Six things we hate about the Google Nexus 7

If you're in the market for a tablet and you're considering the Nexus 7, here's six things you should be wary of.

Six things we hate about the Google Nexus 7

Six things we hate about the Google Nexus 7

Google's 7in Nexus 7 is one of the best Android tablets on the market, but does this mean it comes without flaws? Certainly not. If you're in the market for a tablet and considering the Nexus 7, here's six things you should be wary of.

1. The screen isn't great

The Nexus 7 has a 7in LCD display with a resolution of 1280x800, which is quite impressive for its size. Despite this reasonable resolution, the display on the Nexus 7 has a few annoying flaws that become noticeable the more you use it.

The main issue centres around two aspects. Firstly, the Nexus 7 doesn't display blacks as well as many rival displays. This is very noticeable when you're watching a movie on the tablet like The Dark Knight, for example. In many dark scenes, what is supposed to be deep black often appears as dark grey on the Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7's display has a few annoying flaws.
The Nexus 7's display has a few annoying flaws.

Secondly, the Nexus 7's screen isn't as bright or vibrant as we'd have liked, even though its viewing angles are good. It lacks the true colour vibrancy of super AMOLED screens, like the one used on the Toshiba Tablet AT270. Colours are often washed out. If you've got nothing to compare the Nexus 7 to, you probably won't be bothered by this issue, but it will annoy users who are expecting a high quality screen.

2. Limited memory

The Google Nexus 7 comes in 8GB and 16GB models with no memory card slot for expanding this storage. While we aren't fussed with the exclusion of a memory card slot, we would have liked to see a 32GB Nexus 7 model. Many users will be happy with 8GB or 16GB of memory, but there's plenty of people who will crave more space.

For these people, Google will argue that cloud storage is available should you wish to store more data than the Nexus 7 allows. While this is certainly true, the idea of cloud storage won't suit all users and requires a constant wireless Internet connection. Further, storing large files like videos and movies in the cloud is neither a practical or overly affordable solution. Most people would rather have access to these types of files on the Nexus 7 itself.

3. No 3G or 4G option

The Nexus 7 is a Wi-Fi only tablet, so there's no 3G or 4G mobile data option. Wi-Fi will be enough for many users, especially those that only plan to use the Nexus 7 at home or in another location with a Wi-Fi connection. However, those who frequently travel will be left disappointed. On the train to work and want to grab that file from Google Drive or Dropbox? No can do.

Of course, there are two solutions to solve the 3G issue. Firstly, you could tether from your smartphone to the Nexus 7. Secondly, you could purchase a 3G/4G Wi-Fi modem, like Telstra's pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G, for example. However, both of these solutions aren't the most seamless. Constantly tethering your smartphone will quickly drain its battery, while most Wi-Fi modems have a battery life of around three or four hours — capable, but certainly not enough to last a full cycle of the Nexus 7's battery life. A 3G/4G Nexus 7 would eliminate the need for these half-measures and open up the tablet to a potential new user base.

The lack of built-in 3G means surfing the Web on the go is limited.
The lack of built-in 3G means surfing the Web on the go is limited.

4. That home screen

We love Google's Jelly Bean software on the Nexus 7. It's the fastest, smoothest and most functional version of Android yet. However, we find it incredibly annoying that Google hasn't allowed users to rotate the Nexus 7's home screen into landscape mode, even though many Android apps will.

It appears Google is intent on encouraging users to hold the tablet in portrait mode, except when viewing multimedia content. While the natural tendency is to hold the Nexus 7 this way, is it too much to ask for a bit of flexibility? Not every person will use the Nexus 7 in the same way.

5. Android apps and Google Play

The Nexus 7 is a good introduction to the world of Android for first time users, but it also highlights the fundamental flaws with Google's fragmented ecosystem — that is, most Android apps haven't been designed specifically for tablet use.

This means many apps in Google's Play Store won't work as well as they should on the Nexus 7. Some, like Spotify, won't rotate into landscape mode and can only be used in portrait orientation. Others, like the official Twitter app, are simply blown up smartphone apps, stretched to fill the screen of the Nexus 7.

There are, of course, examples both ways. The the Pulse Reader app, Pocket, Instapaper, Flixster Movies and Evernote all work fantastically well on the Nexus 7. The excellent Flipboard media aggregator also works reasonably well, though it won't rotate into landscape mode, either. On the other hand, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Tango, Instagram, Dropbox and Spotify all work, but there are instances where it is painfully obvious these apps were designed for a smartphone rather than a tablet. Many of them won't rotate into landscape and are often filled with lots of white space and small UI elements.

Some Android apps work perfectly well on the Nexus 7, but others are simply blown up smartphone apps.
Some Android apps work perfectly well on the Nexus 7, but others are simply blown up smartphone apps.

What also lacks in Australia is Google's multimedia content. Where US users can purchase magazines, books, music, TV shows and movies in the Play Store, Aussies can only buy books and rent movies. There are plenty of other ways to load content on the Nexus 7 but the lack of options in the Australian Play Store is a black mark on a device specifically designed for this purpose.

6. Gaming downloads can be a pain

The Nexus 7's small size and light weight makes it an excellent gaming device. The Play Store has an excellent selection of games and unlike many other apps, most of them run perfectly well on the tablet. In fact, we didn't experience any performance issues during testing — the Nexus 7 handled graphically intense titles like Shadowgun, FIFA 12, Dungeon Hunter 3 and Dead Trigger with relative ease.

So what's the problem? Google's method for download games with large file sizes. On some large games downloading the game from the Play Store only downloads a small file. Then, when you install the game and open it for the first time, the additional files required to run the game are downloaded.

