Nexus 7 Tablet Hands On: Brave New World

We've just loved-up Google's new Nexus 7 tablet with our fingers. It's light, it's compact, and it's really fast. In short, you won't believe this is a $249 tablet.

First thing you'll notice when you pick it up is that it's incredibly solid. It's got hard aluminium edges and a rubberised back that feels soft and grippy. It easily fits in a jacket pocket, and just barely squeezes into my jeans pocket (although I wouldn't recommend doing that). It has a front-facing camera, but no rear camera, which is fine because you shouldn't be taking photos with a tablet anyway. There's also the usual volume up/down rocker, power button, microUSB and headphone jack. Sadly, there's no expandable storage, but Google is emphasising its cloud portfolio, so it makes sense.

The boot time is very quick. The screen is bright and vivid at first glance. Then you start scrolling around the operating system and it's perfectly smooth. Google used the word "butter", and so far, that's proving to be an apt description.

Jelly Bean is lovely, and it really utilises the tablet-sized screen much better. For example, there are six shortcuts (plus the app drawer) in the home row.

We'll need to spend more time with the Nexus 7 before we do a full review, but my snap judgment is that there is no reason to buy a Kindle Fire over this. It's brighter, sharper, faster and infinitely more capable. Your move, Amazon.


Comments

    I really wanted a proper tablet from Google, not a glorified e-reader.

    It's a pity because this had potential, but I'll probably give this one a miss. No 3G or 4G and no expandable storage kinda seal the deal for me too. Yes Google are pushing their cloud service but especially in Australia it's a bit unreasonable to expect users to have gigabytes of data in the cloud.

    Looks like I'll need to keep waiting for a decent tablet before I enter the market.

      I'm thinking if this is successful, it makes sense to make a 10" 3G version

        It would make sense. 7 inches for me is still a little too small for a screen. If they release a 10 inch version with 3G/4G and expandable storage, they'll have themselves a sale.

          I think they are going for 'mass market' not 'power user'. They want millions of these in the hands of people. At $US200 they might get their wish.

            If they were after mass market, they should have included 3G, or at least have a 3G+Wifi version available for a little more $$. Wifi only, and that too on a 7" screen doesnt cut the butter for me.

          I have the 10" Galaxy Tab at the moment. Personally I wish I had a smaller device when im out and about

      This device was primarily released to compete with the Kindle Fire (not available in Australia) and to snatch up the budget tablet market. This is an excellent device for $249 - $299, you can't expect so much from a tablet that costs so little. If the device had 3G / 4G and a microSD slot, then it would cost at least $100 - $150 more. If the tablet does not meet your needs, then pay at least $200 more for one that does.

        That's the problem. There *isn't* one that meets my needs. There's no decent tablets out there (no, the iPad is not a decent tablet). I really want to dive into the tablet world, but there's nothing out there that will do what I want or has the features I want. So looks like I'll need to keep waiting and hope Google releases a more upmarket version of this tablet or that Surface might do what I want.

      No 3G or 4G, but no expandable storage, means it is not a portable device.

      If you want to read wherever you are, you must be able to either connect to the Internet everywhere (i.e. 3G or 4G) or download it from your home wifi and take it with you.

      Doesn't work for me.

    No 3G/4G is a shame but not a deal breaker, guessing that is how they are getting the claimed 9 hour HD video playback, but you can turn your phone into a hotspot. Considering downsizing from my 10" iPad to something a bit smaller for travel.

      Dealbreaker for me. Yes, I can turn my phone into a hotspot, but that would kill the major attraction of the ipad for me: instant access to web and email. The 90 seconds it takes (minimum) to get online with phone plus tablet is a big enough obstacle to make the experience bad for you. Your mileage may differ - I was surprised to hear that most people use only wifi on tablets. There may be plenty of people who would like this thing - it just ain't for me.

        90 seconds???

        What phone and tablet do you use?? My One XL takes 9 seconds to turn on its' wifi Hotspot and our iPad at work takes 7 seconds to connect to it (assuming you've already connected before).

        Ok, fair enough if you don't want a non-3G/4G tablet, but maybe don't exaggerate the difference on timing QUITE so much?...

          yeah this, takes around 10 seconds from turning the wifi on on my phone to my netbook connecting.

    again .... $249 <--- Where is this price from ?

      https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_8gb&feature=single-wide-banner

      Lazy Lee, that is what it really costs in Australia, 50 dollars more than in USA. Another rip off for us, until one day these companies will treat us with respect, they will continue to change prices for Australia. Reason?..oopps.. you are too far way!!...your market is small!! .. all the BS you can imangine.
      Here are the real prices for this Google Nexus tablet in USA and in our land:
      PRICE IN USA FOR 8 GB TABLET = US $ 199.00
      PRICE IN AUSTRALIA FOR 8 GB TABLET = AUS$ 249.00

      PRICE IN USA FOR 16 GB TABLET = US$ 249.00
      PRICE IN AUSTRALIA FOR 16 GB TABLET = AUS$ 299.00

        Willy, the Australian prices are GST inclusive, the US ones don't include their equivalent sales taxes (which vary from state to state). Once state sales taxes are added to US prices, the difference will be halved in most cases.

        I like the price.

        They are charging $21 more for 8GB and $27 more for 16GB model, compared so after tax price in New York.

        Not even close to the $50 you are claiming

          https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_16gb
          $249 for the 8Gb and $299 for the 16Gb as stated above, love to know where your figures come from ^.^ still not as bad as most the other markets of stuff coming to Australia so I'm in.

