Nexus 7 Hands-On Review

I’ve had my Asus Nexus 7 for almost a day now. I–amazingly–resisted the urge to unpackage it yesterday as I wanted to see how long I could make the excitement last. After opening it up and playing around with it for a few hours I am simply amazed.

Now, if you are looking for some crazy new innovative technology, look elsewhere. If you are looking for the perfection of technology already available today, look no further. This thing is just a gem.

Before you go off thinking I’m a Google fan boy and worship all things Google, I need to let you in a little secret: I love technology. That means I love Apple, Samsung, Sony, Asus, Logitech, Audio-Technica, Behringer…well you get the idea. Our house is full of all sorts of fun gadgets, computers tablets and phones and we love them all–some more than others.

If you read my last post on how I ended up buying a Nexus 7 (http://goo.gl/vRXZ8B), then you probably know that I wasn’t really keen on getting one until I had an opportunity to save even more money. After playing around with it, I have realized that the price point of $229 was extremely gracious. There is no reason this thing shouldn’t be selling for more than Apple’s iPad. It’s a better product, no doubt, but the value is what makes me really love it. Google is trying to tell consumers that they don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to have the latest and greatest and I’m glad they were able to pull it off (with the help of Asus, of course).

After the quick setup (no need for a user guide here) I had my device connected to my Wifi, synced to my Google account and before I knew it all of the apps from my Android phone magically appeared on my tablet. The first thing I went to try was Google Play Magazines. I know what you’re thinking, “of all things, he wanted to read a magazine?” Where the Nexus 7 comes out on top is with its super sharp display. I launched the magazine app and took a look at the latest issue of Real Simple and was simply amazed at the clarity. There is absolutely no pixelation visible to the naked eye. None.

Figuring that it couldn’t get better from there, I decided to launch the xfinity app to watch the next episode of Newsroom in my queue. The video was crystal clear and the immersive stereo speakers did a better job than the speakers embedded in my Sony TV could ever do. Because the sound is so close to your ears, it truly feels like you are enveloped in whatever you are watching. (Imagine wearing stereo headphones without wearing headphones.)

The bezel on the display is done just right: very narrow on the sides and tall on the top and bottom. This makes it easy to hold in portrait and incredibly comfortable in landscape. In fact, if the thin edge of the bezel were any thinner, I imagine people would have difficulty holding the tablet without accidentally touching the display.

I noticed that a few “design” bloggers were off put by the off center front facing camera. It really doesn’t take a genius to realize that when you hold the tablet in landscape format your thumb rests comfortably right below the camera meaning you can have widescreen face-to-face interaction without having to awkwardly hold the device. That, to someone that uses hangouts a ton, is a brilliant design feature.

The device came with about a 40% charge on the battery. I have been heavily using it all morning and then watched a one hour HD television program on it before needing to recharge. I suspect that I should be able to get a good solid day’s use out of the device with a convenient overnight charge.

The form factor of this device is just swell. It fits easily in the hand (or hands). Video viewed from my lap is about the same relative size as a 40″ television six feet away. Text appears beautifully but not so small that you need a pair of reading glasses. I can fill the home screen with widgets and not have to thumb through to find what I’m looking for. I can simply turn it on, take a peek and put it back to sleep.

I’m excited to see where, when and how I start using this device. My iPad was too big/heavy to tote around casually. I felt like if I took my iPad somewhere I was taking it with purpose. At 7″, I think I see myself toting my Nexus around more often to do the things I enjoy.

The only negative things I have to say about this is that it doesn’t have truly separate user profiles and the glare is the same that you would find with other glass displays. Although I would love an Android device with full functioning multiple user capabilities, I guess it defies the whole point of “personal” computing, which is exactly what these devices are for.

That’s my take on the Nexus 7. If you’re thinking about buying one then just go and get it. It’s a nice and affordable treat for the tech-savvy user that likes to keep up with the latest and greatest.

If you’re on the fence about getting on, definitely add it to your Christmas list and let someone else bear the expense. That way this year you will get something that I guarantee you will love.

If you have any questions about the device or want me to try something out, demonstrate a feature or see if something works, please let me know in the comments below. If you’ve purchased one yourself and would like to argue any of my points above, chime in below. Let me know what you think!

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