Nexus 7 is a Good Thing Going for Great Geeks at Google
The newest tablet to hit the market is Google’s Nexus 7. The all-new 7-inch device recently hit the streets for a mere $199. We spent some time with it this week and here’s what we like:
We Meet At Last
The tablet is definitely easy on the eyes. The 7-inch display is nice to look at and doesn’t take up the entire front screen. Think of it as a small notepad you might have at your desk. The thickness is barely more than the same notepad. Rounded edges give it a nice fit in the hand – comfortable, plenty sturdy enough, and it doesn’t smudge… too bad. The back casing of the tablet feels like leather but it’s actually a plastic. Honestly we don’t know what material it is, just that it’s amazing. The back is slide-resistant as it sits on a desk or counter, and should hold up well against, scratches, scuffs, and normal wear and tear.
Inside the device is Google’s brand new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. This is actually the first device to some with Jelly Bean. So far, so good. We like the smooth functionality (between apps, pages, widgets, etc.), superb readability, and a sweet new voice command when using Google search.
We all loved the fact that from the home screen, just tap the microphone in the upper right corner and speak to search. The function is Siri-esque, but not quite the same. It would be a little hasty to say this voice command is better than Siri, but it seems it’s at least easier to interact with. There was a lot less repeating and correcting when using Google Now. With that said, iOS 6 comes out this Fall and we’ve heard of Siri’s improvements already.
We were a little bummed to find there was no camera on the back, but a 1.2 megapixel camera on the front is pretty sweet. The only other real disappointment was the storage on the standard 8GB model. You can definitely fill 8GBs easily with music, apps (although a lot of apps have yet to be tablet-converted), photos, video, and more. However! For just $50, you can upgrade to the 16GB version. That’s much more realistic for the everyday user.
With only 2 buttons on the entire device – a volume rocker and a power button on the upper right side, the design and layout is super sleek throughout. Even the speaker on the lower back delivers a surprisingly strong sound for its size and is hardly noticeable. The device is complete with a micro-USB port and headphone jack on the bottom panel. You’ll definitely need the earpieces as you travel, but the battery life has been so impressive, there’s been little need to charge it in several days worth of use.
Of course any product that Google makes is certainly going to flow well with its apps. Just sign-in with your account and have easy access to everything Google.
- Chrome – The default browser is the best we’ve ever seen on a mobile or tablet device. Chrome gives you near desktop experience with lightning fast browsing, tabs at the top of the page, crystal-clear screen, and the powerful Google search built right into the status bar.
- Google+ – The folks at Google took their time with this one. The G+ app for the tablet looks incredible. Slide through pages of content and see great graphics, stories, and content that really looks great – and all of it conveniently sharable with the touch of a button.
- Gmail – This super smooth app makes email so easy on the tablet. The look is clean, you can easily search the database for messages. You’ll look forward to this being your new email hub.
- Maps / Earth – We’re putting these 2 together because … well they both give you a look at the world. And what amazing views they provide. This really is much like the desktop version with a great looking, HD maps, and turn-by-turn directions when you need them.
Others worth mentioning: YouTube looks PHENOMENAL! I would rather watch videos on the Nexus 7 than my laptop; Google Play Store is your place to go for Apps, Music, Magazines, Books, Movies and TV shows. With the screen and size of the device, Nexus 7 might be your go-to device for entertainment on the go… Play Books and Play Magazines looks tremendous and could potential steal some followers from Kindle Fire users. The text is easy to read, pinch zoom feature is near perfect, and the smooth scrolling and flipping of pages is addictive. You can’t wait to see what comes next.
There is so much more to discover with the Google Nexus 7. We just spent a few minutes playing around and left impressed. It would be too bold to say this is a tablet that ultimately takes down the iPad, but in the short term, it could do some serious damage to Kindle Fire’s stock and other e-readers as well.