Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review – The $200 Jelly Bean Tablet

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Google’s First Tablet – Nexus 7 by ASUS

As you have likely heard, Google has entered the tablet market with this month’s launch of the highly anticipated Nexus 7. This 7-inch tablet was made by ASUS for Google, so you have two big name companies joining forces to produce this tablet. Inside you have an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz with 1GB of RAM running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Besides being designed by Google and having some solid hardware, the Nexus 7 has something else going for it – price. The Nexus 7 is available for $199 with 8GB of memory and $249 for a 16GB version. This means this tablet is going to be competing with the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablets. The Nexus 7 is nearly 20% lighter and has hours more battery life than both the Kindle and Nook. It also has access to all the Apps in the Google Play store with the exception of Adobe Flash, so you aren’t App limited like the other small $200 tablets. This means you can download Amazon’s Kindle App and B & N’s Nook App to the Nexus 7! Our friends over at Google and ASUS sent over a Nexus 7 for Legit
Reviews to try out and we will start out by saying that this is one of
the very best small tablets that we have ever reviewed!

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

The Nexus 7 that we will be looking at today is the 16GB version that retails for $249. One of the first thing that you need to know about the Nexus 7 it is available with WiFi only. This means that there are no 3G or 4G LTE version available, but the WiFi is 802.11n. We tried out the 802.11b/g/n wireless connection with our Netgear WNDR4500 N900 wireless router (review) with Charter Plus cable internet and found that we were getting 33Mbps down and 4.59Mbps up on the Nexus 7 (screenshot).  Charter Plus internet service (details) has speeds of up to 30Mbps read and 4MBps up, so the Nexus 7 was using all the available bandwidth and was just as fast as our desktops. We also did this test about 15 feet away from the router and through a wall, so the WiFi speeds are great. You also have Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC built-in for connectivity.

The second item that you need to know about the Nexus 7 is that there is not an easy way to expand the internal storage as there is no microSD card slot for expansion. The only difference between the 8GB and 16GB models is the doubling of the memory, so you are paying an extra $50 for less than $5 of MLC NAND Flash memory. That doesn’t make you feel like you are getting a deal, but companies have been making money off our storage needs for many years. The Galaxy Nexus 7 doesn’t support USB mass storage (UMS) in its native form, but we have seen some online say that you can root and then stickmount the Nexus 7. This would allow you to use USB mass storage and then can play videos, etc. from your USB drive using VLC player or a similar app. If rooting and using USB adapters aren’t something you want to dive into, you should consider spending the extra money and getting the larger capacity Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 Tech Specs:

Screen

7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning glass
1.2MP front-facing camera

Size

198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm

Weight

340g

Wireless

WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth

Memory

8 GB or 16GB internal storage (formatted capacity will be less)
1 GB RAM

USB

Micro USB

Battery

4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)

OS

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

CPU

Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
(ARM Coretex-A9 CPU Cores)

Features

Microphone
NFC (Android Beam)
Accelerometer
GPS
Magnetometer
Gyroscope

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

The Nexus 7 tablet comes in a nicely designed retail box that simply says Nexus on the front.  After sliding sliding the cover off and removing the box lid we found the Nexus 7 covered in plastic.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Under the Nexus 7 we found the wall charger, USB charging and data cable and the quick start guide along with the warranty information pamphlet. The USB cable is 38-inches long, which is about the right length for a data and charging cable as you can still use it when it is plugged in. The Nexus 7 charger has a DC output rating of 5Vdc/2A and can be purchased for $24.99 if you lose it or need an additional charger.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet Bundle

As the name implies, the Nexus 7 features a 7-inch LED backlit 18-bit IPS display with a 1280-by-800 resolution at 216 pixels per inch. The display has been fused to Corning scratch-resistant glass (not Gorilla Glass) so it is fairly touch. The display has crisp detailed visuals and has a wide 178 degree viewing angle with a brightness that is adjustable up to 400 nits for outdoor viewing. The quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor has a powerful 12-core GeForce GPU inside that makes sure the tablet can easily play HD video content and play 3D game titles. The Nexus 7 measures in at 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm (HxWxD) and or 340g (0.75 pounds), so it is fairly light in your hand. 

The Nexus 7 does not have a rear-facing camera, but it does have front-facing camera with a 1.2-megapixel sensor. This is useful for video-calling and shoots 640 x 480-pixel video. It would have been nice to have HD 720p video and a rear-facing camera, but at the $199 price point some features were not able to be included. We also noticed that there is no way to easily use this camera right out of the box as no camera app was pre-installed. The only way the camera works is if you use Google Talk and then you can video chat with your Google friends. If you wanted to use the camera for anything else you’ll have to Play Store and download the software of your choice to get the camera to work.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet Back

The back of the Nexus 7 is a dark colored cover that has a dot pattern on it for enhanced textured and better grip. The end result is a nice rubbery feel that feels nice. The build construction is very good with virtually no flex when we tried to twist the tablet. We don’t like a tablet that flexes when you hold it and the screen depresses when you touch it, so we are glad to see that the Nexus 7 doesn’t have either of those bad traits.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet Back

Along the bottom edge of the Nexus 7 you’ll find a microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Just above those you’ll find the stereo speakers that put out sound at a shockingly good volume without distortion. We have heard reports that some people are having speaker issues, but our review unit had none and the stereo was working properly. 

Under the back cover you have a 4,325mAh battery that is rated for up to 8 hours of general use.  If you wanted to play just videos from the slate it should last up to 9 hours and it has an impressive 300 hour rating for standby time.

Google Nexus 7 Power Button

Physical buttons are pretty much non-existent with just a power button and volume rocker on the right hand edge. On the bottom left hand side there is a 4-pin connector for use with future accessories like a docking station or something not yet announced.

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