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Google Nexus 7

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 Google Nexus 7 Available now
27th June 2012

The Google Nexus 7 is an Android 4.1 ("Jelly Bean") tablet with a seven inch display, available for pre-order in most English-speaking countries right now and due to start shipping in the US in July.

This form factor has proven very popular with the Amazon Kindle Fire, in part because a 7" tablet is easier to hold than a 10" one, and in part because a 7" tablet is also very much cheaper to buy. With prices starting at $199 in the US (with a $25 Google Play voucher at launch) and £159 in the UK (with a £15 voucher), the Nexus 7 is a very affordable device.

Google have contracted ASUS to build their Nexus 7 device, despite owning Motorola who already have a couple of decent tablets on the market. ASUS however have one of the fastest Android devices around with the their 10" Transformer Prime tablet, and are a therefore good choice for the Nexus 7.

The display on the Nexus 7 is a 7" 800 x 1280 pixel panel with scratch-resistant Corning glass. There's a front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera for video calling but no camera on the back. Inside is a powerful quad-core Tegra 3 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The Nexus 7 has a choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal non-expandable flash storage, which isn't a massive amount, and therefore it's a shame that there is no microSD slot.

 Google Nexus 7 The Nexus 7 is a WiFi-only device, although you could easily pair it with a mobile hotspot capable smartphone. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are included, and the Nexus 7 also has GPS (so you can use it as an oversized navigation device) and NFC.

Overall, the Nexus 7 weighs a relatively light 340 grams, measures 199 x 120 x 10.5mm and packs a 4325 mAh battery capable of giving up to 8 hours of use.

The operating system is the latest Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean", and because this is a "Nexus" tablet then you can pretty much guarantee that it will get all the latest updates for a long time to come. Android 4.1 has improved search and voice support and some clever improvements to the overall experience, and Google say that it is faster and smoother to use.

 Google Nexus 7 Google also say that Jelly Bean should be available for the Motorola XOOM, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S devices starting in mid-July. If having Android 4.1 over an earlier version is important to you, then this is the tablet to go for - don't bother waiting to see if rivals will produce an update because the chances are that you will be disappointed.

Google's main competitor here is Amazon rather than Apple, and it's likely in part that Google have seen that Amazon's Kindle Fire product is very good at driving consumers to make more purchases (such as books and videos) from Amazon, and Google would quite like a slice of that business for themselves.

One final consideration is this - if you're considering a big-screen smartphone to carry about everywhere, you could probably buy a Nexus 7 and a low-end Android device for tethering at a much cheaper price. The 5.3" 16GB Galaxy Note retails for about £390, the 7" 16GB Nexus 7 retails for £199 (about half the price) and all it lacks is 3G support. Given that's it is possible to pick up a basic Android phone for less that £100 now, you could get a phone and a decent tablet for less than the cost of the Galaxy Note.

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Google Nexus 7 at a glance

Available:

Q3 2012

Network:

None

Data:

WiFi

Screen:

7.0" 800 x 1280 pixels

Camera:

1.2 megapixels (front)

Size:

Medium tablet

199 x 120 x 10.5mm / 340 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

None (8GB or 16GB internal)

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Optional

GPS:

Yes

OS:

Android 4.2

Battery life:

8 hours active use (4325 mAh cell)

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