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Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by No Comments

A good review of the #nexus7 by +Jeff Willard, good job Jeff!

A good review of the #nexus7 by +Jeff Willard, good job Jeff!

Reshared post from +Jeff Willard

#Nexus7 the 4 day review.

I've had my Nexus 7 for about 4 days now.  I've rooted it, watched some video (Youtube clips, Netflix Movies, Netflix TV and stuff from my own digital collection), listened to some music (Keyed on instrumentals to get the real texture of the music), surfed, socialized, read a little out of my book and done some gaming.  I haven't had a good chance to use it for video chat, yet.  Hopefully that will come next week.  Oh yeah, and I tried out JellyBean's audio search.

The pros:  
1.  Video is smooth.  Everything I tried was completely or pretty close to perfect.  I'm not one to beg for 1080p, so this screen was more than sufficient for my viewing pleasure.  The screen could be brighter.  When I was outside this afternoon, I was able to get an episode of a show watched while having a cigar.  I didn't have to worry about dropping ash on my keyboard and could easily one-hand the thing.  So it beats my netbook, there.

2.  Audio has fair tones.  I was really impressed that it was SO much better than my Galaxy Nexus (which has really poor sound) or my old iPod ( #boycottapple ).  The sound was good enough for TV and casual movie watching.  I wouldn't make it a replacement for a stereo, but its sufficient for a 'hey, listen to the new song by…' type of listening.

3.  Reading is good.  This is a good form factor in that its about the same size as a soft cover novel and the kindle app or the Google Book app give you plenty of options.  News apps and your favorite social outlet work good too.

4.  Gaming was great… for a handheld.  I'd put this up against anything I've seen for tablet/phone style gaming.  I wouldn't expect to be playing a FPS, DOTA or Diablo on it, though.

5.  Voice Search was amazing.  Jellybean outdoes Siri, hands down.  As new iOS hardware comes out, it may be more competitive, but #Google obviously has been putting your logged GoogleVoice/Talk records to good use.  Their voice algorithm was good enough to listen to my wife, my daughter (5) and I and clearly understand what was being said as long as it wasn't being said between laughs.

6.  Extras:  Rooting your device unlocks a few nice things.  The first thing I tried was external storage.  It works perfectly.  Get yourself a microUSB/USB-A adaptor and go to town.  I've had a 32GB USB drive work without issues.  I currently have it hooked up to a USB/SATA dock with a 2TB drive and its not reading the files, but it sees the partitions.  Not sure if its the ext4 partitions or what, but it seems to be one step away.  I haven't installed a full version of Linux in a VM, yet, but hope to get there soon.  I have done that to my Galaxy Nexus, though, so I have little doubt that it'll work.

The Cons:

1.  No Rear Camera.  I take this as a moderately big deal.  It prevents you from using scanning apps to read bar codes and QR codes.  Which, if you've started using them to catalog your music, CDs, Wireless keys, or just about anything else… You're out of luck.

2.  Surfing.  I know its a tablet, but the reality is that hover content and controls that exist on a lot of pages hate touchscreens.  They simply hate to work right.

3.  The 'digital device divide'.  Lots of people know what the digital divide is.  If you don't, its a phenomenon in digital animation where the characters look so good that the little things start to make them look ugly (Think:  Final Fantasy, The Spirits Within).  What you hold with a Nexus 7 is NOT a small PC.  As functional as you may find it, it really is a big smartphone without the phone.  I've found myself bummed a couple times when I just couldn't do quite what I needed due to lack of function (which will be fixed with the a fore mentioned VM) or because I didn't have a WiFi signal (which my Galaxy Nexus's tether solved).  However, the extra steps are something I can deal with, but many that are looking at this device can't.  It almost fools you into a false sense of ability.

4.  Missing / Incompatible Apps.  I already indicated that I miss my QR scanner.  I've found a few of things that just aren't compatible.  My bank being one of them (get with it)…  and Amazon's store app (not the app store, but the one to actually buy merchandise from Amazon).  I haven't done the research to know if that's Jellybean or if its the tablet.  I know the scanners are because of the rear-facing camera.  Its very possible all of them are (the bank app has a function to take a pic of a check to deposit and Amazon lets you scan bar codes).  It if really is the camera, that's just another point for #1.

The verdict:  This is a great device.  Its not perfect but its great.  IMO the biggest room for improvement would be to increase the size to ~8 inches (seems that would buy a lot of real estate without sacrificing portability), add the SD card slot (even though rooting allow you access to USB sticks), and give me back my rear-facing camera.  Even if it were low-res.  Simply put, the best $250 I've spent on technology in a long time.

~~~~~

PS – The case:  I bought the Google/Asus case.  Its a flimsy rubber piece of crap that doesn't feel good in hand (it feels slippery to me) and doesn't take advantage of the smart-case technology.  I tried adding a thin magnet but wasn't able to add anything sufficient to power the thing down without making it look like a tumor and making me uneasy about damaging the screen.  That, coupled with the fact that it delayed my shipment, meant that it was an horrid waste of $20.  I've already purchased and should have my aftermarket case on Tuesday.

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