Many people don't know this, but I have a small techgirl side. Meaning I have a weakness for video games, electronics, and tech gadgets! I used to be a big RPG gamer (Gasp*). Yes; believe it or not, girls really do play World of Warcraft. In fact I had two characters to max level in Wrath of the Litch King before the Husband got one there! It was bad. Why am I telling you all this? So you can understand why I drool over the new cool tech toys almost as much as the guys do. So when the new tablet phase came out, I've been drooling for a very long time. But as you know those things aren't cheap. I'd start saving, almost have enough to get my new tablet and then something silly like getting sick with whooping cough and reactive airway disorder and having to buy $200 inhalers and prescriptions would drain my savings. Or needing new tires on the van. Well, I'm here to tell you, I finally got a Google Nexus 7 tablet! So pardon the journey into techgirl land as I tell you the ins and outs of the new Nexus 7, and let you know if it's the right tablet for you.
What is the Google Nexus 7, I've been living under a rock.
Ok, well you probably haven't been living under a rock, but more likely you have better things to do than drool over the new tech gadgets as they get released (lucky you). The Nexus 7 is a tablet created by Google and runs on the Android system. The newest operating system is called Jelly Bean. Oh yum! Sorry, it's not the sugar filled candy, but more a nick name. They know most consumers don't speak geek, so in order to help out the consumers they've been naming the operating systems by food names. The system before was called Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean basically refers to the Android 4.1 system. So let's talk Geek for a second so you can know the specs of what the Google Nexus 7 has to offer.
Product details of the Google Nexus 7 Tablet.
- Built to bring you the best of Google™ in a slim, portable package that fits perfectly in your hand.
- 7" display brings your entertainment to life in stunning clarity on a vibrant 1280-by-800 high-resolution display protected by scratch resistant Corning® glass
- Over 9 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of reading and up to 300 hours of stand-by time so you spend less time charging
- Designed with gaming in mind
- Comes with a NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor, meaning everything is faster
- Powered by Android™ 4.1, Jelly Bean, the latest version of the world's most popular mobile platform
- Nexus 7 was made for Google Play, so all the entertainment you love is right in your hand: the world's largest collection of eBooks, millions of songs, thousands of movies and TV shows, and a growing selection of magazines – plus over 600,000 apps and games
- Nexus 7 comes with all your favorite Google Apps – like Gmail™, Chrome™, Google+™ and YouTube™
- 1.2MP Front-facing camera
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth™
Can Google Nexus 7 offer what most women look for in a tablet?
So I wanted to know if the Nexus 7 could please the common busy, gadget loving mom. So I asked a lot of different women I know in person, online and even many women I don't know in online forums what features they look for the most in a tablet. There started to be a very common theme in all the answers:
- Facebook capabilities
- Other social media capabilities such as pinterest, twitter, google+, etc.
- Email abilities.
- Online surfing capability
- Book reading abilities
- Video streaming
- Large selection of apps to download.
- Lots of game apps for adults.
- Lots of game apps for kids.
- A great screen resolution (high picture quality)
- A screen that is large enough to easily read books without straining eyes, and for easy navigation with fingers without constantly hitting wrong buttons because the buttons are so small or fingers are so large.
- Variety of accessories available.
- Easy to use.
According to the most wanted features, the Google Nexus 7 is a great option for what women most want! The Nexus 7 has one of the best screen resolutions found in the tablet, the ability to do all social media, online surfing, shopping, reading, movies, games and lots more!
The Google Nexus 7 even has a higher screen resolution than the iPad 2! As for accessories, you can find lots of different fun things to help make your tablet experience more enjoyable. There are tablet protective covers, styluses, mini USB keyboards compatible with the 7" tablets, USB converter to connect said keyboard to the Nexus and more!
One of the most common misconceptions right now is that the Google Nexus 7 tablet can't do half of what the iPad can do and that it is more difficult to navigate. What I found after using the Nexus 7 for the last 2 weeks was quite contrary to that belief. Let me tell you more about all the fun things that the Google Nexus 7 can do, and just how easy it is to use.
A first hand and in depth look at the Google Nexus 7 Tablet.
I will be brutally honest, when I was first approached with idea of getting a Nexus 7 I was a little disappointed. I had been wanting an iPad for a very long time. The Husband has an iPad, my close friends all have iPads, my brother in laws have iPads. The list goes on and on and on. I wanted an iPad. I didn't think I could be happy with a much smaller tablet. But the opportunity presented itself for me to review the Nexus 7, and I knew it would still be a long time before I could get an iPad, so I thought "Sure! I'll try it out and maybe it will get me by until I can get an iPad." My Google Nexus 7 arrived and it felt like Christmas! A new tech gadget to play with!
