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Google Nexus 7 tablet review

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nexus7Google’s first tablet, the Nexus 7, has tried to undercut the iPad in every way – in size and price.

But the device is also taking on a number of more expensive Android devices at the same time.

In the past, other Android tablet manufacturers have made the mistake of trying to take on the iPad – which has about 68 per cent tablet market share – at the same size and price.

Google’s Nexus 7 offers the screen size that appears to be growing in popularity and a price that makes it an excellent value proposition.

DESIGN

The Google Nexus 7 is actually manufactured by well-known computer company Asus and has a solid built quality – certainly as good as the more expensive Android tablets already available.

The device has a 7-inch 1280 x 800 resolution screen that’s bright, sharp and very responsive.

There are no buttons on the front of the device with the on/off/lock key located in the right edge near the volume up and down keys.

On the rear of the Nexus 7 are a soft-feel rounded surface and a small speaker near the base.

The Google Nexus 7 tablet is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system

The bottom edge had a micro USB charge/synch port and a headphone jack.

There is a front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera and no rear camera.

At this size – 19.85cm long, 12cm wide and slighter thicker than 1cm – the Nexus 7 is comfortable to hold in one hand and a lot easier to carry around than a larger 10-inch device.

The Nexus 7 can connect on wi-fi only – there is no 3G version.

PERFORMANCE

One important thing helping the Nexus 7 is the quad core Tegra 3 processor which provides the speed for fast and smooth operation.

The device is running Google’s brand new Android 4.1 operating system – otherwise known as Jelly Bean.

In terms of look and feel it’s almost identical to the previous version – Ice Cream Sandwich but most of the benefits are under the hood to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

The home screen is presented in portrait mode which means it’s meant to be held in your hand upright like a book.

Even turning the Nexus 7 in its side won’t automatically adjust the orientation of the home screen or the apps screen.

This leads us to believe Google is telling us this is the way a device of this size is meant to be used.

The Google Nexus 7 has a 7-inch screen and a quad core processor

We’d rather make up our mind and at least be given the choice to view it either landscape or portrait whenever we wanted to.

The screen will only adjust for specific apps including the Chrome browser, YouTube and many others.

Speaking of apps, users have access to all of their favourites through the Google Play Store with most, not all, running on this version of Android.

Screen quality is certainly good enough for reading ebooks, web browsing and email as well as watching movies and viewing pictures.

Typing on the virtual keyboard is fast and accurate so it makes it handy to answer emails and create documents on the go.

The Nexus 7 has the power to work as a productivity tool but power users would want a device with a larger screen.

But this is mainly a content consumption device which can be used for reading, watching and listening.

But there’s still only a limited amount of Google’s content that can be accessed here in Australia – something that will hopefully be remedied soon since Google has provided the Nexus 7 for that very purpose.

The Nexus 7 is about 1cm thick and weighs just 340g

Things like magazines and music will be available through Google in Australia soon, we hope.

On the storage side the device is available in two flavours – 8GB and 16GB with no option to expand it any further.

It would have been nice to have a microSD card slot to expand that memory even further.

The battery of the Nexus 7 is listed as nine hours and we easily got through a full day and well into the next with light use.

But another test playing movies and listening to music and surfing YouTube pulled that battery life back to about seven hours which we still found to be respectable.

VERDICT

The Google Nexus 7 is an attractive tablet options with a good size and, even better, a very attractive affordable price.

Despite some limitations, the Nexus 7 provides a good example of what an Android tablet should be.

Google Nexus 7

Price: $249 (8GB) and $319 (16GB)

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