Google Nexus 7 owners - What's your opinion of it?

#1 Posted by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

So I'm interested in entering the tablet market, and it appears ever more obvious that the Nexus 7 will be my best starting point. In price and performance. But I'm curious to hear the opinions of some owners, especially long term usage. No interest in iPad, device doesn't excite me and didn't like using one, but the Nexus 7 appears to have some good things going for it. But I'd appreciate the thoughts of owners, especially UK owners views of say Google Voice Search and how well it compares to say Siri (which sort of sucks in the UK).

#2 Posted by TruthTellah (9419 posts) -

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are expected to be announcing new tablets really soon. So, not sure when you're planning on getting the new tablet, but there may be more options in the next month.

As far as Google Voice Search goes, I like Android's voice search. It's great for doing texts and searches. I use it on my Galaxy SII phone, but I imagine it works well on the Nexus 7 tablet, too.

#3 Posted by kalmis (1559 posts) -

I've had one for couple for weeks now and I am really pleased with it. Google Voice search is cool and works quite well. Only thing with it is that you need to put it on for it capture your voice. It easily done on the search bar. No idea Siri works so can't compare. Thing that I am most impressed with it must be the Google Play store. There is tons of content and it always tells if the app/game is compatible with N7. Only thing the UK Play Store doesn't seem to have enabled yet is the Music section. But you can always use Spotify or whatever is your source.

I am using my N7 pretty much every day. Especially now that we have wee baby around. Don't get too much time for gaming or other stuff. N7 is easy to bring with me and do gaming or videos.

Just one to keep in mind is that if this your first Android machine. Like iOS, Android doesn't do Flash. It is really to get installed still though. Doesn't even require anything "illegal". Most importantly, the Giantbomb app works well enough to watch quicklooks and listen to podcast. Despite being a (very?) old build.

#4 Edited by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

Thanks for the info.

Didn't realise it tells you if an app/game is compatible with N7, but I've heard that the Google Play store doesn't exactly split up tablet apps versus usual Android phone apps. I know they can all be used, but would be nice if they were separate like iOS. Still, hopefully this is something Google can fix in the near future. How is tablet development by the way? Are the big apps getting N7 versions out there? Had some concerns maybe about storage space, though I doubt I'd have anything other then apps on the N7. Only issue might be if I wish to 'explore' the device a little more in the future, something I know you can do with Android. Then it might require bigger storage, I know there's a seperate cable you can get but its far from ideal.

The size of the N7 is one of the big selling points, iPad feels to big and heavy for long use and hearing Will Smith compare it to using the Kindle for reading was interesting, the Kindle would take some beating for reading at night etc. Don't care a great deal about Flash, but I forgot how strange some of the apps were on Android. Compared to iOS its a pretty free and easy store, especially when you can even get SNES emulators on there. Had a few folks say I should wait and see what Apple have in store, but to be honest its not the products I have issue with (I adore my iPhone 4s) its simply the operating system. iOS suits my phone needs perfectly, but for a tablet it's much to limited.

Still unsure, the capacity thing could be an issue in the long run. Do I go with 8GB or 16GB... Again, thanks for the info guys.

#5 Edited by Seastalk (123 posts) -

Generally the Google Play (mobile and online) store tells you if you can install an app to your device, linked to your google account. Some apps are not compatible with certain devices due to a number of things; for example the version of Android, the resolution of the device, the amount of on board memory etc.

You should probably go for the 16gb... however considering that you may want to use the device for storing a lot of music, videos and games you might run out fast than you expect (which may make you want to wait for a 32gb version).

#6 Posted by kalmis (1559 posts) -

The store doesn't tell which is phone or tablet app/game. Or maybe I missed this bit. The most obvious thing is of course if the title has HD or if its for Tegra cpu. And the screenshots of course. Of all the stuff I downloaded there has been only few cases that clearly were older/lower resolution. There are also plenty other Android tables there, not just N7.

About the storage space. I had to go with the 8G since they didn't have the bigger ones on stock when I got mine. Birthday gift, so didn't have too much to say. So far I haven't seen the space beeing a problem. Of course it would be nice if you could expand that with SD memory. So far using Dropbox and other cloud services has been enough. What normally would eat my diskspace would be vides, which is not problem if you use Netflix. Just started using the US Netflix myself. Tad better than the UK one. (:

If you happen to have a wireless HD this would help a ton as well. Other options for the memory is to use USB based. My understanding here is that you need to root the tablet to be able to use this. Haven't bothered with this myself yet. It is possible to get those USBtoGo cables that allow you to hook up any devices. I tried my wired 360 controller with one and it worked straight away. Would work really nice with those emulators that you mentioned for sure. I've seen those in the store, but not really interested. Got still the original HW for that.

