On the opening day of Google’s I/O 2012, the company announced a new Asus-branded tablet called the Nexus 7. It was hardly a surprise given the flood of leaks over the past few days, but I was eager to pick up a unit and tear open the box. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
The Nexus 7 sports a 7-inch, IPS (in-plane switching) screen, with a resolution of 1,280×800 pixels. The tablet is also the first 7-incher to house a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, which includes a 12-core GPU.
Rounding out the specs are a Micro-USB port, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2-megapixel front camera (no back camera included), a gyroscope, GPS, accelerometer, microphone, and 802.11a/b/g/n-compatible Wi-Fi.
And to top it all Nexus 7 houses the latest Android OS 4.1 aka Jelly Bean.
The Google Nexus 7 sports a great-looking screen that packs tons of pixels into a small space.
Look and feel
The device measures 10.45mm thick, weighs 0.7 pound, and has a textured, grippy backside with both “Nexus” and “Asus” embossed on it. Built by Asus, the Nexus 7 feels lighter than the Kindle Fire and the soft, textured back makes the tablet comfortable to hold.
The IPS screen has a wider viewing angle than the Kindle Fire and even wider than some 10-inch Android tablets. The 1,280×800 resolution packed into a 7-inch display gives visuals like text and graphics a sharper look than what I’m typically used to seeing on most 7-inchers.
The Nexus 7 looks thin, but is actually about as thick as most 7-inch tablets.
So far, so good. To be an iPad-killer, you’d need to gather a universe-sized amount of app support as just your first step. The Nexus 7 isn’t an iPad-killer, but it but it could be the first step on the road to a much more competitive tablet market.
The Nexus 7 is available now from the Google Play store starting at $199 for the 8GB storage configuration and $249 for 16GB. Units will ship in mid-July. Purchasing from Google Play also gifts you a $25 credit to spend on Google Play media.