Posted by:Shyam Sundar July 12th, 2012

Google has decided to cement Android’s competence as a tablet operating system by releasing a tablet of its own – Nexus 7 with the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Beans version. From the ranks of a software provider alone, Google has also become a hardware provider. The Nexus 7 has been designed and built in collaboration with ASUS who has its own success story to tell with the ASUS Eee tablet series.

Google Nexus 7 is directly in competition with the leader of tablets – the iPad, the highly successfulAndroid toting Samsung Galaxy Tab 10, Amazon’s heavily customized Android baby Kindle Fire, and the upcoming Microsoft Surface. Google is taking the right steps at the right time to assure its position as an innovative market leader in technology, substantiated by its amazing portfolio of new age products such as the Google Glasses augmented reality device and theNexus Q social streaming computer.

Apart from the device itself, Android 4.1 has received nods of approval from reviewers. Google seems to have taken care of the lag and unresponsiveness it’s been criticized for in earlier versions. The accompanying virtual keyboard is much improved too though the highlight of the version isGoogle Now – a card-based information service.

Google Nexus 7 – Good, Bad and Ugly

In terms of hardware, the Nexus 7 has a lot going for it. Hardware specs include:

  • lightweight body featuring a 7inch backlit IPS display
  • 1280x800p resolution
  • quad-core Tegra 3 processor
  • 12-core Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB/16GB memory storage
  • 1.2mp front-facing camera
  • micro-USB port
  • accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope
  • GPS chip (perfect to access Google Maps without WiFi)
  • Bluetooth support
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi support
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) chip (supporting Android Beam and Google Wallet)
  • 4325mAh battery for 8 hours of ‘active use’
The tab is lightweight and easy to hold with a rubbery back. The display is quite nice though contrast is muted. Performance and responsiveness is good and WiFi seems to work quite well, with connectivity speeds even beating iPad and Samsung Galaxy Nexus at times (Source: Pluggedin).

Included apps such as Android Gallery, Google Play, Google+, Google Maps, etc., work well though some apps may need to be retooled to run on Jelly Bean while many others still have to be redesigned for the tablet form factor. Of special note is the GrooVe IP third party app that supports free VoIP calling over WiFi.

At the price points of $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB one, Nexus 7 is perfect and vanquishes Kindle Fire for sure. On the glum side, we will feel the loss of the micro-SD slot usually available on Android tabs. But due credit to Google and ASUS for not compromising on the quality of hardware or software to accommodate the price.

Bottom line: For the sub $300 range in tablets, Nexus 7 is your best bet.

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