Google takes the glory, Asus does the work

Google Nexus 7 is a four-star tablet

The Google Nexus 7 tablet was launched to much anticipation earlier this year. Since the original Nexus phone, Google has held this range of devices up as a showcase of the Android OS potential.

While Google will no doubt get most of the glory for the Nexus 7, the tablet is manufactured by Asus. The Taiwanese technology giant has created arguably the two best Android tablets to date, the Transformer and Transformer Prime, and now with the Nexus 7 can add another home run to its tally.

The 340 gram body of the Nexus 7 is slightly larger than a paperback book. Passing it around the office several comments were made on how light it was. There was however a mixed reaction to whether this was a good thing or bad. Some thought being light was convenient, while others found it too 'toy-like'.

I think the Nexus 7 is weighted well enough to make it substantial in your hand, without tiring you from long periods of use. The 7 inch form factor might not have been favoured by Steve Jobs, but it works well as an e-reader and media consumption device. The rubberised back along with its small perforated dots give it a very pleasant texture, similar to leather, and at the same time keeps your fingers from slipping.

With other budget Android tablets the first place that manufacturers look to skimp on cost is the display panel, which is usually the costliest part of a tablet. The Nexus 7's 800 x 1280 pixel LCD screen has the colour quality and image crispness of devices twice its price. Colours and edges are very accurate, and the screen looks more like paper and ink than glass and LCD.

I've become used to the new iPad's "retina" display, which has sullied my opinions of other tablets' displays. Unfortunately the Nexus 7 is no different in this regard, but Google and Asus should be applauded for the fantastic screen at this price point.

The Nexus 7 is the first Android device with Google's Android 4.1 (Jellybean) straight out of the box. Jellybean isn't a revolutionary new operating system, but more of a refinement of the previous one (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich).

Android's notoriously laggy system animations and clunky user interface is quicker and cleaner. It's not as good as iOS or Windows Phone 7, but the trade off is a much greater level of customisation and a new notification system which gives a deeper level of information on updates.

With a 1 GB of RAM and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, the Nexus 7 packs firepower comparable to high end Android tablets and the iPad.

Running a dozen or so of my essential apps (not at the same time) I didn't encounter a single force close error. Even when I did tackle multitasking, I found the system ran as smoothly as it did with a single app going.

Searching through online forums I found out there are some apps not supported by the Nexus 7. The CNN News app is a prominent example which just refused to work for this reporter. This is probably a temporary issue until developers start pushing out updates for Jellybean, but it would pay to look online to see if your essential apps are all supported before purchasing this tablet.

I didn't have the Nexus 7 for my usual one week review period, so my views on its battery life should be taken with a grain of salt. In general the experience was good. I would get eight hours of usage from a full charge when spending a lot of time browsing, viewing images, running apps and watching YouTube videos. I could squeeze up to nine hours if I contained myself to mostly browsing websites.

There is no 3G connectivity on the Nexus 7, so if you want to browse the web you're limited to when you're in range of wi-fi or a tethered phone.

The Nexus 7 has a 1.2 MP camera capable of recording video at 720p. The quality of the video is best described as "good enough". It's good enough for Skype calls with family and clients, but not good enough to record presentations or video for web.

4 Stars


Dimensions: 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm, 340g

Display: 800 x 1280 pixels, 7.0 inches IPS LCD

OS: Android 4.1 (Jellybean)

CPU: Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3 Ghz, 1 GB RAM

Storage: 8 GB / 16 GB

Price: $440

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sim Ahmed

Computerworld New Zealand
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?