Thursday, 23 August 2012

Google Nexus 7 - Post hype review

A few months ago I wrote a review on the Google Nexus 7.  I had just received it and was very excited about it but had not had a chance to use it extensively and under 'normal' situations.  This, second review will hopefully be more objective as the 'honeymoon' phase is probably over for me and I can me more objective with it.

Pros of the Google Nexus 7
Originally the primary 'pros' I had were size, price and quality.  Reassessing these now that time has gone by
  • Size:  Now that I have had time to use it extensively I have found that size is both a pro and a con.  The smaller screen makes it very good as a portable entertainment piece. 
    • I have found that it is the perfect size to watch movies, read articles and magazines on public transport (especially on crowded train).  Because you can hold it in one hand you can effectively use it while standing up which you cannot say about many other tablets
    • The last time I did the review I was particularly impressed with the facet that it could fit in my suit pocket.  However I invested in a slim case (generic brand) which added enough to the dimensions which means it no longer fits in my inner suit pocket.
  • Price:  For the price I still think it beats anything around the same price point in the market and many of the other higher end products.  But before you rush out and buy for this reason make sure you think about what you are going to use it for
    • If you are going to use it for business purposes or need a bigger screen for any other reason, the price is not going to be able to offset the issues that come about because the screen is too small
  • Quality:  I am still very impressed with the build process and Android Jelly Bean still manages to wow me. 
Since I did the original review I have found other areas that I really like with the tablet.
  • Battery life is better than most reviews suggest: 
    • Most reviews seem to have run the Nexus 7 on its top settings to see how fast they can drain the battery and that comes out at 7 - 8 hours of usage
    • In 'normal' use though, which for me includes business applications, games and movies I found it lasts significantly longer.  You are not on the device for several hours straight and I have found that I only really need to charge it once every two or three days
  • Data is less of an issue than I thought it would be
    • If you buy the tablet in countries where there is limited free Wi-Fi availability (e.g. Australia), the chances are that you are going to have to buy a portable wi-fi machine OR tether your Nexus to your smart phone
    • In Australia (unlike the US), tethering to your smart phone is free and encouraged by the mobile networks (they actually give you instructions on how to do it)
      • One thing I was worried about though was busting through my phone data limit very quickly (my data plan only has 1GB of data per month) but I found that I don't even get close to this
      • For most programmes you can choose to sync your data a couple of times a day (I tend to do it twice at work and once at home where I have wi-fi) and you will not have a problem
      • Obviously if you are going to be streaming youtube videos on your device constantly you may need to up your data plan but even this is cheap to do
    • Before you get a portable wi-fi device from your mobile provider - check to see what your mobile data plan is!
  • The drag and drop functionality is great
    • The thing that constantly annoys me about Apple products is the need to use iTunes
    • With the Google Nexus 7 if you want to put a movie on your tablet all you need to do is drag it into the Movies folder using Explorer and you're done
  • The GPS function is amazing
    • I have never really trusted GPS on mobile devices - my Samsung Galaxy takes 5 minutes just to work out where I am
    • The Nexus 7 however is amazing!  It uses little data and the tracking is amazingly accurate.  Google Maps is an absolute dream on it.
Cons of the Google Nexus 7

There are some pretty big cons to the Google Nexus 7.  Some of them I had seen when I bought the device but others I had to spend some time with to discover them:
  • It really is too small for business use
    • I thought I would learn to deal with the small screen and keys but the fact remains that the keyboard just takes up too much space on the screen to make not taking effective at all
    • When you have the Nexus 7 in portrait mode the keyboard is too small and when you have it in horizontal mode, you can barely see what you are typing because the keyboard takes up virtually the whole screen
    • I have not found a good note taking app which you can use offline
      • The problem with most note taking apps is that you need to be connected to the internet and it stores your data in cloud
      • One which you don't need to do this is Springpad however Springpad does not auto save locally (you need to keep saving) and because of the bad set up on the screen the cancel key (which deletes all your unsaved material) is right next to the predictive text - I once lost half an hours worth of a meeting
  • It crashes just that little bit too often
    • While it doesn't happen too often I have occasionally had apps crash.  This could be due to the developer but I've never had that problem when using my brother's ipad
    • I don't know whether this is a Nexus or Android problem but either way it is an issue that you will face if you buy the Nexus
  • The camera sucks
    • I know the camera was only designed for video conference type use but given the camera that is on my two year old phone, Google should have placed a better piece of hardware in there
    • By the way if you want to use the camera to take photos just google to find the relevant app

Overall this device is great as an entertainment device - and I have morphed into use it this way.  I carry it with me basically everywhere (I can guarantee you that I would NEVER do this with a device as big as the ipad).  For business purposes though it is just too small to be able to type fast enough to be able to get what you want down.  The programme crashes do not help either.

Last time I said that I typed my blog post on the tablet.  I have reverted to once again doing this on my laptop as the 'cool factor' associated with doing it on my tablet wore off very very quickly.

As a final point - if you do know a good note taking app can you let me know (I need one that will save my work even if am not online - i.e. one that saves locally)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)