Interface:

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.


There’s a single widget that seems to uncover the underlying focus of the Nexus 7, and interestingly enough, it follows similarly to what we saw on the Amazon Kindle Fire. As we know, Google is transforming and moving beyond just being an internet search provider. Most notably, they’re expanding into the multimedia content community, where they’re focusing on providing television shows, movies, books, magazines, music, games, and apps courtesy of Google Play. Well folks, it’s quite obvious that they’re making it a focus on the Google Nexus 7, as the “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.



Functionality:

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.


Having been a staple with Android, 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.


Google Now:

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.

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52 Comments

1. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 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

35. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I saw a lot of exclamation points :p

46. android_sucks

Posts: 111; Member since: Jul 28, 2011

The question is not who takes Photos with tablets but rather who doesn't take photos with tablets?!!!!

2. STFUDonny

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Home run Google...

3. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

wow. 9! really good!

4. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Just I taken one from ebay today :D

5. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 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: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 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: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 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: Jul 05, 2012

with a 3g or 4g capability it could been a master piece from google

9. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 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: May 22, 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: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Yes, you can do it by changing only bluid.prop

10. dreign91

Posts: 15; Member since: May 17, 2012

might be a silly question but if you download a third party camera app, does that still not activate the camera?

13. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

Theoretically yes it should work

18. dreign91

Posts: 15; Member since: May 17, 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: 167; Member since: Apr 27, 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: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 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: Sep 12, 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: Oct 13, 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: Jul 21, 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: 58; Member since: Jan 09, 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: Jul 21, 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.

26. justme

Posts: 58; Member since: Jan 09, 2012

Gotcha-thanks.

30. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 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: Jul 21, 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: Oct 29, 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.

27. radiation21

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 03, 2012

is there any sim slot in nexus 7

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Nexus 7
  • Display 7.0" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB
  • Battery 4325 mAh

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