Nexus 7 Android tablet first impressions

Nexus 7

I’ve had my Nexus 7 for just over a week now and I’ve got to say, it’s the best Android tablet experience I’ve used yet. My most recent Android tablet was the Asus Transformer Prime (which I returned because of lackluster performance). The Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 (aka “Jellybean”) which furthers my opinion that Google is really trying to address all the previous version’s shortcomings and keeps improving the experience with each update.

When I finally had the tablet in my hand, it was a little heavier/thicker than I was expecting but not a huge detriment…it’s still e-reader size. I found it a lot nicer to use to read with than my iPad as I can hold it for a lot longer without noticing it like I do when reading on the iPad.

Nexus 7

The back of the Nexus 7 has the nice, grippy TPU plastic which makes it easy to hang onto. As expected with a new device, there aren’t any cases/covers available for it yet but fortunately, many cases designed for the Amazon Kindle Fire work with the Nexus 7 and should be available everywhere. Asus has a number of case and dock options coming later in August.
MAKE Magazine as viewed on the Nexus 7
Overall the Nexus 7 is everything I’ve wanted in a non-Apple device. It’s crazy fast, supports the latest and greatest Android features and at $200 for the 8gb model, it’s very affordable. I’ve always liked the size/form factor of a 7″ device for consuming content on. There are still a number of apps that I like to use that haven’t been updated to support (or even install on) the Nexus 7 but that shouldn’t take too long to sort itself out.

I quite like the Google Now features and find that the voice search is a better experience than what I’ve had with Siri on iOS.

Since this is a ‘first impressions’ post, it’s worth noting that Google did however, drop the ball out of the gate. After announcing the tablet at I/O, they opened up pre-orders. The impression being that it would be the only place to get the tablet, at least initially. I waited until the next morning to place my order after reading the various online accounts of the tablet.

Unlike Apple, which provides free shipping on any order over $75, Google charged $19 for “Two Day Shipping” via UPS. Fine…Apple’s free shipping isn’t the fastest so this should guarantee getting the tablet quickly. Or so I thought.

Finally arrived #nexus7

Fast forward to 3 weeks later when news of the tablet beginning to ship came out and would begin on Monday, July 16. Great I thought…I’ll get it in two days (the 18th was optimistic) since I paid for 2 day shipping (no other shipping options were given). Nexus 7This turned out to be a joke. Google did start shipping pre-orders for the tablet on the 16th but also shipped the tablets to various retail stores on the 15th. This meant that despite preordering 3 weeks earlier, I could have walked into my local Staples, Future Shop or London Drugs and bought the tablet before I even had a tracking number. There was also apparently no way to cancel the preorders if a shipping label had been issued. This made sense, albeit frustrating, as my tablet was already likely on a pallet in a UPS warehouse. Google is also apparently charging a restocking fee if you refuse the delivery.

Lots of people were starting to get really upset with Google. Here was a great product, with an impressive launch, that wasn’t from Apple that people wanted to get. Then they fumbled it by screwing around some of their most ardent Android fans. You can read some of the comments I saw (and participated in) over at Mobile Syrup.

While I’m disappointed that my order didn’t get hear as fast as I would have liked, I’m more disappointed with Google’s handling of the situation. It’s a stark contrast from how Apple handles things and doesn’t bode well for how they’ll deal with other issues when they are the hardware provider…like dead pixels and bezels that are coming apart among other problems. My Nexus 7 seems fine so I’ll be keeping it but I’ve yet to hear anything from Google Canada, despite two attempts to contact them via their online form and it’s been weeks.

Great tablet, poor delivery execution.


  1. Duane Storey says:

    Is there some sort of Kindle app for the tablet/Android? I basically only use my iPad for reading books, so it would be cool to have another (smaller) tablet for doing that occasionally.

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