Google Nexus 7 takes over non-essential functions from my smartphone

Google Nexus 7 takes over non-essential functions from my smartphone

Summary: The Nexus 7 is a fantastic mobile tablet and while I used to think tablets were convenience devices I am starting to change my mind. My Nexus 7 is taking over functions I used to perform on my smartphone, freeing up my smartphone for extended life for the essentials.


James wrote about his experiences with the Nexus 7 after one week of use and then Jason chimed in with his thoughts on using the new Android Jelly Bean tablet. My replacement Nexus 7 just arrived, the left side of the display was not attached on my original, and after using one for over two weeks I have another perspective on how this 7-inch form factor tablet fits into my life.

My friend and MoTR podcast co-host Kevin Tofel and I have been longtime fans of the 7-inch form factor tablet starting with the original Galaxy Tab, then moving through devices like the HTC Flyer, BlackBerry PlayBook, and Amazon Kindle Fire. I still don't think tablets are essential, like smartphones are, but I am finding that my Nexus 7 is filling in nicely as a supplementary device for my smartphone. I am a heavy smartphone user and will usually drain my mobile phone battery in less than a day with my 2+ hour train commute and busy work schedule. Thanks to the portability, advanced Jelly Bean OS, and excellent display I am discovering that the Nexus 7 is taking on duties that my smartphone used to perform and thus helping me extend the battery life of my smartphone. In this regard, I am starting to think that maybe a tablet is essential.

Since the Nexus 7 is so small, it goes with me more places than my iPad and duties it has taken from my smartphone include:

  • Audible book device: I plug in my headphones and enjoy audio books on the go
  • Ebook reading: The larger display is much more conducive to reading than a smartphone
  • Movie player: Movies look fantastic on the high resolution display of the Nexus 7
  • Web surfing: Chrome is awesome on the Nexus 7, especially when you sync it across multiple computers. This function does require a connection while the others perform while offline.

These are primarily media functions, which I enjoy on my commute, while my wife and daughters shop, during lunch, and at other idle times during the day. They are not essential and thus perfectly matched to be performed on a tablet while my smartphone can be reserved for essential tasks such as phone calls, email, text messaging, and search.

Do you find that your tablet takes on roles you used to perform with your smartphone too?

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Tablets

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  • Haven't Ditched the Phone Yet

    We've had conversations around the office about this same phenomenon around the office. There are even two of us who have thought about dumping our expensive smart phones in favor of a cheap, pre-paid alternative strictly for voice. No one's made the switch yet, though. The idea of reclaiming part of our the monthly cellphone bills is pretty attractive...

    But, relying exclusively on wifi is a little concerning. Sure you can be productive or entertained at work and at home, but what about *really urgent needs* for data when you're out and about? Directions, restaurant reviews, or even more important things... like using Google search... to prove your friend wrong about who holds the most Olympic medals... and that FF III's release on OUYA really would be its first release for a console outside of Japan!

    Not that the lack of 4G connectivity stops us from carrying it around with us everywhere. In our cool, corduroy Trend Sleeve Case of course.
    • Final Fantasy III!!!

      Oh, how I love to play that game. I tried to play Final Fantasy 1 and the numbers for HP/MP and status information is just too small for me to read due to my visual impairment. That's in a Samsung Exhibit II 4G 3.7" smartphone.
      Grayson Peddie
  • iPAD 3 is 150% pricier and approx 200% bulkier and infinitely more 'closed'

    I got mine a few days ago. Now I carry the Nexus 7 with me almost everywhere--in my pocket! I wrote a review at Amazon; it is going to make the Apple fanbois angry. So be it! They bought into Apple's pricey model by buying the 150% pricier, and 200% bulkier iPAD 3 and so wouldn't like someone like me getting the our money's worth. Google Nexus 7 is a fantastic tablet!
  • I find it interesting

    that we all strived for miniaturisation yet when we got it, now everyone wants to go bigger. I trialled the experia pro mini but that was just too small so went for the S3 instead. I can't see a time when I'd rather carry a tablet around and most tablets owners I know don't carry it around obsessively. Tools for tasks I think; phone's for the mobile generation, tablets for people that can sacrifice size for substance. At the same time, I think the current fad for tablets will slow down and most will remain housebound while the trusty mobile stays in the pocket.
    Little Old Man
  • Who needs a smartphone?

    I have never bought into the smartphone concept, primarily because I don't use a phone much, and object to paying >$50 a month for the privilege. A $20 Tracfone meets all my needs for $100 a year, and if I lose it (which I have done twice already), I just get a newer model, transfer my unused minutes to it, and have the old one disabled.

    In this context, a 7" tablet such as the Nexus makes a great deal of sense. I am rarely in a location that lacks Wi-Fi, and when I am, I can use the 3G on my Chromebook if I need online access. The Nexus fits in both a side pocket on my cargo pants and in an outside pocket on my laptop travel case, and it can be charged overnight from a USB port a laptop, so I don't have to carry a second power supply.

