Google Nexus 7 Review: The Best $199 Tablet You Can Buy

By Michael Oryl on July 5, 2012, 9:02 PM

Google has released a number of Nexus branded "hero" smartphones in the past, but the new Google Nexus 7 is the first ever tablet to bear the Google Nexus name. Built by Asus, the Nexus 7 also has the distinction of being the first device to run the Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system.

While the Nexus 7 offers nothing to consumers that can't be found elsewhere - save for Jelly Bean - it offers a number of refinements to the Android tablet experience in terms of both software and hardware. And it does it all at a sub-$200 price point that is meant to dethrone Amazon's Kindle Fire as the reigning Android tablet of choice for consumers.

With specs like a quad-core processor and a 1280 x 800 pixel display, that seems possible and likely.

Read: Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review




User Comments: 29

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Lurker101 said:

Should we start a countdown for the imminent Apple patent trolling to kill this competitor?

1 person liked this | Guest said:

"Google and Asus decided to leave out a rear-facing camera on the Nexus 7, instead opting for a lone forward-facing 1.2 megapixel camera"

Best Decision EVER! Whoever thought putting a rear facing camera in a tablet was a good idea should be slapped.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

$50 for +8GB of storage is over six bucks per gigabyte. That's insane pricing.

Guest said:

Just wanted to say thank you for writing an article with some truely thoughtful detail. I have read a good number of initial reviews of the Nexus 7; while most who have used the device say the same well reported things, you managed to add a word here or a phrase there, that adds significant data (from my interest) and distinguishes your review.

Guest said:

Hi,

Thanks for the review. What devices does the usb support ? I heard Jelly Bean will support usb audio dacs - can you confirm ?

Thanks again.

Guest said:

I am so looking forward to getting my hands on one of these. I already pre-ordered the 16gb version.

Guest said:

Same here. Especially excited after finding out that Final Fantasy III is available in the Android market. :p

TravellingGuy said:

Does anyone know if an external drive can be plugged into the mini-usb and date (ie movies) read from the drive? If so, very useful to me.

Arris Arris said:

Should we start a countdown for the imminent Apple patent trolling to kill this competitor?

It has a metal band round it, like an iPhone... Oh noes!

Arris Arris said:

My only problem with this is...

it's a small portable media device...

with limited storage as the idea will be to use 'The Cloud'...

but only has WiFi.

So as long as you only want to travel with it around your own home it's fine. Am I being too fussy. It's great product for the price but I would have liked to have the option of a more expensive model with cellular connectivity. I mean even the Kindle e-ink readers have that option and for only downloading books occasionally I think it's not needed. But for a media consumption device like the Nexus 7 I find it strange to not offer it.

MilwaukeeMike said:

You're being a little too fussy, Arris.... You won't get cellular connectivity for this price, but even the Nook Tablet has an SD card. Other reviews have comment sections full of people complaining and even being outraged that there's no microSD card slot. (They're charging $50 for an extra 8GB, which reminds me of Apple's iphone tiers.) SD card means tons of space for a variety of video for the kids on road trips and such.

They advertise it as 'you can use the cloud!' should be ' you HAVE to use the cloud'.

Otherwise looks like an awesome tablet. $200 is a great price point and it's no surprise there's a rumor for an ipad mini. Review mentioned that the screen is locked as portrait. that's probably a launcher thing, as my phone was the same way until I loaded a different launcher.

Maybe I missed it, but how's the 'keyboard'? Is Swype included?

supertech supertech said:

Great article !!!

I've had the iPad's, Android v3 tablets, and even the BB PlayBook, and I've per-ordered this and can't wait for it. Excellent price point and made by one of the best hardware manufactures ASUS.

Arris Arris said:

You're being a little too fussy, Arris.... You won't get cellular connectivity for this price

Wasn't asking for it at that price point, but an option of a more expensive model with cellular would have been nice.

But you are right, I was just thinking of how to use the cloud with only WiFi, but more storage and putting your media on the tablet would be good too. It's this switch to massively overpriced internal storage options that has put me off the latest generation of phones. I have a 32GB microSD with most of my music collection on it in my phone (just a shame the battery isn't a bit better, another thing I think they should focus on instead of more cores that don't really get utilized) so don't appreciate being taxed for built in memory instead of having the option of using what I want.

