Nexus 7 (2013) Review

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Today I am going to give a review that is a little different from the droves of other reviews around the internet. I am going to try to review how it feels to use the Nexus 7 rather than spew the technical specs and claim why they are superior or inferior to other devices. There are far too many reviews that fall into the aforementioned category.

When you first get the Nexus 7, the first thing you realize is how it feels in your hand. It is light, thin, and comfortable. The back is made of plastic, yet it feels much more premium. It almost is a rubberized texture, very soft to the touch. This backing runs all the way around the device, over the edge to the display, making the edge of the device very easy to hold. Overall the feel of the device makes you want to pick it up and turn it on. It is quite alluring.

Turning on the device, the first thing you are greeted with is the Google logo and then the classic Nexus "X". Setting up your device shouldn't take long, just enter a few of your credentials and you should be up and running. The first thing you will notice about the device the clarity of the display. Colors are vivid, text is crisp, pixels are impossible to notice. Using this device is visually pleasing. Both of my mobile devices have 1080p screens with a high PPI, the Nexus 7 and my HTC One. Now I only need to upgrade my Macbook and desktop to finally be rid of any pixelation.

Next I want to comment on the speed of the device. If you are used to managing open applications to speed up your device, you won't ever have to worry about that again on the Nexus 7. The device hasn't shown any slowdown in the few days I have used the device, even when switching from a hardware taxing game to respond to an email.  Project Butter feels even more smooth than it did before, most definitely due to the hardware improvements. Really, there is not much more to say without going into specs, other than the device is very fast.

Now, if you have read my previous reviews I have commented on how I never use rear-facing cameras on a tablet. I find them useless for the most part. The front-facing camera is usable for it's purpose of video chat, but there isn't anything amazing to expect there. What I did find amazing on the Nexus 7 was battery life. I had the device on battery for 3 days, 20 hours, with 6 hours of screen on time before the device got to around 10%. That is very good in my book. I was actually suprised by the battery life. Maybe it was because I am used to devices lasting one day and then charging them up, but the Nexus 7 didn't require a charge for almost four. I used an old LG wirless charger that I had laying around and it charged the device quickly. Wireless charging is one of the hidden gems of the Nexus 7.

The speakers on the device are actually very good for tablet. I suggest trying out a movie from Google Play, just to hear the virtual surround sound that is built into the device. It did impress me. The area it didn't impress me in was low bassy sounds, but I didn't expect much bass from a tablet speaker. Overall, the sound worked just how one would expect a tablet should sound and maybe slightly better.


The last thing I want to touch on is Google apps and services. The Nexus 7 is a great device, but it's the Google Play services that impressed me the most. I am an avid Google Music user. Having millions of songs at my fingertips is an enticing concept and using the Nexus 7 to listen to my music collection is so easy. No syncing, it just works. I came from having an iPad back in the days when you had to sync it with the horrid iTunes interface. I always hated that. Dealing with limited space, dragging and dropping songs. The thing I love about Google is that the devices all sync together through the cloud, without any thought. My books, uploaded via Google Play Books, all were waiting for me on my Nexus 7, bookmarks and all. All my music was there, all of my documents were there with Google Drive, my movies and TV shows. I think you get the idea.

It is a very rewarding experience when things just work. I know that has long been a phrase coined by Apple "it just works", but I think this new round of Google devices takes the crown away from Apple. Google devices just work, gone are the days of managing your collection of media, transferring them, backing them up. Google does all of it for you. The Nexus 7 is really a nexus (in the true definition) of media and services. 

I also have Chromecast, which enhances the Google experience much more. It is simply a joy to use these products.  I will be reviewing Chromecast in the coming days, but for now I can say that Google is finally converging on the idea of everyone's information being in the cloud. And I am completely sold.