Friday, July 6, 2012

Google Nexus 7 tablet review

The market is flooded with a wide range of tablets from different manufacturers. From iPads to Android based tablets and Microsoft's recently announced Surface tablet there's a whole lot of tablets to choose from. While all these tablets vary greatly in terms of their features, what's common between them is High price point. To buy a tablet, you have to shell a good amount of money from your pocket. But now there's a tablet that is hell-bent on changing the situation. Its not expensive, full of features, comes with latest OS version and does everything you might want a tablet to do without putting large amount of pressure on your pocket. Yes, I am talking about the Nexus & tablet recently announced at the Google I/O in San Francisco which can be yours for $199. Read on as I provide a detailed review about the tablet.

First Look and Appearance: You would be surprised to know that though it is low-cost tablet,  it does have a luxurious, premium and expensive feel. The polycarbonate body with a rubberized back gives the impression of an expensive device. Apart from feeling luxurious it feels a lot durable and sturdy, just as you want your tablet to be.

Talking about its back, its made out of rubber and has a 'NEXUS' logo right in the middle. Although, if you hoped to read about a rear camera, you might be dishearten since Google decided to get rid of a rear cam to get the cost of the tablet right. (You still get a 1.2 MP shooter in the front, so cheer.) Moving further down the back, you would find a slit running across the device covering almost 2/3rd of the device's width in the process. This slit is the device only speaker and is located about 0.5-inch from the bottom. The device's only ports are located to the bottom edge of the tablet. Right in the center is a micro-USB port and inches away to the right of it is the 3.5 mm jack. As a measure of cost-cutting, Google also decided to neglect a HDMI port which again is rather disappointing.

Interestingly, the left edge of the device has similar dock contacts as ones found on Galaxy Nexus which gives a indication that Google has some accessories up its sleeves for those who buy the inexpensive device. Moving on, the top edge has nothing to talk about- just the same silvery ring that runs across the full device. It looks like brushed metal but feels much more like plastic. As said above, the tablet still feels much more sturdy but that's partly because its chunky. Nexus 7 is 10.5mm thick and is a half a millimeter thinner than the Kindle fire. weighing at 340g, its definitely much lighter than the Kindle Fire which weighs 413g.

Display: Judging by its name you might have already guessed that Nexus 7 has a 7-inch display. But, let me tell you this is no ordinary 7-inch display. At a resolution of 1280X800 p and with a brightness of 400 nits, I bet you will fall in love with it. While this is no match for i-pad 3's mind blowing retina display, WXGA resolution at this price point would surely suffice general users. Watching a 720p video feels great on the tablet and the quality of text rendering is also top-notch. The viewing angles are surprisingly great. Just like every other aspect of the device, display is a little better than you would have expected given that $199 isn't that big an amount.

Sound: One of the few drawbacks of the device is its poor Audio quality. The audio coming from a slender slit above the back is not something that would feel heavenly. Yes its loud and not too unpleasant to listen, but for the sake of your ears, I advice you invest in a good pair of headphones if you already don't own a pair or two.

Connectivity: Low-price point will make you compromise a bit here since you won't get a 3G or 4G LTE connectivity in the Nexus 7 (If you wanted these options then surely that's a bit too much for the price-point.) A Wi-Fi connectivity (801.11b/g/n) is what you get in the tablet apart from the usual Bluetooth, NFC and the sensors you must be well-versed with- a Gyroscope, an accelerometer, a digital compass and yes, not to forget a GPS. Guess that's enough for you.

Hardware, Performance and Battery life: Powering the tablet is a quad-core TEGRA 3 1.2 Ghz processor capable of over clocking to 1.3 Ghz if required. (Yes you read it right, a quad core TEGRA 3 processor.) 1 GB of RAM is more than adequate for usual playing-around. Sadly, there's no micro-SD card slot here so you have the choice to either go for 8 GB or 16 GB model. (Did I mention that that 16 GB model costs $249?) I guess investing in a 16 GB model is a better idea than saving and going for 8 gigs of storage.

The tablet takes about 35 seconds to completely boot which leaves a bit to be desired. But once, you are inside the OS, the actual fun begins. The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS along with the goodness of Project Butter makes Nexus 7 snappy and responsive. The apps load without  a lag although there might be times when you experience a few hiccups (These hiccups are also noticeable in high-end tablets, aren't they?)

The tablet has a good battery life which surely would bring a broad smile on your face. Being continuously connected to Wi-fi and usual playing around, browsing,etc you can get about 8-9 hours of play time which is much better than some of the high-end tablets. 

Wrap Up: The Nexus 7 tablet surely delivers  more than you would expect for a device priced at $199. Good looks, quality processor, Google play Store access and Jelly Bean OS are surely its positives while low Audio quality, limited storage and no cellular connectivity is disappointing. All-in-all, if you are looking for a tablet and don't want to shell big bucks to get one, you know which one to buy now.

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