Google Nexus 7 Review (Goodbye, Amazon Kindle Fire)

Goodbye, Amazon Kindle Fire; Hello, Google Nexus 7Amazon’s Kindle Fire was the first 7″ tablet that offered us a reliable device for a reasonable price tag. As a result, I was one of the first to order and on November 15, 2011, I received my Kindle Fire. Since that time, I have enjoyed the convenience of using my Kindle Fire to surf the Internet, send email, and read books, and due to the Fire’s light weight and comfortable size, I found it especially enjoyable to be able to do these things at bedtime.

However, while tenaciousness proved to discover answers to some of the issues I encountered in my travels through Kindle Fire land, I found that there were some issues for which there was no easy fix. One of the solvable issues came when I was able to get the Ice Cream Sandwich theme installed onto the Kindle Fire. In fact, I wrote an article (Amazon Kindle Fire: Updates, Plus New Tips and Tricks) on how to accomplish this feat. For me, replacing Amazon’s carousel and its drab gray wooden theme with Ice Cream Sandwich’s updated look was a real improvement. However, while this issue was — more or less — one of personal choice, it was a different matter with the hardware. For whatever reason, the hardware really bogged down the Fire, which was a problem that was not readily fixable through a mere software update. In fact, at times, the Fire seemed downright clunky and non-responsive to the point of requiring the click of an icon two times or more to get a response. This issue extended to the Internet, where I was disappointed with how slowly the Fire rendered pages from both Flipboard and Pulse, two news sources I read daily. This was despite the fact that I have a fairly fast Internet connection that responds normally when used with my other devices.

At the time, for the price point, the Kindle Fire was the best thing going. However, when Google announced its Nexus 7, and after reading the specifications, I couldn’t wait to compare the two devices. This meant that I ordered a unit immediately and received it on Monday, July 23, 2012. As you can guess, like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get the unit out of the box so I could play with it. But, like the kid at Christmas, I became immediately frustrated when I tried to get the device out of the box. Unlike Chris and his video, my experience was more problematic — like the one in this video. Fortunately, I had actually seen the video before my unit arrived and was already prepared for a tight-fitting box and sleeve.

When this hurdle was bounded, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, when I fired up the unit, I was welcomed by my name and that the unit was preprogrammed with my email address at Google. The surprises continued when I found that all of my contacts, emails, and settings were downloaded and installed automatically as well as the fact that, once synced, this information was also automatically sent to my Google Chrome and my PC that uses the Chrome browser. Then, if this didn’t seem like enough, I also found that all of my bookmarks and other settings were transferred over and that the Amazon applications I had stored in the cloud — both free and paid applications — were available to be installed on my new toy. Amazingly, in just about one hour, my new Nexus 7 was set up with everything I had available on my Amazon Kindle Fire.

I know that some of you like to complain about the cloud and how it doesn’t offer you the best safety experience, but in this case, at least for me, the cloud worked perfectly. However, I understand your concerns and, like you, I also had a backup of everything on my PC just in case the cloud did fail me.

Hardware

So what can you expect to find on the Nexus 7? Well, most of you have already read that the Nexus 7 comes with a quad-core processor and a 12-core video processor which, on any tablet, is a very fast combination. Other than that, the Nexus 7, like other tablets of its size, comes with fairly standard features — none of which will make you jump up and down yelling “whoopee!” The display is good (better than the Fire), but is not the Retina quality that is found on Apple’s new iPad. The drawback, as I am sure you are aware, is that there is no external storage (such as micro SD or the ability to use a USB stick) available unless one first roots the Nexus 7.

Software

What I loved about the Nexus 7 was also the first thing that you will notice when you first start to use the device, and that is how smooth the operating system is and how well it functions. Gone is the jerkiness that has made other versions of Android a second class OS. So, while many companies promise things they don’t deliver, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Google. In truth, Google’s press blurb that the new Jelly Bean OS is buttery smooth tends to be an accurate assessment. The device does do an excellent job of controlling one’s applications and widgets, which makes using the Nexus 7 a pleasure.

Goodbye, Amazon Kindle Fire; Hello, Google Nexus 7

Google Now on Nexus 7

What really shines is Google’s Chrome browser. When I first started the Chrome browser and signed into my Google account, the Nexus Chrome browser synchronized with the Chrome browser on my PC using Windows 7. The Chrome browser also recognized the Chrome browser on my Windows 8 computer. All bookmarks and toolbar settings were automatically installed for me. Then, once it was finished with its installation, it very quickly and accurately rendered the different webpages I visited. In addition, the tabs are easy to use and there is an option to view webpages in desktop mode.

As you can tell, I have found Google’s Chrome browser to be a good operating system, but the next application from Google, called Google Now, is going to knock your socks off. It is Apple’s Siri built into a tablet computer that costs half the price of the Apple iPad. This may make you wonder how Google can manufacture a tablet that actually works without a lot of hype via actors, on the television, telling us how wonderful it is. It may be because Google Now not only answers your questions, but also handles such mundane tasks as sending email, whereas Siri shines on the iPhone when it can send text. So, while this is currently a unique function of Siri, your next Android phone may come with Jelly Bean and Google Now, which will also be able to send text.

Form Factor

When it comes to size, I personally like the 7″ form factor. I find that the smaller size is great because it is truly a mobile device that can fit into your back pocket, a lady’s handbag, or a kid’s small backpack while providing a big enough screen to view movies and videos.

Conclusion

This little 7″ tablet computer is a powerhouse and to say it is fast is an understatement. The Android Jelly Beam OS is, for the most part, smooth and fast. Since using Jelly Bean, I have not suffered any crashes or lockups. Though no single device will satisfy everyone’s needs or wants, the Nexus 7 is worth a consideration. It is inexpensive, well-made, and one of the best values in the tablet marketplace; it could easily force the Amazon Kindle Fire to take a back seat on the consumer’s hot tamale train.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Source: Google Play

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • kindle bean user

    If yo bought a Kindle Fire and now don’t want to spend any more money, just flash a jelly bean ROM!

  • doug_jensen

    I don’t use gmail (I use Exchange) and I don’t use Chrome (I use Firefox). In fact, except for searches, I don’t use google anything. I have about 15,000 mp3′s in the Amazon cloud, does the Nexus provide upload and down access to that? Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/izazaga César

    I own an Ipad 2 and I recently purchased a Nexus 7 for my brother. I´ve been using it for a couple of weeks and I have to say I really love the 7in screen size. Jelly Bean is an amazing OS and I consider the Nexus 7 to be at the same level as any of the iPads.