Device: Google Nexus 7
The exterior is perfect. The device looks great, and the rubberized back, light weight, and 7-inch form-factor make it easy to hold in one hand (a definite advantage over the iPad). Android 4.1 is smooth as butter on the Quad-Core Tegra 3. I mean, it is really smooth – no lag at all, whether you’re web browsing or playing a 3d game. Jelly Bean also gives you access to Google’s Siri-killing Google Now, as well offline voice recognition. Battery life is great, giving me about 8 hours of Netflix viewing before dying.
The device has very few cons. The biggest con is the lack of expandable storage, which is the primary reason I bought the 16GB device. While there are plenty of cloud-oriented people who won’t mind (I’m one of them), there are just as many who want to take their entire music and video collections with them wherever they go. Those people may be disappointed with the Nexus 7’s lack of expandable storage.
Another not-so-big con is the lack of a back camera. Honestly, I’m glad it doesn’t have one and it’s a dream of mine that all tablet makers will follow suit and remove it. I hate seeing people holding up their tablets to take pictures.
The final con is Asus’s apparent QA problems. Many users are reporting that their Nexus 7 arrived with a spongy, loose-feeling screen that creaks when pressed. Apparently the glue used to adhere the screen to the bezel had not been allowed to dry before the first units were shipped. I was one of the unlucky users who received such a device. While some users were able to solve the issue by opening their tablet and tightening some screws, the screws in mine were already tight and re-tightening them made no difference. I RMA’d the first unit with Google and my second one does not have the problem.
Why it’s better
Despite any reviews you may read to the contrary, the Google Nexus 7 is way better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7″). Why, you ask?
Where do I begin? First of all, the 1.3GHz Quad-Core Tegra 3 blows the 1GHz Dual-Core OMAP out of the water. Other big wins for the Nexus 7 are Jelly Bean (and a guaranteed ongoing upgrade path from Google) and the NFC, which Samsung’s device lacks. Screen resolution, battery size, and weight are also all incrementally better than the Galaxy Tab 2. And all of this comes in at $50 cheaper if you choose the 8GB version, though most likely you’ll want to go with the 16GB version which is the same price.
All-in-all, unless you’re dying for the expandable storage or really need the IR blaster, you should stick with the Nexus 7.