final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Features As a content consumption and lightweight communications device it is great. Not a content creation or productivity device at all. Browsing also so-so. so-so
  • Display The color temperature tends very much toward to cold, almost too desaturated end of the palette. The resolution is great. Font rendering good but not great. good
  • Battery life Rated at 9+ hours but feels much longer in real-life, day-to-day usage. great!
  • Ease of use Android still suffers from various unintuitive quirks. While much smoother & robust than previous versions it still hangs, especially in the browser. good
  • Storage capacity I have the 8GB version and this is fine for short trips and daily use. so-so
  • Design and form factor The divets on the back and choice of material mean that it is very grippy and pleasant to hold. great!
  • Portability (size / weight) Extremely light and manageable. great!
  • Durability Appears to be well made. A tiny bit of flex on the upper left hand side of the screen. good
Detailed review
The hype surrounding this device was...excessive...and like many others I totally bought into it.

Having used it for over a month now it has taken it's place as a companion device, ebook reader and PMP for short trips which appears to be what Google's and Asus' intentions for it were.

It is also a capable light weight communications device, by this I mean, OK for short email and good for Google Hangouts and Skype chats.

It is in no way a content creation or productivity device, nor was it pitched as such.

Though the inclusion of Chrome was a welcome addition the browsing experience itself is still a bit wonky: too often one needs to hit refresh a couple of times to load a page properly, I also find the WiFi range to be subpar - it struggles in areas of the house on edge of the network where my Lumia 800 or Chromebook work just fine - this seems to be a persistent problem with Asus devices as the Transformer Prime is afflicted by the same malady.

Also, curiously, the link between Google Now/Search and the browser is broken: when I run a search the results pop up fine but clicking on them does nothing. A factory reset will probably solve this but I've simply been too lazy to try.

Apps that are meant for phones mostly scale up fine and look good, functionality is sometimes hampered if the app interaction was specifically designed for a very small screen. More frustratingly a noticeable apps can't be installed at all though this will change in time as they are upgraded. And there are workarounds in most cases.

Much has been written about the device's killer app: the price. It puts it in near impulse purchase territory and as such needs to be factored into any purchase decision and any evaluation of its utility/performance.

That purchase decision then ultimately comes down to use cases: do you want a multipurpose tablet that's potentially a laptop replacement? If so, look elsewhere (i.e. at the iPad) because this sure ain't it. If you're a dedicated laptop user but want a small, lightweight companion device that takes the pressure off your phone and is well suited for reading and movie watching on the go, then the Nexus 7 is perfect for that.
review history
Features rating changed from 4 to 3

Comments (3) subscribe to this review's comments


Can't say that it has excessive hype as it definitely delivers.

As I point out in the conclusion of the review, it comes down the use case. If one is heavily plugged into Google's ecosystem (GMail, Plus, Hangouts, Maps, etc.) and want it as a companion device that sits between a laptop and a phone functionality-wise then it's great.

It was pitched as great content consumption device and in most ways it is except that:

1. Storage is a bit small for loading up lots of (HD) video content for longer trips - for short trips it is fine and video looks great.
2. Font rendering is a good as on the retina iPads and also has the usual shortcomings of LCD screen vs e-ink displays on Kindles, Nooks, etc. Thus, as an ebook reader it is more than adequate but not the best option out there. 7" screen size also limits its utility for reading comic books on Comixology or similar apps.

In no way a bad device and for many people it's the perfect device.

Just not for me.

The iPad, a laptop replacement? I don't think so. That is no more true than to say the Nexus 7 is one. Neither device is a laptop replacement.