Review: The Nexus 7… Worth Every Penny of Its $199 Price
The tablet market has been a difficult realm for Google to conquer. While the iPad remains the immovable king, Amazon and Barnes & Noble usurped Google by delivering successful mini tablets that rely on Android as a foundation but not an ecosystem. Even Samsung, Google’s most prolific and commercially successful partner, has expressed disappointment in its tablet efforts.
The Nexus 7 probably won’t be the commercial hit that Google has sought, especially if rumors of a smaller iPad and a Kindle Fire prove true later this year. But whether Google succeeds isn’t the consumer’s primary concern. What matters most is if the Nexus 7 is good enough, versatile enough, and impressive enough to become the next tablet you buy.
At a cost of only $199, the answer is probably yes.
HARDWARE: Pocket sized power
ASUS partnered with Google to build the Nexus 7, and the pair produced solid results. The 7 isn’t very impressive visually because it’s just a black rectangle with Corning Gorilla Glass and a hard plastic rim. The tablet gets higher marks when it comes to touch because it’s incredibly comfortable to hold. The Nexus 7 has smooth round edges that nestle in your palm, and the back material is very soft. Factor in the 0.75-pound weight and smaller stature thanks to its 7-inch screen, one-handed operation is not cumbersome at all. And that’s the primary reason to enjoy the Nexus 7. It’s bigger than a phone and capable of doing more, but not so large that portability or weight becomes an issue.
The Nexus 7 has a 7-inch IPS screen, which makes it less desirable to people who want the power and size that the average 10-inch tablet offers. However, don’t take that to mean that the 7 is weak. On the contrary, it sports the same NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor found in favorites like the ASUS Transformer series, only it’s clocked at 1.3 GHz. Teamed with a 12 core GPU and 1 GB of RAM, the Tegra 3 processor allows the Nexus 7 to access a library of Tegra-targeted games with better graphics. It also means that the 4-plus-1 architecture can drop to lower speeds when watching video or performing less-intensive activity, allowing the device to conserve energy. Google promises 8 hours of continuous use for the 4325 mAh battery, and depending on your activities and brightness settings, you should get close to that.