The Nexus 7 Review: Google's First Tablet Gets Benchmarked

Google Play Isn't Just About Apps

The Home Screen

The Nexus 7’s portrait-only home screen should be a familiar sight if you're an Android-based smartphone user. Its app switcher is located in the middle of quick-access icons stretched along the bottom of the screen. Also present are the standard back, home, and multitasking switcher buttons.

Remember that the Nexus 7 is designed to help sell new content via Google Play. Google is no longer satisfied offering only apps and music. Through Play, the company hopes you'll start buying movies, books, magazines, TV shows, and more. Once you purchase content, it'll automatically be displayed in the Nexus 7's Library widgets, viewable on the home screen panels.

Purchased apps, TV shows, music, books, and magazines are associated with your Google account. Movies are treated a bit differently, though. They're only available to rent through Google Play.

Building A Library

Tapping one of the library widgets takes you to a full listing of items purchased in that category.


Books And Magazines

Reading A BookReading A BookReading A MagazineReading A Magazine

Content can be viewed in either portrait or landscape mode.

Reading A MagazineReading A Magazine

Reading A BookReading A Book

Music And Movies

Books and magazines are readily available for offline viewing, but music and movies aren't necessarily. According to Google, "The Google Play Music application caches some of your online music temporarily on your device when you play it, so you may find that some of your music is available offline even if you don’t explicitly make it available for offline listening; but if internal storage gets tight, the application deletes these temporarily stored songs from the cache." Fortunately, Google publishes instructions for explicitly making music available offline.

The same limitations may also apply to TV shows and movies, but Google places even tighter restrictions on video content. "Purchased movies and TV shows can be downloaded on five devices at a time. Movie rentals can only be downloaded to one device at a time, and when downloaded, streaming of the movie rental will be disabled on your computer and any other devices. Removing the download of the movie rental will re-enable it for streaming or for downloading onto additional devices." The company also has instructions for explicitly making videos available offline.

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    Top Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    if it had a fruity logo, it would be $400more
    26
  • killerclick
    No thanks, I'll wait for Surface Pro. It will only be 5 times more expensive, three times heavier, and I simply must run Photoshop and AutoCAD on a tablet, because... just because.

    Microsoft FTW
    24
  • matter37
    Well, I have the Nexus 7 and I love it, I really dont like the 10" screen size on other tablets, I think 7" is great, but speaking of the Surface Pro, depending on how that thing performs it could easily replace my current notebook since it could have the capabilities of a ultrabook
    12
  • Other Comments
  • joytech22
    I've had mine for about a week now, picked it up in JB Hi-Fi for $317 (AUSD 16GB version).

    Extremely impressed, blows my Iconia A500 out of the water.
    I just wish they had cases for the Nexus 7 in stock. :(
    10
  • killerclick
    No thanks, I'll wait for Surface Pro. It will only be 5 times more expensive, three times heavier, and I simply must run Photoshop and AutoCAD on a tablet, because... just because.

    Microsoft FTW
    24
  • EzioAs
    Wow, it seems that the nexus 7 is a really great product. Every reviewers seems to be very pleased with it's performance, portability and low price. This really is what every tablet should be :). The only issue I heard was that the speakers are quite terrible although I didn't see that mentioned in this review
    11
  • mayankleoboy1
    if it had a fruity logo, it would be $400more
    26
  • matter37
    Well, I have the Nexus 7 and I love it, I really dont like the 10" screen size on other tablets, I think 7" is great, but speaking of the Surface Pro, depending on how that thing performs it could easily replace my current notebook since it could have the capabilities of a ultrabook
    12
  • bin1127
    I was reading the specs and was really impressed with the screen pixel density but missed reading the price first time around. Then when I saw the price that just blew me away.

    This isn't some left field tablet with no supporting software and apps. This is android and all that is attached to the OS. Google is going to blow apple out of the water. I'm looking forward to the lowered earnings guidance from apple any day now.
    12
  • aznshinobi
    Love what they've done with the the Nexus lineup. All pretty affordable now and now with Jelly Bean, I'm sure even Apple lovers will like Android honestly. Project Butter and the new Voice Command is much better. Voice is better than Siri now too, pretty awesome.
    6
  • darkchazz
    Hope they don't take long to release a nexus 10 tablet. Me want a bigger screen :)
    + Getting all updates first straight from google + best dev support FTW.
    11
  • Anonymous
    Great review, love how Toms always goes a little further while most other gadget sites only present an opinion.

