Google Nexus 7 Review
Gone is the tried and true Android browser of yesterday! Instead, it has been replaced with Google’s very own Chrome browser, which is already available to other Android and iOS devices. In terms of functionality, it’s significantly more extensive as it features tabbed browsing, synchronization with your Google account, incognito mode, and swipe gestures to easily navigate between open tabs. Indeed, it doesn’t offer Adobe Flash support, but that doesn’t detract from its worth – seeing that its performance is still top notch with smooth operations all around. We can cry about the death of Flash support with Jelly Bean, but when it’s this darn good, we’re quite forgiving.
To broaden its appeal to a wider audience, the Google Nexus 7 tablet is only available in Wi-Fi only form – and of course, it helps in keeping its price very manageable. However, it does pack on all the usual connectivity features we’d expect to find. In fact, the listing consists of aGPs, Bluetooth, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and NFC.
As we’ve noted earlier, the Nexus 7 only has a front-facing camera, which is only accessible with certain apps – specifically, it’s for those that offer video chatting. It’s arguable to say how much more its price would’ve increased if they put in a rear camera, but it still would’ve been nice to at least throw one in. Sure, not everyone will rely on a tablet to snap a photo, but when it’s the only thing within reach, we’re convinced that most people would swallow their pride and use it.
the Gallery app seems unchanged, but after a meticulous walkthrough, we do notice some added and missing elements. With the latter, Jelly Bean removes the coinciding animation that accompanies each displayed item in the gallery when tilting the tablet left of right. However, it’s still achieved by essentially swiping our finger in the appropriate direction. Again, there are some new gestures in play here as well. More specific, a pinching gesture while viewing an image allows us to view all of the stored photos in a singular carousel view. From here, we can easily delete photos by swiping up on the ones we don’t want. Simple enough, right?
Much like what we’ve seen with the core set of organizer apps, the music player on the Google Nexus 7 is unchanged from what we’ve seen previously. In fact, it’s the same exact one that first rolled onto the scene with Honeycomb. Nevertheless, it’s still flaunting an attractive interface with its 3D carousel in landscape. Audio quality, though, is a surprise in itself seeing that its output is not only powerful, but distortion-free as well. Plus, it helps that various equalizer settings are available to enhance its quality.
Strangely, there’s no support for videos encoded in XviD or DivX out of the box. Regardless of that, it’s able to flawlessly play our test video that’s encoded in MPEG4 1920 x 1080 resolution. No doubt, its sharp looking screen is effective enough in providing a rich experience on the go.
With the “My Library” taking the entire area of the tablet’s main homescreen, it’s Google’s way of trying to reel people into its content service via Google Play. If you’re into reading books, magazines, and newspapers, you’ll be able to view them with the corresponding Play Books, Play Magazines, and Google Current apps. Naturally, all of the apps work like what you’d expect, but there are some features, like the text-only mode of Google Magazines, that optimize the layout of the content for easier reading. Furthermore, if you’re into movies, television shows, or music, the experience is unmodified from what we’ve seen in the past already.
Everything might seem fine and dandy with the tablet optimized version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but there is one underlying issue that we have with it. For the most part, the core apps are optimized for tablet usage, but there is still a lack of optimized third-party apps. Of course, there are some noteworthy third-party ones that stand out from the bunch, like Flipboard. But honestly, it’s a shame that apps like Twitter and Facebook don’t get the love – instead, they’re simply the same ones found with Android smartphones.
However, Google+ really showcases the visual treatments that tablet optimized apps have to offer. Not only does it work in both portrait and landscape, but the experience is strengthened by its rich use of transition effects and aggregating content to make it a stand out in what it truly means to be tablet-optimized.
Additionally, the same can be said about the updated YouTube experience with Jelly Bean. Staring straight at it, the look and feel of the new YouTube app seemingly borrows some of the stuff we see with Google+. Specifically, it makes good use out of the familiar 2-panel interface we’re fond of seeing – while still presenting us with all the cool sharing functions of the app.
Taking into account that this is a vanilla Android experience we’re talking about, there are no third-party apps preloaded whatsoever on the tablet. Being the Google branded device it is, we’re presented with all of the company’s arsenal of apps – these include things like Google Earth, Google Latitude, Google Maps, Google Talk, and Google Wallet.
Testing out its gaming prowess with Dead Trigger, the Nexus 7 tablet is a remarkable device in keeping pace with all the action of the game. With the graphics processing capabilities of its NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, it shows very little pause or choppiness with the intense 3D visuals of the game. Therefore, if you’re seeking out a tablet that’s going to be adequate in the gaming department, this should no doubt appease your inner most gaming desires.