Well, I got my Google Nexus 7 tablet after a bit of an issue. And it’s a beauty too.

Up until now cheap Android tablets have, generally, been, well, rubbish. You get what you pay for. But now, Google have stepped up to the mark and have produced a powerful, high quality 7″ tablet for just £159. That gets you the 16GB model. £199 gets you 32GB. Bear in mind that there is no card slot on the Nexus so the capacity you buy is what you’re stuck with (unless, like me, you use “the cloud” a lot for storage).

The back, unlike my Lenovo which was a glossy black plastic and was easily scratched, is a dimpled plastic surface with a grippy texture – I think it looks a little cheap but many others like it. Down the right hand side is the power button and volume controls. On the bottom is a micro USB connector and headphone socket. The back also sports 4 small gold metal connectors – these are used with media docks.

The front lacks any physical buttons, everything being done via the screen (including the home button). At the top is 1.2 MP camera which is used for video calling. There is no rear camera – something that others consider a problem, but I think there’s nothing worse than seeing people attempt to take pictures with large, unwieldy tablets. My Lenovo tablet had a rear camera and I never used it – not including it on the Nexus is one of the ways the price has been kept low.

Ok, the rest of the specifications…

  • IPS LCD screen with a 1280×800 (216ppi) resolution. This compares to the 1024×768 (163ppi) of the iPad Mini.
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
  • 12 core Nvidia GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • Inputs – Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, GPS and magnetometer
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz) and NFC

Size wise it’s 198.5 x 120 x 10.6 mm and weighs just 340 grams. Battery life is excellent – I use it regularly and only need to charge it after a number of days.

After assorted updates you should find yourself with Android Jellybean 4.2.1. If you’re used to Android you should find yourself pretty much at home. However, these are some changes, all of which I think are improvements for the best. I particularly like Google Now, which I’d written about separately.

In use, it’s incredibly responsive – the touchscreen only needs the lightest touch and the screens scroll about without hesitation.

In the box you get a slim “getting started” booklet, charger and USB cable. The charger is important as it’s a high powered beast – use your normal phone charger and you’ll find it will take a long time to recharge! Packaging wise a lot of it is box but there are also a number of bags and ties in use too, as well as plastic wrap for the tablet itself – a shame that it hasn’t been kept to a minimum.



So, why buy a Nexus 7? First, and foremost, it’s incredible value for money – you get some quite powerful hardware for the money. And, yet, there are few downsides, considering that cost – a lack of expandable memory, no rear camera (which, as I say, I don’t think is a negative).

For me, though, it’s also about having a device from Google and not a third party – I know I’ll continue to get timely updates to Android and that the device will remain relevant and useful for some time to come. And that really makes is excellent value for money.

Update – Last month my Nexus 7, after 9 months of use, went back to the retailer where I’d bought it. Whenever the device was switched off (intentionally or because the battery had run out) I desperately struggled to get it to switch back on. It would appear I wasn’t alone as many people have reported the same issue.

Rather than buy the new version of the Nexus 7 I have opted to wait for the next release of the Nexus 10 to appear. With the latest Nexus smartphone swagging about with a 5″ screen the Nexus 7, to me anyway, doesn’t seem THAT big and more of a big smartphone – so I’m going for something a lot bigger!

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