#7 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

im going to wait till the end of the year to see if apple announce a 7" tablet as i already have a iphone and a bunch of apps and would like to say with iOS.

#8 Posted by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

Can't see myself storing music on there. Even my phone, which in the past as always been at least 32GB to store both apps and music is less of an issue nowadays. Recently signed up to Spotify and most of my music listening takes place using that. Not to mention Netflix so I'm sure I'd be able to stream most of my content (by the way, US Netflix? How you get that?). Google Drive as become a lot of use the past few months (for stuff I'm writing especially) and that could be very useful to. It's one of the reasons I'm tempted by the N7, having become more involved in Google products, I use Blogger, Drive, Gmail and a number of other things. In many ways I'm more invested in Google products then iOS, despite having spent more on iOS apps and so forth.

Wireless HD is something I've considered, might look into that if I decide to purchase. Android seems pretty good for easily accessing external drives and such.

I forget there are other Android tablets out there, pretty much shows what impression they've had on the tablet market. There are alternative options when it comes to storage at least, so if I choose the 8GB I would always have that, can you save apps to an external storage? I can totally understand the reasoning to wait to see what Apple have in store with their seven inch tablet, but its still iOS that would bug me. Apple's control works well in a smartphone setting, but I think its hurt the iPad for many users.

#9 Posted by Morello (85 posts) -

I've had one (8GB) since release. It's a very nice piece of kit, and for the price it was a very easy decision for me to buy, and to recommend. From a gaming perspective I have an Amiga emulator, ScummVM for older adventure games, and a Dosbox program and they all work really well, plus the few native games I had and the Android bundles I'd picked up.

Google voice search works well (I am in the UK) and is normally very accurate, and the cards system seems to have potential.

I mainly stream music and films to it and am not planning on keeping photos on it, so the 5.92 gig usable storage (important point) is enough for me, although if I could have justified the extra cost I would have opted for the 16GB version.

Mine is rooted, which took a matter of minutes using a step-by-step program - not something I usually use but I wanted to see how slick it was, and it was pretty slick.

#10 Posted by psylah (2182 posts) -

@TruthTellah said:

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are expected to be announcing new tablets really soon. So, not sure when you're planning on getting the new tablet, but there may be more options in the next month.

Even if they do announce new tablets, since the Nexus 7 is a Google product, it will always receive the latest OS updates as soon as they are available. Every other android tablet producer is late, guaranteed.

#11 Edited by AncientMecha (103 posts) -
Most importantly, the Giantbomb app works well enough to watch quicklooks and listen to podcast. Despite being a (very?) old build.

In regards to watching Giant Bomb stuff on your tablet, the Whiskey Media Video Buddy really needs more recognition!

It keeps track of where you left off in individual videos, allows premium members to download videos and access to premium content, and is free!

I use it every day, and so should you!

In terms of other Android stuff, I like Podkicker for my podcasts. Its really clean and snappy interface.

#12 Posted by crusader8463 (14426 posts) -

Put in my request to get a refund last night and am not looking forward to getting hit with the restocking fee and lack of a refund of shipping. Discovered a dead pixel in the middle of the screen, there is light bleeding through from the left hand side of the screen and the battery is dead with in 2-3 hours of a full charge even when I don't do anything too battery intensive. On top of all that I just found that I didn't have as many uses as I thought I would with the device and was rather annoyed to find that a couple games I have really wanted to play are not compatible with Jellybean and have no signs of updating any time soon despite the page saying it's compatible and working fine with my tablet on the apps store page.

#13 Edited by merid85 (13 posts) -

@psylah said:

@TruthTellah said:

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are expected to be announcing new tablets really soon. So, not sure when you're planning on getting the new tablet, but there may be more options in the next month.

Even if they do announce new tablets, since the Nexus 7 is a Google product, it will always receive the latest OS updates as soon as they are available. Every other android tablet producer is late, guaranteed.

