Jul 19, 2012
The Nexus 7 is on par with the iPad in terms of the fluidity of its animations, how fast it opens apps, the crispness of its display, and its overall sense of polish. This is thanks to a quad-core chip and to Android 4.1 Jellybean -- the newest version of the Android OS, which was designed with an eye toward creating a faster, more nimble user experience. Jellybean anticipates what your next move will be, and boosts or chokes down on the CPU accordingly. As a result, lag is nearly nonexistent. The Google Play store, meanwhile, has most of the apps you'd expect to find -- Netflix, Evernote, Dropbox, Flipboard, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Readbility, Hulu, and a ton of games.
Aha. But you have an iPad. You have a smartphone. Do you really need a tablet that does a bunch of the same stuff they do but is not quite one and not quite the other? A week ago, I'd have had a hard time believing it. Now that I've been playing with the Nexus 7 for all of a day and a half, I'm hooked. This is the first time the 7" tablet has been done well, affordably, and the Nexus 7 has already replaced my iPad in my briefcase. The smaller size and lighter weight really make a difference.
I do a lot of reading on my iPad. It gets the job done, but can also get heavy after holding it up with one hand on a jammed, overheated subway ride. The Nexus 7 is light and comfortable in the hand, and reading on it just feels right. Well, reading indoors on the Nexus 7 just feels right. It has a glossy screen, so trying to do anything on the device under the blazing sun is asking to blow out your corneas. To be fair, the glare factor seems to be a bit less harsh than the iPad, but it is still far from pleasant.
The screen's about the size of a trade paperback page, and you should have no trouble finding the book you want to read. Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook apps for Android give you access to any e-book you buy from them, and Google, of course, recently debuted Google Play, its overhauled media store where it sells music, movies, TV shows, magazines, books, and apps. While the selection of music, movies, TV shows, and magazines (you can't get The New Yorker in the Google Play store, for instance) is wider in iTunes and on Amazon, I didn't find any obvious holes in the available books.