Why the Nexus 7 is winning my heart and replacing my iPad

Why the Nexus 7 is winning my heart and replacing my iPad

Summary: What secret sauce does this small Android-powered Google tablet have which is causing me to turn my back on Apple's flagship tablet?

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TOPICS: Android, Google, Tablets
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Earlier this year I took possession of a Google Nexus 7 tablet, fully expecting this diminutive slate to be something that I turned to when my iPad was out of reach, on charge, or I'd temporarily 'lost' it. Surprisingly, the Nexus 7 is becoming my go-to tablet.

So, what secret sauce does this small tablet have which is causing me to turn my back on Apple's flagship tablet?

See alsoBest Android tablets (July 2013 edition)

First, I like Android. In fact, I really like Android. It's smooth, it's fast, and it's fluid, and, to borrow an Appleism, it "just works." I especially like the way that the operating system automatically takes care of updates, both operating system updates, and updates for my apps. I find the way that the operating system takes care of the admin itself whenever it is in Wi-Fi range t be a massive timesaver. It means that when I pick up the Nexus 7, I can start using it immediately as opposed to have to spend time fiddling with updates.

I see this one simple feature as giving Android, specifically the pure Android experience that Android offers, to be a massive BYOD advantage.

Another factor of the Android experience I like is the way it integrates with Google services. I'm a big user of Google services, so it's nice being able to get access to these quickly and simply. If you make use of Google services then this is a bonus. If not, then you might not care for it. For me, it's a huge plus point.

I also love the form factor of the Nexus 7.

I'd initially thought that a tablet with a 7-inch screen would be too small to do real work on, but it surprisingly isn't. Yes, I've replaced the stock on-screen keyboard with SwiftKey – which is a very nice keyboard that saves a lot of time because the predictive feature is very slick – but beyond that I've carried out very little in the way of customization. I purchased OfficeSuite Pro to allow me to work with a range of Office documents, and I don't find the 7-inch screen a deal-breaker unless I'm working on something particularly complex or elaborate.

I also like the hardware aspect of the form factor, specifically the lack of a physical home button such as that used by Apple on the iPhone and iPad. The on-screen buttons are nicer, feel more modern, and feel like they are more accessible than a physical button, especially when using the tablet in landscape mode.

Anyone who tells you that you can't create content on the Nexus 7 hasn't tried to, hasn't tried hard enough to do so, is some edge case, or is lying. I've created a ton of content on a wide range of tablets. Yes, you normally need to spend a few dollars on third-party software, but that's the case with all platforms.

Which brings me to apps. Anyone who's dabbled with Android knows that there is a lot of high quality apps available for Android, and many of these are cheap, or even free. The Google Play Store might not have as many apps as Apple has in its App Store, I don't find this to be much of a problem.

I'm also impressed with the build quality of the Nexus 7. There's no doubt that the iPad is a sexier device, it is also a lot more fragile. Despite being in a reasonably sturdy case, my iPad as picked up a number of quite horrific dents. My Nexus 7 on the other hand, has been dropped on a variety of surfaces but is still dent free. This is partly down to the Nexus 7 being much lighter than the iPad, but it is undoubtedly more robust than Apple's offering.

Finally, battery life is not shabby, offering me 10 hours of web browsing, and some 300 hours of standby. I'm more than happy with that.

If Apple doesn't raise its game with respect to the iPad, my next full-size tablet could be a Nexus.

Topics: Android, Google, Tablets

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82 comments
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  • I use my tablets in portrait mode a lot

    and that 16:9 ratio just annoys the heck out of me in portrait.
    baggins_z
    • Tablets...

      ....are not about features and technologies that much. They are about ecosystem and apps. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes likes Android. That means he is also into Google's services and applications. Even if Apple would make is iPad dance by itself, it would not make any difference for him.

      When you like an ecosystem and an app market, the tablet you are using doesn’t matter that much. All tablets are pretty much equal now in terms of capabilities. The Surface RT, The Nexus and the iPad are as good as the other. The difference is what are they powered with. Google’s online services, I must admit, are very good. Google Map and Google docs are top notch services. You can use them on an iPad or a Surface but their integration level is better on an Android device.

      For me, however, even if I like Google Maps a lot and I use Google search often, I chose to live with a Surface RT. I had an iPad 1 and then an iPad 2. I never really got into Apple’s ecosystem, cloud storage and services. I feel claustrophobic using an apple device. Android is nice, it works well. Its interface is not as neat as IOS but it works very well. I ended up on an RT because I like its flexibility and Office 2013. I like the fact that I can run multiple apps at the same time, on the same screen, the fact that I can save on a SD card and that I can print easily on a Bluetooth device, I also like the fact that I can access very easily our Server using Windows Remote connection. It is a very fast app. Win 8.1 is also a move in the right direction.
      gbouchard99@...
      • Hold on...

        In case you missed it, Adrian is still predominately an iDevice user who is just realizing that he may like the Android environment more. Clearly he's used (and is using) both ecosystems.

        Most of his comments aren't specific to that, but rather to features (both hardware and ecosystem related).
        The Werewolf!
        • And that's why...

          I politely disagree with him.
          gbouchard99@...
          • How do justify your disagreement?