Also, it is important to note that the Amazon and Barnes and Noble tablets are locked down to their own respective stores, not Google Play. I do not know if they're going to change that with their new tablets, but it's something to think about. I just bought an N7 which is replacing my Nook Color, and one of my biggest selling points was that I could download the Barnes and Noble app and still get those books on my Nexus.

It's an awesome tablet but unfortunately I've encountered some backlight bleeding on the left side of my screen when the brightness is low. I'm sure I'm in the minority, though.

#14 Posted by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

Put in my request to get a refund last night and am not looking forward to getting hit with the restocking fee and lack of a refund of shipping. Discovered a dead pixel in the middle of the screen, there is light bleeding through from the left hand side of the screen and the battery is dead with in 2-3 hours of a full charge even when I don't do anything too battery intensive. On top of all that I just found that I didn't have as many uses as I thought I would with the device and was rather annoyed to find that a couple games I have really wanted to play are not compatible with Jellybean and have no signs of updating any time soon despite the page saying it's compatible and working fine with my tablet on the apps store page.

That sucks, have heard of some issues with the device hardware wise. I know there's been some issues with the screen and the bezel. You mention one of my concerns with the Google Play market, it doesn't seem to be as well organised as Apple's app store, though considering how many Android devices there are out there this should be of no surprise.

#15 Posted by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

@Morello: Rooted is basically jailbreaking the device right? Android's always been pretty open with that anyway so it would be an interesting thing to try, kind of what I meant by 'exploring' the device potential.

Happy to hear the Voice thing works well, one small thing I noticed was dictation. If possible I could see myself using that in a doc on Google Drive for example, its available for iOS but on a phone it's less useful to me. Might sleep on it this weekend before deciding, the price is fantastic for an entry level tablet and it appears to have a lot going for it. Can't see myself being blown over by the iPad nor what ever seven inch tablet they reveal (again, due to iOS being so controlled) so it as that to. Storage decision is a issue, do I go with the cheaper storage option or go bigger. Depends on what I'd use the tablet for. Mostly web serving, video watching and I'd probably do some writing related stuff using Google's Drive and other products. I'd certainly find use for it, especially being a different platform. iPad is a great looking product, but every time I used it I kept preferring to use my iPhone.

#16 Posted by kalmis (1559 posts) -

@TrueEnglishGent: Yes you can store the apps externally. Especially if you bought them, like say from the current Humble Bundle. There are no limits of installing your own apps. Don't even need to have it rooted for this. Apps you bought on store you can of course download again and again

Watching US Netflix in the UK is not a Android thing, but a network thing. There are services that handle routing/proxy/vpn's that make you appear that you are located in the US. This is not exactly illegal nor legal, morally somewhat grey. Thanks to moronic old geographic restrictions based on the IP address.

#17 Posted by AlexW00d (6386 posts) -

It's like £160 just buy one dude. That's what I did and I am very much enjoying it. I don't store anything but apps on it, I just pull music and films from my PC over the network when I want to.

#18 Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER (1215 posts) -

Is it normal to walk around with tablets? IDk... I want to take mine to school, but whenever I see someone walking around and taking pictures with their tablet I just want to slap them.

#19 Posted by TruthTellah (9419 posts) -

@psylah said:

@TruthTellah said:

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are expected to be announcing new tablets really soon. So, not sure when you're planning on getting the new tablet, but there may be more options in the next month.

Even if they do announce new tablets, since the Nexus 7 is a Google product, it will always receive the latest OS updates as soon as they are available. Every other android tablet producer is late, guaranteed.

Sure, but there's a lot more to a tablet's functionality than just whether it has the latest OS. The newer Amazon or Barnes and Noble tablets could have better specifications, even if they might not get as quick of the latest OS updates. For most users, that'll hardly ever be an issue.

#20 Posted by TruthTellah (9419 posts) -

@merid85 said:

@psylah said:

@TruthTellah said:

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are expected to be announcing new tablets really soon. So, not sure when you're planning on getting the new tablet, but there may be more options in the next month.

Even if they do announce new tablets, since the Nexus 7 is a Google product, it will always receive the latest OS updates as soon as they are available. Every other android tablet producer is late, guaranteed.

Also, it is important to note that the Amazon and Barnes and Noble tablets are locked down to their own respective stores, not Google Play. I do not know if they're going to change that with their new tablets, but it's something to think about. I just bought an N7 which is replacing my Nook Color, and one of my biggest selling points was that I could download the Barnes and Noble app and still get those books on my Nexus.

