When living in a motorhome space can be at a premium. My main computer of choice has been a 15″ HP laptop which is now about 4 years old and is still serving me very well. Boot up times on Windows software can be slow however and for just checking and replying to emails quickly I would often use my Android smartphone. Smartphones screens are ok for emails but for internet searches and many other tasks the screen isn’t big enough. I’d known about tablets for a while but the prices for many were similar to a cheap laptop and could not be justified in my eyes. Then the Asus (Google) Nexus 7 was launched……could it perform 90% of the tasks I use a computer for? Read the following Nexus 7 review to find out!
Nexus 7 Review – Tablet Specifications
The Nexus 7 is made by Asus for Google. It’s an Android device and comes with the latest Jelly Bean software installed. I purchased the 16GB version from Carphone Warehouse at £159.99. Initial reactions when I unpacked the box were very positive. The 7 inch screen size means it fits into my hands beautifully, the screen is nice and bright and the textured plastic material on the back gives it a solid quality feel.
The 7″ screen has 1280 x 800 dimensions. It’s a 216ppi screen which is much better than the Apple iPad mini which along with the Amazon Fire HD is its closest rival. The Apple iPad mini actually costs much more but still might appeal to those who have invested lots of money in Apple apps. For Android fans like me the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a closer rival and in terms of specifications, the Nexus 7 wins.
The processor is a 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30I Quad Core which means it can cope with multi tasking and is considered to be one of the best tablets for gamers who demand performance. I’m not a gamer but the quad core was a selling feature. It comes with 1GB of RAM and with either 16GB or 32GB onboard storage (the 8GB model has been dropped). They now also sell version that accept a data SIM card but since I have the mifi cordless dongle with 5 hour battery life I don’t need this version.
There is a front facing 1.2MP camera which is perfect for Skype video calls but not really suitable for taking photographs or shooting a video. The screen is made from a very hard wearing Corning glass, a welcome feature at such a cheap price point. Besides the power button you will find the volume button, headphone jack and the Micro USB connector, found on most Android devices. I would also advise getting an OTG cable that will fit this micro USB connection. With a cheap app called Nexus Media Importer this will allow you to connect USB memory sticks to the nexus so you can upload files to it (it does not have an SD card slot). This ability is great as Google naturally want you to buy all your content from their Play store whereas most of us will already have content we want to use with the Nexus 7.
Nexus 7 Review – How productive can you be using one?
I use my laptop for work and pleasure. For the majority of tasks the Nexus is as good as if not better than the laptop.
- Email. All my emails come into my Gmail account. The Android Gmail app is a joy to use and has all the features I need including the ability to assign labels to emails. I use the Touchpal keyboard which supports swiping which I find at least as quick if not quicker than using a traditional laptop keyboard.
- Internet browsing. The Nexus 7 comes with the Chrome browser installed. This is a great browser but the latest versions of Android don’t support flash. HTML5 will probably result in the death of flash in websites but if you need to use a browser that supports flash simply download something like Aurora by Firefox.
- WordPress blogging. This is still something best done on the laptop. There is a dedicated WordPress Android app that works really well when just wanted to post a simple text article. However when you use special plugins like search engine optimisation plugins the options for these do not appear on the android app. Logging in directly to your dashboard works on the nexus 7 but the amount of screen space means it’s not as easy to see all the options as it is on the laptop.
- Watching a movie. If anything this is better on the nexus 7. Whether you download a movie from the Google Play store or upload one to the hard drive they play really well. There are movie playing apps that will recognise all sorts of movie file types and using the headphones the sound is good too. I find using the tablet to watch a movie in bed more comfortable than watching from the dinette on the laptop.
- Editing photographs. Still something best done on the laptop. I use Photoshop. There is an app called PS Touch made by Adobe that works pretty well but it does not have all the features of the desktop software.
When writing this Nexus 7 review I got to thinking about how I use it. I would say that for me the tablet is not able to run 90% of the software I want but in terms of time spent on the internet it does replace 90% of the time I used to spend on the laptop.
Nexus 7 Review – A Summary
For me the purchase of the nexus 7 has been a good one. Being able to use it in bed, lying down etc means I don’t get backache like I used to. In those rare cases when I’m away from mains electricity the 8 hour battery life of the nexus 7 is really helpful, something you will read on any Nexus 7 review. The fact it’s ready to use instantly and does not generate heat are other bonuses. When travelling overseas it really comes into its own. Compared to a laptop it weighs virtually nothing which helps when you have limited carry on luggage space and watching films on it during the flight makes the journey pass by quicker. I realise this Nexus 7 review may not have covered all of its features and uses but I wanted to concentrate on how I use it. Sales figures shows that tablets are now overtaking laptops and with clever app developers and accessories it’s likely that soon there won’t be much a tablet can’t do!
I hope you have enjoyed this Nexus 7 review but don’t let this be the only Nexus 7 review you look at before deciding if its for you. Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or observations.
*Following this Nexus 7 review Asus and Google have now released a new version of the Nexus 7. Costing only slightly more the new model has various improvements including a newer faster processor, amazing 323ppi display and front and back cameras. For anyone with the older model an update to Android 4.3 is also available*