            Add New York sales tax, take into account the exchange rate between USD and AUD. There you have it.

            Read his post. The Sales Tax is not inclusive in the stated price and is added after checkout and it figures out which state you're from. Only a handful of states like Oregon don't include the ~$10% premium that people seem to ignore. Especially when they go on kneejerk rant sessions about Aussie pricing.

          Okay so theres tax. What about shipping to Australia. Potential taxes charged at the ports to unload on Australian Shore (At our higher cost of labour). Transportation and distribution across the nation. On-shore support for local warranty (our economies of scale will not match US).

    This size tablet makes far more sense to me than an iPad sized jobbie. It is far more portable yet still big enough to give you a usable screen. Once a device is too big to fit in a pocket, you may as well take your laptop with you. I can fit my Kindle into the back pocket of my shorts or most jacket pockets and this seems to be slightly smaller than that, so it should be just as easy to stow upon my personage.

      Back pocket of your shorts? I'd be terrified I'd sit on it.

    Very very very cool. I was holding out on buying a phone just to see if this will be decent and I'm hooked! Been watching other videos of people playing around with it and it looks mighty fine. I guess I'll stick with my Nexus S for now but I'm also happy it is also getting the Jelly Bean update along with the GNex. Google still loves the Nexus S it seems.

    fail.... I want a fully functioned talet, not an ereader.... back to the iPad

    Why is google charging Australian customers 25% more than the US? Our dollar is at parity, we should get it for $199 as well! no expandable storage :(

      US price doesn't include their state taxes.....so NOT 25% more

    Looks like a $50 Aussie tax on the price ???

    $250 and $299 for the 8 and 16Gb models respectively.

    So expandable storage, no sale.

      See my anger, see what it makes me do!!

      That's obv. *no expandable storge

      The 16GB variant of the device costs $299. You can't expect everything for that price.

    You'd think 3G/4G would go hand in hand with a cloud based storage solution...how quickly can I use my data allowance on my phone plan?

      The device would cost at least $100 - $150 more if it had built in 3G / 4G.

    Looks like the Nexus 7 would be perfect for portable gaming as it isn't so huge like the fruit based tablet.

    People still harping on about 3G/4G for a tablet? People shouldn't even be using technology at this rate if you haven't heard of tethering. How often are you going to be using this away from a WiFi signal that you would actually be able to justify paying for another SIM/Data package just to browse the internet and so forth? Give it a rest already.

    Why don't people understand that this tablet is targeting the budget market? This tablet is EXCELLENT value for $249 - $299, despite not having 3G / 4G and a microSD slot.

    that looks disgusting, who the hell would want a tiny screen with a giant F**KING BASEL

      You look disgusting, and its not a tiny screen. If you want a tiny screen, I suggest you stick to your iPhone.

      PS. Go read a dictionary, its BEZEL not BASEL. Basel is a city in north western Switzerland.

      You need the bezel...otherwise when holding it, it would be awkward. From someone who uses a tablet daily, it makes plenty of sense.

    Hi Australian Gizmodo guys, can you ask Google why Australia is getting screwed $50 ?
    The 8GB is $199 USD in the USA and we are currently at parity.

      Not to mention the fact that it will probably ship from the States anyway, so the $20 shipping cost should take care of the delivery.

      Well you need to take the GST into account, so $199 becomes about $220 and $249 becomes about $275. So really we're only getting screwed about $30 and $25 respectively. That may or may not make you feel better, up to you :)

      You're acting as though this is the only device out there that costs more here though. News flash...everything does. Remember there is that inquiry going on at the moment about the the price differences of consumer electronics and software in Australia too.

    I like the look of 7 inch tablets... this and the kindle fire as well as the nook and B&N have all tempted me... but since ill be getter in win8 ultrabook for uni next year... probably a WP8 smartphone (when they actually announce some) and already have an Xbox (key to microsofts streaming plans), I really want a 7 inch Nook-MS consumption tablet... which was what i was really hoping for when they announced the surface :/. I mean what did they even buy nook for?

      Usd$199 + their state taxes, our local price includes GST. But yeah, it'd be nice to have a cheaper sticker price still.

    Thats nice. Got a Transformer Prime already but if I didn't I would buy this.

    Have you seen the iPad? Not even a giant phone... just a giant iPod touch

    We need a Battlemodo: Nexus 7 Tablet vs Kogan Agora.

    what is this like compared to the new kogan considering the price?

    Invalid comment.

    Move on

      Invalid comment.

      Subjective Apple cult member.

      Move along.

    Now put it to your ear and take a look in the mirror. Phone worthy? Look silly?
    That's what I see when your using your Galaxy S3!

      Wait, so you stood in front of a mirror to see what you look like while you made calls before purchasing your phone? What kind of horrible self centered/superficial person are you?

    I love how everybody was expecting this thing to magically fit into their precise expectations list.
    "OMG! ITLIKE DUZENT HAVE TEH 4GEEZ N NO XPANDABIBBLE MEMOREEEZ"

    At this price point there were bound to be some shortcomings. But honestly I think Google, left out the right bits (in terms of a price sacrifice). And that's is coming from someone who used to think no 3G/Expandable MMC was a dealbreaker. No Tablet will satisfy every consumers needs and you all need to realise that. But please don't stop writing the terrible whiny uninformed dribble here, it provides me with oh-so-much amusement.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

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