice just a pinch of delay on rare occasions. Moving around the homesceeen, with a graphically intensive live wallpaper, it’s able to maintain a buttery smooth operation. So yeah, we totally dig the uniform performance we’re seeing thanks to “Project Butter”.
Of all things, one of the biggest eye strains for the Nexus 7 tablet is its lack of storage expandability. With our 8GB review unit, it translates to 5.92GB out of the box, which isn’t sufficient at all if you happen to be a multimedia fiend.
1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)
First! , This tablet is incredible and cheap! so definetly should get one :D
Second , Who even takes Photos with Tablets....??? the front camera is enough right?
:D good tablet
46. android_sucks (Posts: 110; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
The question is not who takes Photos with tablets but rather who doesn't take photos with tablets?!!!!
5. tedkord (Posts: 3393; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Nice to see Asus building these. They make great motherboards. But I still don't see why anyone wants a tablet. They're so far behind even low end laptops in power an flexibility. They do win on portability, weight and battery life, I suppose.
16. Birds (Posts: 848; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
Tablets are a category for people who want something quicker and more intuitive then a laptop. What I'm getting at is that a laptop is for productivity and a tablet is for fun but can be very productive. Not saying that you are one of those people, but people generally bash tablets till they try them and see how convenient they are in comparison with a laptop. I could go on and on about it but I can't change you opinion... My point is that tablets are for those who don't want to lug around that 5 pound laptop just to check their Facebook or who want to emerge in a very intuitive multimedia universe...
6. MeoCao (unregistered)
It's a classic.
7. bloodline (Posts: 675; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
I dont why people of saying its googles competition to the ipad, it annoys me!
Its clearly not to rival the ipad, you can see that by the price and the specs. Its happy in its own little market segment and its only rival is the kindle fire.
8. sonofzeus (Posts: 95; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
with a 3g or 4g capability it could been a master piece from google
9. robocopvn (Posts: 137; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)
I douted if any one will not change the DPI settings to 160 for the real tablet using
12. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
You just can't change the DPI settings that would just stretch apps on the screen
Instead you have to go in framework res apk and change in
23. sorcio46 (Posts: 390; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Yes, you can do it by changing only bluid.prop
10. dreign91 (Posts: 15; Member since: 17 May 2012)
might be a silly question but if you download a third party camera app, does that still not activate the camera?
18. dreign91 (Posts: 15; Member since: 17 May 2012)
Okay its just in all the reviews I've seen everyone complains about it (and rightfully so) I just didn't know if anyone ever tried it. I know it seems so simple but if it works that's an easy fix.
11. yougotkilled1 (Posts: 165; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
The only con I see is the lack of expanding the 8gb limit on the tablet. Other than that, probably the best tablet for your money!
20. protozeloz (Posts: 5186; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
well there are 2 things, Google ideas have been taken from apple to improve their OS yet apple does not allow Google to do the same, witch is unfair, google is simpy saying, "hey when my ideas are cool It's ok to take them yet when your ideas are cool is not"
15. mas11 (Posts: 1003; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
Great tablet. Idk how lack of a rear-facing camera is an issue because it's pretty silly to take pics with a tablet. Only issue is the lack of expandable storage, but for $200 this will probably be my first tablet.
17. Bluedroid (Posts: 57; Member since: 12 Sep 2011)
Jelly Bean is an absolute stunner rockin at 60fps and now finally Android feels more refined and polished than ever and with IOS kicking the dust, Android all the way...
19. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
It would've been a perfect tab if they released a 3G version and put an expandable memory card slot on it.
21. BaltiCzar (Posts: 5; Member since: 21 Jul 2012)
Love, love Android and Google. But I just can't justify buying a "media consumption device" (which is what tablets are for the most part) if it doesn't have expandable memory. So...on that note, just purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Found a factory refurb for $209 w/ free shipping.
The Nexus 7 is what spurred me to buy a 7 inch tab (already have three 10-inchers) and ironically I wound up buying a Samsung. Too funny.
Anyway, I know that the Samsung Plus is dual core and that the Nexus is quad, but I'll take that trade off for the ability to slap in a 32GB SD card. Just my two cents.
24. justme (Posts: 38; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)
The lack of storage is giving me pause too, but isn't there a 16GB model? If I'm using it primarily as an e-reader with only a few apps (not music or movies or games), would it be a good choice or should I still look for one w/SD storage?
Also Phonearena: if it's a good thing, you don't have to "stress about it". You just "stress (emphasize) it". Also-in the context you used, it's "discreet(ly)", not "discrete". Sorry-I get paid to notice that stuff; hard to get off the clock.
25. BaltiCzar (Posts: 5; Member since: 21 Jul 2012)
There is a 16GB model. However, if all you're using this tab for is web surfing and as an e-reader, the 8GB model should suit you just fine. Even though the 8GB model will only give you a tad over 5GB that you can actually use as storage, books/e-pubs don't take up much space at all. Couple that 5GB with a cloud storage such as Dropbox/SugarSync/Cubby etc you'll be good to go.
I plan on dropping gobs of music as well as a few movies on mine so I feel I definitely need expandable memory.
30. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
nexus 7 can host a usb flash drive or external hard drive, it does in fact have expandable storage.
