What I Use: Google Nexus 7

I bought a 8GB Google Nexus 7 last week and I can say that I am surprisingly impressed by it. I love using it more than I thought I would. I’ve actually been using it more than I use my iPad these days. Do I see it completely replacing my iPad (which I view as an alternative to a laptop for my needs)? No, but it does meet the practical, content consumption needs I have for a tablet.

Dell Streak 7 next to Nexus 7

Keep in mind, that this is not my first adventure into the wonderful world of 7-inch Android tablets. I had a Dell Streak 7 that originally ran Gingerbread and I upgraded it to Honeycomb. The Dell Streak 7 was nice but it wasn’t great (obviously since Dell discontinued it). I also had a chance to play around with a Kindle Fire. Did not like the experience at all. The Kindle Fire pretty much locks your user experience into the world of Amazon, which is not bad if you choose to live in that world. The Nexus 7 makes playing in the world of Google easy but also gives you a lot of freedom to customize the device as you please.

iPad 2 next to Nexus 7

All the apps that I use regularly where available in the Android Market…ooops, I mean Google Play store. The only app that was not available was SkyDrive. Also, the OneNote app, which worked on other versions of Android, crashes as soon as it opens on my Nexus 7. Hopefully, this will be fixed soon (are you listening Microsoft?).

I really didn’t have the opportunity to get much hands-on experience with Ice Cream Sandwich, but compared to Gingerbread and Honeycomb, Jelly Bean is amazing. The battery life is also amazing. I have only charged this up once since I’ve had it. It is easy to carry around and slip into my pocket. Still looking for a good case for it. The only downside (but not a deal-breaker) of the Nexus 7 is the lack of a micro-SD slot to expand the device’s storage capabilities. If you keep most of your content in the cloud, this is not an issue.
If you are looking to get a tablet and can’t afford an iPad, don’t waste your money on cheap, no-name tablets. You’ll have a bad first experience that may affect your opinion about Android and tablets down the road. At $199 for the 8GB model and $249 for the 16GB model, the Google Nexus 7 is the best, entry-level tablet experience you can have right now.

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