Google Nexus 7: A Review

The Google Nexus 7 is the best thing to have happened in the 7 inch tablet category ever since the Amazon Kindle Fire had first lit up the segment at the end of last year. The Kindle Fire is almost history now, and the Nexus 7 has hit all the right chords so far. Surely a super affordable starting price tag of $199 has helped immensely, but also being packed with the latest bits of tech hasn’t hurt. Add to that the recently released Android version Jelly Bean and what you have is the latest hardware and software at rock bottom prices.

Design and Appearance

The Nexus 7 is an absolute stunner. It has a textured rubbery back with the Nexus logo engraved in bold letters, lending a sense of strong character to the device. A metallic trim further adds to the design, though the bezel around the 7 inch display might be considered a bit too thick at the top and bottom of the device. Overall, the design is simplistic yet classy. A lone power/sleep button makes up the front, with a volume rocker switch finding place along the side. A microUSB port and a 3.5mm jack are both included along the bottom.

The tablet’s front consists of a 7 inch capacitive touch screen Corning glass display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. This translates to 216 ppi, which is respectable in its own right, though less than the corresponding figures for iPad 3. However, while images rendered are sharp and a pleasure to view, it can still be considered a bit less striking than the AMOLED displays we have been seeing lately. Viewing angles are quite impressive though, which means you can share the display with a few others when, for example, you are watching a movie. The speaker at the back is a single large unit, and while they are perfectly satisfactory, its best when external speakers are brought into the picture.


The star attraction here is the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core chip rated at 1.3Ghz. Assisting it is a 1 GB RAM, while on-board storage amounts to either 8 or 16 GB. All of these figures translate to zippy performance with virtually no lag time. Whether it is handling HD movies, 3D games, or general tasks such as web browsing, the Tegra 3 backed Nexus 7 handled all with ease.

However, while most tablet makers have tried to cram their devices with the best of photography hardware and supporting software, Google has steered clear of that. The Nexus 7 only has a 1.2 megapixel camera that can be found at the front, which should be enough for video chat. The camera is also capable of 720p video recording.

The tablet measures 7.8 x 4.72 x 0.41 inches, which shows the Nexus isn’t out there to vie for the thinnest tablet award. Rather, it’s functionality that the tablet aims to achieve.


The Nexus 7 simply excels on this aspect and is the only tablet right now to run the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s a bold step ahead of the Android ICS and does make things a lot more simple and effective. Jelly Bean incorporates a number of important improvements over the Ice Cream Sandwich it is built on. The Nexus tablet owes much of its ultra smooth performance to the Project Butter initiative that has made the Jelly Bean sheer fun to work with. Also, for a product from Google, it’s only natural for the Nexus 7 to come pre-loaded with  Google software, such as the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google+, and YouTube.

Users will also have access to the TegraZone, Nvidia’s very own gaming zone that is available exclusively to users of Tegra hardware.

An earlier post, What Is Jelly Bean?, will let you have an in depth view of the new Android version.

Reading Experience

The display is bright, clear and vibrant. Needless to say, ebook reading is a fun experience on the tablet, something that is aided further by the easy availability of million of titles from the Google Book Store. The tablet’s compact dimensions and light weight make ebook reading easy and convenient. The wide viewing angles will also let you settle down in a comfortable position without have to worry about the holding it directly in front of your face.

Battery Life

A 4325mAh battery unit does good work. An 8 hours of runtime for “active use” is pretty decent, especially for a Wi-Fi enabled device.

Wrap Up

The Nexus 7 marks Google’s first entry in the hotly contested tablet segment. However, Google has never been into developing the hardware aspects and has left it to Asus to churn out the tablet. Asus has always been known for delivering high quality products and has lived up to its reputation with the Nexus 7. So what you have with the Google tablet is high quality hardware loaded with the best software, while still being priced at just $199 and $249 for the 8 and 16 GB versions. No one is complaining (except Asus, though as it had to comply with the stringent Google specifications with the little financial freedom they’ve been allowed to operate in) and the stupendous response the tablet is ample proof of that. The standard here was first set by the Kindle Fire, though the baton has clearly passed on to the Nexus 7. The tablet has surpassed the Kindle Fire, though the same might not be applicable to the iPad 3. Then again, the Apple and Google tablets are from two completely different genres and might not be seen as poaching on each others’ markets by a huge margin. So if you are looking for a tablet in the budget segment, the Nexus 7 is the device to buy. Amazon will come back hard with the Kindle Fire 2, though that won’t be market ready for some time. Until then, the Nexus 7 is the king among the 7 inch tablet brigade.

