Mellow Mummy: Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review

We were lucky enough to be asked to give a family's perspective on the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet by Currys.

For us, a tablet needs to perform several different functions.

* Fun games for our toddler, Holly
* Educational games for our 4 year old, Lara
* Productivity and great internet access for me
* Games and entertainment for Mr. B

The Nexus 7 from Asus is part of the Currys tablet range and it seems to have managed to offer us all of these features in one compact piece of portable tech. 

I was quite comfortable using the Android operating system (currently we are running Android 4.3 aka Jelly Bean) having tried it previously on my smart phone but I was doubtful as to whether I would find is usable enough for my every day tasks such as updating my blog, sending mails, checking weather and timetables etc.  Thankfully, I actually found the Android interface on the Nexus 7 to be more usable than on my phone - it works beautifully on the larger screen (the Nexus 7 has a 7 inch LED screen) and the scrolling and icons feel very natural.  The backlit LED screen gives really bright colour and amazing colour reproduction - photos appear crisp and full of light.

Both of our girls took instantly to the Nexus 7.  They are both familiar with a touch screen interface so it felt natural to them.  The screen is smaller than they are used to and I think for our youngest daughter it requires dexterity she doesn't quite have yet but our 4 year old finds it a good size to sit and hold herself... she quickly discovered the CBeebies app on it!  Ordinarily when I use the Nexus 7 I sometimes find it frustrating that the menu and navigation buttons aren't real buttons (they are icons along the base of the screen that change their location based on the rotation of the screen and they fade away when an app is in full-screen).  However, when the girls are using the tablet, I'm often grateful that they can't find the buttons easily!

Mr. B. has embraced the internet a little more since the Google Nexus 7 came into his life.  He has discovered how easy it is to integrate your Google account with your mail app and your browser and use Google to log in to a number of different services.  I've noticed him use social media that little bit more as well!

The Nexus 7 is fast, noticeably more so than my phone or laptop... I guess that is largely to do with the compact nature of the apps we use on it; they only do what they really need to do.  The tablet has a Snapdragon 1.5GHz processor and 2GB RAM.  Our Nexus 7also has 16GB of storage space which I think could quickly run out if we are all using it for apps and music.  At present I don't think we plan to use it to store images so space won't be used up that quickly.

We found our Nexus 7 REALLY easy to connect to our home Wifi, the whole setup process took a matter of minutes.  But for Mr. B, I think the feature of the Nexus 7 he has found most impressive is the voice recognition mechanism which integrates the microphone with several of the apps we use regularly... this week I witnessed him attempt to order a takeaway through an app using his voice... I didn't point out to him that this may have been easier using a traditional telephone!

The only negative feedback that we have on the Nexus 7 is that because the screen is so compact, when you are using the keyboard, it tends to take over most of the screen space and it can be hard to reference back to the page you are typing on or for.

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