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!