Nexus 7 tablet: One week in

Nexus 7 tablet: One week in

Summary: The Nexus 7 tablet from Google and Asus is remarkably good for the price. I've had mine a week and it is already the gadget I am most likely to grab.

TOPICS: Android, Google, iPad

The Nexus 7 took its time to arrive after orders started filling, and after a week I admit it is hardly leaving my hand. The size and weight makes handling the Nexus 7 second nature, and the operation is as smooth as butter.

It only took a day for the Nexus 7 to become my ereader of choice. I have used the iPhone, various Android phones, and the iPad for reading books from the Kindle bookstore, but none compare to the Nexus 7. Holding the light tablet in the hand for long periods is easier than the iPad due to the light weight and small form. It is already second nature to me to grab the Nexus when I want to read.

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When I am not reading books with the Nexus I am often on Twitter, using the Plume app. I find that I switch between portrait and landscape orientation with the Nexus 7, and I like the way Plume handles both displays. I get a nice big Twitter timeline in portrait and three columns showing the timeline, mentions, and the core list of people I follow in another. Tilt the Nexus and the display instantly changes.

Battery life on the Nexus 7 is as good as expected, easily lasting all day with heavy use. I charge it each night and then use it for hours without worry.

Using the Chrome web browser is a joy and sets a high standard for mobile devices. It doesn't feel like a compromise over the desktop at all, and that's just right for the 7-inch display. Pages are easy to read and the standard double-tap of a column of text zooms it right in when needed. I find Chrome on the Nexus 7 to be even more stable than on my MacBook.

Speaking of stability, that's the main draw for me with Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7. Even with very heavy usage the tablet has not crashed once since I've owned it. That's a first for me with an Android tablet.

I have used over a dozen different Android tablets and frequent crashes/reboots have affected every single one of them. I don't know if that was the result of the earlier versions of Android or the apps I use, but it marred my enjoyment of Android tablets.

That's no longer the case with the Nexus. No app has crashed and the tablet hasn't spontaneiously rebooted while using it. It is as stable as the iPad in operation for me, and that's a big thing.

Smooth operation is also now a reality with the Project Butter enhancements in Jelly Bean. Even scrolling with lots of graphic elements is very smooth on the Nexus 7. It's not perfect but it is no longer jarring as on other Android tablets.

I am very happy with the purchase of the Nexus 7. It has become my tablet of choice most of the time. I now only grab the iPad when I want to get some serious work done, which it excels at doing for me. When I head out the door to work mobile, the iPad in keyboard case goes in the bag. The Nexus 7 also comes along, riding in the little pocket on the bag. It takes so little space and adds almost no weight so I bring it to. 

Odds are if I am not writing I am using the Nexus 7. It is my go-to tablet for most everything else. No one gadget is right for everyone, but if you want a solid Android tablet that is good value for the price, you should check out the Nexus 7.

Topics: Android, Google, iPad

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  • That stability you talk about..

    ... is also due to the fact that this is the first tablet that runs stock Android instead of manufacturer 'enhanced' Android. And yeah, Jelly Bean is simply the best Android ever, can't go back to ICS ever since Jelly Bean came out for the Galaxy Nexus a day after it was announced at Google I/O. Now the faster devices start coming out with Jelly Bean as default, the better. Android has a 'laggy' reputation to repair. :P
    • No it isn't...

      The XOOM ran stock Android all along and the Toshiba Excite Line installed 3rd party apps but didn't actually mess with the OS itself.
      • Good information

        Are the Motorola Xoom and Toshiba Excite (which shipped with ICE) stable and responsive running ICE? I'll be very interested in knowing how they both run with the Jelly Bean upgrade.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Xoom already has the official Jelly Bean update

          Started rolling out a few days ago, though not sure if its out for non-US variants. Heard it runs quite well..
        • Xoom, ICE and Jellybean

          The Xoom I have shipped with Honeycomb, but auto-upgraded to ICE as soon as I turned it on. ICE was very stable for me. I had an occasional application crash, but I don't remember having the OS crash. The animations in Jellybean are a bit smoother, but I didn't have any gripes about ICE. I've got the original Xoom rather than the Family edition. I don't see much difference in the responsiveness between the Xoom and the iPad 2, though, the screen is nicer on the iPad.
      • Ah, right, the Xoom..

        ... always misses my mind as being a pure Google device, hehe.
    • no kidding

      gos to say with any cut down os on a tablet,computer or any other device is crap.thats is why i always in stall a full copy of os's on all my devices.
  • It doesn't feel like a compromise over the desktop at all

    Only someone who doesn't do much of anything on their desktop would make a statement like that ! Can anyone do a set of financial statements on a Nexus 7 with each statement linked to the other statements and with 10 excel tabs open? Yeah sure !!
    • Depends on how you define work

      When a slate+keyboard doubles as a glorified word processor, anybody can get paid for writing articles! People who continue to blast the post-PC horn obviously don't have traditional computing needs. Either that or they have been doing such mundane tasks on their notebook that they have lost the definition of what real work is.
      • Can you define what "real work" is please?

