As the Amazon Kindle Fire continues to go missing in action here in the UK, Google has decided to wade in on the tablet action teaming up with Transformer Prime makers Asus to unleash the Nexus 7, the first tablet to run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
While it might not have Apple quaking in its boots or new iPad owners considering a tablet trade-in, with a sub £200 price tag, premium looks and plenty of great features, it might have those not willing to part with a sizeable amount of cash to join the slate revolution. If you are contemplating whether to invest in the Nexus 7, here's our snapshot look at the features that might tempt the money out of your pocket.
Build and design
While the black bezel display seems to be the standard for Android tablets these days, Asus and Google have managed to give the Nexus 7 more asthetically pleasing in other departments with its rubberized dimple-like back that cannot be removed but should make it comfortable to grip. Weighing in at 340g and measuring in at 10.5mm thick, the Nexus 7 is lighter than the Kindle Fire (413g) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (345g) making it ideal for those prolonged e-book sessions. Physical buttons-wise, you can expect volume controls, a power button, the front-facing camera positioned at the top of the device and a micro USB for charging.
One thing that Asus has managed to nail on the tablet front is making a beautiful iPad-rivalling tablet screen like the one on the Transformer Prime. So, prospective Nexus 7 owners can expect a 1280 x 800 HD display with 216 ppi which might not put it in the same category in terms of clarity and vibrancy as the Apple tablet, but does ensure it surpasses the 1024 x 600 resolutions sported by its closest 7-inch tablet rivals. The Corning glass coating should also ensure it can withstand the odd knock or two.
We have yet to be convinced by rear-facing cameras on tablets, and find it hard to accept that people would prefer to take a snap with one over a smartphone, and clearly Google think the same, opting only to include a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera which should suitably cover all your Skype and Google + chatting needs.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
The big news of course is that the Nexus 7 will be the first Android device to ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean which will most notably bring a smarter keyboard, a more sophisticated voice search and the new Google Now service. You can get a full run down of the new features below.
If there is one thing that the Nexus 7 has over current 7-inch tablet offerings is serious power under the hood. Packing a Tegra 3 quadcore processor (which makes it the world’s first quadcore 7-inch tablet) to tackle multitasking and deliver smooth streaming video, the 12-core GPU should give it enough grunt to and handle the most graphically demanding mobile games. The addition of a fifth battery-saving core which many new smartphones launching in 2012 will include, takes care of everyday tasks like emails, updating Twitter and Facebook feeds and watching videos which will help to preserve battery life.
Quadcore chipset providers NVIDIA also announced that a series of Nexus 7-optimized games will be available when the tablet launches which includes first person zombie shooter Dead Trigger, and revamped versions of ExZeus II THD and Bladeslinger THD which will include Tegra 3 unique features to take advantage of the powerful processor.
Building on the enhanced functionality introduced in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 will be the first Android tablet to have the Google Chrome as the standard web browser. That means you can expect speedy page loading and the ability to sync favourite sites from your desktop straight out of the box.
If you are hoping to browse the web on the Nexus 7 on your travels you are going to have to get some tethering action on the go as the tablet only supports Wi-Fi. If you can make do with that, there is also Bluetooth support, GPS and NFC capability courtesy of Android Beam to instantly send pictures and video.
With the new iPad promising around 9-10 hours of battery life, Google claims that the Nexus 7 will deliver a decent nine hours if you are consuming content like HD video, but if you are simply reading an e-book or browsing the web, expect around 10 hours of Nexus 7 playtime.
UK price and release date
The good news is that the impressive sounding Nexus 7 tablet will cost £159 for the 8GB version and £199 for the 16GB model putting it in the same price bracket as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (£200) and the Amazon Kindle Fire ($199) if you converted the US price into Pound sterling of course. You can pre-order the Nexus 7 from Google play now and could ship by July 19th according to the latest reports with the likes of PC World, Currys and Carphone Warehouse expected to stock the Android Jelly Bean-toting device.
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