Nexus 7 is Google's Nexus experience device and the first tablet to feature Android 4.1. It combines the best of both Google and ASUS design, with the most advanced software from Google paired with cutting edge ASUS hardware.
Simple. Beautiful. Beyond Smart. The Nexus brand represents a premium Android-based device that delivers the best Google experience available on tablet. It's the confluence of the latest software and state-of-the-art hardware and represents a literal nexus of digital life. Nexus 7 is Google's latest Nexus experience device and the first tablet to feature Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It combines the best of both Google and ASUS design, with the most advanced software from Google paired with cutting edge ASUS hardware.
I need to come clean. Before I bought the Nexus 7, I had never owned either a tablet or an Android phone. I'd never downloaded an app in my life. My main reason for getting a tablet was I kept writing notes on paper in meetings and then losing them, or I went to meetings and found I didn't have the documents I needed because I hadn't printed them off. So I decided this Christmas to buy myself a tablet.
I compared the Kindle Fire(HD), the Ipad mini and the Nexus 7. Having looked at a lot of reviews, I came to the stunning conclusion that there isn't much between them. They all have lots of storage, fast processors, great screen resolution and are about the same size and weight. I went for the Nexus 7 because it was cheaper than the Ipad and had access to the Google Playstore which meant access to loads of apps (including the Kindle one for purchasing and reading books.)
Some people- perhaps working for Amazon- have said you need to be techy to use a Nexus 7. Well, I'm not and so far I have found it really easy to use. All my MS office and PDF files work on there. Dropbox was the first app I downloaded and I keep all my work files on there, so wherever I am I've got them.
Two things have surprised me. Firstly,how many great apps there are. I love "Flipboard" which creates a daily magazine for me of all the stuff I am interested in. I also loved "podkicker" which collects all the bits of radio I like for me to listen to at my convenience. Google calendar is a great way to organise your life, and if like me you have young kids, then there are tonnes of free games. My boys are enjoying Temple Run and Cartoon Wars. I found Speedball Evolution 2 for me, which is exactly like it was back on the Atari ST back in the day.
Secondly, two weeks in, it has surprised me how much I do on this tablet. My home laptop is gathering dust. I type at work, but at home or on the road, I just want to have access to documents and have a bit of fun. The Nexus 7 does everything I bought it to do and a whole lot more besides.
Update: Nearly 8 months on this might be the best £200 I ever spent. I bought a bluetooth speaker and now have access to my favourite music via the Amazon music player wherever I go. I have bought a car charger and have installed the M8 free satnav. I have the kindle and nook apps and read for work and leisure. I subscribe to a couple of blogs and read the Bible daily on it using a reading plan. I bought a cheap android phone, and tether it to the Nexus if I have no access to Wifi. They work together like Batman and Robin. This is a superb tablet and I have no regrets purchasing it.Read more ›
I've now had the 32gb version of the Nexus 7 for a little over a week so thought I would share my views with you.
This is not the first tablet I have owned - but it IS the first 7" version I have bought. My other two have been 10" tablets and although I like the size for viewing films and pictures I don't take them everywhere with me because I cannot fit them into my coat pocket - so they are nowhere near as portable as this little baby. I therefore find the 7" tablet a really nice compromise between size (for ease of viewing) and portability.
This Nexus 7 is really a lovely little tablet - it exudes quality. I bought it with its proper case - in fact with the retailer I bought it from because of the madness of the cashback (£20 if you bought tablet and case) and the fact that the case had £10 slashed from the price (down to £15) - it was £5 cheaper WITH the case than without! Madness! Anyway, as I say the case is a must-have and fits like a glove and protects it from all sides.
Out of the box it is incredibly easy to set up. You are probably wise to take the advice and fully charge it straight away and then it's really easiest if you either sign on your google account or get one if you don't already have one. There's so much to go for via Google Play - much of which is absolutely free (more of later). It's all beautifully synched - so all of your e-books, films, music, talking books, pictures are all there at the press of a button.
I use my tablet for most things. There are so many useful apps downloadable for Android - and because this is a Google tablet you get an Android version update straight away - I'm on Jellybean version 4.2 as of yesterday - and it's superb! Android really is (for me) the best way to go - sorry to all those who love their iPads or whatever - a PROPER Android tablet is the best!
