In a graveyard. One man sitting on a bench. Another man joins him. They both take a glance at each other tablets.
Sean: Hey, is that a Nexus 7?
Aaron: Yes it is indeed.
Sean: How do you like it?
Aaron: My general impression is that the hardware is built well.
Sean: I think it's a little cheap feeling, compared to the iPad. It's plastic!
Aaron: I think I dropped it once on my kitchen floor, and it's… mostly fine. A little dinged up. By the way, I noticed a ghosting issue on my screen. It's very noticeable. When I go from playing a video - anything with a lot of blacks - to the home screen, I see some ghosting effect on the display.
Sean: Really? I don't have any ghosting issues, but the display on my unit seems to creak a little on the left side. It seems that we are both experiencing some quality control issues here.
Aaron: Google/ASUS has some quality control issues to work out, especially after a lot of reported issues with screen detachment, ghosting, burn-in and general creakiness. I also have some flickering problems at low backlight levels that seem to be interference from the wifi chip when it's sending or receiving data. Hopefully fixable by a software update.
Sean: I have an issue with the speakers. They sound tinny. My iPhone 4S seems to have slightly better speakers, and the new iPad definitely has better speakers with more oomph.
Aaron: Yeah, I agree. It's a place for improvement. But I think the Nexus 7 is a big step up from previous Android tablets, overall.
Sean: Okay, I'll agree with you. It is a lot better than some of the tablets we reviewed.
Aaron: Reviewed? Do you work for a tech site?
Sean: Oh yes I do. TEK.GADG.com
Aaron: oh cool.
Sean: What about the software side of things? I think Jelly Bean is a huge step up from previous versions of Android, especially for tablets. It's definitely caught up in most parts to the iOS experience.
Aaron: I agree. Google has made user experience a priority and it shows. Project Butter definitely butters things up, and as a long-time Android user, I definitely see the improvement. Certain minor but useful UI tweaks have also been implemented such as the two finger vertical swipe in the notifications panel. I do question Google's decision to go with the Phone-UI rather than a full fledged tablet interface.
Sean: Yes. Although, I think a "phone" UI on a 7 inch tablet is quite alright. Jelly Bean seems to scale well on a bigger screen. I don't have a huge problem with it. The place where I have a huge problem with Jelly Bean is inertial scrolling. I find that inertial scrolling has certainly improved a lot on Android, but it's still not there yet. At times it feels jerky and unnatural. Why won't they fix it for good?
Aaron: They don't listen to Apple fans. The ecosystem is another point of interest, because they can almost be seen as opposite ends of the spectrum. Apple promotes a walled garden segmented with tablet-optimized apps, and Google is an open garden. Motivation for creating tablet optimized apps may soon change with the popularity of the Nexus7.
Sean: Have you used Google Now at all? I find that voice search and recognition work really well, but the cards aren't terribly helpful for me. It just shows weather and occasionally some location information.
Aaron: I was impressed by the Google Now vs. Siri videos, but in reality, I did not have much use for the voice search capabilities or the Cards possibly because I don't need to make use of flight schedules, currency exchanges, sports, or traffic information.
Sean: You bring up some good points. What about the display and the size? I love this size, and the high pixel density (216ppi) display. We both have some screen defects, but the display is generally really good in use. For reading paperback-size books, it's perfect. Playing games on the 7-inch display feels perfect as well.
Aaron: It's great for reading graphic novels as well magazines in pdf format. The size is just great for putting in your pocket, purse or satchel. I do wish the edge bezel was made of sturdier and more ding resistant material like metal. The power button can be confused for the volume button which is unmarked by any etching.
Sean: Yeah, same. I have a ding on my Nexus already.
Aaron: I think the Nexus 7 is a no brainer when it comes to bang for buck. For the base price of $199, you get a Tegra 3 processor and a 1280 x 800 resolution IPS panel.
Sean: I agree. It's a great value for consumers and developers alike. Google's support puts some credibility behind this tablet. It still has room for improvement - we need more tablet-optimized apps in the Google Play Store! - but it's the first usable Android tablet and I really love it.
Sean & Aaron