Google Nexus 7 tablet review

Google Nexus 7 tablet review

T3 5
  • Google Nexus 7 review: This Asus-made tablet sports a 7-inch screen and a bargain price tag that looks set to worry the Amazon Kindle Fire

    Google Nexus 7 tablet review

    Love

    • Premium build
    • Great screen
    • Improved voice search

    Hate

    • No expandable storage
    • Wi-Fi only
    • Missing some Google Play stuff

    Update: The Google Nexus 7 has been named Gadget of the Year at the annual T3 Gadget Awards, eating the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the iPhone 4S and the Sony PS Vita.  Be sure to check out the full list of T3 Gadget Awards 2012 winners...

    The Google Nexus 7 by Asus is the world’s first 7-inch quadcore tablet to run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. 

    Unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference, the search engine giants worked with Asus to build a device that packs premium specs, but a not so premium £159 price tag.

    As speculation continues to intensify around the possibility of Apple announcing an ‘iPad mini’, we find out if the cheap Android tablet can help Google gain ground on the Cupertino company and rain on the hotly anticipated Amazon Kindle Fire's parade.

    When you take the Nexus 7 out of the box, it looks and feels like a tablet you would not be ashamed to take out in public.

    Having successfully launched the Samsung Nexus smartphone range, Google has chosen well again for its foray into the tablet market by working with Asus which has made some of the best Android tablets on the market, notably the Asus Transformer Prime.

    Google Nexus 7: Build

    The black bezel display seems to be the standard for Android tablets these days, but Asus has given its surroundings a more aesthetically pleasing feel particularly the textured dimple-like back that sits snug in two hands making it ideal for prolonged use.

    Weighing in at 340g, the Nexus 7 is lighter than the Amazon Kindle Fire (413g) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (345g). At 10.5mm thick it’s not the most slender, but this is barely noticeable in the grand scheme of the overall design of the Nexus 7.

    Physical buttons-wise it is much the same as other Android tablets, with on/off button and volume rocker situated on the edge of the device and the micro USB charging and syncing port found at the bottom next to the headphone jack.

    Google Nexus 7: Screen

    If you’re expecting a new iPad 3-style Retina display quality in the screen department, then you’re going to be mildly disappointed.



    While the 1280 x 800 HD display with 216 ppi might not put it in the same category in terms of clarity and vibrancy as the Apple tablet, it easily surpasses the 1024 x 600 resolutions sported by its closest 7-inch tablet rivals and proves excellent for watching movies and browsing.

    There’s a corning glass coating to give the screen more durability and a magnetic layering which means the Nexus 7 has the capabilities to support SmartCover-style cases.

  • The Google Nexus 7 tablet by Asus lands with the specs that can take on the iPad and a price that should worry the Amazon Kindle Fire

    Google Nexus 7 tablet review

    Love

    • Premium build
    • Great screen
    • Improved voice search

    Hate

    • No expandable storage
    • Wi-Fi only
    • Missing some Google Play stuff

    Update: The new Nexus 7 2 (2013) has been released in the US and is due to hit UK shores within a matter of weeks. Check out our Google Nexus 7 2 review....

     

    The Google Nexus 7 by Asus is the internet giant's first foray into the tablet world, as was announced at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Manufactured by Asus - well known for producing the popular Transformer Prime - the 7-inch tablet will pack a quad-core chip along with Google's latest OS - Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

    While obvious tablet rivals include the new iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, it's the Amazon Kindle Fire that Asus believes will be the Nexus 7's closet rival. As the Fire isn't even available in the UK yet, we reckon that Google's got a pretty good chance of winning this particular showdown. Plus, the Nexus 7 is cheaper.

    Google's tablet is also lighter than the Fire, weighing in at 340g, and measuring just 10.5mm thick. The rubberised back means that the tablet is comfy to hold and shouldn't slip from your mitts too easily.

    Google Nexus 7: Features

    The key feature on show here is the new Android Jelly Bean OS, which is geared towards tablets just as much as it is towards smartphones. We'll bring you more details on that once we've got a full review sample to play around with.

    The Nexus 7 has a front camera, plus two built-in mics for video calling, but no rear-facing cam, which seems like a fair ommission on a tablet, particularly if it keeps the cost down.

    Google Nexus 7: Screen

    The 7-inch screen sports a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, along with TruVivid technology for a bright, colourful picture. While no match for the Retina display of the iPad 3, the screen was certainly punchy and easy to read and the IPS panel means that the viewing angle is about as wide as it can possibly be.

    For those that are worried about damaging the screen when it's lobbed into the bottom of the their bag, you'll be pleased to hear that the screen sports scratch-resistant Corning Fit Glass, which should keep damage to a minimum.

    If that's not enough for you, rest assured that Asus will be offering a case for the tablet as well.

    Google Nexus 7: Usability

    Along with Wi-Fi, the Nexus 7 also features Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, but there's no option for 3G. While there are currently plans for a 3G-enabled model, Asus hasn't entirely ruled out the idea either. Watch this space.

    Unsurprisingly, the tablet comes loaded with all of Google's major services including Gmail, Maps, Chrome and YouTube, while the Google Play store is also easy to find - in fact, it's this outlet that could well be key to the tablet's success.

    Google Nexus 7: Performance

    The Nexus 7 is powered by a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (as used in the Asus Transformer Pad 300), with a 12-core GeForce GPU taking care of the graphics. The 4-PLUS-1 CPU is designed to "give maximum performance when you need it and power efficiency when you don't".

    We only had limited time to play with the device, but we found it to be very zippy and responsive, while graphics were rendered swiftly and clearly on the screen.

    Google Nexus 7: Battery

     

    Asus reckons that you'll get 9.5 hours of video playback, while Google is erring on the side of caution and saying 9. Obviously that's something we'll be testing out in more detail once we get a full review sample in at T3 HQ.

    Google Nexus 7: Verdict

    The Google Nexus 7 that we had a play with wasn't a completely finished retail version, but we were assured that it wasn't far off/ We were impressed by the tablet's build quality, punchy screen and zippy operation and above all - the jaw-droppingly reasonable price tag.

    Just as the affordable Kindle 4, released last year caused a significant rise in the number of people using e-readers, we think that the Google Nexus 7 could well be the tablet that really cracks the mass market - after all, top-tier tablets like the Asus Transformer Prime and the iPad 3 are still prohibitively expensive for many.

    Google Nexus 7 availability: Mid-July (8GB), 27 July (16GB)

    Google Nexus 7 price: £159 (8GB), £199 (16GB)

    Hands-on review by Libby Plummer

    • Google Nexus 7 tablet preview
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    • Google Nexus 7 tablet preview
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    • Video
      Google Nexus 7 review video

      We take an indepth look at the Android Jelly Bean tablet

      02:04
    • Video
      Google Nexus 7 tablet preview

      Specs, price and release date for Google's first tablet

      00:48
  • Google Nexus 7

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