    Any numbers on internal storage and wifi throughput performance?
    Have one on order and it would be interesting to know how long it would take to copy for example a movie onto the device.
    5
  • hardcore_gamer
    On the other news, Apple is releasing a smaller version of iPad to compete with nexus 7 at a "compelling price" of $400.
    5
  • cscott_it
    I just recently received my 16GB. It's surprisingly solid and is a great little consumption device. Plus, they make the deal pretty sweet by throwing in $25 Google Play credit and free $10 to your Google Wallet (Can be used for NFC transactions). I couldn't ask for better hardware for the price.


    Johanj- I've had 0 issues with the wifi, in facts, it's performed rather well in my little apartment hitting some of the upper limits of my connection.

    The internal storage does poorly on random 4k writes, average on 4k reads, and average on larger read/writes (compared to current top Android tablets).

    All-in-all it will serve it's purpose as something to do while the girlfriend is asleep next to me.
    3
  • Anonymous
    If I install Android 4.1 on my Samsung ATT Galaxy 8.9 will I see a significant improvement in performance? It seems that Google waited long enough for the launch to finally come out with the right oversion of the operating system to give them a head start over other tablet vendors.
    1
  • nebun
    google play has so much junk in it....i am still waiting for my ICS....is there anyone listening out there?...GOOGLE=fail when it comes to updates, this is one thing Apple does better
    -14
  • dfusco
    matter37Well, I have the Nexus 7 and I love it, I really dont like the 10" screen size on other tablets, I think 7" is great, but speaking of the Surface Pro, depending on how that thing performs it could easily replace my current notebook since it could have the capabilities of a ultrabook


    If your notebook can be replaced by a device the size of a netbook with a crappy keyboard. I hope you have sharp eyes and small hands :)
    0
  • DSpider
    nebungoogle play has so much junk in it....i am still waiting for my ICS....is there anyone listening out there?...GOOGLE=fail when it comes to updates, this is one thing Apple does better

    Better my a*s. I bought an iPod touch 2G 16GB a few months after it was released and a year and a half later (2010) they dropped support with iOS 4.2.1. It pissed me off so much I swore that I will never buy another Apple product again.

    Also, on a hardware level, people who "upgraded" from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S. And don't forget that the iPod touch 4G remained absolutely the same.

    "Updates are the one thing Apple does better"... Yeah, right. Give me a break.
    8
  • acerace
    Anonymous said:
    google play has so much junk in it....i am still waiting for my ICS....is there anyone listening out there?...GOOGLE=fail when it comes to updates, this is one thing Apple does better


    DA. :heink:

    It's not Google who release updates to your phones, it's the manufacturer. Blame them for the slow updates.
    7
  • Anonymous
    It's not google that is bad at updates it's your tablet's manufacturer. As the article stated. Each one modifies the Android operating system to fit their hardware design better. So, if you do not get updates complain to the maker of your tablet they are the ones not giving you the update.
    5
  • acku
    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware
    8
  • InvalidError
    I got my 16GB N7 about a week ago. I noticed the middle-left side of the glass starting to lift off its plastic frame 3-4 hours after unboxing, under "heavy exploration" (every feature enabled, continuously downloading/installing/trying apps) workload.

    Other than that, I do not see any obvious other problems with the N7, though I would like it to run a little cooler. The bottom-right corner in landscape mode gets rather warm while running Tegra games.

    I have one major pet peeve about the soft-keys and games: very easy to accidentally swipe system keys and get kicked out of games in titles like Fruit Ninja, Glow Hockey, Cut The Rope, etc. A method for locking/unlocking soft-keys is needed, something like a "lock" icon to lock/hide it and tapping opposite corners or center+corner to unlock.
    1
  • Nakecat
    I had mine returned last week due to screen separation and light sensor defects.
    IMO, it's a great table, both software and hardware spec wise.
    The only big issue right now is the QC by ASUS, I guess they tried to cut corner / rush and got burned.

    I will give it another try in a few months when ASUS get the QC under control.
    3