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Friday, August 3, 2012

One Week With The Google Nexus 7!

We have had a week to play with a Nexus 7, well four actually, and WOW. Google and Asus have worked miracles with this thing. It's not 100% perfect, but it is one of the best Android based tablets out!

Read our impressions after the jump!
Well lets start with a small bit of backstory. In May of last year I bought myself an Acer Iconia A500, a 10 inch Tergra 2 tablet. My mind was blown at the time. I had no issues with the screen and had everything you could want in a tablet, including a full sized USB port. Well, early last month, I decided to eBay my tablet to raise funds for my Nexus 7. Other staff members and thier wives (mine included) did the same.

Once the Nexus 7's arrived, it was a matter of instant unlocking and rooting, which was easy since it's a Nexus! Now even though I do miss my full sized USB port, there is no way to fit that on the Nexus! It's just too thin. Instead, the sole micro Usb port supports USB-OTG, so with the right cable, just about any USB device and be plugged in! So far I have tried a mouse, keyboard, Nyko Wii USB network adapter, flash drives, flash readers, and my computer and every one of them worked!

For those who still don't know.... the specs:

Screen
7” 1280x800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning glass
1.2MP front-facing camera
Size
198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
Weight
340g
Wireless
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
Memory
8 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
1 GB RAM
USB
Micro USB
Battery
4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)
OS
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
CPU
Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
Features
Microphone
NFC (Android Beam)
Accelerometer
GPS
Magnetometer
Gyroscope

As you can see, it's no slouch. Now it is using the lowest of the Tegra 3 chipsets at 1.3Ghz, but it still runs circles around most tablets.

How about some game tests?

Blazing Star
I have played this game on the Neo-Geo a few times and once I heard it was available on Play Market, I knew it would mine! A couple of Google credit bucks later and I was happy! It plays just like I remember it, minus the arcade cabinet!

Dead Space
Not a bad looking game! it looks just like it did on my A500, but plays smoother. BUY IT!

Max Payne
Consider me shocked! This game brought my PC to it's knees a decade ago using lesser settings! This game is spot on visually and plays awesome on the Nexus 7! the only way it could be better is if Rockstar would give me mouse and keyboard suppor!

Riptide GP
Another game I bought for my A500. This game was originally just Tegra 2 optimized, which looked console quality already. Watching the Tegra 3 optimizations made me giigle with joy! It just looks that much better and still as smooth at (project) butter!

R-Type
A personal favorite, R-Type plays the same as it did on my A500, and countless outher consoles (I own like 6-10 versions of this game!)

Sonic 4 Episode 2 THD
WOW, I have episode one on my Lumia 900, but the Tegra 3 version of the game is AMAZING looking. Control wise, not as good. I can't compare it to the non Tegra version without buying it, but from the screenshots, there is at least a huge resolution jump!

ShadowGun
Already owned the original Tegra 2 variant, which then became the everything but Tegra 3 version. It plays smoother than it did on my A500, but no Tegra 3 optimizations :( but still looks amazing!

The Dark Knight Rises
Not a Tegra game, but it sure does look good. Gameplay similar to the Rocksteady Batman games, this one has a story LOOSLY based on the recent movie.

Now, not all games will play nice. All of the Gameloft games I bought on my A500 will not play. I have no intentions of buying them again, so no N.O.V.A., N.O.V.A. 2, Asphalt 6, or Hero of Sparda for me.

On to some other things...

Google Wallet works great! Want to freak out some people? Go to a small town and by something using your Nexus 7, it's worth it to see the reaction!

Splashtop HD is used quite often by me, and it still works! I have to adjust to a smaller screen, but a couple of my posts were made using my Nexus to access my PC. Just awesome!

Sideloading Adobe Flash with Firefox will get you Flash support. Well worth it as it'll be a long while before the internet dumps flash.

So, with everything I wrote, there has to be something I didn't like right? Well there is a few things. I HATE the lack of a Micro SD slot. I used a 32GB card on my A500 to house movies, music, and other stuff.  Also I would LOVE HDMI support. Adding MHL support could have been a cheapish add on.  I could alsouse a second micro USB port, so I can charge and use a OTG device at the same time. Lastly, while barly used by me, a rear camera would have been nice for Google Goggles.

Now I am not rating this device since this is not an actual review, but it is definatly worth your money.

A small note. Some people have had issues with screen lift. Out of 4, mine has a tiny bit, but it's unobtrusive. Also, some people have reported some stuttering in some games. I had the same issue is Sonic 4 ep2 and The Dark Knight Rises, but was fixed by booting into CWM (I'm rooted remember) and cleared both Cache and Dalvik Cache. Everything is smooth now.
This story may be updated to add new info, other staff members opinions or ratings.


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