Here’s my review of the new Google Branded (Asus made) Nexus 7, and I have to say, first impressions are very good.
The external casing is a pleasure to look at and hold, its dimensions are similar to the 1st generation Nexus 7, except with a more premium feel to the soft-touch plastic rear and the new 5MP camera poking its head out of the top left corner, which is definitely a welcomed addition. It weighs in at 290g, a whole 50g fewer than the original, which may not seem a lot, but on a device where portability is key, it makes all the difference.
This pocket friendly device packs a serious punch, its rapid 1.5Ghz Quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM is more than adequate for any type of user. With storage sizes of either 16GB or 32GB there should be plenty of space for all the apps and games we know and love, however the lack of expandable memory is disappointing.
What puts this tablet in a league of its own is its screen which is nothing short of beautiful. It has an impressive 1920×1200 resolution at 323ppi (Pixels per inch), which is a huge step up from its leading competitor the iPad Mini, which has 1024×768 and a mere 163ppi; a wakeup call for Apple to bring out a retina display version perhaps? It makes for reading text or watching movies a pleasure, even upon close examination I couldn’t single out a single pixel. To put into perspective how detailed this screen is, even the current top of the range iPad with Retina display has 264ppi, 59 pixels less than the Nexus!
It ships out with the latest version of Android 4.3 Jellybean, no sign of 5.0 Key Lime Pie just yet, but not too worry, this device is bound to get the update momentarily after release. Still, 4.3 carries on the theme of Project Butter, with zippy performance, no lagging and streamlined usability throughout making the entire experience a breeze. A nice touch is the addition of User Profiles with restricted profiles, a lovely feature for families who want to stop their kids going on certain apps, or your friends logging onto your Facebook.
Now the camera isn’t anything to shout about, its mediocre colour reproduction is about what you’d expect from a tablet, however it will more than suffice for snapping a scene here or there. Full 1080p HD recording is supported, although for some reason it defaults to 720p? Why Google?
Inside the device you will find connectivity similar to the 1st generation, with NFC, wireless charging and a battery life of up to 10 hours. The standby time is very impressive, with the tablet in standby mode, WiFi still on, overnight only used up 4% of the battery! And with heavy usage you’ll still manage a whole day and a half without the need to charge it up.
A couple of issues I found whilst using the device is that you’ll find the rear to be a fingerprint magnet, and also the volume rocker and power buttons aren’t that easy to feel for without looking. If the power/lock button extended out just a millimetre more it would make it far easier to distinguish between the buttons. There was also a few software glitches with random unprovoked reboots throughout the initial setup and general use, although I’m sure these are just teething problems which can be solved with a simple software update.
After looking on paper at the specs, there are other tablets out there with the same, if not better specifications. However, take a step back, and look at the price tag attached, then perhaps you’ll understand why this is a tablet to watch out for, at £199 for the 16GB version, it’s an absolute steal, and in my opinion well worth the extra £40 above the 1st generation model which was released at £159. Nothing on the market within this price bracket comes close to this, it’s bringing the tablet revolution into the price range of the average person and therefore making it a more tempting proposition.
Written by Peter Allan Jones