The Google Nexus 7 tablet was launched to much anticipation earlier this year. Since the original Nexus phone, Google has held this range of devices up as a showcase of the Android OS potential.
While Google will no doubt get most of the glory for the Nexus 7, the tablet is manufactured by Asus. The Taiwanese technology giant has created arguably the two best Android tablets to date, the Transformer and Transformer Prime, and now with the Nexus 7 can add another home run to its tally.
The 340 gram body of the Nexus 7 is slightly larger than a paperback book. Passing it around the office several comments were made on how light it was. There was however a mixed reaction to whether this was a good thing or bad. Some thought being light was convenient, while others found it too 'toy-like'.
I think the Nexus 7 is weighted well enough to make it substantial in your hand, without tiring you from long periods of use. The 7 inch form factor might not have been favoured by Steve Jobs, but it works well as an e-reader and media consumption device. The rubberised back along with its small perforated dots give it a very pleasant texture, similar to leather, and at the same time keeps your fingers from slipping.
With other budget Android tablets the first place that manufacturers look to skimp on cost is the display panel, which is usually the costliest part of a tablet. The Nexus 7's 800 x 1280 pixel LCD screen has the colour quality and image crispness of devices twice its price. Colours and edges are very accurate, and the screen looks more like paper and ink than glass and LCD.
I've become used to the new iPad's "retina" display, which has sullied my opinions of other tablets' displays. Unfortunately the Nexus 7 is no different in this regard, but Google and Asus should be applauded for the fantastic screen at this price point.
The Nexus 7 is the first Android device with Google's Android 4.1 (Jellybean) straight out of the box. Jellybean isn't a revolutionary new operating system, but more of a refinement of the previous one (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich).
Android's notoriously laggy system animations and clunky user interface is quicker and cleaner. It's not as good as iOS or Windows Phone 7, but the trade off is a much greater level of customisation and a new notification system which gives a deeper level of information on updates.
With a 1 GB of RAM and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, the Nexus 7 packs firepower comparable to high end Android tablets and the iPad.
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