The Google Nexus 7 is the best thing to have happened in the 7 inch tablet category ever since the Amazon Kindle Fire had first lit up the segment towards the end of last year. However, the Kindle Fire is almost history now, as it is the Nexus 7 that has come to take things forward and the Google tablet has hit all the right chords so far. Surely a super affordable starting price tag of $199 has helped immensely towards this though the latest bits of tech pieces packed inside in no less responsible for the kind of success the tablet has met with so far. Add to that the latest Android version — Jelly Bean and what you have is the latest hardware and software but at rock bottom prices. All of this is reason enough to delve deeper into the Google tablet offering to find out just what the tablet is all about.
Design and Appearance
The Nexus 7 is no short of an absolute stunner, what with that textured rubbery rear with the Nexus logo engraved in bold letters lending a sense of strong character to the device. A metallic trim further adds to the looks though the bezel around the 7 inch display might be considered a bit too thick at the top and bottom of the device. Overall, the design is simplistic yet classy. A lone power/sleep button makes up the front with a volume rocker switch finding place along the side. A microUSB port and a 3.5mm jack is included along the bottom.
Of course the thing to talk about on the tablet’s front is the 7 inch capacitive touch screen Corning glass display having a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. This translates to 216 ppi which is respectable in its own right though less than the corresponding figures for iPad 3, the one device that has brought pixel density to limelight no other. However, while images rendered are sharp and a pleasure to view and read, it can still be considered a bit less striking than the AMOLED displays we have come to see of late. Viewing angles are quite impressive though, which means you can share the display with a few others when say, you are watching a movie. The speaker at the back as a single large slit is also good too, though its best when external speakers are brought into the picture.
The star attraction here is the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core chip rated at 1.3Ghz. Assisting it is a 1 GB RAM while on-board storage amounts to either 8 or 16 GB. All of these figures translates to zippy performance with virtually no lag times. Be it HD movies, 3D games or general tasks such as web browsing, the Tegra 3 backed Nexus 7 handled all with elan.
However, while most tablet makers have tried to cram their devices with the best of photography hardware and supporting software, Google has steered clear of that. So its only a 1.2 megapixel camera that can be found at the front which should be enough for video chats. The camera is also capable of 720p video recording.
The tablet measures 7.8 x 4.72 x 0.41 inches, which shows the Nexus isn’t out there to vie for the thinnest tablet crown. Rather, its functionality that the tablet aims to achieve.
The Nexus 7 simply excels on this aspect and is the only tablet right now to run the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Its a bold step ahead of the Android ICS and does make things a lot more simple and effective. Jelly Bean incorporates a number of important improvements over the Ice Cream Sandwich it is built on. The Nexus tablet owes much of its ultra smooth performance to the Project Butter initiative that has made the Jelly Bean sheer fun to work with. Also, for a product from Google, its only but natural for the Nexus 7 to come pre-loaded with Google stuff such as the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube.
Users will also have access to the TegraZone, Nvidia’s very own gaming zone that is available exclusively to users of Tegra hardware.
An earlier post — ‘What is Jelly Bean’ will let you have an in depth view of the new Android version.
The display is bright, clear and vibrant. Needless to say, e-book reading is a fun experience on the tablet, something that is aided further by the easy availability of million of titles from the Google Book Store. The tablet’s compact dimensions and light weight is further reason to indulge in e-book reading on the Nexus 7 device. The wide viewing angles will also let you carry the device where ever you want and you can still settle down to a comfortable position to get along with your reading.
A 4325mAh battery unit does duty here and does its job well enough. An 8 hours of runtime for what Google is claiming for ‘active use’ is pretty decent whichever way you look at it. Also, 8 hours of runtime or its nearabouts is quite achievable considering its a Wi-Fi enabled device that we are dealing with here.
The Nexus 7 marks Google’s first entry in the hotly contested tablet segment. However, Google has never been into the hardware aspects and has left it to Asus to churn out the tablet as we see it. Asus has always been known for its penchant for delivering high quality products and has lived up to its reputation with the Nexus 7 as well. So what you have with the Google tablet is a high quality hardware loaded with the best of software while still being priced at just $199 and $249 for the 8 and 16 GB versions. No one is complaining (except Asus though as it had to comply with the most stringent of Google specification with much little financial freedom to operate in) and the stupendous response the tablet received is ample proof of that. The standard here was first set by Kindle Fire though the baton has clearly passed on to the Nexus 7. The tablet has got the Kindle Fire completely covered though the same might not be applicable to the iPad 3. But then again, the Apple and Google tablets are from two completely different genres and might not be seen on poaching on each others markets by a huge margin. So if you are looking for a tablet in the budget segment, the Nexus 7 is the device to go for. Sure Amazon will come back hard with the Kindle Fire 2 though that is still some time to it. Till then, the Nexus 7 is the king among the 7 inch tablet brigade.