In order to provide our clients with the best solutions we’re constantly qualifying the latest hardware to hit the market. So, naturally, we ordered a few of the new Google Nexus 7′s and put them through their paces. Released as a direct competitor to both Amazon’s and Kindle Fire HD, the Nexus 7 seems to sit in that weird gray area between not quite a phone and not quite an iPad.

Quick Specs

Screen Resolution: 1280X800

CPU: Nvidia Tegra 3

Frequency: 1.2 Ghz

Storage: 8 or 16GB

Battery Life: up to 10hrs

Weight: 0.75lbs

Specs provided by: www.tabletpccomparison.net/

Price

At $200 the price may be the device’s most attractive feature. Although it’s priced the same as the Kindle Fire HD, it costs less than most other tablets on the market with comparable features.

Camera

With only a front-facing camera, our team didn’t find much use for it other than video chat applications. Because taking pictures of yourself can be entertaining for only so long, this device is not meant for replacing a camera phone or point-and-shoot camera.

Operating System

The Nexus 7 runs the latest incarnation of the Android OS (4.1- Jelly Bean) unlike many other tablet devices out there who are still on Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). The team found no apparent advantages to Jelly Bean over Ice Cream Sandwich. Are you hungry, yet?

Size & Usability

Overall, with standard Android navigation and a responsive interface it’s very user-friendly. However, the Nexus 7‘s seven inch display is a peculiar size: it’s too big to fit into a pants pocket and too large for a small purse, yet more portable than an iPad.

Our team thought that it may be good to use while reclining or sitting as it’s awkward to hold in just one hand. The form factor may suit gaming applications well, as the user can comfortably hold the device horizontally in both hands.

Connectivity

We thought connectivity was one of the major issues not addressed by the tablet. While most tablet manufacturers offer versions that include both WiFi and 3G, the Nexus 7 is WiFi only. This limits its usability to areas where a WiFi connection will always be available (i.e. work, school, or home). The Nexus 7 may be most useful to college students who live on campus and always have access to a wireless network.

With its Bluetooth connectivity and large-but-not-too-large screen we were thinking this device would make an excellent front-end for streaming music in the car. But, alas, without a pairing a 3/4G device, we don’t have wireless connectivity in our cars. For now we’ll have to stick to using our phones’ tiny screens or pre-loading everything we want to hear before our daily commutes.

End Notes

The consensus of our team is that the Google Nexus 7 is nothing too special. Not an ideal holiday gift for Mom this year, unless she doesn’t already have a smart phone. We feel the Nexus 7 is a lot like an Android phone minus the actual phone part but, it is a good option for someone who wants an LCD e-reader or doesn’t want a larger tablet.Nevertheless, Google is doing its best to get the Nexus 7′s out there, offering a free one to use as a remote control to anyone who signs up for their Google Fiber service in select locations.

See also:

Engadget Giveaway: win a Nexus 7, courtesy of Amzer!

Images: Gsmarena.com &Gigaom.com

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