View Full Version : Google Nexus 7

3rd September 2012, 14:11
Has anyone purchased the Google Nexus 7, or are interested in one?

They have been in most electrical stores and supermarkets in the last few weeks, so I've had a play around with the Nexus 7, and have been really impressed. It is set at a great price point of 199, so just over half the price of the base model iPad and a similar price to other existing Android 7" tablets already available, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

The things I really noticed the most as soon as I started using one is how responsive it is to use, and how sharp and vibrant the screen is. The screen resolution is obviously not going to match the iPads Retina display, which is in a class of its own for pixel density, but it has a pretty nice 1280x800 resolution, which beats most 10" Android tablets. It also feels so responsive thanks to a quad core CPU and the latest Android 4.1

A couple of stores had the Nexus 7 running alongside other 7" Android tablets, the closest to compare being the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, and although they look very similar, using them side by side the Tab 2's screen is noticeably lower resolution and even looks blurry compared to the Nexus 7's, and the Tab 2 felt noticeably laggy in use compared to the really smooth use of the Nexus 7.

Very tempted to get one. My wife thinks it is too small and wants a 10" tablet, as she doesn't think a 7" tablet is a big enough increase in size over our 4" smartphones to warrant using one. However I really like the size as it is a lot more portable than a 10" tablet and can easily be put into larger pockets. It's also about the same size as a Kindle, which is also just the right size to hold when out and about.

Obviously everyone compares tablets with the iPad 3, but that is unfair as it is half the price of even the base model iPad 3. It does a good job when compared with one though. It has a faster quad core CPU and GPU compared to the iPad 3, and in real world tests has slightly better performance. It's screen, whilst never going to beat the Retina display's 1536x2048 resolution, it does have a good resolution of 1280x800 which is good for the much smaller 7" display. The pixel densities are 246ppi compared to 214ppi, so it isn't bad at all. I also think the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with its project butter development is actually now better than the iPad's iOS. It is much more versatile.. and finally overtakes it main rival.

It is also worth mentioning screen size and aspect ratio. The iPad is still a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is good for web browsing, but if you want to watch some streaming TV or a film, most are in 16:9 widescreen, and many files even wider as 2.35:1. On the iPad this means huge black bars top and bottom so you can lose up to 50% of the screen when watching something. On the Nexus 7's screen, it's 16:9 so most TV and films fill the screen and you actually then have a larger image! Apple need to rethink their form factor I think for a device aimed at the media marketplace.

Where the iPad currently does win is the App store. For Smartphones Android is now a match for the App store, but for tablets, the iPad is currently much better served with a lot more Tablet specific apps. But with the latest generation of Android tablets at a much better price point I can see the popularity of them increasing greatly, with Nexus sales increasing the number greatly, so hopefully this will turn this around, and Google themselves realise that this is currently the area that needs the most improvement... something they spoke about recently at the Mobile World Congress.

The problem for Android Tablets until now has been manufacturers eagerness to rush products to market to try and cash in on the new Tablet market kick started by the original iPad. This meant they had to get the older Android 2.3 and older OS working on a Tablet. The hardware was also often underpowered to cut costs, or the screen resolution was the same as much smaller smartphones, making it not a very nice experience and not really worth it over a smartphone. With 4.1 Android is finally matured and coded with Tablets fully in mind, and this really does show. Only now I think Android has finally become ready for Tablets to really shine and can take on the iPad and win. Apple's only real killer is the Retina display, which I don't think will be beaten for some time, although as mentioned earlier, it does have a slow refresh rate which isn't so good for gaming or media watching. It is however still the best option for web browsing, photos and productivity. But lets see what the next wave of 10" Android tablets can deliver.

