Look and Feel
The look and feel of the Nexus 7 will depend on other tablets that you've held, but it does look good, and it feels even better. At 7 inches, it feels only a little bigger than a large smartphone, such as the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note. Right out of the box, the Nexus 7 looks and feels like it is worth quite a lot more than its relatively entry-level price, and this continues throughout the entire experience with the Nexus 7. I did expect the Nexus 7 to feel a little lighter, coming from mainly the 10.1-inch size of the iPad, but the Nexus 7 feels better in the hands thanks to its smaller size.
ASUS' Nexus 7 sports a 7-inch, 1280x800 HD backlit IPS display that just looks absolutely gorgeous, sporting 216 pixels per inch on the display. Rounding out the front of the device, we find a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera that can be used for video calls and self-shots.
The display looks great at a usual 10-inch (or so) distance from your face, meaning the 1280x800 resolution ASUS and Google have decided to go with is perfect on the 7-inch screen. Thanks to its IPS-based panel, viewing angles are great, too, so you don't have to be looking directly at the Nexus 7 for it to look perfect. Text is rendered onto the screen beautifully, but not as beautifully as the Retina-powered iPad, of course.
Flipping the Nexus 7 over we find speakers integrated into the bottom of the device through a long slit, just above that we find ASUS' logo, above the ASUS logo is the Nexus branding and just above the Nexus logo is a very small hole, which is the integrated microphone. This is all on a rubberized back which feels great in your hands. On the bottom of the Nexus 7, we find a 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB slot for charging and syncing. On the right hand side of the Nexus, we have the power button and volume rocker. All in all, front and back, the Nexus 7 has looks nailed down to a fine art.
Then we have the micro USB plug on the bottom of the device, along with the 3.5mm headphone/speaker jack.
The volume rocker and power button.
Let's dive into how the display looks, shall we? ASUS and Google have decided to surprise customers with a copy of a HD movie on the Nexus 7, where they've put on offer the latest Transformers: Dark of the Moon flick. This was a nice surprise, and it streams surprisingly well from the Play store, whilst looking quite amazing.
Of course the display isn't Full HD, but it's a little over the 720p resolution sitting at 1280x800. Colors are vibrant, blacks look great, and we've already mentioned that the viewing angle is superb. Most people would expect for a $199 tablet, it would look, and feel, cheap. But don't let the low price fool you; the Nexus 7 is a beautiful piece of technology.
When looking at the Nexus 7 in any app, or on the home screen, the status bar takes up quite a lot of screen space. I feel that Google should offer some customization here, letting you shrink it down, disable it, move it to the sides or let you drag it up from the bottom of the tablet like you do with the notification bar at the top of the tablet (or any Android-based device with a notification bar). It wastes valuable screen space on a cramped 7-inch tablet. Because we're looking at a future of button less tablets, this is going to become more and more of a problem in the future. I hope that the next revision of Android looks into this, as I'd like some extra screen space, or some personalized customization options at least.
Landscape on the Nexus 7 is definitely not as good for web browsing as portrait mode, but that's what a 7-inch tablet is really designed for, portrait use.
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