Google Nexus 7: How Accurate Are Defect Reports?

Google Nexus 7: How Accurate Are Defect Reports?Are the reported defects surrounding Google’s new Nexus 7 true, or just something being rehashed for lack of something better to write about? This is the question I posed to Chris last Sunday afternoon when I suggested writing this article. My premise was that, if a search is made on the Internet referencing the topic, one finds a slew of reports concerning the same seven issues. Suspiciously, however, many of the reports/reviews that have been written appear to be just a rehashing of information that can be found on the Internet and don’t support the claim that an author has any personal experience with the product. With this in mind, what are the complaints on which these reviewers are agreeing?

The seven main issues being reported are:

  • It appears that there is a screen separation accompanied by a creaking noise when one pushes on the screen.
  • There is a backlight bleeding issue that one doesn’t usually see on tablets costing more than $100.
  • There are charging problems due to an apparently faulty micro USB charging port.
  • There are touch screen detection issues that usually occur when the user is involved in extreme game play requiring multiple screen gestures.
  • There appear to be areas of the screen that are unclear due to dead screen pixels.
  • The screen flickers — a problem that is being blamed on the light auto sensor.
  • The microphone is DOA.

When I spoke to Chris on Sunday about this article, he informed me that his Nexus 7 unit was experiencing the screen flickering issue. He had not decided as of this writing whether to return the unit or not.

In reference to the first issue of screen separation, the xda-developers forum has provided a fix. However, the fix requires the user to pry off the back of their brand new Google Nexus 7 and tighten all of the screws. This is something I can’t wait to do to my newly purchased unit, especially since two problems immediately jump to mind. What happens if:

  • I accidentally break something inside the case while applying this fix; would I void the warranty?
  • The fix doesn’t work or if the problem recurs?

The unit I purchased displayed this issue and I chose to return the unit rather than take a chance at voiding my warranty. I am now patiently waiting for a replacement.

Due to my own experience, I was interested in an unscientific poll that the xda-developers forum put out asking its readers if they were experiencing screen separation. To date, the poll has received 355 responses with the following results:

  • No: 209 (58.87%)
  • Yes: 146 (41.13%

However, like with all polls and/or reports, the problems with the Google Nexus 7 may be exaggerated. It could also be that other competitors are allowing their sales representatives to write articles in an attempt to discourage consumers from buying the product. These writers, as well as those who just enjoy throwing a monkey wrench into the buying process, are known throughout the Internet as trolls. These trolls intentionally write either glowing reviews about a product for financial gain or they can write inaccurate or negative reviews about a service or product to the same effect. With this in mind, a purchaser who is really scouting for the perfect product must first determine the truthfulness of the reports.

So, in order to follow my own advice, I asked my fellow Gnomies if they had experienced any problems with the Nexus 7. Here are a few of their responses:

Williams R. Reynolds Young: No problems here. Not being a huge tablet fan, I wouldn’t say that I am in love with the device, but I love the form, factor, and price — it’s a no-brainer!

Chris Pirillo: Mine was flickering — the company has offered to replace it. Unsure if I wanna go that far.

After reading his comment, I made mention that he could try to go into the settings area and turn off the Automatic Brightness, to which I received this response:

David Di Franco, Jr.: I did this right away. It makes a huge difference.

Unfortunately, however, while David was pleased with this improvement, he found another issue that didn’t have such an easy solution.

David Di Franco, Jr.: The left side of my bezel sometimes makes a slight clicking noise. You can feel it moving a bit. However, it’s nothing too bad — just slightly disappointing.

As you can imagine, after reading all of the complaints, my immediate reaction was that I regretted buying the Google Nexus 7 so soon after its release. Perhaps I should have waited a few months until Google and ASUS got the bugs worked out of this new system. However, I have purchased products before, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, that were new to the market and had some bugs that resulted in consumer complaints. For example, the Fire has been labeled as clunky, heavy, and poorly designed, without Bluetooth, a USB port, or a volume switch. Some users also complained that they had trouble getting onto the Internet via Wi-Fi, and still others took issue with the Kindle’s picture quality.