Finally, back to the Nexus 7. If you consider the price of the iPad, it SHOULD easily beat the Nexus hands down in every aspect, but it doesn't. It shows Apple have been enjoying the success of the iPad and not pushing its development quite as much as they should. Yes the Retina display is great, but the rest of its hardware is very much the same as the iPad 2. Android tablets by comparison started off underpowered and running an OS never designed for a larger tablet display, but the smartphone market as a whole has been developing fast, producing much faster multicore processors and GPUs... as well as Android working hard on the real tablet OS it wasn't to produce from the start. The results of the Nexus 7 really show that a device half the price of the iPad 3 can deliver performance on a par. Apple really need to look at what customers are getting for their money, because clearly it isn't the best technology that could be produced at that price point. Also consider that if the Nexus 7 can be made for 199, imagine what they could make for the 679 the 64GB 3G iPad 3 currently retails for. I'm sure such an Android tablet could blow the iPad away.

8th September 2012, 04:25
Also consider that if the Nexus 7 can be made for 199, imagine what they could make for the 679 the 64GB 3G iPad 3 currently retails for. I'm sure such an Android tablet could blow the iPad away.

of course it could, but thanks to Steve Jobs, apple has patented every rectangle thing with a touchscreen surface, so it probably won't happen.

12th October 2012, 12:31
Regarding the price of tablets and ebook readers. Amazon stated this week that they are not making any profit on their devices, which is how they have managed to keep the price of the Kindle's and the Kindle Fire tablets so low and affordable. They instead make their profits from a percentage made for each content sale for the devices. Amazon are focused on the sale of electronic books, magazines, music and films and their devices are a break even delivery method to generate more sales of their content.

By contrast Apple are the opposite. They have admitted that they make the most profit from their hardware sales (really? never would have guessed! :lol:) and another smaller profit from iTune sales. This shows that Apple are really not on a customer level but purely profit.

Google interestingly are again running a completely different model to the others. Their OS and other software is all completely free, and they make their money from their Play Store sales, and obviously their data collection from search engine and users app usage, as well as advertising. They do however seem to now be starting to take a similar approach to Amazon with the Nexus 7. For the same price as the Kindle Fire HD 7" you get a lot more hardware for your money, and you are getting the latest Android 4.1.2 OS, plus 15 credit in the Play Store. And the Play store, in addition to Apps, is now offering Books, Magazines, Music and Films. Definitely a direct competitor for Amazon's Kindle.

Equally I'm sure Apple currently have their legal teams hard at work trying to find a way to stop Google by trying to reverse history and lay claim to inventing the online store.

12th October 2012, 13:14
BTW, I finally bought a Google (Asus) Nexus 7 this week and I'm really happy with it. I definitely wouldn't want an iPad now as this IMO is much better. I also find the 7" size much more practical for both typing and holding. Plus it's a lot more portable when out.

My wife also wanted a tablet and has liked the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" for some time so she bought the 16GB version in White. She finally decided the larger 10" tablets were a bit too large.

Pricewise the Nexus 7 16GB version was 199, and the Tab 2 7" 16GB was 219 (the 199 version is 8GB).

Using them side by side the experience really isn't that different, so anyone would be happy with either. The Tab has an older 4.0 OS, but is meant to be getting 4.1 later. You do notice it is a bit slower to use, with some lag, but Samsung have applied their TouchWiz interface to the OS that makes it look nice and adds many extra features and Samsung specific Appls already loaded on. And as my wife already had a Galaxy phone the UI is very similar.

Advantages of the Tab 2 include a rear facing camera that you can take 3MP images and fullHD video with, plus a MicroSD slot to expand your storage for media and files. These are both missing on the Nexus 7, but I don't personally see much point in a rear camera on a tablet as it really won't get much use. Tablets are too big to use as a everyday camera, but I suppose it's handy if you needed to quickly post a picture in an eBay sale or add an image to a forum, so it has some advantages.

