I’m going to consider this Part 1 of… Well, a multi-part thing. I can’t (and won’t) cram every impression of the Nexus 7 into a single post without having it turn into an Ars Technica review and I guarantee it would be less interesting to read.
When Google announced the Nexus 7 at Google I/O 2012, it immediately caught my attention. Yes, companies like Samsung and Amazon had tried a 7-inch form factor. I even ended up giving my mom a Kindle Fire for Christmas because it seemed seamless enough for her to use without much confusion and she loves it. But I couldn’t deal with a mediocre product like the Fire or the Galaxy Tab 7″ or whatever Samsung decided to call theirs. I call them mediocre products because for a geek, they are mediocre products. There’s little support from the manufacturer and they often don’t end up getting software updates.
Then this beauty was announced.
It became an immediate buy–just wanted to wait until the checkbook agreed with the brain.
I’ve had the Nexus 7 for a week now and I can’t put it down. The build quality is great, the hardware is fantastic and the software is also not too shabby. Perhaps I should say this: for $200, all of the above is true. I haven’t even used my iPad for more than an hour since then (a nice aluminum paperweight right now). It’s that good (and this is coming from an Apple fan who also owns stock in the company).
I used to think that a 7-inch form factor was ridiculous, that it was literally an overgrown Android phone. And to some extent, it is. The problem with Android on tablets that has plagued it forever is the fact that there are very few tablet-oriented applications. What ends up happening is that you get a blown-up phone experience which, still, isn’t too bad. This is helped by the Galaxy Nexus having a resolution of 1280×720 versus the 1280×800 on the Nexus 7. App assets (like images for backgrounds, menu bars, gradients, etc.) aren’t always blown up like they are on non-retina iOS applications and leaving them jaggy and ugly.
Again, I’ll do specifics in later posts; one for hardware, one for software. But here’s where I stand with the Nexus 7 right now.
It’s not going back to Mountain View.
Is it perfect? No, but neither is the iPad. Are there some rough edges? Oh definitely, but Google is slowly making advances in the right direction. They’re beginning to push manufacturers to slim down their lineups and keep their phones updated so that more people can get the same experience–like iOS. They’re beginning to push developers to keep their apps updated and take advantage of new APIs and features so their apps can compete with iOS.
This is a perfect consumption device. It’s light enough at 12 ounces to be held in one hand while you’re drinking your morning coffee, yet sturdy enough that it feels like it can take a bit of a tossing in your bag and survive.
Google has a solid product and since they’re both the hardware seller and software maker, they have tight control of how this will play out–just like Apple. This is already a successful