It comes with everything you need to get started, including a quick start manual. It's small because really it's all rather self explanatory.
The Google Nexus features a USB power chord. This means it can be plugged into a standard outlet to recharge the battery or it can be plugged into a computer or other device that uses USB sources. This makes it very easy to transfer files between the nexus and your computer.
The Google Nexus features two side buttons. The top is the power, sleep and mode selector. The longer button below is the volume button.
The bottom features an ear phone jack and the power jack. As you can see, the Google Nexus 7 Tablet is quite thin.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet also features a textured rubber backing which allows for an easy grip and prevents it from sliding across surfaces as easily.
The screen is bright, crisp and inviting. It was very simple to set up. The screen guides you through the entire set up process and I had it set up and ready for fun within 5 minutes.
I absolutely love the quick navigation bar at the bottom. These buttons will always be present no matter which home screen you are at. It is great for keeping the apps you use the most right at your finger tips. The Google Chrome icon even holds an entire menu of it's own all at the ease of one button. You simply click the Google icon and you are shown options for Chrome, Maps, google+, Gmail, Youtube, Google Earth, Google Talk, and more! it's great for keeping apps right at your finger tips yet conserving screen space as well.
It also features the white icons at the bottom that you will see on any screen. It has the "back" arrow, the HOME house and the little boxes stand for "last used". It will show you the last few actions you performed on the tablet in case you need to go back to a program that got shut down.
As mentioned earlier, the Nexus 7 runs off of the Google Play app store. It is really easy to navigate, find apps, games, movies, books, magazines, music and more!
Unlike my android smartphone, I can have multiple apps downloading and installing at the same time! Once I find a great app that I like, I can click, "install" and it will begin the installation process while I navigate away and find more great apps! When I first started playing with the Nexus, I easily had 20 different games and applications downloading and installing all at the same time and I didn't suffer from any lag. It was fantastic!
With kids, one of the most important applications is having the ability to stream movies. And I am thrilled to report that as long as your internet connection is strong, it does an amazing job of streaming movies! The sound and video quality is excellent and it can easily keep the kids occupied.
Another important feature when you have kids is access to popular games like Minecraft PE and Angry birds. Oh yes, we have both! They are easy to play, but SHHH, don't tell my kids I have installed them on my Nexus! They will never give me moments peace! I am saving those options for when I'm in great need of them sitting and being quiet.
For me, one of the important features was being able to have all my digital books at my fingertips. Being a book-a-holic I love having easy access to my books and the 7" screen is perfect for reading. The size is the equivalent of many of the paper back books I read, and the 7" screen size is perfect for holding for long periods of time.
At first I didn't think I'd be happy with the smaller screen. The Husband has an iPad and I really liked his big screen. It really only took a few days of using my Nexus 7 for me to really fall in love with my 7" screen. In fact I almost like my 7" screen better than the husband's large screen. It is easier to hold, more sleek, fits into my purse and diaper bag easier, and over all I have fallen in love with it. Now when I use the Husband's iPad it feels so weird!
I love that I have access to almost all the same apps that the Husband has on his iPad! Adobe Reader being one of the most important. This makes it so easy for me to work on the Nexus as I can read PDF files on the go. If you happen to have digital text books for college, you can download them onto your Nexus. I can tell you it's a lot more convinient having all your textbooks on a small tablet versus 6 different large and heavy books you have to carry around with you everywhere. Plus you can highlight text, add notes and more, on a small tablet!
Another fun feature is being able to use the tablet to access and control my home computer. Yes, there is an App for that! Once installed on both the tablet and your home computer, you can then access your computer through your tablet from just about anywhere. As long as you have internet access where you are at, and your computer at home is on, you can start up the application and soon you are seeing your home computer's desktop. You can access files and much more, all from your portable tablet! How cool is that!?
I will however tell you that it will completely freak out anyone left at home when you start taking control of the computer. It's quite funny actually. I'm thinking I need to try this the next time the kids are watching their cartoons on the desktop that's hooked to the TV. They have a habit of hiding the mouse/controller. This way I can still have control of the computer, even when they hide the remote. Oh yes! The Power!!
