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REVIEW: Nexus 7

Nexus 7


This past week I suffered a traumatic incident when I fumbled with my phone and it fell to the tile in my bathroom.  That’s what I get for trying to brush my teeth and read my emails at the same time.  I thought I was okay but then discovered the face of my screen had cracked.  I admit I might have gotten a little teary eyed.

As I was contemplating exactly what I was going to do to fix this, I wondered if now was the time to switch to the Android phone.  Angie James had done so, making the change from an iPhone to a Galaxy Note 2.  Sunita has the original Samsung Galaxy Note.  Both devices have something in common.  Their screens are really large.

Ned thinks I’m crazy to want a larger screen but I carry around a purse or some kind of pocket book at all times.  The size of the phone isn’t going to deter me. It’s a feature, I tell him, not a bug.

But while I searched the benefits and drawbacks of switching over, I stumbled across the Nexus 7 (a device I briefly encountered when I was drafting up last week’s post).  While I was able to repair the cracked phone screen for $49 (thank god for Apple Care), I ended up playing around with some Android devices, both the Samsung and the Nexus. You can’t tell in the photo how much better the screen on the Nexus versus the iPad Mini but it is. The text is crisper, the pictures more real.


Click for a bigger image

I was immediately struck with how amazing the Nexus 7 screen was and after leaving the store, I kept thinking about it. Finally, I justified the purchase of one by saying I could give it away on Dear Author.  But having played with it, I’m kind of reluctant to give it up.  Folks, this is a really cool device.

Before I talk about my impressions, let’s look at the specifications between the Nexus 7 (2013) and the iPad Mini.

Nexus 7
Apple iPad Mini
7″ 1920×1200 HD display (323 ppi)
7.9″ 1024×768 resolution (163 ppi)
WiFi / Bluetooth / NFC
WiFi / Bluetooth /
114 x 200 x 8.65 mm
200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm
0.64lbs (290g)
0.68 lbs (308 g)
16/32 GB  
16/32 /64 GB 
1.2MP front-facing camera / 5MP rear camera / 1080p HD video recording
1.2MP front-facing camera / 5MP rear camera / 720p HD video
$229 / $269
$329 / $429 / $529

I’ve been a long time Apple user but it has its limitations. For instance, to change the brightness of the screen, I have to go to find Settings.  This means leaving my current application, searching out the Settings app, scrolling down to find Brightness control and then swiping the brightness bar.  THEN I have to return to my previous application. Now, this is supposedly changing with iOS7 but in Android, you can change the brightness, as well as access a few other important settings, with a simple swipe of your finger in ANY application.  You don’t have to leave that application, but you can change the brightness right there.

NExus 7 Brightness

Another feature I really love is widgets.  Widgets are short cuts to Applications or other system functions.  On one screen you can have your calendar widget, email widget and direct dial widget along with your clock so you can easily see what you have to do and what messages you have at a glance.  The direct dial widget allows you to create a speed dial button on your home screen for your most frequently used contacts. You can also create a similar widget for your favorite text message recipients.

One of the drawbacks I read about moving away from the iOS was the complicated setups that phone companies put you through.  This is not the case with the Nexus 7 although it is not as seamless as the iOS devices I own.  When Nexus 7 starts up, you are prompted to select the country or language you wish to use and then you connect to the Internet. After you’ve connected to the Internet, there was a system update and I had to go through selecting the country and the Wi-Fi connection again.  From there it asked me if I had a Google account. I do but I have two step authentication turned on and this required me to enter my password whether one time and access my authentication program for the correct code. once that was completed,  the system restarted once again.

For reading, there are a few great reading Apps. You can peruse Brian’s list here that he updated just last month.  I particularly loved that with Monanto and Kindle, I could use the volume button to turn the page.  While I liked the ability to highlight and makes notes with the Adobe PDF App, I hated that the App showed a little gray box on the lower left side that showed the page number. It was highly irritating and I wouldn’t use the App for that reason.

I’m not a big gamer, but other reviews tout Nexus 7’s polygon interface. I have no idea what that means but yay?  I play Candy Crush.  Unfortunately being able to see candies more clearly on the Nexus 7 didn’t make me any better at the game.  It only made my disappointment at failing to advance, yet again, highlighted with brighter clarity.

But because Nexus allows profiles, I can make sure that no one else is trying to waste the lives on my version of Candy Crush.  And I can limit what apps are displayed if my daughter would use it.  Each person using the tablet to set their own profile up and thus have their own homepage and collection of Apps.

Finally, the Nexus 7 has a great feel to it. As you can see by the side by side pictures, the Nexus 7 is narrower and slightly longer than the iPad Mini.  The back is a grippy rubber texture v. the smooth metal back of the iPad Mini. Because of the smaller screen size, Nexus 7 shows you the mobile versions of websites at times.  Depending on your preference, the larger size of the iPad Mini might be better suited to your reading habits.

PDFs, ePubs, and Mobis are easy to read. Movies look great and the sound is okay. I read in other reviews that the Kindle Fire HD still has the best speakers of any tablet on the market.

There are a few drawbacks to the Nexus 7.  First, the higher resolution screen isn’t taken advantage of by all apps, meaning that some of the apps visuals will look fuzzy and less clear.  Second, The biggest drawback for me is that I have a lot of iTunes music and I watch a lot of Amazon Prime stuff. Neither of which I can do on the Nexus 7.

