- Features This tablet does a lot. Especially considering the price. I wouldn't want a rear camera. A notification LED would have been welcome.
- Display The display surprised me in a good way. It is very sharp but it can't get full marks because the contrast isn't quite high enough.
- Battery life The battery life is really good. Google's claims seem accurate. Even with heavy use and constant wifi connectivity, it lasted through the day and beyond.
- Ease of use Google did a good job bringing content to the surface and enhancing the UI.
- Storage capacity I got the 16GB. My music and photos are stored via Google's services already so this isn't an issue. I keep some songs and books on the device.
- Design and form factor Simple design wins again. Very comfortable in my hand/s. My power button is not as snappy as I'd like.
- Portability (size / weight) It could be a touch lighter, but the form factor is great and I can hold it for extended reads with one hand.
- Durability Who knows how long it will last, but it is a well built devices. Feels like it's better than the Galaxy Nexus but worse than the iPhone 4S.
The tablet is definitely well crafted. It feels great in the hand and for once it seems that a tech company got the back of the device absolutely right. The material feels solid yet still very nicely textured. It won't attract fingerprints or scratches, so the device looks new for a longer period of time, and the back is removable, immeasurably improving the possibility of home repairs. I should add that multiple iPad owners have handled it with unexpected approval. Humans, as it turns out, are accutely (if not always consciously) aware of build quality. When a device doesn't give or feel cheap, people notice and it just feels right.
With Jelly Bean, Google finally decided to make performance a priority. Matias Duarte has worked wonders since he joined the team after leaving Palm. It's become obvious that design and user experience are now gaining significance in Mountain View. But with all the positive buzz, Google still has some work to do. My fear is that with the next OS release, they might return to a feature-heavy release that skimps on what could be performance to match. Time will tell, but for now, a well-deserved kudos is in order.
Tablet-optimized app selection is decidedly slim, however I can't wrap my head around the amount of negativity thrown at Google about a perceived problem with its developer community. This is a sharp 7" display on which the majority of my phone-optimized apps still look really good. This is an entirely different situation than pixel-doubled apps on an iPad. Android's design guidelines lead developers to create apps that scale to different displays and pixel densities, meaning that a ton of apps will look really good on the Nexus 7. Take a gander at apps like Foursquare, Path, Words With Friends, or BBC and you'll see that many developers are unconsciously benefiting from the extra screen real estate. This isn't to say that all apps are well-designed, but I just don't think that the world is going to explode into a pile of flaming leprechauns because there isn't a tablet version of Facebook yet.
If you're considering the tablet, I would just make the jump and go for it. If you can swing it, spend the extra $50 to get the 16GB version. In a few months, you'll feel inadequate all over again when the next big thing comes out, but for now, your slab of glass and nano-wires is king...of its category.
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