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Reviews

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. 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. 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

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News

Google lists Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013) on Play Store for India

If you are one of those who wants to buy the new Nexus 5 phone or the Nexus 7 tablet, you should head over to the Google Play Store. Though I expected the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 to debut on 14th November  but that date seemed off by a week. It might have ended up missing the shopping frenzy in India but Android enthusiasts were probably aware the Nexus phone will show up

Nexus 5 in India

The Nexus 5 phone running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat is available in two variants with 16 GB and 32 GB memory storage. While I checked Google Play store, the phone was not available in black colour but was available with white. The price of the 16 GB phone was as expected Rs. 28,999 and the 32 GB is priced Rs. 32,999.

Nexus 5 India

Link: Nexus 5 phone on Google Play

Nexus 7 (2013) in India

The Nexus 7 tablet’s latest 2013 version was released a few months ago in the US. The device runs Android 4.3 Jellybean but it will have an assured update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is available in three different varieties. The 16 GB variant is available in WiFi only and the 32GB variant is available in WiFi and also another one with LTE unlocked (GSM).

Nexus 7 2013 India

Pricing

  • Nexus 7 16 GB WiFi – Rs. 20,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi – Rs. 23,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi – Rs. 27,999
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The Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi version is a pretty good deal. I personally ordered myself a Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi tablet and when its delivered, you can expect a complete review.

Link: Nexus 7 on Google Play

Old Nexus 7 tablets are a bargain

While the new Nexus 7 is far superior to its last years predecessor, it still is a handy tablet to have. The best part of the old Nexus 7 are being sold at prices as low as Rs. 8,999. I saw that price on Flipkart but on Amazon.in it was available for Rs. 11,299.

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Analysis

Google targets gaming and video consumption with Nexus 7

Google’s “Chrome + Android” event that saw the announcements of Nexus 7, Chromecast and Android 4.3. The Nexus 7 tablet is manufactured by Asus, just like last year. The Nexus 7 priced at US $229, will be available from 30th of July and is the first device to ship with Android 4.3 pre-installed.

Google Nexus 7 2013
Google’s new version of Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 has some good power packed inside it with CPU specs being Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz. It has a faster GPU and 2 GB RAM. This added with being one of the first tablets to support OpenGL  ES 3.0 standards.

The tablet packs a 5 MP rear camera and 1.2MP front facing camera. The big difference for Nexus 7 is display. It now sports a 7.02 inch screen, 1920 X 1200 HD display (323 ppi). This means the tablet should have the best screen display for a 7 inch tablet variant, unless Apple ships an iPad Mini with retina display (which is unlikely to happen anytime soon). Nexus 7 supports WIFI, NFC and Bluetooth. It will be selling a optional 4G LTE version in the US.

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Google is focusing on “games” and “video” consumption

As a iPad Mini user, I can attest that anyone who I see using the tablet for the first time, in a few minutes ends up trying out a game. This is why the iPad is not just a tablet for one person (unlike a phone) but also is used by kids especially in a family environment. Google understands that and hence has focused on making Nexus 7 more interesting to gamers.

Android 4.3 - has new feature called "Restricted Profiles" for parental control
Android 4.3 – has new feature called “Restricted Profiles” for parental control

The tablet’s big focus on better processor hardware was a given but its focus on better display shows it is getting serious about gaming. It has also introduced “Restricted Profiles” with Android 4.3 for allowing parental control. It also stream hi-def video from Netflix which will drive video consumption.

In other words, what Android ecosystem might lack in exclusive tablet apps it is trying to catch up with better display and performance for gaming and video consumption. It is not entirely a misplaced idea as most people do consume a great deal of video and gaming content on tablet than say a phone where a dynamic app ecosystem really kicks in.

Google might also be trying to help matters with helpful new tools in the Android Studio new version announced at Google IO 2013, but it is still a long way from match the quality of apps available on iPad.

It will be interesting to see what Apple comes out with later in the year and early next year in response to this Nexus 7 tablet. Do drop in your comments.

Link: Nexus 7

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News

Google Play makes Nexus 7 available in India for Rs. 15,999

We knew Google was prepping something to serve up Nexus products in India. This was done with India being listed on the Nexus page. The Nexus 7 tablet was available in some India retail outlets but it was more or less a limited launch. Today, Google has listed Nexus 7 on Google Play store for India.

This means users can now order a Nexus 7 tablet from Google Play directly.

Google Play Nexus 7 India

The Nexus 7 listed in India is not exactly the latest version. It the WIFI only version with 16GB storage space. It will have Android 4.1 running on it but I guess it can be upgraded online once you buy it.

Should we buy Android tablets?

After buying an iPad Mini, I am not very keen on buying an Android tablet. I still think Android as an OS is miles ahead of Apple’s iOS from a user perspective. But the app ecosystem for tablets specifically is still a lot superior on app store rather than Google Play. But with more tablets being sold, I am sure Android app will catch up fast. Also Android based tablets tend to be a lot cheaper.

Link: Google Play – Nexus 7

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News

ASUS Nexus 7 debuts in India, Priced at Rs. 19,999

As expected ASUS has made its Nexus 7 tablet available in India. The tablet will be available in India from today. It was first launched in the US a few months ago with the new Android 4.1 (Jellybean) version. The Nexus 7 is being sold in the US for $199. In India, it will be sold almost at double the price at Rs. 19,999/- (US $ 369/-).

