Google Nexus 7: What's hot

Considering the Nexus 7 as a tablet? Here's six things we love about Google's own branded Android tablet.

Considering the Nexus 7 as a tablet? Here's six things we love about Google's own branded Android tablet.

1. Price

In our opinion, one of the reasons Android tablets haven't been able to effectively compete with Apple's iPad is that they are simply too expensive. In many cases, some of these tablets are even more expensive than the iPad, despite offering a less than stellar user experience. That just isn't going to cut it and the sales figures prove it.

Google has realised this, which is why the Nexus 7 sells from just $249 in Australia. This makes it significantly cheaper than most other tablets on the market. Yes, it has a smaller 7in display when compared to the iPad, but it offers excellent bang for buck. A quad core 1.3GHz processor, a GeForce 12-core GPU for gaming, built-in NFC connectivity and 1GB of RAM aren't specifications you'd normally see on an Android tablet that retails for under $300. That's great news for your wallet and the lower price doesn't come at a cost of usability or performance.

2. Build quality

With such a low price, you'd probably be forgiven for thinking the Nexus 7 wouldn't be the best built device. Thankfully, this simply isn't true. Although there were some reports of a few issues with screen placement on some initial orders, we are happy to report that the build quality on our Nexus 7 is stellar.

We particularly love the soft feeling plastic on the back of the Nexus 7. The small indents printed all over the rear make it look and feel a little like leather. This material also makes the Nexus 7 very comfortable to hold, a critical component of a compact tablet that's been designed purely for media consumption.

3. Size and weight

There's been an ongoing debate about the validity of 7in tablets versus larger 10in tablets ever since the late Steve Jobs blasted the smaller form factor devices as "dead on arrival". In our opinion, however, the Nexus 7 is near perfect in terms of portability.

Its compact size means the Nexus 7 is great for reading books and magazines, playing games and browsing the Web. For more productive tasks, like editing documents, or taking long sets of notes, you'll likely prefer a larger screened tablet.

However, that certainly doesn't detract from the Nexus 7 at all. In fact, we would argue it serves a great purpose — its smaller form factor means the Nexus 7 can fit in places where bigger tablets can't, such as the inside pocket of your suit jacket, or in a ladies handbag.

4. Software

If you've been keeping up with Android tablets, you know the usual story. Android offers plenty of flexibility but the user experience isn't as smooth, intuitive or slick as Apple's iOS platform. That may have been the case before the Nexus 7, but it's certainly not the case any longer.

Jelly Bean is by far the best version of Android yet. Using it on the Nexus 7 on a day-to-day basis is smooth, intuitive and fast. There is no sign of any evident lag during everyday tasks. Home screens are butter smooth to swipe through, even with multiple widgets on the screens. Apps open quickly, with no delay. The default browser, Google Chrome, is fast, renders pages efficiently and offers good performance.

There's still a few rough edges if you want to get picky, but considering its low price, the Nexus 7 offers a stellar user experience on the whole.

5. Android experience

A big advantage of opting for the Nexus 7 over rival Android tablets is the fact that this is a "pure Google" device. What this means is, regardless of what model Nexus 7 you own, you'll always receive the latest software updates as soon as Google makes them available.

This isn't the case with most other Android tablets, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime and Toshiba's Tablet AT270, for example.

Many of these devices are currently stuck on older software versions of Android. Some of them may not ever see the latest Android updates. If they do eventually get updated, these updates will occur months after the same software has been available on the Nexus 7.

6. Gaming

The Nexus 7's small size and light weight makes it an excellent gaming device. Google's Play Store has an excellent selection of games and unlike many other apps, most of them run perfectly well on the tablet.

We didn't experience any performance issues when gaming and the Nexus 7 handled graphically intense titles like Shadowgun, FIFA 12, Dungeon Hunter 3 and Dead Trigger with relative ease. Titles like Modern Combat 3 and N.O.V.A 2 also run fantastically well on the Nexus 7.

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