I will give Google credit, their propaganda hype machine is starting to rival that of Apple Inc. I’ve had the Nexus 7 for two and half days now and I must say I am far from impressed. Don’t get me wrong, I love Android and have been a user of the ecosystem since day one back in 2008, but I am not in love with, nor would I date this device. I am sure some of you will think I am nuts, but just because you put the name Nexus on it doesn’t make it the best thing since the advent of the wheel, and if you’re still reading this I will explain why.
The Google Play Hype
I will keep this short and to the point. All of this talk about ‘oh, it’s optimized for the cloud’–Play Movies, Books, Music, etc. This is totally incorrect, because the same services can be used in the same manner with other devices running Android. For arguments sake, I will use the Samsung Galaxy 2 7″ tablet which falls into the same price range and can be had for fifty dollars more than the Nexus 7 8 gb variant.
Where’s my storage?
I have 8GB of total storage of which only 5.3 GB is actually available for me to use out of the box due to the space that the operating system takes. Separate install partition anyone? If you’re not going to give the full 8 gigs then at least give me the option to easily expand the tablet. After I installed three games (Spider-man, Final Fantasy and Mass Effect) I was left with slightly more than 2 GB of remaining storage on the device. Yes, I know this device is optimized for the “cloud”, but let’s suppose you’re in a location with no wifi and you’re bored out of your gourd, or in a place with poor cell service –assuming you have a phone that has wifi or bluetooth tether enabled–to transfer files to and from the cloud then the storage or lack thereof becomes a serious problem. This wasn’t a real issue with devices like the Kindle fire unless you decided to root and flash a custom rom, in which case an ereader instantly becomes a full fledged tablet. Barnes & Noble had it right with how they partitioned and set the Nook up, which is what Google should have done with the Nexus 7, in my opinion.
My Screen Is An Underachiever
Aside from the bad pixels–which our chief editor can attest to personally– and separation from the bezel issues, the screen on the Nexus 7–with its “high resolution”–just doesn’t wow me. When watching movies and playing games on the device I find myself saying “wow, they could have done a lot better than this”. I watched the same blu-ray rips on the Samsung Galaxy 7 and the colors were a lot more vivid on the Samsung even though the Samsung has a lower resolution than the Nexus 7. While playing games on the tablet, I found that the touch response was abysmal when playing games that needed to swipe side to side in landscape mode. Sometimes the controls worked, but most times I was left with an erratic character that would just not respond and take punishment. However, non-gaming on the device, basic use of apps, etc. was pretty amazing.
The one thing I love about the Nexus 7 is the blazing fast interface and what Google has done with Android 4.1.1, the interface really is as smooth as butter, and the battery life on it is insane as I was able to get about two days out of one charge while doing moderate web surfing and some light gaming. I was a bit concerned that the power of the Tegra 3 processor would cause a substantial power drain, but I credit the Kernel engineers for doing a truly bang up job with this device in that regard.
Is it more weird to want to take a photo with a tablet, or to pull one out to pay for a Slurpee?
But as has been the case with this device, every positive has a negative, and I have quite a few negatives when it comes to this device. My first problem is the camera and Google essentially regulating when and how I take pictures with the lone front facing camera. As it stands aftermarket camera apps like ICS camera and vignette do not work with the Nexus 7, so you’re essentially stuck with a camera that is to be used almost exclusively for video chats and posting on sites like Google + until a third party decides to write an application for it.
My other real beef is the inclusion of google wallet, to which I will say; is it more weird to want to take a photo with a tablet, or to pull one out to pay for a Slurpee? Yes, I am aware you can uninstall/ disable the app, but why the heck was it even included? Google wallet will only work if it can gain verification from its back end to release the funds, meaning you need an internet connection. So, if you don’t have a device to tether, wifi connection or happen to be in a bad service area then its inclusion is pointless.
It sounds like a stretch I know but to me the only thing it has going for it is its price. And with a price tag of $199, it kind of makes sense that this tablet performs the way that it does. I can say that I would not recomend it to anyone over a Samsung device unless the extra $50 + tax is a real issue. I would say go for the tablet with card expansion and legit cameras but to each his own.