When people are already asking if USB will work with an external HD you know that the limited storage capacity is falling short of what people want.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Maybe it's just me, but until someone develops an easily interchangeable wireless communications module, I'm fine with WiFi only for my personal electronics units. I like having the ability to work with whatever carrier I'm using at the moment and get a wireless data hotspot, which has the advantage of connecting all of my devices (if I choose to do so). And, I'm not locked into specific carrier options for the life of my tablet due to radio type.

Guest said:

wow, google rocks.

if only google will force telcos to update all android gingerbread devices to at least ics, then my happiness is complete.

Guest said:

I think google would be smart to offer an additional 5gb of Google Drive space in addition to the 5gb they already offer for free, just for purchasers of Nexus 7.

ViperSniper2 said:

@guest

I agree to an extent. Actually it's already like that, because anything you purchase doesn't go against Drive capacity limits! ......in fact none of the online stores count purchases stored on their cloud against their cloud drive capacity limit!

But another thing people forget when figuring out how much they really need on any one single device, is if syncing has been fully enabled. Where you are also taking advantage of not only your Google Cloud Drive, but your PC, cell phone and the local space on a tablet such as this. We no longer have to worry about having to manage multiple copies of one file spread over all our devices. Instead we can more easily and simply just stream it!

The fastest way to stream content is over bluetooth via Bluetooth 3.0/4.0 fast pairing and streaming protocols. For just transferring large files, then we should be using Wifi Direct on Android devices!

BTW.... so the whole object isn't to have a system of redundancy, where you the same file stored on every drive space. Instead you can manage what content goes to which device most efficiently and the fastest. Wifi for file transfer is faster but terrible at streaming high bit-rate content to a tv screen or other device for streamed play back!

Now.... I have one objection to this review and that's the fact he said nothing about NFC. Didn't even mention what many in business today are calling the next wave innovation in business. That of performing secure file and funding transactions far better and more secure than plastic credit cards. Slated to be the next Multi-Billion Dollar business stomping the use of credit cards out of existence while at it!

JohnnyStone JohnnyStone said:

This sounds great. The missing SD card might just miss me as a customer. For the rest, this tablet really calls me...

Here's a free camera and video app for the Nexus - since the review complained about it being missing.

[link]

ViperSniper2 said:

$50 for +8GB of storage is over six bucks per gigabyte. That's insane pricing.

Memory installed on the board of a device is rather expensive in the first place. But it's never some rejected Class 2 memory modules like what you're comparing it to. The modules have to be far more expensive modules that are far faster than any memory used in bandwidth bottleneck'd USB memory sticks or even SD cards now at XDSC and very expensive. So price although high, corresponds with the fact that it costs the same to install 8GB as it does a 16GB or 32GB module on a board.

So if they could offer more memory (which they couldn't w/ present board, structure and device size), they probably would have. Even the original ASUS pre final release model shown at CES only had max 16GB memory too. Plus+++ all anyone would ever do is fill extra space with junk files anyway. Because they're too lazy to clean them off, while they enter a nightmare of redundancy with the exact same files stored on every computing device they own and in the clouds too! .....redundancy is just a waste for anyone that's intelligent enough to at least comprehend some of what Google is telling us about what Syncing all our devices can do for us! Instead..... of how Apple would want you to continue buying more memory you don't need in their Fixed Planned Obsolescence Business Model of More for you is always MORE MONEY for THEM!

So I don't feel sorry for either those that have too much money w/o the brains to manage it properly. Money for them that seems to grow on trees and they'd just rather buy a 64GB Wifi iPad for $700. Even though they've got two others sitting in a drawer somewhere less than half filled. These people never even come close to halfway filling all their devices up in the first place. Then there's the cheap ***** supposed converts from those truly over priced devices aiming to discredit Google Nexus 7 out there. When Google is already giving away so much on this device for free. Including Cloud Sync and Storage space in one of the fastest tablet rigs on the market today...... even faster than New iPad A5x with NFC no Apple device will see for ages!

