Monday, October 1, 2012

Google Nexus 7 initial impressions and review

Galaxy Nexus

I just got a Google Nexus 7 tablet yesterday as a gift from my wife for our 10th wedding anniversary which was Saturday (she's so cool, isn't she?) and absolutely love it. Here's my initial thoughts, impressions, and review.

I have an Android smartphone (HTC Droid Incredible 2) that has a 4 inch screen. I also have an HP TouchPad tablet (running webOS and Android through CyanogenMod) with a 10 inch screen. The Nexus 7 has a 7 inch screen. I love the 7 inch display. It's nice and big for better viewing, more stuff on the screen at one time, but it's small enough to hold in one hand. I can even do some great typing with it for notes on Evernote.

Galaxy Nexus Tablet
As I turned it on, it asked for my Google account info (email address and account password) and then asked if I wanted to restore it from my account, which I did. It immediately started downloading the apps that I have on my smartphone and even updated them automatically to the version for the Nexus 7. This was a big time saver since I didn't have to manually install any apps.

Once that was done I started to organize my screens and start using it. It's a dream to use. Lightning fast, easy to navigate and customize. You can customize the apps on the launcher page and menu, add widgets and more.

I love the stock Android experience too. It is running Jelly Bean, and actually had an update as soon as I turned it on. There are some great features in Jelly Bean that I'm starting to learn about and the Nexus devices get the updates first. The notifications are great (similar to webOS, which is no surprise since the same guy designed them both) and so is the multitasking. I'm just starting to use Google Now, which is very cool.

The build quality is excellent and the texture of the back of it makes it easy to hold. I can easily hold it in one hand and use the other hand to navigate apps and enter data.

The display is beautiful and the apps render very quickly. Having Chrome as the browser is also a great feature and allows you to have the full desktop Chrome experience on a tablet. You can even sync your open tabs and bookmarks across your devices

So far, I have been using it for my normal daily routine: Feed Reader, Twitter, Evernote, iHeartRadio, Google Music, Netflix, Facebook, and the like.

I think the 7 inch format is perfect for media consumption, and I've actually been able to do a lot of creation with it, especially with Evernote and Google Docs. Typing on the screen is easy to do. It's big enough to easily see the screen, but small enough to be very portable. I am using it as my primary meeting/conference/travel device because it has been so easy to use Evernote and Docs on it for notes and creating content.

I purchased the 16GB model. After all of my apps and offline data for Evernote, Drive, and Music installed, I still have over 12GB left. 16GB is not a lot if you want to carry a lot of offline movies or games, but for my needs its perfect. It was $249 for the 16GB model, and I got $25 towards the Google Play store to get apps, music, or movies. I purchased QuickOffice Pro and a bunch of music and still have some left over. It comes with the tablet and a USB cable and wall charger. I've ordered the case from Google and should have it soon.

The only downside for some will be the limit of 16GB of online storage and the fact that there is no rear facing camera. For me, it's not an issue because I use a lot of online resources, like Google Drive and Dropbox and Sugarsync, and I probably wouldn't take too many pictures with a tablet. I can take pictures with my smartphone and within seconds they are synced to my Sugarsync account and available anywhere.

If you want a tablet, take a good look at the Nexus 7. It's easy to use, inexpensive for a tablet, easy to use, the 7 inch size is perfect for carrying, consumption, and some creation.

I am even more convinced that a better alternative to schools buying an iPad, is to buy a Chromebook and a Nexus 7 for the same price.

I did not receive any compensation or favors for this review. I just like my device. 


Nexus 7 web site - specs, gallery, features and more

Android for Education Resources

Evernote for Education Resources

Google for Education Resources


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