I've been salivating at the thought of getting a Nexus 7 for quite some time, as I really just wanted to test out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Do you remember when the 3DFX Voodoo Banshee video card came out, and it arrived with Half-Life: Day One? I was one of those people that literally rang every single retailer in my state (this was really pre-Internet) to get my hands on it. When I want something, I want it bad. This is how I felt with the Nexus 7.
I didn't want a review sample of the Nexus 7, I wanted my own, so I purchased one last week and I have been having the time of my life since. ASUS worked very closely with Google on the Nexus 7, as Google wanted to get a tablet onto the market that could chomp into the sales of Amazon's Kindle Fire, at the $199 range.
What most people didn't expect is that it would hit the market sporting specs better than tablets priced over $500. It was also a surprise that this cheap $199 tablet featured Google's latest OS, Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean'. Jelly Bean really is the star of the Nexus 7 show, and I've come to absolutely fall in love with the deliciously-named OS since.
Jelly Bean has a bunch of new features built-in, as well as the usual fixes and improvements. We cover the important parts of it from a technical and software point of view.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
For one of the cheapest tablets on the market, ASUS have packed in quite the feature set into the Nexus 7. If someone had said to me just six months ago, that we'd be seeing a company like ASUS building a 7-inch, quad-core tablet for under $200, I would've laughed. ASUS' Nexus 7 is definitely no laughing matter; it's more of a forced to be reckoned with.
Starting with the heart of the Nexus 7, we find NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, a 7-inch 1280x800 backlit IPS display with scratch-resistant Corning glass, 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM and a 4,325mAh battery. We have the usual network connectivity found in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, a micro USB port for charging and syncing the tablet, a microphone, NFC (Android Beam), and the commonly found accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer and gyroscope. This all finds its way into a package weighing in at 340g and measuring in at 198.5x120x10.45mm.
One of the jewels in Nexus 7's crown is its operating system, Google's latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean is the absolute bleeding edge of Google's Android OS, and truly is beautiful. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is nice, but Jelly Bean feels like a very polished, very well thought-out upgrade to ICS. When I took the Nexus 7 out of the box, there was already an update to Android 4.1.1, which you should experience, too.
Pricing on the Nexus 7 is what makes it really stand out from the crowd, with the 8GB and 16GB models selling for $199 and $249, respectively. They're made available through Google's Play store, or your local retailer and e-tailers. There are no 3G or 4G options just yet, but there have been rumors of a model sporting 4G LTE support coming soon.
This is where ASUS and Google really have the Nexus 7 wrapped up, is with its low, entry-level pricing. Apple's closest pricing would be their older iPad 2 and even that is close to double the Nexus 7's asking price for their equivalent model.
You might find it hard getting your hands on a Nexus 7 depending on where you live, I couldn't get my hands on one until just recently as they had sold out - but there seems to be more stock floating around now. Another thing to remember is Google didn't quite expect the explosion of customers wanting these bad boys. This changes from city to city, country to country, as usual.