Google Nexus 7

Editor's Review of the Nexus 7

Reviewed by on 16th August 2012

If there's anyone who can challenge Apple's absolute dominance in the tablet market it, then it has to be Google. As the only major brand aside from Apple which is sparing in how many devices it releases, it has a similarly slick image, evoking that similar reassuring in consumers that because they release devices rarely, it must mean that a hell of a lot of thought goes into them.

The Google Nexus 7 is a realistic challenger to the Apple iPad, largely by being considerably smaller and cheaper than its rival. Another way of looking at it is that it's the first UK 'mini-tablet,' and it's established itself as the first leader of this new corner of the market.

Design & Build

The Nexus 7 is a beautifully-designed device, sporting a 1280 x 800 px HD resolution that really is incredible for a device that costs under £200. Of course, the USP of the Nexus 7 is the fact that its display is just 7" large. As such, the device can be held in one hand like an oversized phone if you're reading or browsing the web, and doesn't demand two-handed use like a normal tablet.

There are no hard buttons on the Nexus 7, with the Back, Home, and Overview buttons only being touch-capacitive. Google even managed to squeeze a 1.2MP camera onto the front, making video calls a possibility. Sadly, there is no standard rear-facing snapper.

OS & Performance

The Nexus 7 is the first handheld device to come pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This latest update has several nifty features, one of which - Project Butter - speeds up the OS considerably thanks to a bunch of under-hood updates. As such, the Nexus 7 is the smoothest-running Android device at the time of writing.

With a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor running the show, the Nexus 7 is one of the most powerful Android tablets out there, despite being more affordable. All the games that Google Play can throw out you will run completely smoothly, whether you're catapulting avian beings into a fortress in Angry Birds, or murdering prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto 3.


One of Google's most welcome inclusions in the Jelly Bean update is Google Now and an enhanced Voice Search feature, which is a worthy competitor to Siri and other voice-activation services. Now remembers the things you do and say to your tablet, and is able to quickly throw up things such as your daily commute to work (advising you of alternative routes if your main one is obstructed).

Voice Search, meanwhile, appears to be much more accurate than Siri. It's powered by Knowledge Graph. So if you say something ambiguous to it, like Prometheus, it will give you options as to whether you want to read about the ancient Greek myth or the over-hyped summer blockbuster.

Battery life, Connectivity & Storage

The Nexus 7 packs some of the most impressive battery life of any tablet on the market, with it being realistic for you to get a full day's use if you use it for moderate video-viewing, gaming, and whatever other fun activities you can think of carrying out on your Nexus 7.

The big talking point - and potential Achilles heel - of the Google Nexus 7 is that there is no mobile internet connectivity. Why there isn't a more expensive model with this option included is anyone's guess, but in this day and age of everywhere-internet, WiFi-only feels a little bit restricted. And no, the inclusion of Bluetooth doesn't make up for that.

The Nexus 7 comes in either 8GB or 16GB variants and packs 1GB of RAM. While this is non-expandable (unless you connect a microSD reader via microUSB), this is more or less the kind of capacity you'd expect for such low prices. That being said, a microSD slot should be a legally binding feature of any handheld device in this humble writer's opinion.


The Google Nexus 7 is the first of the 7" tablets to arrive in the UK, and it's arrived with a bang. Packing a ridiculously powerful quad-core processor and donning a stunning HD display, it's initially surprising how the device can be bought for under £200.

The surprise factor fades slightly when you consider that there is no mobile internet functionality nor a rear-facing camera, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a great high-end tablet that cunningly manages to be cheaper and smaller than the competition.

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