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Google Nexus 7: Early review, price and UK release date

We nabbed a good chunk of hands on time with the Google Nexus 7, the new challenger in the tablet market.

The new tablet, which weighs in at just 340g, packs a 7 inch screen with 1280×800 screen and comes complete with a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU, plus a 12 core GPU too.

Nexus 7 Pricing?

What’s more, the tablet costs just £159 or £199 (depending on whether you want an 8GB or 16GB variant) and will be $199 in the US. However be warned: there’s no microSD card slot nor a rear-facing camera… although we’re not sure many people will miss the latter.

It fits nicely into the hand, and although the back is encased in plastic it still doesn’t feel as cheap as the price tag would suggest.

Oddly the headphone port is placed at the bottom of the Google Nexus 7 rather than at the top or the side – this creates something of a lop-sided feel when you’re playing with the tablet, and we can see wireless headphones being a real boon here.

The overall design is very nice indeed – we wouldn’t be upset to pull this out of our bag (or indeed pocket, such is its size) and for the sum of £159, we certainly can’t fault it on that front.

As we’ve mentioned there’s no microSD slot to be found, which is really irritating with a tablet like this. There’s maybe a very slight financial reason not to put one in (although a lot of budget phones happily pack a dedicated slot) so we suspect this is more cloud-based.

Think about it: 16GB isn’t going to be enough to download a cornucopia of movies and store them locally. No, you’ll be forced in and out of the Google Play Store, all the while being tantalisingly tempted with all manner of games and shows to watch.

And Google has also got the music element too – while not available in certain territories, the notion of being able to store 20,000 songs in a digital locker is the way forward, according to Google. Not being able to listen to them all locally, apparently.

The battery life is a big talking point too, with a very decent nine hours of video playback or up to 300 hours of standby if you promise to be really lean with your tablet.

It’s rocking Android 4.1, the latest version of the OS (codenamed Jellybean) which adds in a few minor updates to the OS – namely better voice recogntion and the likes of Google Now, which will display cards in a contextual manner when you ask questions of the tablet through your voice or some tippy-tappy typing.

The interface is interesting – on the Google Nexus 7 we tried, the UI was super-zippy in some places, and in other lagged a bit too much to be a simple mis-step.

Opening and shutting apps seemed to be the hardest task – although navigating through the Chrome browser wasn’t without its pitfalls either, it seems.

There were frequent instances when trying to browse that rendered the interface frozen for a second or two – and then trying to zoom in and out was quite difficult to achieve smoothly.

Nexus 7 release date

However, let’s be fair here: although the Google Nexus 7 release date is less than a month away, there’s still plenty of time to iron out a few kinks, and that’s what we felt like we were playing with here.

We should give a big ‘shout out’ to the new notifications bar though – we really enjoyed the extra informaiton on offer, and are looking forward to giving that a go in real life, especially being able to see which apps are able to make the best use of the extra space and the additional buttons you’ll get.

Typing on the Nexus 7 was a decent experience, and we found we quickly preferred doing so in portrait mode.

The suggestions that came up weren’t always exact the mot juste but more often than not we were pleased with the accuracy – and the wealth of special characters no more than a long-press away was enticing too. We know, get out more, we should, etc etc.


Do we like the Google Nexus 7? Yes, without a doubt. For the money you’re getting so, so much: a quad core Tegra 3-powered device with a 12-core GPU and a HD screen.

Then there’s the most advanced version of Google’s Android, and the fact you can get a wealth of new content in the shape of magazines and an ever-growing library of content in the video department.

Google Now, while not really an exclusive to this tablet, is a neat feature and one definitely worthy of being further explored – get it right and we may have an actual Siri competitor, which would be amazing to see.

Yes, the lack of storage and no camera is underwhelming, but possibly only from a gadget snob’s point of view – do we need a camera on the rear of the device? No. Do we need local storage when the cloud is there, ready and waiting? Yes, we still do – and Google’s entry into the tablet market could be marred by such an error.

People want media on tablets – they perhaps aren’t as bothered about the phone as a personal movie theatre, but when users can only download two or three HD movies onto their device before it’s maxxed out – well, that’s a cause for concern.

But speaking of concern, there will be some panicked brands out there who have carved out a living making cheaper tablets with low-end specs; the Google Nexus 7 has just blown all of them out of the water.

Stay tuned for a full Expert Review coming soon!

Google Nexus 7: Early review, price and UK release date


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