The other day the postman delivered a plain brown box, inside of which was the new Nexus 7 that I had ordered from Google less than 24 hours ago. That was the first surprise. The second was a Nexus 4. Google had reduced the pricing of this phone to £199 for the 16gb and £159 for the 8gb model. That represents great value. Also good timing, as I was due to be returning my Nokia Lumia 925 back to Nokia in a few days.
I recall when Google launched the original Nexus 7. That brought back bad memories. Poor build quality and equally bad customer service experience when trying to return the faulty tablet. It also had a poor screen and audio quality. So the first positive was a 24 hours from order to delivery. The second was the size of the box. It was a lot smaller than I thought. Opening the box and holding the new Nexus 7 immediately felt like a good experience. It was a solid well built tablet. Size wise, it is narrower than the iPad Mini, and as wide as the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The N7 is the same thickness as the iPad Mini with a Smart Cover fitted.
So what does the new Nexus 7 represent? The best of Google in an unbloated format in a pocketable 7 inch tablet. The screen is fantastic with 323ppi and makes viewing the iPad Mini rather unpleasant. The N7 speakers are a dual stereo setup with surround sound powered by Fraunhofer (the MP3 inventors). They sound average and I wish they went louder. With several headphones I have tried, the N7 has plenty of guts to power some of my more demanding cans, and sounds above average in quality. I would use the N7 as my primary MP3 device.
Now, the biggest complaint is android on a tablet doesn’t work properly because of the lack of android optimised tablet apps. That statement is true if you have a larger screened tablet, like say the Sony 10.1 inch Xperia Z tablet. But to my surprise, I have not come across any apps that don’t look fine on the N7. I think its balance of width and height just work really well. Only one app does not work, and that is BBC iPlayer, although I am sure that will get updated soon. So in use I am really enjoying the N7. I also have not changed the default launcher. It just works fine on the N7.
Interaction with the N7 is excellent too. It is a breeze to hold it and type with two fingers. If it is purchased on a table, I have found it not so easy to type in landscape at the moment as the keys are too close together. The iPad Mini, with the Smart Cover is keyboard mode, is considerably easier to type using both hands and all fingers, therefore faster. I would also add, that if you do a lot of data input, I would suggest using a full size iPad. The on screen keyboard is so fantastic, I can approach 80 words per minute.
I have installed 80 apps, 32 of which were games, half a dozen 30 seconds videos, 200 photos and still have 21gb free.
The new Nexus 7 is £199 for the 16gb and £239 for the 32gb, and currently Google are offering free shipping. Would I recommend the new Nexus 7. Yes, but I would also recommend waiting a few weeks to see what other companies competing for the same space also release.
But I will leave you with one thought. My iPad Mini 64gb (which I have now sold) cost £439 new. For the same money you can buy a Google N4 smartphone and the new Nexus 7. And this is a problem Apple need to combat.
Update – Qi wireless charging is built into the N7 just like the N4 phone. I received a Zens charging pad and it works a treat with the N7. Also using Google’s full resolution auto photo upload service is fantastic. Take shots on the N4, view them after Google has auto awesomed them on my N7. Photospheres are incredible.