A couple of years ago, Google introduced its Nexus line of smartphones. Nexus branded phones feature a pure Android experience without the customizations and tweaks we generally get from smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers. Nexus-branded products also come with an unlockable bootloader which provides for further development and end-user modification.
This year, however, Google expanded its Nexus line to include more than just smartphones. At the Google I/O conference in June, Google unveiled its first ever Nexus tablet, known as the Nexus 7. In keeping with the tradition that Nexus devices are among the first to run the latest versions of Android, the Nexus 7 is the lead device for Android 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean. Google says this is the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet. In addition to performance enhancements in Jelly Bean, Google has also included some new functionality in the form of better notifications, new widgets, and even better integration with Google's Play store than before.
Google has partnered with a few manufacturers for its Nexus devices in the past, like HTC and Samsung. For the Nexus 7 tablet, Google partnered with Asus to develop a tablet that's lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. When developing the Nexus 7, Google and Asus focused on making the tablet powerful but affordable. With its NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core-plus-one processor and starting price of $199 for the 8GB model (a 16GB model is available for $249), the companies seem to have struck a good balance between performance and price.
Here's a quick hands-on with Google's new tablet and then we'll get into the nitty-gritty next.
Given its 7-inch screen size and competitive price, the Nexus 7 competes directly with popular tablets such as Amazon's Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet, and a number of other 7-inch tablets. For many hard-core Android users, however, the Nexus 7's pure Android experience makes the Nexus 7 more compelling than the other. Does the Nexus 7 live up to the hype? Read on as we take a hands-on look at this hot new tablet...
||Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
||7-inch 1280x800 HD display (216 ppi)
Scratch-resistant Corning glass
||Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
||1 GB RAM
||8 GB or 16 GB
||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
NFC (Android Beam)
||1.2MP front-facing camera
||198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
9 hours of HD video playback
10 hours of web browsing
10 hours of e-reading
300 hours of standby
Quick Start Guide
In the box, you'll find the Nexus 7 as well as a microUSB cable and USB charger. A Quick Start guide and warranty papers are also included with the tablet. Although there aren't a lot of extras in the box, that's what we prefer – let users buy accessories separately rather than charging all users for something they may or may not use or want.