Without Google Sync and Drive to treat all your storage devices on PC's, phones, tablets, notebooks etc as ONE BIG G DRIVE...... where redundancy is a thing of the past and you can STREAM Content and Files in Real Time with Android Beam and Wifi Direct (DLNA) to any Bluetooth 3.0 or Wifi Direct enabled device (but Nexus 7 comes w/ a better Broadcomm Combo radio than original ASUS 7" model), w/ Bluetooth 4.0 version speed & energy savings and latest Wifi Direct speeds! .....they obviously want you to live in the Free Interconnected Future of Google Services in ANDROID@HOME Project!

ElZappo said:

I totally agree about the HP TouchPad and CM9.

I sincerely hope that someone @ HP has one, and has used it to slap the execs up the side of the head and then show them what the TouchPad could have been ... all they needed to do was work with CyanogenMod, forget all their proprietary crap and they could have had something that could easily have made a dent in iPad sales.

Guest said:

Does the Nexus 7 offer any type of word processing program, like MS Word, etc?

1 person liked this | Kevniv Kevniv said:

Just made video showing the back comes off and you can replace battery! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSkPgrjFpZw

ViperSniper2 said:

Just made video showing the back comes off and you can replace battery!

Sweet..... I was wondering if I should try prying it off or not. But hopefully I can get it back on easily too!

1 person liked this | spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Apparently the box is pretty hard to open. Lol,

ViperSniper2 said:

Nexus 7 with Jelly Bean has won over every single person I've had hold it in their hands. No matter if they've had other Android Tablets or even New iPads. The Verdict is always the same! "Dam..... this thing's fast" and "Wow..... I can't believe it actually answers real questions with such a natural voice so fast". Yeah real questions.... you need answers to, instead of just to show off an inferior service like Siri's "Are you sexy" and "What's the answer to the everything in the Universe"? ....42 (from Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)! haha..... and Dark Knight Rises actually plays n looks better and is easier than playing it on a new overly clunky New iPad!

Actually can't tell the difference from it's Retina screen either. When it comes right down to it, I ran a little test. Took a piece of cardboard big enough to cover both my friend's New Retina iPad and Nexus 7. Cut two 1" squares out, so that they could be placed over each tablet side by side. Ran same YouTube HD videos and Dark Knight Rises on New Retina iPad and Nexus 7!

My friend chose the Nexus 7 over his iPad 6 out of 10 tries, while I shifted each around between tries. Everyone else got it 50/50 right including me. Meaning screens were equally sharp and crisp looking. But..... I noticed a few things that put the Nexus ahead (probably because of 12core Nvideo gpu) and Retina has a whole lot slower response time (screen size might be the culprit). Ghosting is non-existent on Nexus 7, while response time on Retina is like a snail in game. It's also obvious that you are missing out on all the action that's cropped off the sides on iPad too!

Literally everyone voted Nexus 7 (including my Apple loving friends) far more playable in games than what, side by side testing proved on Apple's GPS-less iPad Wifi Only. iPad seems too bulky for an all in one gaming experience too. For controlling and playing a game for long periods of time, with it's 4:3 Aspect Ratio and cropped peripheral vision on action to the sides makes it a less desirable experience. These are all gamers talking too!!!

btw.... so Nexus 7 is an obvious choice for a portable gaming device. Especially since you can so easily use an OTG pigtail to hook up a PS3 Controller that changes the whole experience w/o your fingers getting in the way on a touch screen!!!

1 person liked this | ViperSniper2 said:

Apparently the box is pretty hard to open. Lol,

Yeah.... it's funny to see all them so called Tech Experts struggle with what most every consumer and their 5yr old had open in 30seconds. I mean if you're having problems opening anything last resort is a kid. They don't mess around with scientifically proven methods. They just rip n strip to get at what's inside!!!

Molly? WTF? lol...... she's dumb as a box of rocks anyway. Plus she HATES Google with a passion seldom expressed by any cognizant reviewer online! ;-P ......only took about 30sec watching her present Google iO to comprehend that!!!

jginnane jginnane said:

People who say the extra 8GB memory is insanely priced are missing the point. As an 8GB device, to me, it's unusable. As a 16GB device, I have enough room to store a few apps, maybe some mp3s and Xvids I might actually listen to (or watch)... in the times when I can use a tablet but not have wifi access.

So if you look at these as discrete products, then the $50 difference isn't significant. (An 8GB device has to be continually tethered to wifi, which essentially defeats the point of any portability.)

Guest said:

Hello,

Does google nexus 7 have an app similar to word processing?

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