An iPad Mini user’s review of the Nexus 7 tablet

My experience with tablets is not really old. It started about six months ago when I got myself an iPad Mini. The Apple device was something I was very happy with but I was looking forward to the new Nexus 7 tablet being released in India.

Though the Nexus 7 was introduced in the US back in July, but it has been available in India only since the past week. As my iPad Mini is a hit with my family members, it is used by all of them. Hence, I decided to order myself a Nexus 7 on the Play store and sure enough I got the delivery in just a couple of days.

Nexus 7 on table
Nexus 7 (2013) running Android 4.4

Nexus 7 – Solid Hardware

The first thing that hit me was how small the device actually is. The iPad Mini is about 5.3 inches wide while the Nexus 7 is about 4.4 inches wide. The height of both devices were the same. I was a little apprehensive if the Nexus 7 would work out for me with such a small screen. Compared to an iPad Mini it looks pretty small.

Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini Screens
Nexus 7 (left) might have a smaller screen but the display is much sharper than the iPad Mini

The small size concerns were quickly dismissed as I found the Nexus 7 screen brilliant. It supports 1920 X 1200 HD resolution with 323 ppi (pixels per inch). The iPad Mini supports about 163 ppi with 1024 X 720 resolution display. Forget all the spec numbers, the display performance of Nexus 7 is simply great.

The Nexus 7 (2013) obviously has a lot more power with Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5 GHz). The Nexus 7 has 32 GB storage and 2 GB RAM (other variants are with 16 GB and 32 GB with 4G) which is a great deal of storage space.

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The rear facing camera is 5MP and the front facing camera is 1.2 MP.ย The 3950 mAh battery promises 9 hours of active use. It is still early days to see if it as good as the iPad Mini.

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Android 4.4 on Nexus 7

It is a bit difficult to see how greatly the Android 4.4 has improved the performance of the Nexus 7 as the first thing I did with Nexus 7 was to get it updated to Android 4.4. With guaranteed update to Android KitKat, ideally the update shows up in notifications within moments of setting up the tablet.

Android 4.4 allows hotword detection which allows users to start a search by just saying “OK Google”. With this addition, Google Now is miles ahead of Apple’s SIRI. To switch on hotword detection, open the Google Search app and look up Settings >> Voice >> Select Hotword detection. If the Hotword detection option is not visible change the language to English (US) and the option will show up.

Google Now Voice Settings
Hotword Detection is a new feature with Android 4.4

I also saw a new app called QuickOffice which helps creates documents, spreadsheets and presentations. QuickOffice seemed to be very closely integrated with Google Drive.

Finally I saw a new feature in the device settings called Printing. I have not tested this out but it links up to Cloud Print or HP Print Service.

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Widgets are a good idea on a tablet!

I am not a big fan of widgets on my Nexus 4 phone, though it is one of the most cited advantage over iOS by Android fans. But with a tablet, the screen is a lot bigger and widgets suddenly seemed more useful on a tablet. I have currently chosen Google Now widget.

The notifications on Android are much better in the sense I can carry out actions like delete, share images and more with notifications that show up.

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What Nexus 7 does not get right

Google does offer tablet only apps on Play store and most of them are pretty decent. But Android simply is nowhere close to the variety that iOS offers for tablets. As I stated in the beginning of this article that my iPad Mini is used by members of my family and not just me. This is because of the variety of apps and how simple it is to use as a device. I have personally seen even a seven year old confidently operate the iPad Mini.

The Nexus 7 runs on Android which can be customized but with customization comes personality and that means I doubt a Nexus 7 tablet would become a family device. Also my Nexus 7 froze in its first hour when I was checking the front facing camera. It got fixed after I put my device in “Safe Mode”. I removed an app that I had recently downloaded and the issue was fixed. This never happened to my iPad Mini. There is no “Safe Mode” and I have never come across any app on iOS that crashes the device.

That said, if you are looking for a tablet with an awesome display screen, then the Nexus 7 tablet is a good buy at Rs. 24,000 (23,999) for a 32 GB Wifi version. A comparable iPad Mini with 32 GB storage is almost Rs. 28,000 but as I mentioned has a much inferior display.ย A iPad Mini with retina display with 32 GB storage is currently sold at $500 in the US.

Do drop in your comments and views.

Link: Nexus 7

4 replies on “An iPad Mini user’s review of the Nexus 7 tablet”

  1. I loved the iPad mini. The Retina versions makes it even more better. And as you said, Apple offers more apps for iPad than Google offers for Nexus 7.

    1. The retina versions might make iPad Mini better but I assume they will anywhere around Rs. 35,000 in India. That is almost Rs. 10,000 more than the Nexus 7. That said, the apps on Android for tablets are getting better and also increasing in numbers probably because Android is gaining popularity as a tablet platform too.

  2. I have an iPad Mini too. That’s my first tablet ever. I love Apple’s products’ battery life a lot more than those Android devices. My Samsung Galaxy S3 running CyanogenMod 10.2 nightly build hardly stands 8 hours on power usage. But the same with the iPad Mini, I can run the device for days!

    But on the other hand, I love Android because it is open source and I can run custom ROMs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS : I’m still an Android fanboy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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