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.

Software

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.

Conclusion

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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Find out more about the Google Nexus 7 at google.co.uk



Google Nexus 7 News

Nexus 7 tablet out tomorrow on Ebuyer

By on July 12th, 2012
Nexus 7 tablet out tomorrow on Ebuyer

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is expected to take over the hitherto underpopulated budget corner of the tablet market. It would seem that some people will be getting the plucky little 7-incher sooner than expected, with Ebuyer telling Coolsmartphone that they’ll be sending out the tablet to lucky purchasers from tomorrow. The 7″ tablet will set […]

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Google Nexus 7 in stock at Currys and PC World

By on July 16th, 2012
Google Nexus 7 in stock at Currys and PC World

The Google Nexus 7 is justifiably being touted as the next big thing in the tablet market, and potential buyers here in the UK are itching to get their hands on it. Well, it seems that the wait is now up as two of the UK’s largest consumer electronics retailers have updated their websites to […]

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Google Nexus 7 in stock at Carphone Warehouse on 27 July

By on July 25th, 2012
Google Nexus 7 in stock at Carphone Warehouse on 27 July

Google’s 7-inch contender to the tablet throne, the Nexus 7, has landing with a bang (albeit a bit of a dispersed one, if you can imagine such a thing). While Google are reporting that they can’t keep up with demand for the affordable tab, its release here in the UK has been pretty uneven, with […]

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CyanogenMod 10 comes to Google Nexus 7

By on July 26th, 2012
CyanogenMod 10 comes to Google Nexus 7

While the tablets that we get ‘out of the box’ are all well and good for most, featuring increasingly intuitive functionality and tons of incredible apps, the more tech-savvy among us need to squeeze more out of our devices to get our fix. That’s why the lovely hackers at CyanogenMod do what they do, giving […]

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