Hands on Google Nexus 7 [Review]

We, at Hack My Android are back here to put some more icing on the latest from the Nexus bake and present to you, the full and detailed  review of the Google Nexus 7– the $199 tegra3 tablet PC ( remember that preview? ). We have been out there since it’s launch at this year’s Google I/O event and continuing our pursuit of the first 7-incher from the house of Google, one of our friend, Dustin Gangi, got his hands on the little wonder that thrashed onto the competition in its price tag with the shipping  starting a few days back. Having covered most of the details on the launch and marketing policy for it, in the preview that we posted, let’s have a look at how the 7 inch wonder performs live-in-action, in order to see how much worthy it is to step up and make it up for the promises that are at stake. So we are going to begin in our traditional way with the specifications of the device, so that if anyone of you missed out last time can get on the ride with us.

Specifications of Google Nexus 7:

  • Dimensions: 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm
  • Display: 800 x 1280 pixels, 7.0 inches (good 216 ppi pixel density)/LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen capable of showing upto 16M colors/Corning gorilla glass protection.
  • Storage:8/16 GB storage / 1GB RAM / no card slot.
  • Processor: 1.3Ghz Cortex-A9 quad core processor based on nvidia Tegra-3 chipset with a 12 core ULP(ultra-low power) nvidia GPU to back it up.
  • Sensors:Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass.
  • Android 4.1 jellybean.
  • 1.2mp camera capable of shooting videos upto  720p resolution and video chats.
  • Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,microUSB v2.0.

What’s in the Package?

We couldn’t do an unboxing or a review video but the details of this device given her can give you a better idea about whether you should buy this device or not. This device does not come with any special accessories, except for a charger and a USB cable that you usually get with almost all Android devices.

 USB Cable Nexus 7

Well, you also get a $25 Play Store Gift card which can be used to purchase apps on the Google Play Store.

Design & Construction:

Being done with all the ticks on the specifications chart and the package components, let’s have a look at the build quality and design of the device. The device features some state-of-the-art specifications but assures some sturdy build quality to encase it all. The device has a nice hold to it and the 7″ form factor adds to the mobility of the device. A classy textured back with a rubberised finish and some GORILLA GLASS gloss upfront give the device a scratch and smudge free appeal , all held together in a compact casing of 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm with no noticeable plastic creaks.

 Besides the $199 price tag, the device has got some upmarket feel and finish to it. You can see from the snapshots above that the right of the device hosts the lock/hold key with the volume rocker following it. The back of the device features the wide loudspeaker grill beneath the ASUS logo on the good to hold textured back that allows enough grip to the hands of the user while the bottom of the device has the plug-in ports for you, a 3.5mm audio jack plus the microUSB 2.0 port with USB-on-the-go support.  The Corning gorilla glass covering the full front face of the 7″ tablet gives some good glossy looks to the device and also cuts on reflection which helps the sunlight legibility of the eye popping display, now that’s called added class for the buck. The screen bezel covers around 20-30% of the front which hosts no hardware keys which corresponds to the Nexus branding of the device. Let’s see how the screen appeals to our eyes when lit up.

Display & Performance:

Nexus 7 Review\

The 7″ display of the Nexus 7 stretches every bit of it’s muscle and stands well up to the promises that google had on the sheets for the newcomer (it really did managed to impress us considering the noteworthy pricing of the device). 800×1280 is the screen resolution lighting up the 7″ display with an eye popping 216ppi pixel density which is enough to fool the human till it’s perception limit. Let’s move on to the performance section and see how the Nexus 7 takes it’s stand amongst the beasts rampaging out in the benchmarks sheets.

Four Nvidia tegra 3 cores ticking inside the Nexus 7 backed up by a 12 core nvidia ULP GPU promise some not so groundbreaking but enough juice to get through 99% of apps that the Google play hosts. Meanwhile, if you consider the dollars that are on the ask, it beats all the competition straight out of water without any strain on it’s muscle. But hey, that’s not the end for it. Please make a note that it’s a Nexus device which means some heavy duty developer support backing up the performance of this device till it’s alive, so you can expect a total list of ROMs and kernels which will be there to boost this device up till it ages, plus the Nexus branding refers to some raw android experience plus the latest of android updates will always be there for you on the first of the serves.

I must say, Project Butter is well implemented in Nexus 7.

Multimedia & Real-life Performance:

The Nexus 7 has got enough of processing power under it’s hood with an ultra-low power GPU from nvidia which is capable of delivering the best out of any multimedia content thrown at it. The capable chipset deals all 1080p HD videos with much of ease while it can cruise thorough most of the graphically intensive gameing action without breaking out any sweat. Focussing on the user interface, we have the latest from the Google confectionery, andoird 4.1 Jelly Bean that too a vanilla variant onboard with lots of Google stock apps like chrome, currents, people, play magazines and play books etc. Android 4.1 isn’t that much of a major update to the search giant’s artillery but still it adds a tonne of goodies to take it to the next level of user interface. And trust me, its as smooth as “butter”. Yes, its butter indeed, that’s the name of the project that Google took on to take the android experience to the next level of user interaction which has really paid off in the silk smooth response that the new update delivers. Smooth enough to compete to a high end PCs when you consider searching or loading pages on a page with a very high amount of embeded videos which on a strong wifi connection take about 3 seconds of loading time. You can’t get the real taste of this sweet thing until you get it in your own hands and offcourse, it’s worth every single word of the bragging dictionary. Being a multimedia powerhouse, the only let down is the front facing 1.2mp camera with no bundled camera app( wait, are you serious? ) .It’s too bad to be on a Nexus device but makes up for the cause of video chats in which you can hardly perceive the face on the other side. Google has promised 720p video for it, hope further updates will be on improvements in this section.

Connectivity & Battery life:

The Google Nexus 7 ticks all the boxes in the connectivity department with the 3G connectivity being too much to ask in this price bracket viz the top notch hardware inside the hood. It has got a microHDMI port, microUSB port with USB on-the-go-support plus Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and NFC for some wireless action. The 4235 mah battery has enough juice to give supposedly 8 to 10 hours of video playback and 300 hours of standby( impressive considering the beast that is ticking inside).

The Downsides

You seriously can not expect much in a $200 device but one major downside of Nexus 7 is that  the homescreen feels more like a large phone and has no landscape mode. Absence of SD card slot is again a major disappointment for Google fans as you can backup apps and data only to the cloud before you proceed with any hacking activity on this device. Also, there is no rear camera and the front camera (1.2 MP) does not perform too good. It is only for video calls and can be used with apps like Google+ Hangout, oovoo and Skype. After Dustin made a Skype call with Lalit Indoria, here is what Lalit said:

The camera’s performance is too low and I could barely see what was around Dustin. I could only recognize Dustin but the frame details are too low to make a video call except that you have a well lit room. The pixelated video shows that the video quality is not satisfactory at all! It however suits domestic needs.

Our Verdict

A more than a “collector’s must have” , the most affordable quad core tablet till date and being the only 7-incher powered by a quad core chipset, this is a truly valiant effort from the search giant in order to get into the Tablet market. Google has been demolishing the competition in almost every sector it has been in and you can expect this one to be a groundbreaking success if marketed well. Crisp display,good connectivity and a decent chipset, it’s worth a “must buy” tag. This tablet could give a strong competition to Motorola Xoom, Asus EEE pad Transformer and the Dell Streak 7, however the one you chose absolutely depends on your needs. What would be your choice?

Review Courtesy: Dustin Gangi