However, Amazon had been producing various Kindle products prior to the release of the Kindle Fire; as a result, the company had the know-how and experience to quickly repair some of these issues via updates. One cannot help but recall the famous Antennagate in which the Apple iPhone 4 was problematic when it came to connecting to various carriers. For this issue, Apple provided all owners with a free bumper case to fix the problems.

With that being said, we all know that no company is infallible. Remember, ASUS (the manufacturer of the Nexus 7) as well as Google have a lot riding on the success of this new tablet. Knowing this, one would have thought that most, if not all, of the design flaws would have been worked out. I hope, for Google’s sake, that the problems being reported don’t turn into an epidemic of complaints resulting in the Nexus 7 becoming a pariah in the tablet computer market. If this happens, and if Amazon does come out with the rumored five or six new Kindle Fire 2s, or if an Apple iPad mini becomes a reality, Google can forget about tablets and give up any hope of competing in the tablet market.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

PS Yesterday afternoon, a replacement Google Nexus 7 arrived. I will be checking it out during the next week and will do a follow-up report on whether I discover any issues or not.

Source: PC Magazine

Source: xda-developers forum

Source: xda-developers poll

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Jay Paul Overholser

    My Nexus 7 didn’t have screen separation, but about 20 min after first powering on, the digitizer started acting up. A reboot and later, digitizer not working at all. Couldn’t see anything then felt a hairline crack in the glass in the bezel area at the top of the screen. thought it was a scratch at first but when I touched the screen near it, the crack extended across the unit and to the edge of the screen. Google’s people are sending me a new unit, but I will have to wait to hear if they are cover it under warranty. Since they can check the delivery and see I called less than two hours after picking it up at the UPS depot, I am sure it will be covered.

  • Jay Paul Overholser


  • Joe

    Flickering appears to be unrelated to the auto-brightness feature as it occurs when it is off. In my experience flickering occurred when the brightness was set to < 40% and the WiFI signal strength was < 50%. Flickering would then occur when data was being transfered over WiFi, for example loading a page in Chrome.

  • Matt A.

    I’ve experienced screen flicker here and there, but it’s very slight and infrequent. I was hoping a software fix would take care of it. After reading this, I checked the screen and noticed very slight creaking along part of the right side bezel. Didn’t notice it until now and doubt it’s something that I’ll notice much in the future during regular use. My mic works great. I’m very happy with the tablet so far.

  • Andrew H

    I’m getting the screen separation on the lower left side. When I’m holding it with my thumb on my left hand, any sort of pressure on the black edge of the screen I can feel it depress a bit and then I see the classic LCD smudge show up on the screen next to it. I can’t reproduce it anywhere else along the edge..just the lower left side. No screen flickering or other problems on mine yet..only had it 2.5 days though.

  • @r3zdog

    Picked mine up at local futureshop on July 20th, so far so good, am loving it!
    Yet all these reports making me nervous…. ha

  • Howard C

    No issues with mine so far.

    About the warranty, taking the back off in itself does not void anything as there are no tamper proof labels or tape stopping you so Asus have no way of proving you took it off unless you tell them. However if the damage is obviously made by you then Asus may not honor the warranty. It is pretty hard to damage the device by tightening a few screws though.

  • Manojkumar Muralidharan

    Mine is getting heated up on the top left and middle on the back side. I could feel the difference between the right side and left side, as it heats up a little bit while playing games. Anyone noted such an issue with your tablet ? Can I go ahead ask for a new device ?

  • Guillermo

    no issues with mine at all.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments. I received my replacement Nexus 7 yesterday afternoon. So far no issues.

  • VLA2

    Got a rep within three minutes today. Was on the phone for about five minutes. Matt at Google was very helpful and nice. My 16GB was having weird horizontal lines flashing across the screen plus touch sensors were oddly inactive just during reading or playing games.

    He stated that Google is checking replacement devices before sending out (assuming that is true) so I’m hoping to get a solid one as I really like the device. Had a bit of sponginess on the left side but seems to be after playing a game like the Tegra ones. Pressing it down seemed to fix it.

    He explained that I would get an e-mail to order a replacements (which I did immediatly while we were still on the phone) and had 21 days from today to return my old device. That gives me a couple of weeks of use before sending it back and hoping my new one gets here before then.

