Android tablets are a dime a dozen these days, and despite the fact that there are some decent Android tablets out there like the Galaxy Tab 10, Asus Transformer and the Motorola Xoom, there certainly aren’t that many tablets, on the market that hold up to the Kindle Fire.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, the Kindle Fire is a 7″ Android tablet manufactured by Amazon. The Fire is a direct successor to the original Amazon Kindle, which was simply a multi-purpose eReader. Amazon improved the original Kindle in order to produce the Fire, which now includes a full color display with support for HD media playback, mobile gaming functionality and of course excellent eReader features.
What contributes to the Kindle Fire’s vast success is a combination of both the included features and price. Unlike other Android tablets on the market, the Kindle Fire is relatively inexpensive, yet even to maintain the low price Amazon did not sacrifice key features that consumers desire in a tablet.
The Kindle Fire is in an entirely different market than Apple’s iPad, because even though they have similar features, they each serve a different purpose and belong in different price brackets. Google has identified this market variance and intends to compete directly with the Amazon Kindle Fire, and Barnes & Noble’s competing Nook tablet. How is Google planning to be a contender? Through the release of the Google Nexus 7, that’s how.
The Google Nexus 7 – The Official 7″ Android Tablet
The Google Nexus 7 is a 7″ Android tablet running the latest version of Android (4.1 Jelly Bean). It mirrors the style of the Google Nexus mobile phone, with the exception of the significant size increase. It was unveiled at the 2012 Google I/O developer’s conference right alongside the Google Nexus Q.
The entirety of the N7 is covered in a matte black finish with the exception of the front screen and bezel. Altogether, the Nexus 7 is pretty thin and weighs a mere 0.74 pounds, which means, it can be held for long periods of time without getting heavy; for comparison the Kindle Fire weighs approximately 0.9 pounds.
The rear of the N7 includes a soft plastic finish which makes the device grip-friendly.
Google Nexus 7: Hardware
The most notable feature of any modern device is the internal hardware, because quite simply put, it is what keeps the device running smoothly.
The Google Nexus 7 is run by a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor which includes a 12 core GPU chipset. Clearly the Nexus 7 was designed with gaming and advanced graphics support in mind. Even better, the Nexus 7 includes 1GB of internal RAM and a choice between 8GB or 16GB of internal flash storage.
The Nexus 7 is adorned with a 7″ backlit IPS display that has a maximum resolution of 1280×800, and is protected by Corning Gorilla glass (scratch-resistant material). Additional Nexus 7 features include a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, NFC functionality, and GPS support. The Nexus 7 tablet even includes one of each of the following; an accelerometer, a microphone, a gyroscope, and a magnetometer.
Because the Nexus 7 is a product officially manufactured by Google, it will have access to the Google Play market and will come pre-installed with all of Google’s stock Android apps like Google Music, Google Movies and YouTube.
Nexus 7: Software
The Google Nexus 7 tablet will be running the latest version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is currently unavailable to all other Android devices besides the Google Nexus smartphone.
Jelly Bean includes some significant improvements to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which further develop Google’s booming mobile OS. Added in Jelly Bean are some hidden performance tweaks, offline Maps and voice dictation support, a revamped stock keyboard, and of course the new Google Now.
Google Now is Google’s answer to Siri and provides voice interaction features albeit with a much more realistic approach. Not only will Google Now perform basic functions upon voice command, but it will also collect information about personal preferences and common tasks to streamline data to the user. Once Google Now has collected enough information, it will begin to display personalized information via specific “Cards,” it will present information like sports scores, traffic updates, calendar events and local weather.
Why The Google Nexus 7 is Superior
The Google Nexus 7 is far superior to its direct competition, the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet. The N7 includes a similar price tag and a lovely list of added features that other two tablets do not have.
The N7 includes an integrated Wi-Fi radio, a front-facing camera for use with Google Hangouts, and a much more open Android experience. The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet both contain an extremely altered version of the Android OS, which we’d go so far as to say are hindered.
Not everything is all peaches and cream with the N7, there are some setbacks with Google’s first foray into the world of tablets. First off, there is no support for external storage or storage expansion. Consumers only have the option to purchase the 8GB model for $199 or the 16GB model for $249. We recommend getting the larger model. Once you begin installing applications and using the device often, the available storage capacity will fade away. To begin with, on the 8GB model, there’s only about 5.8GB of free space available (a portion of the internal storage is used for the OS and integral system resources of course).
Also, while the N7 screen is far superior to the screens on the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire, it doesn’t even compare to the intensity and depth of the iPad’s Retina display. Full size magazines can often be difficult to read on a smaller 7″ display, and the viewing angles aren’t quite as effective.
That being said, the Google Nexus 7 is actually one of the first Android tablets to make us drool with desire. Sure, there are some tradeoffs when choosing a smaller tablet, but if you’re in the market for one, you might as well do it right. The Google Nexus 7 trumps all the competition, yet it does so while maintaining an exceptionally attractive price tag.