We weren’t sure what kind of tablet experience we should expect for $199 when we started this review. After using the Nexus 7 for a bit we quickly found that this tablet to fully functional and extremely fast. To be honest we were curious how this tablet would do because Adobe recently announced that it will no longer support the Flash Player browser plugin for Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and onwards. HTML5 is the future for rich multimedia content on mobiles, so this move does make sense. Some might also think that this isn’t a big deal because Flash is supported in the Chrome browser. Advanced users that root devices should be able to sideload Flash on Jelly Bean devices, but it really isn’t needed from what we could tell.
Google is positioning the Nexus 7 as an affordable tablet that has full access to Google Play. This means you have access to all sorts of apps that you can purchase and other items like movies, magazines and books that you can buy or rent. Google announced on Wednesday that Google Play is now offering movie and television episode purchases in addition to rentals. The company is also rolling out a new magazines platform that will include titles such as Esquire, Shape, and Popular Mechanics.
We tried out these magazines and found that they worked great. The Nexus 7 also has a widget with personalized recommendations for content you can purchase from Google Play. You can also customize the widget to show you only certain types of media such as games, movies, and books. Google has put a ton of focus on Google Play with this tablet and wants you to spend your money there. The Nexus 7 comes pre-loaded with some content as well, so you’ll get Transfomers: Dark Side of the Moon, The Bourne Dominion by Eric van Lustbader (the ninth novel in the Bourne series), and a selection of magazines such as Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Food Network and Popular Science. If you perform a factory reset you’ll lose all these titles, so be sure to back them up if you want to save them.
To help promote Google Play, the Nexus 7 comes with a $25 purchase credit for Google Play. This is a limited time offer and makes getting this tablet a little easier on the wallet. If you get the 8GB version for $199 the $25 credit brings the effective retail price of the Nexus 7 down to $174. Not a bad price. The Nexus 7 16GB comes with the same offer.
When it comes to battery life we averaged about nine hours on normal use and ten hours when playing an H.264 HD movie continuously. These are pretty impressive battery numbers and right where Google said they would be. The Google Nexus 7 lasted several hours longer than the Kindle Fire in our tests, so the Nexus 7 is does really well. It takes about 3.5 hours to charge the Nexus 7 from when it is fully drained.
If you are looking at getting a tablet and are okay with a 7-inch display and 802.11b/g/n WiFi internet access this might the only tablet you need to look at. The hardware inside is great and provides a great user experience in conjunction with Android 4.1. The fit and finish of the Nexus 7 is also well done, but we expected that as it was built by ASUS and they have a ton of experience making tablets. We wish it had expandable storage and a rear-facing camera, but after using it a few days you forgot about those short comings.
Apple’s iPad Mini is set to hit stores this September and it better be ready to compete as the Nexus 7 is an impressive tablet. We can’t wait to see what Google plans on releasing next as well!
Legit Bottom Line: The Google Nexus 7 tablet with the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor is fast, energy efficient and has full access to the Google Play store. For $200 you will not find another tablet on the market today that can match the features of this tablet.