10 months ago
I’ve had my Nexus 7 for two weeks now, so I thought I’d do a little write-up about my experiences using it thus far. First, I’ll start off with two very important points:
- I had to get an RMA and do an exchange with Google. My device is plagued with what seems to be a common defect wherein the left side of the screen does not sit properly within the bezel. It was minor at first, barely noticeable, but now, after two weeks, it’s starting to get worse, so back to Google it goes. My replacement tablet will be here tomorrow. Hopefully it won’t have the screen lift issue, or any of the other problems that seem to be present in the first run of devices.
- Despite this fact, I love this little tablet.
What do I love about it?
The 7in form-factor - I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this at first, given my problems with my eyesight and the fact that I’m so used to the 10.1in display of the iPad, but 7 inches feels much more comfortable. It’s more like holding a paperback novel. It makes for much more comfortable reading. It also lends itself very well to typing. The on-screen keyboard in portrait orientation is the perfect size for thumb-typing. I can type pretty quickly and accurately with it. That’s nice.
The amount of customization - There’s no doubt Android gives you much more flexibility and freedom to customize than iOS does. Being a perpetual tinkerer with a bit of OCD about things like, oh, what icons are on my home screen, this is a huge bonus. I love the fact that I can tweak so much of the user experience. Even just being able to add a couple of widgets to the home screen (local weather and a music player) are a big improvement. My Nexus 7 feels very personalized. It feels like my tablet, whereas the iPad just feels like a nicely polished device that I happen to use.
Light weight - As you would expect with the smaller form factor, the Nexus 7 weighs in at about half the weight of an iPad. This is really noticeable when reading for long periods of time.
Are there things about it that I don’t like? Yeah, a couple…
Not as many apps - The Android marketplace is smaller than the Apple app store. There isn’t as much software available and there’s a lot of software that’s of lower quality than would typically be accepted into Apple’s walled garden. That said, I was able to find the software to do everything I wanted, but the difference in availability an quality is noticeable.
The internal speaker kind of sucks - It’s not bad given the size of the device and you can’t expect internal speakers this small to be very high in quality to begin with, but compared to the iPad speaker, the Nexus 7’s offering is pretty weak. It’s rare that I use the external speaker, though.
This first run of tablets seems to be plagued with some hardware issues. That’s not uncommon in any first-gen device (yellow iPad screens, anyone?), but the Nexus 7 seems to have quite a few issues, the screen lift that I’m experiencing being the most common. It feels like Asus’ quality control slipped a bit in the name of fulfilling all of those pre-orders on schedule.
Being able to pop the back of the Nexus 7 and (presumably) replace the battery is nice, though given the lifespan of batteries these days, and how quickly the market is advancing, I’d say I’ll end up replacing the Nexus 7 with some newer model long before the battery gives out. In general, though, the Nexus 7 feels like something I could fix if a single component failed, and that’s a something I can really.
By comparison, it makes the iPad feel a bit heavy and awkward, bu, there are still several things for which I do feel the iPad is better and most of those revolve around media. All of the music in the house is shared via iTunes and that sort of seamless integration between devices feels really nice. The larger display also makes things like gaming or watching videos more enjoyable. The 7in size of the Nexus 7 may feel more comfortable for reading and typing, but when it comes to looking at photos or watching movies, a slightly larger screen is always nice.