Google Nexus 7 Review

Internet and Connectivity:

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.



Camera:


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.


Multimedia:

At first glance, 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.


Software:

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.


Gaming:

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.

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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: 17302; 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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