This may not sound like a big problem, but these downloads are often huge sizes. Gameloft's Modern Combat 3, for example, requires 1.37GB of free storage space to download extra files after the initial 4.1MB download, while N.O.V.A 2 needs around 450MB of space after the initial 2.5MB Play Store download. There's no indication of how much space is needed before you purchase these games and we found the download often failed if you tried to push it into the background. That means you can't effectively use the Nexus 7 while these big files are downloading. This process leaves a black mark on the overall user experience.

Do any of these issues put you off buying a Nexus 7? Have you bought one already? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

15 Comments

Tony (Realist)

1

PC WOrld want to get out into the real world, what do you expect for £159/£199, jam on it? The Nexus 7 is an ideal tablet for its price. if oyu want all these so-called standards, then you have to pay. Are paying to slag off Google and its products? I have both android and apple products which both serve their purposes

Nabeel

2

I have already bought one.
The problem is that there is no other device than motorola xoom which will get the updates regularly but the nexus 7. that is why I bought one already.
So, I think the OS is more important than what is missing in the nexus 7, like sd-card, rare camera, and so on.

Thanks.

tony

3

all very minor issues. I have the nexus 7, and I love it. it's the best $250 I've ever spent

Garran

4

I have found the GPS function and/or preinstalled navigation software to be completely unreliable and would not recommend using it to try to get to an unfamilial location.The unit seems to constantly lose the GPS signal and I was forcced to stop and ask a taxi driver how to get to the location I wanted to get to.

Myles

5

The home screen rotate isn't a problem - a 2 dollar apps enables rotation or if your are so minded to root the phone it's one line edit to a config file.

I've a nexus 7 and an iPad 2. I've not put screens side by side but I think the nexus screen is great.

nexus 7 user

6

this is a fantastic tablet!! It has already replaced our laptop for day to day web use and gaming, you tube etc. Those features above don't really make a huge difference, certainly to a normal day to day user like my partner and I and the vast majority of people who will buy one. As for not having a 3G connection...well we live in a rural county and are lucky to get a GPRS mobile connection so depend on wifi!
I think for the money, it's the best £160.00 we've spent in a long time...only problem is I can't get it off my other half so thinking about buying us one each :)

Andy

7

As someone has pointed out, can address rotation with an app, storage can also be addressed with root and an app allowing usb sticks to plug in. I think google play is fantastic to use, much easier than itunes. whats the problem with the downloads, a good game will need space?

Seems a little bit a forced article to try and find problems that .

michael b

8

So for $259 you get a tegra 3 quad core, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, high resolution screen, front camera, the latest android version, and $25 Google play credit. And for the same price, you wish it had 32 GB storage, an AMOLED screen, and 4G? Come on now.

michael b

9

I installed Set Orientation by Eyes-Free Project and it solved the orientation problem. And it's free.

Ticcer

10

I agree with the reviewer on the memory capacity and the lack of... at least... 3G. I'd not suggest for a second that it should be everything to everyone for the price point it is at, but isn't it a MOBILE device?

I'd gladly pay more for a memory expansion slot, and 3G... 4G/LTE not available in much of Australia.

Personally, I loath all the OEM products that come with all their own opinions about what Android should look and function like. I don't want to wait forever for key OS updates. The Nexus devices are my only option out side of converting to iPhonatisism... not likely.

Why not offer 2 versions; one higher priced, with all the bells and whistles, and this half-baked version, as well?

I'm tired of waiting for these people to give me what I need... A mobile device that I can be truely MOBILE with, without all the OEM opinions forced on me, or trade-offs in capability that turn much exitement in to a Bleh! moment of disappointment.

Daleos

11

1> Can't agree that the screen isn't great, especially for a budget 7in device. Much rather have a good resolution and visibility in sunlight than one that can do 'deep blacks' Besides I think the AMEOLED screens all look too blue.

2> Fair call. Already rooted mine and the OTG cable works as planned so I'm not going to get stuck

3> Wifi tetherd my Nexus 7 to my HTC Sensation. Works like a dream and now I don't need two separate 3G contracts.

4> Yeah but easily fixed with and app if you really can't stand it.

5> They'll get there, especially now there actually a device like Nexus 7 to give developer something to aim at.

6> I can't really comment as I don't think any tablet is good at the games I like to play anyway

kevin pollock

12

good reviews for this article, but i have no one both,,,heheh,, just apple and samsung, good

Aravind Ramasamy

13

This is a paid article(I strongly believe). I guess ASUS and Google have done the justice for the price and the above mentioned points better suits a 400$ tablet.
Also for normal PC users this is defenitely a replacement for the Latop. And i'm not missing the above said features.
- One satisfied customer.

Anthonaut

14

Irrelevant to the article, but does anyone knows the name of the clock widget being used in the very top photo?

Scott

15

Ok, I really do nt agree with this review. I bought the 16GB, and have had the Asus Transformer and use the Apple tap at work. This tab is much better than the above, if you get it for the right reasons.

1. The screen isn't great

Realy? Everyone I show it to loves the video. Seems a bit Fan Boy of a comment. I agree the Apple screen is better, but that is a bit of not-picking. Its a $250 Tab!

2.Limited memory

You buy the tab knowing this. You can hook up USB drives to the device with an adapter. not a huge deal

3. No 3G or 4G option

Once again, you but the tab knowing this. I did not need cell based tab. It does what it was made to for. besides a solid wireless in home is fine. I never have trouble finding a hot spot when I travel.

4. That home screen

You can turn that off by the way. Yo may want to realy learn the device before reviewing it.

5. Android apps and Google Play

Pleanty of useful apps and you I would bet they update apps to work correctly on this tab (it new!)

6. Gaming downloads can be a pain

The issues you write about are developer related issue. I have downloaded full games to the device and have had no issues. Its a tablet not a PSP or DS.

Over all this is byfar the best tab I have used and would recommend it

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