Google Nexus 7 review

  • £165
  • $199

The first Google tablet finally takes the Android problem into its own hands

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Great Value

We've fondled our fair share of tablets since the iPad redefined the category back in 2010. The Google Nexus 7 by Asus doesn't quite stack up in terms of specs to Apple's media darling – and nor should it, considering the iPad sells for at least twice the price. It's most certainly the best tablet for the budget-conscious, and thanks to that it's a match for the Apple offering.

Long term thoughts

In fact, having spent months with the Google Nexus 7, we're delighted to tell you that this is a tablet that just keeps giving.

Having the option of the Nexus 7 when out and about is a major boon. At its price point, the Nexus 7 brings not only impressive specs, but also the knowledge that it is replaceable, making it a device you can throw in your bag without any major worries.

Google Now remains infuriating, particularly outside of the US where the company cannot provide train information or adequate coverage of sports teams, but the potential for the service is massive and we are hoping it will continue to improve.

Even with some fairly casual treatment, our device is scratch-free and working as well as it did out of the box, and the 7 inch screen and low weight makes it a versatile media player, backup ebook reader and mini-gaming machine on the go.

We liked

Hey, we're suckers for free stuff, so the goodie basket Google includes with the purchase of a Nexus 7 is definitely worth another mention here. We also can't wait to see an army of Nexus 7 owners marching to local stores, where they'll whip out a 7-inch tablet to pay for goods using Google Wallet.

Like many recent Asus tablet products, the build quality is on par with Apple. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is exactly the right step for Google at this stage, focusing on enhancing the existing user experience – especially given the low penetration of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich – instead of throwing cool new features against the wall to see what sticks.

We disliked

Although the Google Nexus 7 by Asus has very good Wi-Fi and we were able to tether from a mobile hotspot with ease, we'd love to see a slightly more expensive model with 4G or 3G, accompanied by sweet month-to-month data plans, in the near future.

Android is still playing catch-up when it comes to tablet-friendly apps, but we're hopeful those kinks will start to get ironed out if and when consumers gravitate to the Nexus 7.

Our biggest lament is the muted contrast of the otherwise stellar IPS display; while it's not a total dealbreaker, we're holding out hope that Google might push out a software update to bring the gamma levels in line with competing hardware, assuming it's not simply a glitch with our review unit.

Verdict

One compliment we can pay to the Nexus 7 is that it makes us want an iPad mini too. Not because Google's tablet is bad, because it very much isn't – we just think there's a lot of potential for something between an iPod touch and a 9.7-inch iPad, and the Nexus 7 finally validates that.

The 7-inch market has been criminally under-served since the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Tab (Kindle Fire excepted), so some competition between a new iPad and this stellar tablet from Google would be warmly welcomed.

Yes, there will be plenty of average folks who can't afford to drop a few hundred dollars or pounds for some casual tablet fun, favouring the less expensive Nexus 7 over the iPad – and perhaps for that reason Apple will have a little more fear over its commanding market share over the tablet market.

In the short term, though, the Kindle Fire has the most to fear from Google and Asus. Instant Video aside, Amazon has flat out been blown away in the low budget price range it pioneered, by a more appealing and capable device.

Like a bucket of water being used to douse the Kindle's flames, Google appears poised to reclaim any tablet ground lost since the introduction of Amazon's forked version of Android. It may not tread a lot of new ground, but the Nexus 7 is a solid performer and easily the best tablet around for the thriftier buyer.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelULP GeForce
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time9.50 Hour
GPSYes
Product FamilyNexus 7
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Processor ModelT30L
ColourNakasi Brown
Operating SystemAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeTegra 3
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)340 g
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruVivid Technology, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height10.5 mm
Width198.5 mm
Depth120 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product NameNexus 7 Tablet
Product LineNexus 7
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part Number90OK0MI1100560U
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

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.

Package Contents
  • Nexus 7 Tablet
  • AC Adapter