It's an awesome tablet but unfortunately I've encountered some backlight bleeding on the left side of my screen when the brightness is low. I'm sure I'm in the minority, though.

For the Nook Tablet and Amazon Kindle Fire, you can pretty easily either do custom firmware or sideloading to get any Google Play apps you like running on one. Barnes and Noble practically endorsed users putting custom firmware on the Nook Color or Nook Tablet if it means they'd buy the tablet. There are a lot more options out there if you're willing to tinker a bit. :)

And their new tablets coming out soon might have access to the Google Play market(as they just have to pay a set fee to Google for that right). So, we'll see!

#21 Posted by GozerOnline (15 posts) -

I'm an iPad owner who wanted to try out an Android device, so I purchased a Nexus 7 about 2 weeks ago.

Honestly... I love Jelly Bean. Some aspects need an update (I find Chrome to be sluggish compared to Safari, the home screens don't work in landscape mode, etc), but I love the customizability. It's a better mobile OS than iOS.

But let's be honest, the quality of the hardware is what you should expect out of a device at that price range:

  • Lousy build quality, primary with the screen. Mine exhibits the "spongy" left side problem where the screen doesn't feel securely mounted down. It sounds like it's a problem with all current versions, but I've heard too many horror stories with replacements being worse than originals to make it worth my while.
  • There's so little bezel on the left and right sides of the screen that it makes it hard to hold in the portrait orientation. Really a stupid design decision as this is how this device should be held.
  • The power buttons and volume buttons should be closer to the front of the bezel. They're actually quite low which makes it hard to tell if you're pressing the power or the top volume rocker.
  • I don't get the incredible standby times like I do on the iPad... I can go a week without touching that thing and it'll still have 90% battery left. On the Nexus 7, I get about a day and a half tops.

Overall though, it's a great purchase for the price.

#22 Posted by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

Yep, that's been my issue with the iPad. Like I said, iOS suits me perfectly on a phone (have used an HTC Android phone and the OS was sluggish, getting in the way of functions) but on a tablet I like the idea of an OS that allows me to experiment with it and get the most out of it.

Heard about some of the build issues, as you say the price means that some issues are inevitable really. Been told I should wait and see what other tablets hit the market, have considered that. Again can't see myself being to interested in the much talked about iPad Mini because of the OS but there might some other tablets on the market.

#23 Posted by MAGZine (438 posts) -

@GozerOnline: @TrueEnglishGent: -shrug- For all of the build quality issues, it's still only $200. I've almost spent that much on a keyboard before. Another company would have to be really compelling to get me to stray from a N7 recommendation. Stock Android experience is best Android experience.

#24 Posted by kalmis (1559 posts) -

I haven't noticed any issues on the build cover of my N7. Also holding is not really a problem since I use a smart cover thing. One other thing to take in to consideration is that it is not given that these other brand tablets will come to UK. Kindle Fire has only now "kind of" been confirmed here.

#25 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

@GozerOnline said:

I'm an iPad owner who wanted to try out an Android device, so I purchased a Nexus 7 about 2 weeks ago.

Honestly... I love Jelly Bean. Some aspects need an update (I find Chrome to be sluggish compared to Safari, the home screens don't work in landscape mode, etc), but I love the customizability. It's a better mobile OS than iOS.

A few pointers that may help your enjoyment.

1 - Get a new Launcher if you are really wanting Landscape home screens. For the uninformed, the Launcher is your Home Screen and Android allows you the option to get a new one. I have a rooted Kindle Fire running Jelly Bean with Apex Launcher and I only use Landscape mode for my home screens. Other good launchers are Go Launcher, Nova and, well, do a search on the Play Store. Some launchers give you access to tweaks that Android's default Launcher does not.

2 - I am not impressed with Chrome on Jelly Bean, so far, so go grab Dolphin, instead. It's a fantastic mobile browser.

3 - Go into System Settings > Battery and have a look at what's draining your battery. If it is mostly your screen, adjust the brightness, a bit. Keep an eye on how many apps are throwing notifications at you, as well, since that will eat your battery. You aren't going to get ipad levels of battery life, but Android gives you some tools to help maximize your battery life. There is an app called Better Battery Stats on the Play Store that I've seen recommended on XDA, a bunch, but have not tried.

