A picture of the Nexus 7.

A picture of the Nexus 7.

In June this year Google partnered with the Taiwanese company Asus to make their own 7 inch Nexus tablet. The Google Nexus 7 features a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with a 12 core graphics card. The tablet, as mentioned in Google’s developers’ conference, contains 16 cores in total, which compiled with its 1 GB of ram makes it one of the fastest 7 inch tablets in the current market. The Nexus 7 runs 4.1 jelly beans out of the box and is currently being upgraded to the latest jelly bean operating system (4.2).

Design
The Nexus 7 features a 7 inch LCD screen with a 16:9 ratio and a HD resolution of 1280 × 800 which adds up to 216 ppi. Meanwhile, the glass is highly reflective, meaning it will be harder to see in bright conditions; however, its relatively wide viewing angles make it ideal for watching films with other people.

The Nexus 7’s small form makes it more compact and easier to transport than a larger 10 inch tablet. To compound this it is also quite thin, at 10.9 mm and reasonably light too, weighing only 336g. The front of the device is one piece of corning gorilla glass, which houses the screen and the 1.3 megapixel front camera. This is surrounded at the edges by a silver metal frame, which separates the glass and the textured black cover. The cover is made of plastic, which has a rubbery feel and a quality finish that increases the grip of the device.

In terms of ports the Nexus 7 contains one micro USB port for charging as well as a 3.5 mm head phone jack on the bottom. Along the left side there is a 4 pin dock connecter which is used for connecting to docking accessories that are compatible with the tablet, including the official one which can be bought from the play store. Meanwhile the left side houses the volume rocker and the power button. Google and Asus were clearly trying to keep the number of buttons and ports to a minimum.

Two main problems with the Nexus 7 are that it firstly does not contain a HDMI port to stream to a TV; although Miracast support is included among the new features found in the new 4.2 jelly bean update, it can only connect the tablet to a Miracast supported TV. Secondly the exclusion of a micro SD card slot means that you can’t expand the memory of the device, so memory upgrades are tricky. Owners with large music collections may find this restrictive.

Software

The Nexus 7 comes with android 4.1 OS out of the box and is in the process of upgrading to 4.2, which includes multiple user support for tablets, lockscreen widgets, miracast support (mentioned above) as well as many other changes. One feature, Photo Sphere, includes the ability to take full scale 360° panoramic photos. However, this feature is not compatible with the Nexus 7.

Another advantage is that because this is a Nexus device you get the unaltered form of vanilla android without any alterations or additional skins such as HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz. In addition, software updates come to nexus devices first.

Connectivity and Internet

The default browser on this tablet is Google Chrome, which since android 4.1 has replaced the old android browser. The good thing is that Google Chrome packs many more features such as desktop sync using only your Google account. The only downside is that Google Chrome does not read Flash content. However, Flash can be side-downloaded for other Flash supported browsers such as Mozilla Firefox.

The Nexus 7 standard model comes with only Wi-Fi (in 16GB and 32GB versions) but a 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G HSPA+ version is available as well for only £40 more than the 32GB Wi-Fi. Google has not yet released a 4G LTE model and probably won’t release one.

The Nexus 7 features NFC compatibility as well as Bluetooth 4.0. NFC stands for near field communication and it allows people to simply tap their NFC enabled devices together to share web pages, photos and videos in seconds. It can also be used to make payments with your device using Google wallet, which gathers your credit cards and allows you to pay by simply tapping the device to an NFC scanner in shops.

Camera

The Nexus 7 doesn’t feature a back camera, which isn’t actually a great loss because you would look quite foolish wielding a large tablet just to take a picture. However, the Nexus 7 does feature a 1.3 megapixel front camera for video chats on VoIPs such as Skype

Price
The Nexus 7 is actually very cheap compared to other tablets with similar high end specs. It may be one of the only 7 inch tablet with a quad core processor but despite this it still costs only £159 for the 16GB version. The 32GB version will cost £199 and the 3G (HSPA+) cellular 32GB version costs £239. Thus the Nexus 7 is probably the best affordable tablet to buy.

Overall

To conclude, the Nexus 7 is a great device that definitely surpasses other 7 inch tablets including the Kindle Fire and it may possibly be better than the iPad Mini. With high end specs and a staggering low price, the Nexus 7 proves to be great value for money as well.
Huzayfah Mangera and Sakib Ali

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One response »

  1. Jez@NXTab says:

    Not only is it well priced but it stands up on spec too, nothing else on the market really comes close to imo. Even the Apple 7″ attempt doesn’t seem all that appealing.

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