Now one thing that I'm completely in love with is how long the battery lasts! I'm not so impressed with my smartphone because if I use it at all in the day, I usually have to plug it back in to recharge usually around 7pm. Not cool. So I was worried I'd have to recharge the Nexus multiple times a day because I knew I'd be using it a lot more than my phone.
The outcome: I found I can use the Nexus normally and I only have to plug it in to charge once every two days. I've never let it run completely out yet, so it could possibly go even longer than that. But really it all depends on how long you use it each day.
Is there anything you don't like about the Google Nexus 7?
Yes, I'm going on and on and on about all the fun things I love about my Nexus 7. And really I haven't even scratched the surface of all the amazing things it can do! So is there anything I don't like?
Like most everything, it does have areas where it can be improved.
1. Front facing only camera. Ok, this is completely matter of opinion! I really like the two different camera options on the iPad. I would love to be able to hold up my tablet and take a picture like I can with my phone. With the front facing camera you can only take pictures of, well basically yourself. I can understand many people don't like holding up a large tablet brick to take pictures, and sure we may look silly doing it, but I still like having the option. But according to my tech guy resources, they are phasing out the extra camera in all new models of tablets, even the new mini iPads that are in the works are only going to have a front facing only camera.
2. No Access to Apple only games. Now if the husband never had an iPad I wouldn't even know some of these game apps exist and I wouldn't miss them one bit. But since he does have an iPad, and he has these fun apps on his iPad; I am sad that I can't find them on my Nexus. There are some apps, games, etc that are created exclusively for apple products. There aren't very many of these applications, but still they are there. But in the Nexus's defense there are also some android only apps that I have on my Nexus that you can't get on the iPad. I love these apps (like my parental control app called Kidcare), so I guess it equals out.
3. No Upgrade abilities. What I mean by this is that there are only two levels of the Nexus 7 that you can purchase. The 8 GB and the 16 GB. But what if you want more power or more bells and whistles? If you want more than 16 GB, and having wireless capabilities on it's very own (meaning it carries it's own internet like a cell phone would) then you have to go with the iPad. I do wish I had the ability to always have internet with me on my Nexus 7 no matter where I'd be. I find myself constantly opening up my netflix app, Google play store, or others while I'm at the Doctors office and face palming myself because "oh yeah! No internet here!"
Google Nexus 7 vs. the iPad
So how does the Google Nexus 7 hold up to the iPad? There are a lot of features that you can access on both tablets. So we don't need to focus on those. Here are some big differences between the Nexus 7 and the iPad, so hopefully you will be able to make a more conscious decision about which tablet is really right for you.
- The Google Nexus allows for more freedom and easier access to file management and offers a more computer like experience.
- The iPad is continually claimed to be more user friendly. I only experienced about 10 minutes of "learning" time browsing through the Nexus before I had it figured out. Really I think the iPad caters to the right brained personalities. An easy way to know if the iPad or Nexus would be easier for you to navigate, simply ask yourself, are you a PC or Mac person? Do you love PC computers or Mac Computers. PC = Nexus! Mac = iPad.
- As I mentioned before the Nexus has the rubber backing that helps keep the tablet from sliding off surfaces and hitting the floor.
- The iPad has a very smooth back.
- The iPad has a larger screen, 2 cameras and the ability to upgrade beyond the Nexus 7.
- The Nexus 7 is much more affordable.
- The Nexus 7 has been shown to be more durable when it comes to drops, spills, water submersion, and bumps better than the iPad. See for yourself how the Nexus 7 stacks up against the iPad. The site shows different experiments they put both tablets through and how each one held up.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet in a nutshell.
Overall, the Nexus 7 and iPad definitely have differences. In my opinion one isn't marginally better than the other. They each have their own perks that the other is missing. But what you get for the price; you really can't beat the Google Nexus 7.
You can purchase the new Google Nexus 7 with 8 GB for only $199! Why would you buy an e-reader when you can get so much more for the same price?
Want more memory? You can buy the Google Nexus 7 with 16 GB for only $249.
I still like my Husband's iPad, but after spending two weeks with my Nexus, I no longer feel like I need an iPad any more. Just about everything I'd use the iPad for, I can do on my Nexus 7. It is undeniably the best budget 7' tablet on the market right now.
What feature do you love most about the Google Nexus 7?
Have you discovered more features I didn't mention? I'd love to hear them!
What did you learn about the Google Nexus 7 that you didn't know before?
Do you think you could love a Google Nexus 7?
What are your favorite apps for the Google Nexus 7 and why?
**A special thanks to Staples.com and their amazing PR team for making this review possible. Product was received to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own.**