Build quality complaints bum me out since the Fire has pretty exceptional build quality over the last 8 months that I've been using it, heavily. I am still planning to get a 7 and pass the Fire on to my wife, but I am hoping some of these build issues are just early adopter problems.

#26 Posted by MikeHawk (382 posts) -

I got my Nexus 7 a month ago and I'm loving it. I feel like rooting it is basically a requirement to make the most of it, though. By rooting it, you can mount any usb storage device to it with the right $2 adapter. So instead of filling up the internal storage with lots of video, you can just stream them off an external HDD or copy them over to the Nexus 7. By rooting it, you can also use your PS3 controller over bluetooth as a game controller. This making emulation significantly better on the device and even more viable (for some games) than emulating on a PC. If you use Chrome on your computer/phone, Chrome on the Nexus 7 is great due to bookmark and web page syncing. I may just be more of an Android guy than an iOS guy, but I would say that if you want to do any large scale customization to your tablet, then get the Nexus 7.

#27 Edited by MachoFantastico (4862 posts) -

Again, thanks for the great tips and opinions. Much appreciated.

When you root the device do all the usual Jelly Bean features work as normal, been doing a little research and I know it will wipe your personal data in the process of rooting. So can you put it all back in and have Google use it for their services like that card feature without any concern of data being stolen due to the N7 running on a custom firmware. Oh and is it still the case that you have to go in and close each specific app you have running? Not a big deal but wasn't sure if that'd changed with Jelly Bean.

Not gonna lie, the idea of messing around with rooting and such excites me. It's one of the reasons I'm tempted to get it, as it would allow me to experiment with the device though I'm a total newbie and have began to only just look into the whole process and why I'd want to do it anyway.

#28 Posted by SSully (4276 posts) -

I personally love it. The voice search works great(I am in the US), the size and weight are really nice, and it is super smooth. Honestly my favorite part is how it links all of my google stuff together and google now. It's really kind of magical everytime I am getting ready to go to work it shows me the current traffic and weather. Or if I search from my work computer directions to a restaurant I was meeting family at, only to have it show me the directions on my nexus when I opened it up.

Honestly my only complaint is Google Play doesn't have nearly as strong of an app choice and IOS. It has plenty of big name things that you would expect, but you still won't find as many apps as you would on IOS.

#29 Posted by cannonballBAM (608 posts) -

@TrueEnglishGent: Using NFC between my Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus is great. It honestly makes me wish Verizon would get their stuff together and release the update from ICS to Jelly Bean. The functionality and overhaul is impressive to an OS I already thought to be a huge step above its predecessors. Using the log in system in Google Chrome on my wireless devices and PC is impressive, I can pull any website I just visited or currently am still logged on to with just a button press.

Gaming wise I think IOS has the upper hand but to be honest there are only a handful of games I think are great on mobile platforms. Canabalt and Impossible Game seem to be the extent of anything I really care for so I chalk it up to an amazing piece of tech that can take your at home or mobile experience to a higher level.

#30 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (642 posts) -

I like it, it's all very smooth, JB is nice on Tegra3.

#31 Posted by cannonballBAM (608 posts) -

@Wong_Fei_Hung: OMG your user name. *high five*

#32 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

Great build quality, good app selection, great price, overall exceeded my expectations.

#33 Posted by AuthenticM (3788 posts) -

It's great. I pre-ordered one the day of the conference, got it mid-july and did not regret one bit. Android 4.1 has a super-slick look to it and everything runs butter-smooth. You even get a 25$ prepaid card on your Google Wallet courtesy of Google. I suggest you use it to buy, among other things, Great Big War Game. It's pretty great.

#34 Posted by Danteveli (1210 posts) -

Im using it right now and I love it. Great to use when you have no access to pc.

#35 Posted by jasonmartin (17 posts) -

About the storage space. I had to go with the 8G since they didn't have the bigger ones on stock when I got mine. Birthday gift, so didn't have too much to say. So far I haven't seen the space beeing a problem. Of course it would be nice if you could expand that with SD memory. So far using Dropbox and other cloud services has been enough. What normally would eat my diskspace would be vides, which is not problem if you use Netflix. Just started using the US Netflix myself. Tad better than the UK one. (:

#36 Posted by Narx (175 posts) -

Depends what you do with it. I wanted a tablet to check my mails and watch videos, for that price it's quite awesome!

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