November 25, 2012
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Disclaimer: I am an iOS loyalist, so this purchase marks a major milestone for me. This review is for the 32 GB HSPA+ version.If you look through my owned products, I basically have an Apple product in every major device category. I have the iPad 3, and I eagerly awaited the iPad mini. When the mini was announced, I was greatly disappointed by the tech specs (particularly the screen), and I decided to pass. When the Nexus 7 with mobile data was announced, I decided to jump back into the Android world. After using my new device for about a week, I have a few helpful observations for anyone considering the Nexus 7.Pros:+ The Nexus 7 hardware is definitely better than the iPad mini. The screen in particular shines.+ The price makes this device a far superior value than the mini. For a comparable mini (32 GB with mobile data), you would have to spend $559. That is an obscene price for the technology.+ Android continues to improve, and 4.2 feels snappy, responsive, and stable.+ Mobile data transforms the way I use a tablet. I will never again purchase a device without mobile data.+ This is kind of superficial, but I love widgets. iOS is really lacking in this area, and Android offers multiple beautiful widgets.Cons:- The Nexus 7 does not have a capacitive screen, and the touch sensors are not of the same density of any Apple device. This leads to many improper inputs. For example, if you accidentally close the cover of a case without locking it, you will end up opening 2 different apps and post a bunch of random stuff on Facebook before you realize your mistake. Also, websites like reddit, with lots of links close together, are a nightmare to browse, particularly in portrait mode. I click my intended target perhaps 30% of the time. Note that I have tiny fingers, and this is not an issue on any of my Apple devices.- The Android app ecosystem is not even close to the iOS ecosystem. The apps are not curated at all, so the Play store is largely filled with garbage. I have found useful apps that fit my needs based on reading multiple reviews, but I would contend that an average consumer would be much less satisfied with the app selection.- The battery life is pretty weak. I get 5.5-6 hours. I for sure thought I would get 8+. The Nexus 7 does not make it through 2 days of average use, whereas my iPad will make it through 4-5 days.Conclusion:The Nexus 7 HSPA+ is the best small tablet available today. The mobile data, excellent hardware, and beautiful screen make it a superior product to the iPad mini. However, it is not without its imperfections, and some users with less experience in the Android ecosystem may not wish to purchase this device in favor of the mini.