As for the MicroSD slot. This is the only feature missing from the Nexus 7 that is a bit disappointing. It would have been nice to be able to use SD cards for Music and Video files. I understand that any device with a memory card slot/reader has to pay Microsoft a licensing fee as their own the patents, so it might have been removed from the design to avoid this. All is not lost though because you can buy a $2 cable from eBay, called an OTG cable, which plugs into the Nexus 7's microUSB port and provides a full sized USB port. Using this with an App called Nexus Media Importer you can plug a USB stick or SD card in and access it. So you can still load files, video and music onto storage and play it on the Nexus. Not quite as elegant as you have a short cable and storage device hanging off the bottom of the tablet, but not a deal breaker, especially as you can get very small memory sticks these days. I'm also wondering if there are any with MicroSD connectors that would work plugged directly into the N7's microUSB port? That would really be a nice solution. Equally you can connect much more than just SD cards and USB sticks, which does make it a bit more versatile.

The main advantages of the Nexus 7 over the Tab 2 are a much nicer display, and a better CPU and GPU. The display instantly looks crisper/sharper with the 2 devices next to each other, and is much blighter and responsive. The N7 has a Quad core CPU compared to a dual core CPU. This isn't really noticeable in general browser and other app use, but is when you start doing more intensive things like handling images and video, or when gaming. The GPU is also the best around at the moment, sporting a 12 core Nvidia chip, with some games already having special versions released to take advantage of this extra power. This really is noticeable better, even in non-optimised games.

I've not tried yet, but I thin emulators are ally going to run very nicely on the Nexus 7 too.

So really, the Tab 2 and the Nexus 7 are both very nice 7" tablets around the consumer friendly 200 price range. Both do a great job and you would be happy with either. For me the Tab 2 is a great general purpose tablet. For someone that wants to use one to access the internet, check their emails, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, and use a few apps it is perfect. By contrast the Nexus 7 being more powerful is better suited to gamers and power users that want to get more out of their tablets.

The one area where neither device is perfect is the SD card slot vs the N7's better hardware and screen. The Tab 2's screen and hardware really is a generation behind the N7's and it is noticeable when playing video, but it has the SD card slot to store the files. The N7 by contrast has the spec, but no card slot to store media to run on it. A bit annoying. If the N7 did have a card slot it would be near perfect, but has mentioned you can connect external storage via the usb port so it isn't as bad as it might initially seem.

I also don't thing the 16GB storage is a huge limitation as long as you don't go mad downloaded every app that looks mildly interesting. As for content, you can stream a lot of it these days so it doesn't even need to be stored on the device anyway. I use Subsonic for music, with the server running on my home server giving me access to my complete music library from the tablet anywhere I have a Wi-Fi connection.

And finally that brings me on to network access. Both devices are Wi-Fi only. You can get the Tab 2 in a 3G version but it is nearly twice the price and I really don't think the price justifies adding 3G support. The main reason is that you actually don't need it. If you have a smartphone running Android 2.3 or newer than you can set the phone up as a Wi-Fi hotsport using its tethering feature. Once setup you just connect the Tablet to this hotspot and you are then using the phone's 3G connection to access the internet on the tablet. I've already done this on the Nexus 7 by tethering it to my Sony Xperia Play and it worked perfectly. I tried out Google Maps and it gave perfect Sat-Nav driving directions. I could also surf the internet perfectly, and even with a low signal on the phone I tried downloading some apps and they still downloaded at 300KB/s or faster. So usable. It really is a nice solution.

12th October 2012, 23:23
I got nexus 7 a couple of weeks back, managed to use a money off coupon (20) so that was cool, I'm glad I got it as it has been working great, I was lucky enough to make use of google's week of 25p sale and with the 15 gift from google :) I also treated my self to the Samsung galaxy note 10.1 (for work ;)) which I like very much :) I just decided that I was not going to get a iPad. I hope that the android market just gets stronger :yesyes:

13th October 2012, 00:53
I knew it was fast, but I hadn't realised how good the Nexus 7s cpu and gpu were until I finally got one, or the support its nVidia gpu is getting. The games and demos directly supporting it look great, and searching THD in Google Play finds most of them. Quite a few free ones too. Definitely the best tablet for gamers.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2