It’s not that I’m lazy, I just think you can get a lot out of a spaghetti western style review. Especially on first impressions, which this post is. What I’m going to do though is split the hardware (the Nexus) from the software (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean).
I got my Nexus 7 (8GB) earlier today. After a rather funny unboxing video went viral, I came armed with an array of tools. In the end, I thought unboxing was much easier than many have made out and actually done quite well.
The Nexus 7 (Hardware)
- Lightweight but sturdy. It feels more expensive than some other tablets that cost triple
- Minimalist. There aren’t many buttons, it’s hard to go wrong here.
- The screen. It’s not ‘Retina’ but you’d hardly notice. Really high quality and good glass too
- Forward facing camera for Skyping
- Standard micro-USB for charging and file transfer
- The price. £159 for this is a real steal
- Speaker isn’t going to win any awards
- Max brightness isn’t quite bright enough
- Arrived with less than 10% battery. That’s the first message you read too, not the best first impression
- It gets quite warm, quickly. Nothing too bad, but it shocked me after 5 minutes to actually feel the device
- No 3G/4G option
- Nothing ugly about the Nexus 7
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (Software)
- Original setup wizard nice and simple. Log in with your Google ID and all the apps get automatically configured (mail, talk, calendar, contacts, etc)
- Nice on-screen keyboard layout and auto correct suggestions
- Ships with a free HD movie (Transformers) & £15 Marketplace voucher. Nice touch
- Google Now is a great feature. Gives you an overview of everything you’re interested in + search
- Coming from a heavily iOS lifestyle, I thought the learning curve would be much steeper. It’s really quite intuitive to get around
- Brightness was far too low by default. Struggled through the setup wizard until I could get to settings app
- Google knows I’m in the UK. So why show me weather in Fahrenheit by default
- Android doesn’t ship with a camera app. That feels almost too “open” to me
- Android is totally let down by its Marketplace. It feels far too unmoderated. Hard to find the apps you want
- The first thing I tried was downloading an app from Play. It failed. Unknown error. Google told me to restart the device. Really nasty
- An update was available. I installed and tapped “Reboot”. The device switched off then nothing. Nada. Blank screen. Nothing responds. 5 minutes later it decided to come back on again. They really need to implement an install progress bar
- A lot of apps seem unoptimised. Even the official Twitter app lags when scrolling
- No native Mac file transfer support. You have to download a separate app. It’s 2012 guys.
If I didn’t have £399+ to spend on an iPad, I would be considering one of these. The device is lightweight, yet feels sturdy; the screen is sharp and bright; fast and quirky, in a good way. The only let down is the out of the box Android experience. Once up and running however, it feels like a very capable tablet. £159 is a real steal for this device.
I look forward to putting it through its paces over the next few weeks.