    Let’s hope they are checking the replacements, that they are new and not refurbs, and that the issues are fixed because it is a nice device overall.

  • Jim M.

    My 16GB model has a dead pixel right in the middle of the screen. My first tablet. My first Android device. Very disappointed. With a two week wait until the retailer has more in stock I have to wonder if the replacement will be faulty too. So I will be getting a refund. A missed opportunity by Google in my opinion because the demand clearly is there.

  • Alan

    Bought one from staples, left screen came up 1 to 2 mm and creaked. Returned and got replacement, second one has the same thing after a day and also has screen fluckering. Probly gonna return it and keep using my playbook for a couple months

  • Oscar Roque

    Well, I guess it should be a relief that google cancelled my order…

  • Rick

    I’ve gone through 5 different units from Staples (different stores in different cities) and they all had the screen separation defect. The build quality on these things is horrible.

  • Ronald Gerard

    Not separation per se; but its as if screen is on a hinge @ the camera position and pivoting.

  • atticus

    I had the left side bezel separation on my first unit and the replacement that I received a few days ago has the flicker issue. My first one definitely had no flicker issues. I have both of them sitting here and am trying to decide if I want to try a third one or just get a refund. I guess it was rushed to market or something as these seem like issues that should have been really easy to catch and rectify in development.

  • nick

    My N7 has a blown speaker. Inaudible above 40% volume. I just received a replacement N7. The audio works great now, but the screen is lifting on the left side. Its not a lot but is spongy and not the quality product promised for $281.42

  • Adrian

    Not a problem with mine, love it. Go buy one.

  • Craine

    I have had mine for a few weeks now and had none of the problems described here.
    So far, my main issue is with the bluetooth connetion that keeps dropping. But I have yet to determine it is a Nexus issue rather then some other component or environment that causes the problem. Happy customer here. :)

  • ihashishin

    Have screen separation and recently developed the flicker. But still love the size and power fit into this otherwise amazing product allowing for smooth operation, touch capability and media centrecity (not sure if that’s a word but the gaming browsing and reading is amazing)
    Still deciding on what to do with mine, too attached to my first tablet to return it just yet

  • Saad Suleman

    well my nexus 7’s screen has started to separate and makes clicking noise on the left side and flickers. I hope it doesn’t get worse. I hate to say this but I am disappointed. I have also noted that it heats up more on the left side, maybe heat expands the material and the screen starts separating on the left side.

  • Matthew14214

    I love my Nexus7 however when processor usage does increase the screen sensitivity gets bad I have to flick the screen on and off and it goes away. This is a quick fix but annoying. I contacted Google about it and I had one of the absolute worst experience with customer service ever! Their reps blamed me for outdoor heat issue (never bring out side) and we had a horrible back and forth email assault that ended with them telling me I suck basically. I really hate that my experience with Google went this way. I own several Android tablets and love the competition with Apple. They have lost a piece of me loving Android after this. Apples Customer Service is amazing compared to Google’s. My wife has an ipad and they did everything (even throwing a free wireless keyboard) when they had to exchange her device. They are very loyal to their clients. To Google we are all faceless numbers with out any care to who or what we are. No loyalty at all. Very disappointed!

  • andrew

    my nexus 7 is a 16gb verson and it suffers from screen separation, screen flickers, and it has a couple of dead pixels. it is pretty disappointing since i got it a few days ago. the 8.9 inch kindle fire hd is where the money is at. idk what to do about my nexus 7. i probably wont take it back. but i dont know how long it will last before the screen just wont turn on anymore. lol.

  • DS

    I get the unresponsive touch screen and have to turn off then back on to get it to work properly

  • willard71327

    I just got mine yesterday it’s c70 I played with it about 8 hours no issues so far

  • Donald Priola

    I have the flickering issue, and as Joe stated, this happens when the Nexus 7 has its brightness turned down, and you are accessing a page when you have a low strength Wi-Fi signal. After a full charge, the battery only reads three hours, too. I’ll say this, it’s a wonderful device, and if they honor the warranty, and I get a defect-free tablet, this will be my travel computer of choice, especially since Apple won’t let me update my IPad any longer.