34. BaltiCzar (Posts: 5; Member since: 21 Jul 2012)
True, But that's a tad obtrusive for my taste. I'd rather stick an SD card in. If that's the way someone wants to go they could also go the bluetooth file transfer route and swap files from their phone to the Nexus 7 (considering many people have 16 or 32 GB cards in their phones).
22. cellphonator (Posts: 298; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)
"...he knows where you work, he knows where you live and what you like" Geez, the Big Brother just got its life easier lol.
28. AndroidShiz (Posts: 144; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
Got mine and this is the best Android tablet I've ever had. Updates, beautiful and fast, can't see myself buying anything that would cover this UI with something like Touch wiz or the like. Glad I got the 16gb version too. Home run for Google. Now the countdown begins to see how long it takes Apple to sue and then have judge Koh grant them some injunction for some stupid reason like the fact that it has a battery or something.
32. AndroidShiz (Posts: 144; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
NoGot mine and this is the best Android tablet I've ever had. Updates, beautiful and fast, can't see myself buying anything that would cover this UI with something like Touch wiz or the like. Glad I got the 16gb version too. Home run for Google. Now the countdown begins to see how long it takes Apple to sue and then have judge Koh grant them some injunction for some stupid reason like the fact that it has a battery or something.
33. GoogleNexus7 (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
Can't Wait to pick one up and google now is gonna be insane
36. monkeytown (Posts: 84; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
unfortunately that HUGE bezel is a no-go for me
39. radiation21 (Posts: 7; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
please tell me- is there any sim slot in nexus 7
40. radiation21 (Posts: 7; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
Is there any browser arrangement such as modem or sim other than WI-FI?
41. austene (Posts: 2; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
Can't decide whether I want to get the Nexus 7 or not. I hated the Kindle Fire with passion. Just hoping the iPad mini comes out so you guys can compare the two.
44. TshirtGirl (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Aug 2012)
So I'm really wanting to get a tablet for apps and basic email. I'm TOTALLY unsure whether to get the google nexus 7 or kindle fire 2? Help!
49. knightlore (Posts: 5; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
I was looking for a tablet for the last four months, I'm quite fussy about my gadgets, so lucky I waited, now got the best tablet on the market at the moment, even thou it got no flash player, or camera, it don't matter, I didn't want a camera or 3g, as I got HTC Sensation xe.
Lets just say the Nexus 7 as got it all......
51. tkvdog (Posts: 42; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
Just Picked Up A 8gb Sweet Tablet!Fast&Smooth Great Work Google/Asus AAAA+++++$199.99+$25.00 In Play Store Money ='sFab Deal:)
52. abhishekjain.ims (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Aug 2012)
guys when this tablet is scheduled to launch in India ?
53. radiation21 (Posts: 7; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
this is useless...it has no sim slot or port for modem.
54. radiation21 (Posts: 7; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
we expect that the Indian version of nexus7 would have sim slot...otherwise it will be useless in India
55. wildcat67 (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
Looking at getting a tablet and primary use would be browsing internet, music, movies and reading... does the Google Nexus 7 have enough space for all of this... or should I be looking at the Samsung... or even the Nexus with 16g?
56. technut (Posts: 52; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)
IMO you should go with the nexus 7 16 GB model. Here's a solution if you need more storage:http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/47003/nexus-seven-gets-usb-drive-supported-cable
57. kairan975 (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Dec 2012)
There is no doubt that Google Nexus 7 is great. However,Google Nexus 7 also has a few drawbacks,like the storage space is not expandable and only one camera. Why not try Ainol Novo 7 Venus? Ainol Novo 7 Venus is a great alternative in my opinion. It is also powered by Quad Core CPU ACT-ATM7029 based on Cortex A9 that runs up to 1.5GHz,it has dual cameras,features the same 7 inch 1280X800 IPS screen as Google Nexus 7. One drawback of Ainol Novo 7 Venus is that it has 8GB Nand Flash,but expandable to 32GB - this is very important and matters,I like this.It's sold at $149.99 only from JSXL Technology. I share this just because I think the more choices of Tablet PCs,the better for us. Have a look jsxltech.com/products/ainol-novo-7-venus-quad-core-cpu-act-atm7029-7-inch-5-point-touch1280x800-ips-screen-mali400-quad-core-gpu-1gb-ddr3-8gb-nand-flash-hdmi-bluetooth-2-1-gps
59. raj1samir (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Dec 2012)
"There is no doubt that Google Nexus 7 is great also has a few drawbacks, space storage with camera
like the storage space is not expandable and only one camerassotry Ainol Novo 7 Venus?
Ainol Novo 7 Venus is a great alternative in my opinion. It is also powered by Quad Core CPU ACT-
ATM7029 based on Cortex A9 that runs up to 1.5GHz,it has dual cameras,features the same 7 inch
1280X800 IPS screen as Google Nexus 7. One drawback of Ainol Novo 7 Venus is that it has 8GB Nand Flash,
but expandable to 32GB - this is very important and matters,I like this.It's sold at $149.99 only
from JSXL Technology. I share this just because I think the more choices of Tablet PCs,the better for us.
60. salvadornexus7 (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)
its a the most amazing tablet that i ever had, i got the nexus 7 and the nexus 10
i think that the nexus 7 is the coolest tablet....
people i shoud you buy one like this
it very poweful