Great price, quad-core processor, amazingly sharp display, Android Jelly Bean OS
Missing microSD slot and rear-facing snapper
The Google Nexus 7 is a smart seven-inch tablet, which offers a perfect experience when watching movies, playing games and browsing the web, at a lower price than nearly all the other Android tablets.
We’ve been very excited about this launch, ever since we first heard that a Google-brand tablet was on the cards. After all, these are the guys who brought us Android, so we were hoping for something pretty special. So, here is the Nexus 7 Tablet, from the people who brought us the excellent Nexus S smartphone, and with hardware from Asus, who gave us the fabulous Transformer Prime tablet.
So has it been worth the wait you ask? Well let us tell you that it has entranced us – not only with its quad-core power and pin-sharp screen, but with its price – a paltry £160 – yes you read that right - £160!
A great month
Android tablet fans have been spoilt for choice this month. First we were treated to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). The Google Nexus 7 has a similar all-black look, and has a thick black border around the display to make holding it easier. It has a glossy front, which is a fingerprint magnet, but the back of the device has a soft texture that makes it lovely to hold. It’s not the slimmest tablet around, but nor is it chunky.
The operating system is the latest version of Android – called Android Jelly Bean 4.1, a smooth update of Ice Cream Sandwich. Android users will find it familiar, with five desktops that can be customised with widgets and apps, and a shortcut bar for your favourite apps.
Where it differs from Jelly Bean is in the smooth transitions from menus to desktops. There’s plenty of customisation on offer, too – in fact we think this is the best mobile operating system ever.
Of course one of the best things about the Android OS is that there are more than 600,000 games and apps on offer at Google Play. There is a dazzling array of goodies to choose from, including films, magazines and ebooks – and you get a £15 credit to start you off for a limited time period, plus some freebies. Pretty impressive considering the device’s low price.
The seven-inch screen is a good size for taking out and about – and it can stand up to travelling because it’s made from ultra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass. Watching films is a joy, thanks to the pin-sharp screen with its 1280x800-pixel resolution. Get a close-up on someone and you’ll see every pore on their face – maybe not recommended for your own home movies!
We saw full HD video stream beautifully over Wi-Fi, but you’re stuck if you’re not near a hotspot as there’s no 3G. Mind you, there’s space to hold films in the onboard memory – 8GB (or 16Gb if you pay £200). But bear in mind there’s no expansion available via microSD card. With a great nine hours of video watching from a full battery you should be fine on even the longest of journeys.
Having seen the price of the Google Nexus 7 you might be thinking it will be short on features – but you’d be wrong. It has built-in GPS, as well as NFC – a great futureproofing addition, once it’s up and running in the wider world. For instance, once TVs support NFC you’ll be able to share a video from your tablet on the TV just with a tap.
Having said that, corners have been cut on the snapper offering – there’s a front-facing camera for making Skype calls but no rear-facing snapper. Not that this is a big issue - taking snaps with a tablet is pretty awkward anyway – it’s probably easier to use your smartphone.
What is amazing at this price is that under the hood lurks a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which makes the Nexus one of the most powerful tablets on the market. You’ll have no trouble playing any apps or 3D games – good news for anyone who is serious about their games and wants a good degree of futureproofing from their chosen device.
Coupled with that great power is a wonderfully responsive touchscreen, which registers every swipe and prod quickly, so is ideal for navigating through busy websites and for playing fast-paced games. For surfing the net you have Google’s Chrome browser on board, which finds its way around the web quickly and offers multiple tabs so you can multitask. However, zooming in and out comes with a bit of a pause, and there’s no Flash support, so you can’t play videos from sites such as BBC iPlayer. What we did find odd was that it was not possible to flip the screen to landscape – particularly annoying on sites with text and photos alongside each other. You could always choose another browser if it became a real issue.
For anyone looking for a seven-inch Android tablet, the search is over. This is a well-built device, with a pin-sharp, responsive screen and quad-core power that comes in at a lower price than nearly all of its rivals.
|Type of device||Tablet|
|Operating System||Android 4.1 Jelly Bean|
|Processor speed||1.2 Quad-Core|
|CPU||1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L Quad-Core|
|Graphic chipset||GeForce® 12-core, 3D stereo (built-in)|
|Screen size||7 inches|
|Display type||16 million colours|
|Internal storage||8GB or 16GB|
|Memory card slot|
|Special camera features||Front-facing camera only|
|FM Radio description|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box|
|Battery life multimedia||9.5 hours, 4325mAh|
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