There was a time when iPads ruled as the only tablet in the market and in many homes. Today, Samsung, Dell, ZTE, Sony, Huawei and even Google (in partnership with Asus) have joined the train; and Android powered tablets have shipped in their numbers.
Google released the second generation of its Nexus powered tablet in 2013. Like some other devices that are not released to the Nigerian market, I got it, but got it late.
Please note that in this article, whenever I use Nexus 7, I am not referring to the original Nexus 7 but the new Nexus 7, 2013 edition. Whenever I want to refer to the first generation 2012 Nexus 7, I am going to refer to it as the original Nexus 7.
The Nexus 7 is a great device that I am going to miss some of its great features when I finally drop it. I’m dropping it for just one reason: it is not as fast as I would have loved it to be. So, I have opted for the iPad Air. I have become a sucker for speed and I can hardly stand any smartphones, tablet or laptop that drags or crash apps that I love too often.
The Google Nexus 7 is the ideal size for a tablet at 7″. It has thin bezels and enough room at the sides when holding it in landscape mode.
Although there’s no earphones added in the pack, you can use any standard 3.5 mm earphones with it. In the box is: the Nexus 7, AC Adapter, micro USB cable and safety information.
The super specs of the Nexus 7 that drew me to it include:
- 7.02″ display
- 1920×1200 HD Display (323 ppi) sharper than the TV in many homes
- 1080p HD IPS. This full HD IPS makes the display so superb that there’s sharp and clear display from almost any angle.
- It has camera, unlike the original one—not that I plan to use the camera. Friends don’t let friends shoot pictures outdoors with tablets.
- Bluetooth 4.0 (allows low energy Bluetooth device to function with it like the Fitbit One health monitoring device, Nike+ FeulBand etc)
The Nexus 7 came pre-installed with Android 4.3 operating system. As soon as I set it up and added my Google account, I was prompted with an update to Android 4.4 Kit Kat—what a joy. This is one edge that Nexus devices have over Android devices made by other OEMs like Samsung, Sony, Tecno, Huawei and the others.
You might want to read a full review of the features that come with Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS.
One of the features on Kit Kat that I love so much is the Google Keyboard that ships with it. I am in the habit of installing a third party keyboard on any Android device I’m using. In this case, the Google Android Keyboard was just enough. One more perk that comes with it is the fact that one is able to have access to an array of emojis/emoticons.
Android allows you to install a third party keyboard. You might not have a need to do that on the Nexus 7. I can easily type using my fingers by placing the Nexus on the table in a landscape mode—using my two hands and typing at a rapid speed. Gliding over each key is pretty easy when using the swipe function that came with the Kit Kat keyboard as a well.
The function buttons are on the screen—home button, back button to the left and app switcher button to the right. When typing in landscape mode, it is common for me go hit the home button and be taken away from where I am as the space bar is just too close to the home button. To me, this is a design flaw and they should do something about it.
There are lots of apps in the Google Play Store that one can install except for one problem that cuts across most Android tablets: many of the apps are not optimized for tablets. I had to hunt for a Twitter app that is specifically built for Android tablets; but I found only Tweetcaster and Falcon Pro. Unless you know the work around or have a token, you may not be able to get Falcon Pro to work on your Google Nexus 7.
Even the twitter app that was released by Twitter for Android tablet is only made available to Samsung GALAXY Android tablets. I’m wondering why twitter is pulling this kind of stunt. Unlike the iPad that has lots of applications that are well built and tailored to function for it, the Nexus 7 is still cramped in this department—but much better than how things were when the first android tablets hit the stores. Android tablets are catching up with iPads now.
The external speaker isn’t of high quality.
You’re more likely to use headphones/earphones when you’re watching a movie or listening to music on this device if you are to enjoy quality audio outputs.
The new Nexus 7 I have is the 32 GB edition with support for SIM card and LTE ready. Unlike many other users, I rely primarily on WiFi for Internet access in it, so I did not pop in any SIM card into it. This makes it possible for me to enjoy a longer battery life on this device. Caveat: I have never used a SIM on it and my battery performance review is reflecting how long the battery lasts when on wifi only as LTE/3G consumes more battery power than WiFi.
I get a full day use from the Nexus 7 from moderate use. I charge once every day.
Unlike on Apple’s iPad, the Nexus 7 allows the grabbing of media contents like: audio and video over the web and you can easily download them to be played later on your device. You can also install a torrent app to grab legal contents from torrent websites for your device. There are some very large free open source apps that are distributed over torrent networks. Please note that the sharing of and downloading of copyrighted materials over torrent network is illegal.
One great feature of the nexus 7 is that it is iOS free. What that means is that all the restriction that Apple has placed on it own products won’t plague it. It is impossible to set up a new iPad if you do not have a laptop that is connected to the Internet or have access to WiFi. This is not so with the Nexus 7. Just power it and start using right away. Although you need a Google Account to download from the Google Play Store, it is not a must that you create an account to be able to use the tablet.
You’re allowed to install third party apps that are not present in the Google Play Store; all you need to do is to grant permission to the apps from the settings of the device.
I know I’ve met a lot of people here in Lagos that want a tablet and when they ask me about iPad, they want to know if the iPad supports phone call. I’m sure you’d love to know if the Nexus 7, 2013 can be used for phone calls too; it can’t be used for phone calls. Although it supports microSIM card, it’s only as a means of subscribing to data services.
If you’re looking for a tablet that can also function as a mobile phone for calling out, the Nexus 7 won’t do.
You can easily set up a profile for your kids and restrict them from accessing apps and contents from your account. This is also useful for folks that want to play with your tablet for a few minutes. Instead of being stingy and locking your tablet away from them all the time, you can create a guest profile and hand them the tablet. In this case, you’ll set up a secret lock for the device and when your kids (or friends) pick up your device, they are going to have access to apps and section of the device you allow for guests.
The Nexus 7, 2013 edition is one of the tablets I recommend to anyone today for: it is cheap and affordable, runs on the latest version of Google’s Android, it is the ideal size for a tablet you want to take with you at all times, the screen resolution is just perfect and it is iOS free.
But if you are like me, you might not want it. Why? It crashes apps too often and there are few tablet specific apps for it. If these are no issues for you, go ahead and grab one for yourself. As at the time of writing, it is not available in Nigeria officially; but if you check some of the e-commerce websites, you may be able to just find one.