Google Nexus 7 Android tablet
Stonkingly good seven incher
Review Amazon may have done more that most to get Android onto tablets, but Google's Nexus 7 tablet, built by Asus, isn't so much a shot across the bows as a full torpedo attack on Jeff Bezos' ambitions in the fondleslab market.
Amazon attack: Google's Nexus 7, built by Asus
At £159 ($199) for the 8GB unit and £199 ($249) for the 16GB, the Nexus is priced to compete directly with Amazon's Fire, and it's a generation ahead in hardware specifications. The Nexus is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, a 12-core GPU and carries a 1GB of RAM. The 1280 x 800 display has 216 ppi, which isn't up to the standards of the latest Apple iPad but puts a lot of the direct competition to shame.
Inside, there's a full set of goodies, including Bluetooth, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS and digital compass, with near field communications hardware that allows touch data transfer over Android Beam. All this is packed into a 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm shell that weighs 340g and is easy to use one-handed on the commute and works for thumb typing in portrait or landscape mode.
The white rear panel will be replaced by a grey retail version
The Nexus feels solid and well put-together, with a front fascia that's button-free. The review sample features a dimpled white polycarbonate rear shell which looks like it could pick up fingerprint dirt, but the retail device will have a dark grey exterior. There's a single 1.2MP camera that's forward-facing for videoconferencing.
In terms of connectors, the hardware enthusiast will be disappointed. Evidently, Google envisages the Nexus 7 primarily as a streaming device, as there's no SD port or HDMI output. It's charged using the micro USB port and all updates are being delivered automatically using Wi-Fi rather than needing a computer hook-up. Also, the USB link works with both PC and Mac – the Nexus 7 can be used as a mass storage device to transfer media between platforms.
Evidence of some connectivity for a dock or charging crade on the edge
Google claims the 4325mAh battery is good for 9hrs of HD video and 300hrs of standby. In a factory setting test, using the copy of Transformers 3 included with the device, the Nexus 7 managed 7hrs 30mins of video playback at full volume, with a couple of reboots when the player borked. Meanwhile 100hrs of standby cut a full charge to 68 per cent, which makes the official figures appear credible. However, the Nexus is not quick to recharge, taking just over 3hrs to fill up from flat.
Sponsored: The Nuts and Bolts of Ransomware in 2016