The Nexus 7 came out as leaked, and while I must say that I like the improvements Google managed to put into Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”), I won’t get the first tablet to run it (officially).
Not that I wasn’t in the market for a 7” tablet – the 6” Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch really makes me long for a nice 7” tablet – just because you can carry it with you, wherever you go without needing to carry some kind of a bag – wearing a jacket is just enough.
However, the Nexus 7 not only runs on NVidia’s Tegra 3, it does not support any kind of a video out. Seriously, this makes the Tegra 3’s USP (its immense video power, if we are to believe NVidia’s marketing department) not worth much. And there are other shortcomings. There is no way to add extra storage (in default mode, I am sure that there will be some decent hacks), you are limited to 8 or 16 Gigabytes, which in reality is even less, as the OS and apps are placed on this scarce storage too.
Let’s come to a few good points. The price is pretty good, considering that this is real 2012 hardware and not some old stuff, and the way they axed features in order to make this price is actually pretty well done: The display (1280x800px; IPS) is decent. There is one camera, for video chat – which is the most useful camera purpose on a tablet, imho. Android 4.1 is even better than the already awesome Android 4.0. Google is finally building its own content eco system – and there we are back at the cons. Much like Amazons $199 tablet (Kindle Fire), this device is mostly a frontend to some kind of content store – only slightly less locked down.
Yeah, I must admit that I am picky. I don’t want a Tegra 3 because of nVidia being “not so good” to “horrible” at supplying Linux drivers. I say “nope” because there is no video output – I would love a 7” tablet to power a dumb Lapdock, like the one Motorola supplied with the Atrix 4G, or the Clambook – just for the use cases where you need to do some work, but wouldn’t necessarily need your real, full-fledged notebook.
But then, after all, the Nexus 7 is definitely not the worst choice for an affordable, 7” inch Android tablet for Android enthusiasts. It’s much rather among the best choices you can make, if you can live with its shortcomings (storage, connectivity) – I can’t.