Review of the Nexus 7 in Singapore

When Google decided to join the tablet party, it did it in style. The Nexus 7, designed by Google and manufactured by Asus is pretty much number 1 currently in terms of hardware specifications and is priced very competitively at the US launch prices of US$199 and US$249 for the 8gb and 16gb model respectively. I already had a 7 inch tablet, the Nook Color which was a single core ebook reader that was hacked with custom ROMs. The Nook Color had worked well for the last 1+ year but the opportunity came up for me to buy the Nexus 7 from the US and it was too good an opportunity to pass up on. I traded up and now am a proud owner of the Nexus 7.

What’s Hot

+ Speed + 

Comes with a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, with Tegra 3 graphics processor. Alongside the 1gb of RAM and the Jelly Bean 4.1 “butter” OS, there is no slowdown while operating the device and it is a joy to use with everything being extremely responsive.

+ The overall Build Quality +

The Nexus design is simple and understated. It is one of the lightest 7″ inch tablet at 340g. The front panel is covered with glass and there are no hardware buttons to detract from it. There are only 3 buttons: Power, Vol + and Vol -. The back edge is bare except for the speaker at the bottom and the tastefully engraved ASUS logo just above it, and Nexus logo at the top. The back itself is a dimpled, soft-touch plastic, but feels like leather, allowing it to be both grippy and fingerprint-phobic.
The ports and buttons are made in such a way that you can’t see them when looking at the Nexus 7 from the front and, more importantly, are out of the way, meaning that you won’t be pressing anything at an inopportune time.

+ Screen +

Also, the high-res 1,280 x 800 screen really excels.While the iPad has the retina screen, the nexus 7 screen is still gorgeous. Try browsing one of the free magazines. The sharpness shows in the fine lines in text as well as the images where there are intricate details.

+ Price +

The quality is not something you’d expect from a US$199 tablet. We are expecting the launch price for the Nexus 7 in Singapore to be around S$329, and the launch date to be in late September. If you can’t wait, you can always use a shipping concierge service to get it back from the United States. Asus offers international service support for the Nexus 7.

What’s Not

– No Display Output functionality –

Sadly, the Nexus 7 does not come with any display output functionality like a mini HDMI slot or HDMI over the micro USB. I wanted this function as it would allow me to stream movies or connect the Nexus to a monitor when required if I wanted to operate it as a laptop replacement or to conduct presentation. Well for now, I am getting by with the resolution of the Nexus 7 is high and using it as a monitor while typing away on my bluetooth keyboard is working great for me now.

– No memory card expansion –

This is another bummer. Perhaps Google was trying to push people to the Cloud or to create further differentiation between the 8gb and 16gb Nexus 7 models, but the 8gb model is indeed a tad small. I loaded a couple of games and alongside the free transformer movie, I only had 1.5gb of space left on my tablet! It would really be pushed to the limit if I wanted to bring it overseas where I might be stuck without wifi. Luckily, there’s root and stickmount to expand the storage capacity of your Nexus 7.

– Play Store limitations – 

the Nexus 7 has content restrictions and in Singapore, a large chunk of the features, almost all in fact, are not available to us, the books, the magazines, the musics, and the videos. There are workarounds to activate the market and features in Singapore or anywhere out of the United States, but its not easy and slow. It does subtract away the overall experience that Google wanted to create. Read our article on how to enable the rest of the features and to get a free $25 play store credit even though you are in Singapore or anywhere out of the United States.

– No back facing camera –

I wouldn’t really define the lack of a back camera as a flaw. We really should stop using tablets to take photos, thats what phones are for and it looks funny when someone goes snapping away with an iPad or a 7″ tablet. The Nexus 7 does come equipped with a forward facing camera so video chatting through Google Hangouts or Skype would still work and that is quite useful.

Conclusion

Previous Android tablets were good, but somehow could never dethrone the Apple’s iPad. Could this be the start of something? Google has found a nice niche in the market for the low priced lightweight tablets. The Nexus 7 is a brilliant little device at a wonderful price.

If you already have one and well, accessories are a must. Casing / Screen protector etc and if you are in search of a Nexus 7 casing, I thought this looks great!

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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