Google Nexus 7 Brief Review

I’ve killed my iPad Mini (dropped it in a car park) so I’m back to using my Nexus 7 around the house. This is an interesting exercise because I’d stopped using it once I got the iPad Mini and mostly forgotten about it. Here’s some brief thoughts

 

What I like about it

It is cheap – £159.

As a proper Google device, it gets updated with the new versions of Android. The integration with Google Play works well.

I like the textured back. Feels nice and easy to grip.

I like that all the Android apps I have bought on the Google Play store work. Well, most do. Some refuse to install on a tablet and some warn they aren’t optimised for the device.

Pocket works on it! Very happy with this.

 

What I don’t like

Scrolling on the Nexus 7 is really annoying. I don’t know what the problem is but it feels jerky and the ballistics are wrong. For someone who skim reads, this is a killer.

If I leave it on but not connected to a power supply for more than a day, the battery is flat. This is a problem for an occasional device, as it means it is never there when I want it.

If you leave it along for a week and then use it, it’ll spend the next 30 mins being slow and unresponsive while it updates apps. I like the auto update feature, but it kills the tablet performance. Also, some apps don’t get automatically updated (when they change permissions?) so you still have to do it manually. I appreciate this is probably a reflection of the fact that I have a lot of apps.

The screen aspect size is weird – it is too tall and too thin. Makes it uncomfortable to hold with one hand. I’m surprised how much this matters but it really does – the iPad Mini and Kindle are much more comfortable to use. I appreciate the screen size is probably dictated by wanting to watch movies, but I don’t watch movies on my tablet and I don’t know anyone who does.

When reading in some lights, the automatic brightness goes up and down all on its own. This is quite disturbing.

I don’t have a case which protects the screen, which makes me nervous. I tend to compare this aspects with the iPad & Smart Cover and frankly I’ve not seen anything which even approaches the Smart Cover. It is easy to dismiss this aspect of the iPad until you have a tablet without it…

This is more of an Android thing, but I hate the sharing, dialog on opening links, and the email app. I never read my email on this thing, the experience is horrible. I also hate typing on it – keyboard is rubbish and the auto correct doesn’t. I know people laugh at iOS’s auto correct but doing without it is even worse.

 

When I use it

I don’t really. I was giving it a second chance because my iPad Mini died. Because of the issues above it is rarely ready when I am, and when I do use it the experience is physically uncomfortable and the software is sub-par.

The only reason I use it is to keep in touch with the Android world.

 

Recommendations

Stay away from the Nexus 7. It is cheap but it isn’t good value. I can’t think of a good reason to get a Nexus 7 – the iPad Mini is more expensive but better, and the Kindle Fire is similar price-wize and a better implementation of a small Android Tablet.

If you really want a non-Apple tablet, the Kindle Fire is much better both in hardware, and software. But frankly the iPad Mini is better value if you can afford it.

In addition, Amazon and Apple are used to selling/shipping hardware to consumers, and supporting them after sale. Google aren’t and it shows in the purchase and support experience.

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