Google Nexus 7 Review: The Best Tablet With A Smart Price

Just a few short years ago, certain laptop PC manufacturers scoffed at the way in which devices were becoming cheaper and lower-end than ever before. They feared that the situation was getting out of control and rather than striving for bigger and better things – as had always been tradition – the industry was becoming all-consumed with low prices and thus low performance, rather than pushing the envelope.

However, fast-forward to the present day and it appears that not only is the world producing and buying the most incredibly advanced and powerful laptops in history, but the race for affordability has shifted over the tablet PC market.

Ever since the Amazon Kindle Fire proved it was possible to develop and launch a tablet PC for less than $200, thousand have flooded the market and served no useful purpose whatsoever – other than as dust-collecting paperweights.

Low prices in the tablet PC world have traditionally meant low quality and low functionality, with the Amazon Kindle Fire standing alone as one example of genuine value for money.

…that is, until now.

Google Nexus 7 Review

A New Front-Runner

Google has teamed up with Asus and Nvidia to create the new Google Nexus 7 tablet, which not only costs the same $199 as the Amazon Kindle Fire, but pummels its rival into oblivion spec-wise. In fact, it would be fair to say that the Google Nexus 7 wipes the floor with the Kindle Fire in every way but one…which we will come to a little later.

Build Quality

While the price-tag will naturally be the key selling-point of the Nexus 7, you would never know you were holding a device that set you back less than $200. True, there may be a distinct lack of show-stopping materials and aesthetic adornments, but the general feel of the Nexus along with its weight and casing materials feel distinctly high-end. The backing may be rubber, but it has been tweaked

Google and Asus also seem to have been careful not to go mad with the branding, which has given the Nexus 7 a wonderfully elegant and sophisticated overall look which makes it easier to take the thing seriously – as you very well should.

You might notice a distinct lack of a camera sensor on the back of the Nexus 7, but at least there’s a modest 1.2-megapixel lens on the front for video-calling and the like.

Speaker + Ports

The speaker on the Nexus 7 can be found on the back of the device right at the bottom, which is also where the headphone jack and micro-USB ports are housed. Anyone familiar with Asus will likely be breathing a sigh of relief at this stage as the much-maligned Asus Transformer connector is absent from the party – though sadly the same can be said for HDMI output…but then again you can’t ask for everything at this price.

You’ll also see a dock connector on the left-hand side of the Nexus 7 which is most likely destined for a world of gadgets, add-ons and docking stations to transform the tablet into a variety of other devices.

Weighing In

If looking for exactly measurements, the Nexus 7 is just over 10.4mm in thickness which is just fractionally less than the Amazon Kindle Fire – no diet-tablet of course if we’re being honest. Thankfully however the Nexus 7 is considerably lighter and weighs in at just 340grams, compared to the 413grams of the Kindle Fire.

The Nexus also boats wonderfully smooth, curved edges which make it easier and more comfortable both use and carry.

Powertrain

Behind the scenes, the grunt is delivered by an Tegra 3 quad-core processor from Nvidia clocked at 1.2GHz, which is backed by 1GB of dedicated RAM and storage options of 8GB and 16GB. Sadly, there is no allowance for expansion by way of microSD, which is a shame but certainly no deal-breaker. The Nexus also sports NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and a digital compass.

Display

Almost all budget and lower-end tablets offer nothing but disappointment when it comes to their display panels – a tradition blown completely out of the water by the Nexus 7. It’s 1280 by 800 resolution even makes the 1024 by 600 of the Kindle Fire seem lackluster and it was of course the display quality of the Fire that earned it so much favor from many critics.

Visuals are crisp, colors are rich and blacks as deep as the ocean. Of course, if you’re going to be picky and compare it to Apple’s Retina display you’re in for a disappointment, but feel free to spend the additional $300 or so if you can live without biblical clarity.

Viewing angles are great, brightness is as good as perfect and when you think of what you’re looking at for just $200, I dare you not find its quality bewildering.

The rear-mounted speaker delivers the goods as well as expected – which is to say sufficiently but in no way impressive.

Performance

When we first heard whispers that quad-core tablets were coming this year for less than $200, we assumed that we were either being lied to or said tablets would somehow deliver the usual sub-par performance. The Nexus 7 has already silences all critics by delivering an incredibly smooth, sleek and fast user-experience, even when using the most power-hungry of apps and features.

In fact, early bench tests have suggested that the Nexus 7 operated smoother and faster than some of its bigger brothers topping the $500.

The same can also be said for the battery life of the Nexus 7 as early tests indicate that users will be able to use the thing to their heart’s content for a good 10 hours from a single charge – again a considerable lead over thousands of its higher-priced rivals.

And the Downside?

Ok, referring back to the “better in every way but one” statement made earlier, the only thing that lets the Nexus 7 down in a rather modest way is the fact that quite a lot of content – particularly magazines, books and movies – are priced slightly higher on Google’s Play Store than the Amazon Store. That being said, the Nexus 7 comes free from DRM which in turn means you can fill it with as much content as you like that you may have purchased elsewhere, so to say it loses out entirely in terms of content would be unfair.

Video Review From Engadget

Overall

All in all, the Google Nexus 7 so far appears to be everything we had expected and indeed hoped it to be all along. There is simply no disputing the fact that in terms of value for money and the overall package delivered, not a single tablet on the market today comes close. You might be able to pick up something cheaper just in the same way you’ll find superior spec-sheets, but nothing else in the world today offers quality and value in such concentrations as the Nexus 7.

The Amazon Kindle Fire may have kicked-off the affordable tablet market, but the Google Nexus 7 has just shown the world how it should have been done.

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