The battery appears to last for quite some time - certainly a number of hours b- ut I charge my tablet each night so it's difficult to say how long is its max at the moment (I always take the publicised figures with a pinch of salt!). I'll do some experiments and report back later. It's never got near packing up on me yet because of battery power (or any other reason) but obviously it takes a bigger hit on its battery life if you are doing power-hungry things - looking at a tv programme on iPlayer or YouTube obviously eats up more energy than reading an e-book already downloaed for instance!
My only little quibble was not having a micro-sd slot so I can expend it when and where I want - adding sd cards for films, music, pics or whatever. But because you can have lots of data file on google drive (what used to be google docs) this is perhaps a reasonable way to hold lots of your files over many devices so I might give that a go.
At the moment 32gb is plenty of space for my use. I've got a few talking books, lots of music, a few films, lots of word and excel docs/xls, a huge number of PDFs of 17th century pamphlets (one of my hobbies is researching the English Civil War) and a large number of pictures and still have plenty of space for a myriad of games and apps.
The sound is ok but not brilliant through its own speaker but fantastic via a decent speaker or via headphones and this is how I usually use it. I've got plenty of speakers and headphone/earphones so am happy to hook it up one of these ways. I must admit I have had problems hooking it up to any of my speakers via bluetooth - my nexus just does not find any bluetooth devices despite my humble mobile phone finding my bluetooth speaker ok. I might have to look into this in a bit more detail.
The picture quality on this 7" display is really quite exceptional. I've watched a few episodes of a comedy series and a couple of films - plus youtube clips etc and they are really clear - as good as you could really expect from a 7" device at this price.
What apps have I got on this device so far? Google Sky Map to look at the stars, Aldiko and Moon+ Reader for eBooks, File Manager (cos as a PCV-type geek I like to see everything in folders and files), Adobe reader (cos I have hundreds of PDFs to view), IMDb to check out what films are worth watching, MetOffice for weather, Google Maps, Google Earth, PlayMusic, OfficeSuite (to read word docs and spreadsheets), Simple Notepad to write checklists and notes to myself and then the usual ones - Youtube, BBC iPlayer, Sky Sports which all play seamlessly - even BBC iPlayer which I have had problems with on other tablets. I've then got a few games including Bad Piggies, Jewels Deluxe, Fruit Ninja and the new Angry Birds - Star Wars. All of these play without any problem - none hang like on other tablets I've owned and all of these apps and games were absolutely free! Bargain!
So, at the end of the day what do I think of the Nexus 7? It ticks pretty much all of the boxes for me and it therefore deserves the five stars I have given it on here. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who will be happy to pay the extra money for the Apple iPad - and good luck to you - or those who prefer the HD version of the Amazon Fire (which does look wonderful also) and again I say good luck to you and I really hope you enjoy them. It was a difficult decision to come down to the Nexus instead of the Amazon Fire. At the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference and I am VERY pleased with my purchase. Thank you and goodnight.
I thought as I've now been using the Nexus 7 32gb for over a month I would update you on things that people have asked me in the "comments" section and other things I have downloaded to make life easier for me (so you don't have to trawl through 4 pages of the comments). Please keep the comments and questions coming!
Space - the final frontier! One of the bugbears of the Nexus 7 is the inability to create more memory (i.e. it has no micro-sd slot). However... I've now invested in a Mini-USB to USB OTG (On The Go) cable. I can then attach a card reader (I have one that allows SD, micro-SD, USB sticks etc) to the Nexus 7. If you get the app "Nexus Media Importer" you can then use this as external memory. So I often have a 32GB Micro-SD card attached - which nicely doubles my memory capacity.
Input of text I am happy to type using this device BUT you don't have to use the keyboard offered as standard as there are plenty of alternatives. Also with the latest version of android (4.2) you can also use the "swipe" feature which, once you're used to, is a lot easier than typing! Alternatively if you have a lot of typing to do you could connect a portable keyboard via a Mini-USB to USB OTG Cable - I have and it works perfectly. You can then input as much text as you like comfortably with no problems at all.
File Managers I use "File Manager" by Rhythm Version 1.14.3. at the moment but I've also used "File Expert" by Geek Software and also Android File Manager by SmartWho - both of which were good. It just depends what "look" you want for your File Manager. There are so many excellent free ones around via GooglePlay/Android Market.
Viewing and/or Editing Word Docs/Excel Spreadsheets There are plenty of apps - like "DocumentsToGo" for instance that allow you to read Word/Excel files (in the free version) and edit them in the purchased version (it is under £10). There are plenty of other apps (OfficeSuite) but DocumentsToGo is my personal fave.
Google Chrome I have had no problems with Google Chrome v IE. There are some sites that are noticeably different viewed in their mobile version but that would be the same with any tablet device (or mobile phone).
