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

Content can be viewed in either portrait or landscape mode.

Reading A Magazine

Reading 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.

  • 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. :(
  • 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
  • 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
  • mayankleoboy1
    if it had a fruity logo, it would be $400more
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.