Below is a Nexus 7 unboxing video:

Watch complete video review of the Nexus 7:


Sovan Mandal (2780 Posts)

is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email

  • Nodrap

    It all started on a Friday morning and the delivery man arrived before I went to work – wow, how lucky am I?!!

    I try to show off the Transformers video I got with it, but this second run fail to start. A restart gets it going eventually but it takes ages to start every time and this is on the local memory. How poor.

    So I go straight for the requisite BBC iPlayer – as I live in the UK. But this doesn’t work out of the box and neither it seems does Flash. Have I bought an iPad by mistake? Hope Apple don’t sue them for copying!

    I start to learn the new features of 4.1 as I came from a 2.3 device but whilst on the train to work the ‘built in’ manual doesn’t work as it needs to be downloaded – another out of the box problem.

    What is Google Now? I’ve read about it an looked at it but am none the wiser. I say ‘Google what is the time but get nothing – so much for that feature. Pressing the mic gets it working but when I ask for the calculator or my calendar I just get web-results. Oh dear once more. I don’t like apps knowing my location unnecessarily so this is standing idle and unused.

    Adding apps should get me happier and so I try ‘Where’s my water?’ but this crashed the first few times I used it – but later on I got luckier and had some fun.

    Android devices are all about the apps and as there are thousands of them I try out many but how do I delete them? Used to be easy on my old device as it had a menu on the app view. But now I must use the settings screen??? But I’ll be doing this regularly!

    So more apps and I look for a barcode reader – both barcode scanner and GOOGLE GOGGLES don’t work – good grief! In fact there were a LOT of apps that just didn’t work as they were incompatible.

    But the touchscreen can detect 8 fingers – result! But it can also detect me wiping it clean with my sleeve and I swear sometimes it detects BEFORE I touch the screen! It feels far too easy to tap things and I’ve triggered menus when carrying it anything less than edge to edge.

    So do I like anything about it? Well the resolution is good but some screens show text far too small – ‘post’ on the Facebook app is tiny! I can pin pictures to the home page – but it shows them really small and wastes half the screen with a flip book system (and how can I change the folder it uses???).
    The e corrective text keyboard is quite good but doesn’t cope with the extra taps you get from the over sensitive screen (note the extra ‘e’ in this line).

    As I write this I once more get the message ‘Unfortunately maps has failed’ – something I seem to get quite regularly.

    But the new unlock action works well, and by the way can Google, Apple and everyone else stop arguing about who invented the ‘clockwise doorhandle’ and patent proper innovations rather than every tiny little idea – it is so petty and just ruins the worlds overall experience of technology. no one company will come with all the good ideas and if they are all locked away we will NEVER get devices that have all the nice features they all deserve – I.e. a standardised interface. It makes Microsoft’s monopoly seem like a good idea! At least we could go to anyone’s machine and know how to use it!

    So I write this with Google docs, and yes, it has crashed once already. This device and OS just seems to have been rushed and not thoroughly tested. It is just a real shame as I hate to see one company monopolise a market but this isn’t helping things.

  • smarterthanuare

    All of the apps you mention are fully compatible with Jellybean and will run just fine. The apps you mention are specifically programmed not to run if they see an Android version number higher than 4.0. In other words, the Android version number is the one and only thing that’s preventing those apps from running. It has absolutely nothing to do with any changes that were introduced in Jellybean.

  • Mulavana Bhattathiry

    Whom to be contacted in India

  • Mulavana Bhattathiry

    Excellent one

  • Drew

    That doesn’t sound right? Sure you have a good unit?

    To delete an app, long press on the icon and slide to the top of the screen.

    Hope it starts to work better!

  • Ryno Bones

     If you don’t want it, I’ll buy it for $100.  :)  Value decreased the second you opened the box.

  • brar

    my buddy at work just got his Nex7.
    it’s great, but the speaker is REALLY REALLY bad. distorts even at low volume.

  • Dance Softball Rocks