Review: Asus Google Nexus 7
Tablets are all the rage at the moment. That is no fleeting statement.
They are so much the rage that the PC industry is scrambling to retain market share as consumers turn to mobile computing and away from the traditional desktop.
The first tablets that entered the market were of the 10-inch variety. The best examples are the market-leading Apple iPad and its great rival, the Samsung Galaxy.
Like the cellphone, though, the move to smaller devices was inevitable, and the tablet shrunk by three inches. Both markets are booming, and technology companies are queuing up to claim a slice.
Internet giant Google is the latest to test the water with its seven-inch offering, the Asus Google Nexus 7.
Look and feel
The Nexus 7 is solidly constructed from high-quality and durable plastic. It is finished in black, is stylish and easy to hold, and features a 1.2MP front-facing camera.
The tablet boasts a seven-inch screen with a 1 280x800-pixel resolution display delivering quality pictures and graphics. The display is protected by scratch-resistant Corning glass, which is necessary for tablets, as they are likely to take a significant amount of punishment.
The nuts and bolts
The Nexus 7 makes use of a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1 300MHz processor with 1024MB RAM. There is 8GB of built-in storage. A 12-core GPU takes care of the graphics, while the 4-PLUS-1 CPU design handles the processing.
The Nexus' 4 325mAh battery is excellent. It boasts over nine hours' of HD video playback, 10 hours' of Web browsing or 10 hours' of e-reading, and up to 300 hours' of standby time. The battery lasted for days, even though I was constantly playing games.
I did, however, experience difficulty connecting to WiFi at numerous sites. The WiFi settings are not the easiest to configure and this posed a problem when I tried to connect.
This is a Google product, therefore, this is an Android device. Nexus 7 employs Android version 4.1, or Jelly Bean.
It is no surprise that the Android operating system dominates the mobile market. Ease-of-use is what I identified as the primary reason the software is also found in three out of four smartphones worldwide.
Drag-and-drop is simple; icons drag when your fingers drag, and drop when they drop. Android software, it seems, operates on an "it's simple, stupid" mantra. This is the reason a four-year-old can easily use Android devices, as illustrated to me by, well, a four-year-old.
Apps and features
The Nexus 7 was designed with gaming in mind - and it shows. Sensors like a gyroscope and accelerometer allow for those fantastic and amazing manoeuvres to be simply executed.
Users can access over 600 000 apps and games on Google Play. Google Maps is the one I enjoyed the most. For someone who gets lost often, Google Maps proved my saviour on more than one occasion during my time with the Nexus.
Being able to zoom in and navigate maps easily was of great benefit, especially when time is of the essence.
Google's offering to the tablet market is likely to bring it much success. The Nexus 7 has everything a modern tablet user needs. The starting point for all mobile devices must be battery life. If there is no battery life or poor battery life, all the other features are rendered irrelevant.
The Nexus 7 scores highly in this department. Add to that its simplicity of use, and it is a winner. The WiFi settings, however, are a bit niggly. This could prove highly problematic, as a tablet is rather useless if the user cannot connect.
The price is probably the single biggest factor that makes the Nexus 7 a winner. At R2 880, the Nexus 7 is a steal. It packs a lot of bang for the buck and makes an Apple iPad seem overpriced by comparison.