    I still don't feel that I need a tablet, but if I'm going to use one, the Nexus fits my needs, especially with the way it's plugged into the Google ecosystem from the time it's turned on. An iPad is too big, and even if Apple offered a smaller iPad (which seems increasingly likely), the Nexus is a better fit for me. I have nothing against Apple, as I have used Macs since 1984, but a smaller device, such as my wife's iPod Touch, is just too small for me to find useful.
    • 3G and the Nexus

      So, you intend to use the 3G connectivity on your Chromebook for the Nexus 7?!

      Why would you even touch the tablet, when you have to take out, open and power on the notebook? It would be far easer to do whatever on the notebook.

      The idea to use your smartphone's wifi hotspot functionality is that it is the smaller device.
      Of course, you could carry an separate 'hotspot' device, that willbe much smaller than the Chromebook.
  • We're still striving...

    In actual fact, the miniaturisation is still going on - but it only gets noticed after a while when the casing shrinks.

    Look at PC's, they've been the same beastly form-factor for years despite shrinking to a fraction of their original size. Most of the box on a modern PC is air-space - only needed on the very fastest machines now, as the cooling solutions and power requirements have improved over time.
    Mobile devices too are now beginning to experience air-space, as the interface can only shrink so far before it becomes useless. The screen dictates the size of the device, usually becoming part of the casing which contains a single IC and some support components as industry has proven this to be the most cost-effective method of production. You cant get any simpler than a tablet, and coincidentally its where written language began.

    I think it will again change, when flexible displays hit the market. When that happens, tablets will shrink to palm-sized nuggets or slim sticks when not in use, and will unfurl to one of several larger configurations.
    Thats of course if someone doesnt invent an entirely novel way of interacting with computers in the meantime...

    Personally I'd love to have a device like my E7, but with a screen that unfolded to 4 times its current area when the keyboard was exposed - and until we have tactile displays, keyboards will also stick around, and thus probably the mobile phone as it is now. It is hard to say though, when you have the likes of Microsoft trying to shake things up the way they are.
  • Still waiting on my replacement

    Lifting glass on mine, too. Wondering if the QA issue is really addressed in the replacement devices we'll be receiving. Wonder if the delay has been on them getting RMA's, slapping more glue onto them, and shipping them back out, too. :)
    • Yes

      Of course they're going to repair them and ship them back out. It's called a warranty repair. When you manufacture millions of something, a few will have problems. It's only a "QA issue" if they don't correct it.
  • solution

    What this blogger, and a lot of people like him, really needs is a Samsung Galaxy Note and maybe a spare battery as well.
  • Consumption is the Nexus 7's middle name

    I've had my 16 gig Nexus 7 for about a week and I must say that it has most definitely replaced my Galaxy Nexus as my go-to device for web browsing, video, music and reading. I used to always read on my Galaxy Nexus because of my lack of an e-reader and my preference for Google's Book app. Reading is easier and more enjoyable on the Nexus 7 just simply because it's easier on the eyes and it's about the size of a paperback t'boot. I would also do most of my web surfing on my phone because I don't like to necessarily sit down in some place with my MacBook for an extended time for just web surfing. I try to relegate my MacBook use to school work and other productive activities so I don't get distracted. Plus I move around and do other things while surfing, watching YouTube, watching Netflix, listening to NPR, and/or listening to music. My Galaxy Nexus is great for all those things but it's a drain on the battery. Now I don't have to worry about running out of juice on my Galaxy Nexus and I have a bigger but equally as portable screen for consuming my media of choice. The portability is why I really love the Nexus 7. It's small enough to hold in one hand for long time periods, still fits in my larger pockets, and has a big enough screen for reading and videos to put my MacBook completely off my radar whenever I'm in the mood for watching something on Netflix. And the Tegra 3 that's humming along on the inside of this thing makes the web browsing experience and general use experience on par with my MacBook.
  • Prelude To The Real Game Chager

    Inter connectivity is what M8 is all about and will introduce the beginning of a new era in human ad machine interactivity.
    • Nexus 7 is great tablet but...

      I was very curious how a tablet would fit in my electronics ecoscape[one laptop for business, one for general things, Galaxy S phone] so I got a Nexus 7. My first impression is that it's too small so I'm sending it back and waiting for the Nexus 10. Google should be able to price it at $350. I have a backpack with me wherever I go as it is, so a pocketable device is not what I need. I like reading a lot better on my Kindle Touch, backlit thingies for reading are not that good. I'll upgrade my Galaxy S phone to a Note for a pocketable device. I did find that the Nexus 7 took over a lot more of my time than I thought it might, movies are a lot better on it, I started using Apps that I could have put on my phone but the screen is so small they were frustrating.. I'm sort of fussy about things and I found things to do with it that I never wanted to do with the laptop OR the phone so it didn't just take over some of the ecosystem for me, it expanded it.
      • It's just so douchey

        to order things, "try them" for a while and then return them. Decide if you want it before you buy it. Liberal return policies shouldn't be abused and used as try-before-you-buy programs.
  • Rooting the Nexus 7

    I have a Google nexus and i found this device great and i have rooted it. To see more information about the pros and cons about rooting your android device like Google Nexus try to visit here and read lot of stuff at