        I tried looking up "real work" in the dictionary but to no avail. There's no such definition for the words "real work". :-)

        Maybe because "real work" can't be boxed in as being one type of work - i.e. stuck in some office cubicle with a large computer monitor in one's face running Microsoft office and reading spreadsheets. Wonder if the doctors and mechanics and real estate agents, lawyers and pilots and many others who are currently using iPads for critical tasks are doing "real work" or fake work.
    • Us, dude... re-read the article.

      James was referring to the Chrome web browser when he said it doesn't feel like a compromise over the desktop version. He wasn't speaking of document editing in an office suite. Heck, in the article he very explicitly states that when he needs to get work done (content creation) he uses his iPad. You need to read the article more closely before launching insults at the author.
      • Well! I am Happy

        someone actually can read and analyse content, instead of out of context comments!!
      • Chrome browser on Android

        Indeed Kendrick was referring to Chrome browser, although for the life of me, I cannot understand how he could say it "doesn't feel like a compromise over the desktop at all." If Chrome on Android sets a high standard for mobile devices, that's a pretty strong indictment of how pitiful most browsers have been to date, as Chrome on Android is a pale shadow of its desktop counterpart. I use it when I must, but if I have to do anything more than read a brief piece, I switch to the real thing.
    • real work

      When I need to do real work I grab my laptop. Its now routine for me to be on my desktop at home, laptop when I need to do work and when I just run out the door, phone and nexus 7 are the default devices that go with me. All other tablets in my house will now collect dust but I was pretty sure that would happen before I bought the N7.

      I can't do any real work on anything outside of a laptop. Maybe in 5 years that will change. But even working on a spreadsheet on google drive through a tablet/phone is difficult. Office online excel is a better bet for getting real work done. But ultimately, I don't want to spend a lot of time converting, transposing or doing any round about things to actually start my work. So to save time hassle and potential conversion issues, sticking to my win 7 ultrabook is the only option for me. Surface may change that but we will see.
      • Real work

        Yes - when I need to do spreadsheets, I need a big (24") screen. When I'm doing emails or short reports, anything with a keyboard is fine, including a phone. When I have to write a long piece, then i use voice recognition, and I'm afraid the tablet and phone solutions just don't work so it runs on my laptop (i7).
        But that's my computer. Most of my work is listening and talking to people. I don't use a computer, it's difficult even with a phone (body language, etc). I can do some things with video conference and shared desktop.
        The technology actually plays a small part in "real work"
  • couldn't agree more

    The Nexus 7 is such a wonderful device. Asus had the tech and Google had the vision. Combined they made a great product. It's a media/information consumption device whereas my Galaxy SII is primary a communication device and my 10 inch Xoom is a media/productivity device. The Nexus 7 is just FUN!!!
  • its cool

    I got mine last week. Its a cool little tablet but not great. It is not as smooth and not as responsive as my iPad 3. And I don't expect android to ever be. But it is a lot better than the Samsung tab and the Asus Prime. But hey for $249 how could you go wrong.
    • the device is great ...

      for the most part, my problem is with the software.

      The eReader is awful, GooglePlay store is a mess, and I may well get carpal tunnel (or at least dizzy) from having to turn from landscape to portrait all the time. I found the web browser great, except that it has no option for bumping up ALL fonts (not just plain text). This made many sites ( close to unreadable. Magazine software (on the optimized ones) was equally nasty.

      It is much more comfortable as an eReader than an iPad, but you pay for that letterbox in spades. I find most apps usable in only one orientation.

      I was surprised to see the lack of vibrancy and color depth when looking at an app side by side with the Kindle Fire, but I am willing to pay that price for the form factor which again is AWESOME as an eReader (fits damn near perfectly in my hand).

      For the price this is a great device. That said, I don't see using it much. My iPad lives near the couch (for browsing / apps), and I read mostly form my phone. I lug around a few tablets for work, but rarely use them. I see this as a device for older model Kindle users to upgrade to, but only with tradeoffs (eInk, battery, etc).

      My guess is this will sell moderately well, but more importantly make us ask why we want tablets in the first place (less portable than a phone and more than an iPad/ultrabook). What do we really want to use them for? And does this, or any, device make sense?
      • yeah

        I never really understood why tablet sells took off in the first place. A decent smartphone does everything a tablet does and for the times when a much bigger display is needed, a smartphone can 'mirror' to an HD tv so why buy a tablet?
        • I Agree

          I used to think this when IPad came out. However, what is great about Nexus 7 and why I am coming around on the tablet is its portability. I can lay on my back and watch a movie, read a book' and do work. The tablet is spacious enough so my fingers don't get cramped. Also, the ten hour battery of the N7 and IPad are killer over a smart phone. Video is better on a tablet size as well as the games.