Google Nexus 7 Reviews: High Quality for $200

Following Google's announcement of its own tablet yesterday, reviewers have gotten some hands-on time with the device, finding it a higher quality machine than some other $200 tablets we could name.

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Following Google's announcement of its own tablet yesterday, reviewers have gotten some hands-on time with the device, finding it a higher quality machine than some other $200 tablets we could name. Okay, we're referring to Amazon's Kindle Fire, which sells for that same low price. Though that's a nice retail price for the Kindle Fire, the general consensus of the device was "you get what you pay for," with critics calling it cheap beyond its price. At least from these preliminary reviews, the Nexus sounds like a better value.

It feels more expensive than other cheap tablets, explains AnandTech's Brian Klug:

I have handled a number of recent tablets big and small, and some feel downright cheap to me thanks to the back plastic. I would not have guessed that the Nexus 7 is a $199 device based on how it feels.

The rubber back actually makes the Nexus look and feel more lux, adds Engadget's Tim Stevens:

Okay, so there's more polycarbonate than panache here, but the design of the Nexus 7 feels reasonably high-end, starting with that rubberized back. Yes, it is rubber, but it's very nicely textured, nice enough to fool one tech journalist into thinking it was leather.

Though, it still feels like a tablet for the masses, says The Telegraph's Matt Warman:

Indeed, it’s the design of the product that makes Google’s mass market ambitions clear ... This is a device that feels cooly utilitarian rather than luxurious. But Google is not the web search engine for a minority of users; it has always aimed to be ubiquitous. And with Nexus 7, it wants to make the ubiquitous tablet. The 7” screen does everything it needs to with a resolution of 1280 x 700px, and at 340g it weighs enough to feel substantial without.

It managed to get the same $200 price as the Kindle Fire with even more features, notes The Washington Post's Hayley Tsukayama:

The Nexus 7 beats its closest competitor, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, in some ways: adding a front-facing 1.2 MP camera, a microphone and a physical volume rocker. Also, one of Google’s biggest OS announcements was the addition of a much deeper vocal search.

Looking at all the specs they crammed in there, it's incredible Google got the price that low, adds Klug:

When you look at the above specs, it seems puzzling that ASUS was able to get the price down to $199 so effectively. Getting to that lower price point is easier with a few things - physically smaller device and display, exclusion of full size USB or other ports (there's only microUSB), no rear facing camera, and good commodity component sourcing. The added plus is that if you run 1280 x 800 at a smaller size, out comes a pretty high DPI panel at the same time. Other than that though, you end up getting a device which is actually very impressive otherwise, with a quad core SoC and attractive form factor.

It didn't even compromise as much as it could have, argues Stevens:

Budget tablets typically make the biggest sacrifices on the display front, and certainly the 1,024 x 600 resolution on the Kindle Fire feels a bit constricting at this point. Not so with the Nexus 7, which is fronted by a very nice 1,280 x 800 IPS panel rated at 400 nits of brightness.

Though, we'll have to wait for full hands-on moments to really test this guy out, says Warmann:

Battery life is claimed to be 9 hours of video playback – although I’ve not had long enough with the device to test that, getting those sorts of basics right will be crucial.

That said, it looks poised to overtake the Kindle, he continues:

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet feels like the device that might just usurp the Kindle.

Though, there is one very important place Amazon wins, counters Steven:

The Nexus 7 is an amazing package for something that costs a penny less than $200. It feels like something that could sell for much more. It has a great screen, solid performance and a clean, clear, uncluttered version of Google's latest operating system, Jelly Bean. From a pure hardware standpoint it beats the Kindle in every way possible -- except for content.

Rumormongers say Amazon will come out with a Kindle Fire 2 this summer, perhaps upping the quality of its not-so-luxurious product. And, we will see more reviews and more pros and cons of the Nexus as more techies get the tablet. But these early opinions have the Nexus 7 as a better device (with lesser content) for the same price.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.