Lets face it, the moment Steve Jobs commented that 10″ tablets were the way to go and 7″ was going to be rejected, majority of the world bought that thinking. This included many tablet makers who churned out tablets based on the 10″ form factor that the iPad is famous for.
Yet all it took was both Amazon and Barnes and Noble to expand their eReader devices into more than just a monochrome device to start the 7″ revolution. With the latest Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet gaining ground, surely someone else would also decide to follow the same route. That someone was Google and they got Asus to help them build what could be the proof that sometimes all you need is to try.
Enter the Google Nexus 7, the first tablet from Google and OEM partner Asus with the new Jelly Bean Android Operating System that aims to shape the way people think about smaller than 10″ tablet devices.
The first thing that came to mind upon receiving my Nexus 7 is how light it is. Weighing in at only 340g, the Nexus 7 feels very comfortable holding onto with just one hand. This makes long duration holding not a problem on those train rides from east to west and also allows you to hold onto the pole or your bag if need be while still reading your favorite eBook.
7 inch also means that while you are no longer going to enjoy the screen space like the 10 inch tablets, it also means that it is now small enough to fit into most bags without hogging too much space. And once you gotten used to the small screen (which shouldn’t take too long), you will find that it is still very good when it comes to checking your emails on the GMail app or finding out what your friends are up to with the Facebook app.
Running nVidia’s latest quad core Tegra 3 together with the new Jelly Bean OS, everything is smooth and nice when it comes to switching panes from the home screen and HD movies run good as long as you have a multi core app like MX Player. In fact, Google made the right choice by not including any 3rd party app like other companies do on top of its Jelly Bean UI as it is really a joy to use just on its on. Of course for those who like to customize their experience, there is always the Google Play store to browse through (and make use of the free $25 credit that comes with the Nexus 7).
Another noteworthy thing is the build quality on the Nexus 7. Considering the price you pay for this tablet (USD $199 for 8GB and USD $249 for the 16GB), the Nexus 7 is very well built. There is no hint of any cheap plastic feel and the back of the Nexus 7 has a texture that helps keep it from slipping out of your hands. Add the tried and tested scratch-resistant Corning glass to protect its IPS 1280×800 HD display and you can actually get away without getting the usual case and screen protector if you are a bit more careful in your usage.
Sadly all good things don’t come cheap and at the low price point, some things had to be sacrifice when compared to the more expensive tablets around. For starters, there is only one front facing 1.2MP camera that is nothing to shout about and there is no 3G model for those who like to surf on the go. The lack of a microSD slot can be a turn off to some and the fact that there is also no HDMI port can be a deal breaker.
Overall the Google Nexus 7 is still quite a beast to behold considering it doesn’t have much rivals in terms of cpu power, screen resolution and most importantly straight out of the box Jelly Bean operating system. Add the fact that for most users, the Nexus 7 will survive a weekend on a full battery for pool side eBook reading or even the times when you want to check your email or facebook but don’t want go to the PC, the Nexus 7 is still a very good buy.
So until the rest of the brands decide to make 7″ tablets in the same mold or Apple finally announced their iPad Mini, the Google Nexus 7 takes the 7″ tablet throne with ease (especially with a price point that is hard to beat).
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
by Kenneth Wong
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