Google Nexus 7 – Initial Thoughts

Last night I got a mail from Google that my prebooked Nexus 7 8GB has shipped and that they’ve automatically upgraded my delivery to “overnight” so I should get it the next day.  That meant today so I was pretty excited to get back from work and see what gets delivered.  The package was delivered before I got home and my missus had already charged it as she knew I wouldn’t like to wait for it to charge first. :-).  Anyway, as it was ready after charging, I switched it on and the welcome screen came up (as shown in the picture below):

Nexus 7 - First looks

Nexus 7 – Outside the packaging and on first screen

There wasn’t much in terms of setup.  After language selection, the tablet came up with the WiFi configuration screen.  Once done, it asked if a Google account already exists.  I typed my Google account particulars in and a few privacy and GPS settings later, it stopped at the Home screen:

Nexus 7 - Home Screen

Nexus 7 – Home screen shown after initial configuration

The manual is placed in the “Play Books” app, which is handy as no paper manual is included.  As you can also see on the home screen, you get the movie “Transformers – Dark of the Moon” and Jeffery Archer’s “Only Time Will Tell” eBook free, included with the device.  After setting up with the Google account, a £15 voucher is also deposited into your Google Play account (if the offer was valid when the device was ordered), to spend on apps or games etc.

Performance is the first thing I wanted to check and having a movie readily available to run, made it easy to do a quick test.  Admittedly, it’s not the heaviest of content or particularly taxing on the processor/graphics, but it gave a good indication of its capabilities by running smoothly and sound was as good as you could expect from a small tablet.  I’ll probably try to test some games on it and hopefully they’ll run fine too.

After a few minutes, you may find that it downloaded an update in the background and wants to run it.  In my case, I ran it immediately (you don’t have to) which not only updated the device but also a couple of applications on it.  The device rebooted after the update and the process was smooth.  After the update, the version becomes 4.1.1.

One well-known annoyance is that Adobe Flash is not supported so content that uses it, doesn’t run on this device.  The BBC website is one example (at the time of writing), none of the iPlayer clips ran and while it offers the link to Google Play for installation, once there, a banner informs you that Adobe Flash is not supported.  So, no luck there.  That said, browsing websites in general is pretty responsive and smooth.

There aren’t many applications or widgets built-in but I guess, that’s where you would like to spend your £15 voucher 🙂  There is built-in NFC and is switched on but as I don’t have any other device with NFC, I couldn’t play with it.  At the moment, the only use case seems to be exchange of data like web pages, contacts, videos etc. with other NFC-enabled devices.  Maybe Google Wallet will make good use of it when available (in the UK).

I haven’t had a chance to completely drain the battery yet but after a few hours of normal use (no movies etc. – just playing with various options/apps), it still has over 70% of it remaining.  That’s pretty good considering I’ve been using it constantly for more than three hours now.  I think this makes Nexus 7 a good option as an eBook reader (if you’re not mad about E Ink, that is).

This device is for my daughter really but initial feeling is that I didn’t make a mistake in buying one.  True I haven’t really put the device under any strain but that wasn’t my goal anyway.  I needed a device for my daughter which is responsive enough for her media/game needs, capable of handling mail and social networking easily with some browsing/eBook reading and has good battery life, enough to last for a day.  I think Nexus 7 scores on all counts.  Buy one! 🙂

Update (31/07/2012 0900 BST): My missus loved it so much that she bought one for her business.  Google is shipping them super fast too.  It was ordered on Sunday night and has just been delivered – early Tuesday morning!

By |2016-12-11T15:25:07+00:00July 20th, 2012|Android, Mobile, Nexus 7|10 Comments

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  1. Jez@Nexus7Blog July 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM - Reply

    You’re lucky that your missus got it up and running, hope she managed to open it OK (apparently its a struggle!). I look forward to unleashing my two year old on my Nexus when it arrives – I think he’s going to love it!

    • Ather Beg July 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      Being quite tightly-packed, I agree it’s a bit of a struggle! It sort of air-locks inside so full marks to the missus. 🙂 I am sure your two-year old will love it as I found the display to be quite responsive and there are quite a few interesting games/activity apps out there. Good choice for that as it’s not too expensive either!

  2. Sean July 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM - Reply

    Hi Ather,

    Thanks for the review. I read this the day I received our Nexus 7. So when I got home I knew what to expect 🙂 I also found it a bit of a struggle to open! Very tightly packed, but not a bad thing. Battery life has been great for me, even after an hour or so of intense gaming over the weekend.


    • Ather Beg July 24, 2012 at 2:50 PM - Reply

      Glad to be of help Sean! It’s good to know that games also run good on it (and so they should :-)) as I probably won’t get a chance to test that – my daughter doesn’t let go of her tablet at all! 🙂

      • Saadia Beg July 27, 2012 at 6:54 AM - Reply

        @ Ather: No doubt it is a pretty impressive gadget and our 5 year old son is looking forward to get one on his birthday. He is determined to save all his money for this :-), Bless him.

  3. Jon Roddom July 25, 2012 at 8:50 AM - Reply

    Hi Ather,

    I was lucky enough to receive my 16GB version on Friday (given the worldwide shortage!). I have to say that I’m very impressed. Even coming from a Tegra2 device with a stripped down custom ROM the 7 is very fast and slick. All the work they’ve done with ‘Project Butter’ seems to have paid off. as someone else has already mentioned, gaming is very good and the titles that have been specifically created with the Tegra3 in mind are pretty much games console level graphically. They’ve even managed to get Chrome right at last 🙂

    All in all, a very impressive product and I’ve already really taken to the 7-inch form factor.



    • Ather Beg July 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM - Reply

      Hi Jon,

      Good to hear from you! I am thinking of getting one for myself too but I am probably going to wait for a bit and see when/what Microsoft Surface offers as that fits in with my style of working a bit better.

      The only annoyance so far is lack of Flash (due to tech blog videos etc.) but then I don’t mind that as much due to the issues it generally has and the fact that I mostly have workarounds.



  4. Saadia Beg July 27, 2012 at 7:04 AM - Reply

    You are right, we don’t mind especially when we find some alternative. Just like our daughter who was so desperate to listen to “Hearts Radio” that she found an app for that and is the happiest girl in the world. Now she can’t miss her Top 40 on Sundays, can she?

  5. Ken August 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM - Reply

    Just got mine and, well, can I say that I’m disgusted with the fact they preloaded it with a Jeffrey Archer novel.

    I mean, come on Google. Only way you could have made it worse would have been to have stuffed Fifty Shades Of Grey on it


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