Movies - film file types I've tried a variety of types of movie files so far on the nexus (avi, mp4, asf, wmv) without any problems. Although I DID have problems with a very large mkv file - that now is working fine using MX Player . You do need to ensure you have a decent film app because the one that comes with the Nexus is not really adequate for today's users. (MX Player is free or MX Player Pro is £3.50 through Google Play). The FREE version seems to accept many file types (mp4, asf, wmv) but you need to ensure you get the latest version if you update to Android Jellybean 4.2 or it won't work at all!
BBC iPlayer I downloaded BBC iPlayer no problem at all. I also downloaded BBC media player as a chap on another site said he couldn't play one without the other. I prefer the "belt and braces" approach and it plays fine on my nexus 7.
Google Sky Map Google Sky Maps is installed and it works fine - it moves around with you and appears to point to the correct stars (but I'm no Astronomical expert!)
Wifi Reception. One possible purchaser asked about wifi reception. The reception on my Nexus 7 is better than any of my other devices I use wirelessly (mobile phones, other tablet or even one of my laptops). I get the full "4 bars" in my bedroom for instance!
The Google Nexus 7 now comes in three versions, from other suppliers. 16 gb from £158 32 gb from £195 32 gb plus 3g for £239
My remarks, below, about the BBC iPlayer have now been superseded by the release of a BBC iPlayer app.
My Original Review from August 2012
This Tablet is great!! I've only had it a couple of days, and I cannot recommend it enough. Firstly, I'm a silver surfer, so not young. I already have an Android HTC Desire S phone, which makes the set-up familiar.
I bought the larger 16GB version, as there is no expansion SD card slot, for £199.99 from, sounds like, what you eat after the pub on a Friday night. Come on Amazon, I know it competes with the Kindle, but let the punters choose, instead of having this overpriced offering.
I've been waiting for a few months for this Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet to come out, after reading lots of industry reviews and hoping the hype was true, and it is.
As someone else said, it's easier to set up if you already have a Google account. It imported all my contacts, emails, Chrome bookmarks and some of the Apps I had on the phone, Astro file manager and SkyEye, for you astronomers, Google Maps, Google Earth.
To look at the internet or movies or pictures in landscape mode: Pull down the menu from the top with your finger and touch the circling arrows around a rectangle symbol.
Yes you can watch BBC iPlayer, using the Nexus 7
1. Using the Nexus 7 download the Firefox Beta Browser from Google Play.
2. From inside Firefox Beta using your Nexus 7 find, download and install both these files.
Adobe Flash Player 11.1_126.96.36.199.apk
The BBC are working on a less techie fix, but this works for now.
With the Nexus 7 you can surf the web, watch iPlayer even without Wi-Fi if you have a 3G Android phone.
On your Android phone Go To: All Apps select Wi-Fi Hot Spot and follow the instructions, password etc.
When it is set up, using your Nexus 7 tablet Go To: Settings, then Wi-Fi.
If you are using an HTC phone, look for HTC Portable Hotspot, it will say something similar if you have another make of phone. Now you can have the internet on your Nexus 7 anywhere you have a phone signal. Brilliant.
I know I could look at the internet on the phone, but it makes the experience more comfortable.
If you have BBC iPlayer in your Chrome Bookmarks Bar on your computer, it will automatically sync into your Nexus 7 Bookmarks.
The screen rendering is so fast. I've transferred some of my movies and TV shows, that I had converted, from my phone and they work very well. My Bluetooth headphones registered immediately, no faffing like in Windows. Being able to speak questions into it and getting 90% correct answers. The Google translate app is fantastic. Say any phrase in English, then have it say it in the language of your choice, just like the Star Trek Universal Translator.
Battery life seems good, although I haven't had time to really push it yet. I've just received a Black Carbon Fibre Print PropUp Stand Case Cover & G-HUB ProPen Stylus from Amazon, which turns the the Tablet Off and On when you open the cover. Just waiting for the screen protectors I ordered to arrive, because of my greasy fingers. Built in mono speaker, but stereo head phone jack or Bluetooth. On first use, the music player is better than my phone, five slide graphic equalizer, bass boost & 3D effect. With the MySMS app you can text from it as well as email.
I can see this becoming the new Filofax for the 20 tens.
Update 3 months on. Still think the Nexus 7 is great. There was an Android Update this week and now the Home Screen spins as well, when you change from Portrait to Landscape mode, which it was criticised for not doing so before.