The tablet is not the latest Nexus 7 32-GB version, announced by Google a couple of weeks ago. This tablet is Wi-Fi only and runs on Android 4.1.

Nexus 7 Tablet India

Though I do believe that upgrading to 4.2 should be easy, considering the device will be running a stock Android version and the manufacturer is not responsible for upgrades.

Currently I could not see as a listed item on any Indian retail website except on Chroma website. Chroma mainly being a physical store, it is safe to expect these tablets showing up across stores in India. The timing is almost perfect as the festival season of Diwali happens next week. So expect a lot of Nexus 7 tablets to be sold over the weekend.

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Why is the Nexus 7 over-priced in India?

Nexus 7 has been rumored to be a highly subsidised device by Google. The idea was whatever profits Google makes on Nexus 7, it would do so by selling content and apps on Google Play.

Indians might not actually end up buying content and apps from Google Play. They would definitely spend a lot less per device on apps than some on the U.S or U.K.

So that is probably the single biggest reason for Google not to subsidise the tablet and hence ASUS is pricing it on the higher side.

Hopefully LG which is also expected to sell Nexus 4 in India soon, does not take a cue from ASUS and overprice it.

Will you be buying a Nexus 7 Tablet in India, priced at Rs. 19,999 ? Do drop in your comments.

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News

Google sends out invites for Android event on October 29th

If you’ve been following news lately, you might have read about rumors claiming Google releasing few Nexus devices on 29th of this month. Google has now officially confirmed the Android event and has sent out invites.

android-nexus-event-invite

The event will take place in NYC, starting at 9 A.M on Monday. You can make out that Google is going to release a new Nexus 7 (probably a 32GB one?), by the tag line “The playground is open”.

If the rumors are to believed, Google is going to unveil a lot of stuff on the day, including Android 4.2, a LG/Sony Nexus, a 32/64 GB Nexus 7. Google might even surprise with a 99$ Nexus, targeting the low-cost Android tablets like Kindle Fire.

iPad mini priced at 249$ will also urge Google to release an entry level version of Nexus 7.

Apparently, this event is going to take place after Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Apple’s iPad mini events.

Best thing about the event? It will be streamed live in the Android Developers channel on YouTube.

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News

Google’s Nexus 7 is Best Selling Android Tablet Ever

Google’s Nexus 7 has been a runaway hit in the tablet market and it was confirmed by a retailer as reported by The Telegraph. The report though is from the data collected only in the UK, is relevant to any market where Nexus 7 is available. The tablets surely are not exactly denting Apple’s iPad sales but such success might spell trouble for other tablet manufacturers.

Nexus 7 success is interesting, in the sense it has WiFi only and does not work on mobile networks at all. It might be shipping a new variant model with 3G connectivity. The pricing of the Nexus 7 at $199 is extremely competitive for the kind of hardware and software it packs. The tablet is expected to hit India sometime in November, probably to leverage the shopping season during Diwali holidays.

Nexus 7 Tablet India

Possible Challenges to Nexus 7

Nexus 7 has taken advantage of the fact that there is no iPad with a 7-inch screen. The iPad Mini which should be revealed on 23rd of October, could really dry up Nexus 7 sale numbers.

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Surface RT tablets and other Windows based tablets by OEMs will also hit the market soon. Even though Windows is not a proven platform for tablets, it still has a hugely loyal customer base for PC. Pricing might not favour Microsoft as the Surface RT tablet is priced at $499.

It seems, whatever happens to the Nexus 7, other manufacturers who are churning out Android based tablets might need to learn some tricks from Google and Asus (manufacturer of Nexus 7).

What are your views on Google’s Nexus 7? Will you buy one if and when it is available in India? Do drop in your comments.

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News

Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet in India by September

During last month Google I/O 2012 event, the Nexus7 tablet was introduced. At the moment the tablets are available in US, Canada and Australia. The tablet will in all probability be made available in India this September.

According to IBN-Live, ASUS which manufacturers Nexus 7 for Google, has confirmed that the tablet will not be available in India before September.

A release before October would make sense as it would be before the festive season of Diwali, when shopping activity is at a yearly high.

Pricing – Nexus7 Tablet in India

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The tablet currently goes for $199 for 8 GB and $249 for the 16GB versions.

The price of Nexus 7 has not yet been confirmed by Asus in India but we should expect it to be on the lower side price wise.

If the tablet shows up around the Rs. 10,000 to 12,000 region, it will in all probability make big inroads into India, where enthusiasm about tablet devices is a bit low because of the cost.

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How will Google Play be promoted in India?

When Nexus 7 was launched and price revealed, it was clear that Google was not looking to make money from the sales for the device. They were more interested in having people buy movies, music and books from the Google Play.

It will be interesting to see if Google ties up with some of the media houses in India, to sell content for Indian users.

India is a big market for smartphones but that does not automatically translate to tablet sales like it has in US and Europe.

Ofcourse it could all end up being just a plan and Nexus 7 might not release in India at all like they did with Galaxy Nexus.

If Nexus 7 is released in India, would you be lining up to buy it? Do drop in your comments.