Aside from being a bit of a gadget freak, the tech in my life needs to be useful and used, otherwise it’s just clutter. When the Nexus 7 was announced I could feel my inner gadgetgrrl sqee-ing at the thought of a device that had the potential to be complete awesomesauce. That’s when my Sensible side spoke up and asked “Is this a USEFUL device?” For the next week I searched the interwebs for as much info as I could get my hands on.

I ordered about a week after launch, and I only had to wait 2 weeks to get mine. This, in the midst of what seemed to be a major shipping debacle – I was pretty happy. I decided to wait until I’d had it a little while before offering my opinion, making sure that I gave it a really good workout before I told people whether it’s worth buying or not.

The size of the Nexus 7 is brilliant. While it won’t be for everyone, being of sub-average height, I find that the 7″ screen is perfect for me. My previous tablet (the original 10″ Asus transformer TF101) has been sadly neglected since the arrival of the Nexus 7. I find the 7″ easier to carry around, even with a case it fits with practically no perceivable weight (amongst all the other contents) in my rather small messenger bag.

The lack of 3G and a rear camera has had NO effect on how useful I find this device. I simply hotspot my phone and I’m off and away. Of course internet speed depends on general 3G coverage, but apart from those “blackspot” moments, the Nexus 7 refreshes very quickly. To the point that I don’t really use my phone for email, twitter or browsing any more. I find it far more comfortable to hotspot, whip my Nexus 7 out and do it all on the marvelous 7″ screen.

As for the rear camera, well I can’t say that I ever used my 10″ to take a photo while out and about, it’s awkward and a little weird looking. When I plan on taking photos, I carry a camera, or I have my phone, which takes pretty good pics in a pinch.

My main concern was the lack of ability to easily expand the memory. Given the price point that Google was trying to hit ($249 and $299 from the Play Store in Australia), I understand why 8 & 16Gb were the chosen options. I would have, however, happily paid another $50 to up the memory to 32Gb, and wish it had been an option. Mind you, there are other options. Kingston and Seagate have created Wi-Fi linkable portable HD’s. Nifty little slips of things that don’t really take up THAT much extra room in your bag (or another pocket), if you desperately needed additional space. Having said that, I’ve not ever come close to filling up my 10″ tablet (which is also a 16Gb size), as I don’t tend to leave files on my device that I’m not using. The only reason I can see, for myself, to need extra space is purely to have my favourite TV shows and movies for travel.

Lastly is the Operating System, Google’s Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”. It’s fast, it’s streamlined and some of the new features are great. There is a lot I haven’t played with yet, even now, but over all it’s quite an improvement on ICS. The main flaw with this is that the homescreens do not rotate. Whilst it’s not an impossible thing to work around, but it would be nice if it was native. I have had issues with a couple of apps not working correctly on the Nexus 7, but eventually, as Jelly Bean becomes more wide spread amongst devices, developers will need to update their apps.

Specific features that I have used and enjoyed using are things like Google Now, Speech to text, and the widgets. Google Now, whether typed or by voice is a fun way to search the internet. I found it easy to use, and the results very good. The “card” interface is a lovely and clear way to read through the results, rather than just links with text. The Speech to Text feature has vastly improved since ICS, with far fewer inconsistancies or errors. Finally the widgets! I LOVE widgets! The auto moving/sizing is a great feature that stops that annoying “there’s no more room on this screen” type messages.

I am using it for a lot of my social media, email, internet browsing, E-books, PDF reading, a few games and chat needs. Whether I’m out and about, checking on best pricing, or reviews, to sitting at home reading or catching up with friends on GTalk or Google+. I have found the Nexus 7 to be a great all-round device.

This mini review is a guest piece written by Tia Porter. It’s not a full-blown review of the style Ausdroid usually does, but we thought this a refreshing change from our usual perspective, and thus worth sharing with you!

Tags: , ,
  • http://twitter.com/gemini67 gemini67

    nice little review/opinion !

  • http://twitter.com/ScottDavis Lee Davis

    Wow, so this device is perfect? No room for improvement?

    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      For me, it’s about as near perfect as it can get. I did mention that some bigger storage options would have been nice.

  • Counterz

    Love the clock widget, what is it?

    • Nick Fletcher

      It’s called One More Clock Widget

    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      It’s a great clock/battery gauge widget. only 99c for the full verson! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/therealpetergraham Peter Graham

    The lack of expansion ports and screen size were a deal breaker for me. I much prefer a 10 inch tablet for what I use it for. But not being able to expand memory is a major issue. Which is why I decided against it in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/dflek Dusty

    Great review. Love the bite-sized size.

    For me, this device only needs one change to become the ‘perfect’ device. Expandable storage. If you consume video or music content, you just can’t live with 16GB maximum size (which is more like 10GB once you get the formatted capacity, load up all of your apps and take out the system software space).Fingers crossed they add a MicroSD slot on a future version…

  • Chopper Joe

    I’ve had mine since initial shipment and wanted to thank the author for a good review that covers the essentials. I think it’s worth mentioning that Chrome works well and links to your desktop if you wish. (I’m still using Dolphin but now it renders blazingly fast with this processor.

  • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

    Thanks for posting my opinion piece guys! I really do love my Nexus! :D

  • Geoff Fieldew

    Well dine Tia. It’s an easy read but still covers the basics. My Tab 10.1 is collecting dust due to the portability factor of my Nexus 7. My wife loves her Nexus 7 too.

    • Dwayne Wilkinson

      I’d love to know how you convinced your partner that you *both* needed one, I’m having a tough enough time trying to convince my wife that I need one :)

  • vince

    Nice review..been using it fore more than a month and the size is just right. With the storage issue, I was able to utilize cloud services for the following:
    1. Music – Google music stored all of my music files
    2. Pictures – Google+ and Dropbox
    3. Documents – Google Drive and Dropbox.
    4. Videos – Google+ and Dropbox

    For movies, I’m using NAS Drive if I’m at home, and can just place a movie to the device in case I’m going out and no coverage to WiFi.

    The only issue is with the newly released Tegra games (Asphalt7) where sizes are over 1GB

  • Juliet F

    Hey Nerd Mama, that was a great review, nice to read some chick perspective for a change… I love having books, videos, etc all right with me in such a smooth & lightweight package. Apart from the gym, my Nexus 7 goes just about everywhere with me…
    Now I’m off to look for the One More Lock widget. :-)

    • Juliet F

      *Clock * oops!

    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      I LOVE the OMC widget. So many options to choose from! I’ve changed it today, so I have the battery on my homescreen as well. Same theme though.. so Comic-booky!

  • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

    Thanks everyone, for your kind words on my article. :D

  • Frank Benign
    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      I’ve not used the Samsung Tab 7.7. I did not, however feel compelled to purchase one. The Nexus 7 suits my current tablet needs. So for me, the Samsung 7.7 doesn’t even come into the equation.

      • Matt Booth

        I sold my Tab 7.7 for the Nexus 7. Tab 7.7 has nice hardware but it is dead from a software perspective, very limited international release. Nexus fits in the hand better, and due to its popularity it has better community support and accessories

        • Frank Benign

          How do the screens compare (the most important thing on a table, IMO)? The 7.7 has an SD slot as well.

          • Matt Booth

            The 7.7 has a really high contrast ratio, to the point where it can look a bit cartoonish. Nexus 7 is at the other end of the scale and it looks washed out unless you have the brightness right up. It really depends how you are going to use it.. I value the ability to mod the software and be up to date, this was very limited on the 7.7 so the Nexus suits me perfectly.
            The 7.7 has a microSD slot, slightly larger screen and longer battery life, the Nexus 7 is more comfortable to hold and use (IMO), has strong community modding support and will have lots of accessories.

            Both of them are great tablets, but the Nexus is likely to have a longer life due to the fact it is a Nexus and will get official updates or the community can create them, whereas 7.7 is unlikely to be supported past JB by Samsung

          • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

            That’s interesting, because I don’t get the washed out thing at all. I am very comfortable with the contrast ratio on the Nexus. Or maybe it just suits my eyes :D.

          • Frank Benign

            Sigh… Yeah, the 7.7 I saw in the shops had these micro-stutters when moving from screen to screen. Even the iPad 1 is smoother. Oh well.

          • fishman

            I’ve got both and I’d second all Matts comments on the screen – the one thing I’d add is the dpi is higher on the Nexus dues to the smaller screen, and I find text is much sharper, which makes reading a much better experience.

            Haven’t touched my 7.7 since getting the Nexus7 – one word sums up why, JELLYBEAN.

            Once you go Nexus you’ll never go back…

  • deanomalino

    Nice review!

  • Griff

    So how would you compare the Nexus 7 battery life with an iPad? (assuming you’ve used one) that’s my main prerequisite.

    • fishman

      Its on a par or even better – I get a solid 10hrs for browsing/gaming etc, and more like 12 if its just watching movies

    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      I’ve never really used an iPad, not being an Apple user since I switched out from my iPhone 3Gs. But it looks like fishman was able to help you out there :D

  • Montalbert

    Nice review. I agree toats! ;-) I have passed the 7.7 down to my 6yo daughter now that I have this.
    As for more storage that’d be great I agree but using a $1 OTG cable from ebay I was able to play 720p movies directly from both 4GB usb drive and also my 500gb portable wd external drive…

    Oh and if you like nodding then there really is no other tab.

    • Montalbert

      Lol @ nodding… Damn you auto correct… Modding

  • James Finnigan

    An awesome review. I’ve never been interested in a 7″ tablet; I’ve found the 9.7″ of the HP Touchpad to be the best for me, but so many people are saying such great things about the N7 that I feel that I need to check it out.

    • http://twitter.com/thenerdmama The Nerd Mama

      It’s certainly worth looking at. If you had asked me 12 months ago if I would consider a 7″ tablet, I’d have said no. In fact, I think I did say no at one stage. But the Nexus 7 was just such a neat little package.