            So you're politely disagreeing that Android and Goggle services might fit his needs better than iStuff? I'm curious on what grounds you justify disagreeing with what product(s) fits someone *else's* needs better than any other.

            If I said I like white paint on a car, would you disagree with me if you liked another color? As if somehow I was incorrect in my preference of white?
            PC987
          • He doesn't have to...

            ...justify to you why he disagrees. You need to spend a little more time reading gbouchard's original comment - the reason is clearly mentioned.
            jaykayess
      • Apple Ecosystem

        I personally like the apple eco-system iTunes on PC + AppleTV + iDevices i can't go the rest of the way and buy a mac since i am an avid gamer but for media there isn't anything easier.
        ammohunt
        • You don't have to have just one pc...

          A multimonitor, multi pc setup can be quite nice, especially for an avid gamer, you can have your computation intensive game running on the win-PC, web browser on one side monitor driven with an iMac or whatever (I use a slackware/kde pc for right hand monitor)... Watch a complicated encounter on youtube on the side, while in-game on the center monitor; vent, forums, chat, same deal.
          rwwff
        • Nope

          I have to disagree. With my Nexus I merely copy my movies and music and I have access to them. With the IPad I have run ITune on my PC, import what I want and then synchronize it with my IPad. Very time consuming and take too many steps on the IPad. I have to show people with IPads how to access movie files most of the time.

          Apple loses in this category.
          fldbryan@...
          • yup..

            generally I have at least a dozen videos of various sorts on my nexus 7 and I rotate them in and out regularly.. being able to do that via windows explorer (or better yet browse directly to the media server via SMB using ES file explorer) is fantastic.
            frankieh
          • Then you've never tried alternatives to the regular way...

            Take DigiDNA-"DiskAid", as your desktop-companion (Ubuntu has this feature as an inbuild option of the file-manager) and you can copy whatever file or media content into each Apps nutshell.
            There's nearly a dozend of excellent media-Apps that will play most of the current available media content/format without previous import/conversion. It's the same procedure and speed of copy&past as between two any other computers. Same for other than media files: "iFiles"-App holds a full local tree of folders in my iOS with my localy stored files and works as a dispatcher to "open in" them in another App.
            (I use to carry my daily 700mb office-backup with me this way, and moving the backup to the device takes me about a minute).
            Additionally "iFiles" serves as an access to the most popular cloud-services or any webDAV too, which means simple copy&past of files between cloud and iOS-device.
            Have fun!
            hopper.kiel
        • .....

          Itunes is one of the biggest drawbacks to apple. Its a horrible music program and then they lock you down on what you buy. You cant just take your music to any device it must be an pple device or go try a 3rd party program to make it device friendly. I couldnt ever see being a gamer and using a MAC thats like sacreligious lol Macs do well in graphics and music production but other then that they are over priced outsiders.
          Fletchguy
      • I like the Nexus 7 as well...

        However, I don't use mine much anymore; I mostly use my Surface RT now days. I use the Nexus 7 daily, but mostly as a universal remote in my living room; it's the perfect size for that. I personally prefer to use all my tablets in landscape; about the only time I use them in portrait is for typing with my thumbs, and that's still rare. I mainly use my Surface and I generally use the split keyboard for onscreen typing and the touch keyboard whenever I need to be more productive.
        kb5ynf
    • I agree on portrait mode.

      Maybe because I have spent so much of my life reading books and magazines but I use my iPad in portrait mode 90% of the time, if not more. 16:9 ratio would bug me too!
      rfoto
      • Books

        are generally a lot closer to 16:9 portrait if you haven't noticed
        stano360
        • books

          Small paperbacks are squarer than 8:5. Hardbacks are closer to 3:2.

          Other than movies, everything else is squarer than 16:9.
          hrlngrv 
          • Screen Ratios

            So paperbacks ~ 1.6:1
            Movies ~ 1.777...
            Hardbacks ~ 1.5:1
            Nexus 7 ~ 1.6:1
            iPad ~ 1.333

            That still makes 1.6:1 the best compromise between movies and (hardback) books, using your figures.
            DJL64
    • Re: and that 16:9 ratio just annoys the heck out of me in portrait.

      I've been using a Nexus 7 every‌ day for most of the ‌last year. Portrait mode works ‌fine for reading web‌sites, until a video ‌plays, then I usually switch‌ to landscape so I can view that larger. Android is‌ nice because the video continues playing‌ seamlessly while the orientation switches.
      ldo17
      • Exactly, and let's not forget...

        that the resolution of the Nexus 7 is higher than on the comparable iPad Mini which makes viewing the Nexus 7 in portrait even better because you can clearly read the text and you can see more of a given web page without scrolling.
        laequis
      • use any messaging app or read a forum

        and suddenly the vertical 9:16 (10:16 for Nexus 7) format becomes better as the onscreen keyboard doesn't take up 1/3 of the screen. It is probably the reason ipad users prefer portrait because in landscape the keyboard is nearly HALF the screen.
        Ebay in 10:16 portrait with a browser in desktop mode - does not get any better!
        all those iPologists reading books on their iPads by FLIPPING pages, pffffft! It's a computer screen, it scrolls so I don't have to flip halfway thru a sentence. Sorry but the nostalgia is lost on me.
        warboat