Right now, in a battle between the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7, the decision is almost a no brainer. At 229, over $100 less than the iPad Mini and offering a better screen, the Nexus 7 offers a better device at a much lower price.  For the Apple iPad Mini to stay competitive with its September release, it needs to roll out with a better screen and a lower price point.

Even though I’m reluctant to give it up, it seems like the perfect giveaway for August.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. François Pierre
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 15:56:24

    I read on a Kobo and it’s been great! I started on a iPad but it’s really with the Kobo that I converted to ebooks.

  2. Liviania
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 16:58:13

    I’m currently reading on a Kindle Paperwhite, which I love.

  3. Bube
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 17:30:53

    Kindle Paperwhite or digitally on my laptop :)

  4. Amie
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 18:21:57

    I do my reading on my laptop but I would love to have a tablet

  5. Jennifer S
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 18:22:49

    I’ve resisted a tablet so far but am getting closer to taking the plunge. Oh, the decisions!

    Awesome giveaway!

  6. Thomas
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 20:32:54

    I read on a $99 Polaroid tablet using the FBReader app.

  7. hapax
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 20:33:21

    I vastly prefer paper, but I have a Nook Simple Touch that I don’t absolutely hate. I need to get a tablet, though, because that’s what a lot of my patrons use, and they expect me to provide tech support.

  8. Amir
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 23:42:16

    I have a kindle keyboard but I hardly use it once I got an iPad. Now I bought a cheap 7 inch android tablet (Alcatel 7HD) for reading as it’s lighter than my iPad and I don’t really want an iPad mini. Plus, there are some advantages in android that you don’t get in iOS.

    I would love a Nexus 7 though as the specs are pretty impressive and I can give my other Android tablet to my sister :)

  9. Jeannie Ruesch
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 00:23:17

    I love my Kindle Fire — read everything on it. It’s a bit tough in bright sun, though — depending on the glare.

    And I too have considered the switch from iPhone to android… it’s about that time. I’ve seen the bigger screen of the Samsung and it looks pretty good!

  10. Karen
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 07:37:22

    I do most of my reading on a rooted Nook Color with CM7 (gingerbread). I love Android devices (my phone and music players are also Droids).

  11. Christina
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:01:51

    I read on my iPad (not sure which generation, it was new about a year ago) kindle app or if I’m bored somewhere on my iPhone kindle app.

  12. Aimee
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:52:19

    I’ve been looking at the Nexus 7, and I really love the design and features. I would love to win one of these. I love iOS, but I feel it is very restrictive in some aspects.

  13. Joleen
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 10:11:24

    It was my iPhone for the longest time and then my husband got a chance to bring home a 2nd gen iPad for a month, so I used that when I could. Now talk is more about a Nexus 7 now that he’s been comparison shopping. :) This would be so awesome to win!

  14. Lisa Marie Lima
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 10:32:58

    I am currently using the Mini iPad from Apple. Have to check out to Nexus tablet. Will research it more.

  15. Lada
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 11:06:28

    Used to read on my 1st gen iPad but it’s heavy for bedtime. Would love a new tablet like Nexus 7. I haven’t heard much about this one so thanks for bringing it up and giving one away, Jane!

  16. David
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 11:08:24

    iPhone for me too, but I’ve been looking at tablets. Think the Nexus 7 has an edge over the iPad mini in my case.

  17. LoriS
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 12:24:22

    I currently read on a Kindle Fire. My hub is reading on an old Kindle. Would love a tablet that has a better browser for me, or a tablet for the hub.

    Thanks as always for your generosity!

  18. Stacey T.
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 12:50:03

    I read on my NOOK HD+ — the one I paid full price for at Christmas which you can now get for half the price…

  19. Ggrace
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 13:52:14

    I mostly read on paper, but also read on Kindle. I would love to win a Nexus so I could download epub.

    Thanks for the contest.

  20. Lea Hynes
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 15:17:53

    I usually read my ebooks on my huge 17″ old laptop, not great for convenience’s sake. I was using my nintendo ds but my cat knocked it off the table a couple of months ago and bit by bit both screens stopped working.

    Now? Its the library for paper books and that laptop for the ebooks I have.

    Nexus 7 sounds amazing!!! My brother’s mobile is an android and its so much fun to be connected online almost all the time, and he reads his books on it too! (but that small screen would just give me a headache)

    Thank you so much for the chance!

    P.S. Is this open for international people?

  21. Shel
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 17:03:38

    I do my ereading on a kobo mini. Would love a tablet as well – great giveaway.

  22. Tessa
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 18:50:06

    I read mostly on my Kindle Keyboard. I have a 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD, but my son loves to play on it, so I hardly ever get a chance to read on it. Having another tablet would be awesome!

  23. Tessa
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 18:52:42

    I read mostly on my Kindle Keyboard, since my son is always wanting to use my 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD. Having another tablet would be awesome.

  24. Michelle D
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 18:54:20

    I’m currently reading on a Kindle Paperwhite. Love the backlight feature!

  25. Violet Bick
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 20:43:22

    I have the basic Kindle, which is so not a tablet. I’d like to see if if I’d like one, so I’ll happily try the Nexus 7 if I win. However, in all honesty, I really love books on paper the best. Portability and storage problems aside, every other aspect works better for me than an e-book. How can you flip through an e-book?

  26. Krista
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 22:07:47

    I read on a kindle fire because I won one. I like it, but my eyes would probably prefer to read on something with e-ink.

    Sorry to hear that it didn’t make you better at candy crush ;)

  27. Ada
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 22:47:42

    I’m still a physical paper copy kinda girl! I do have digital files but I have my Amazon Kindle Cloud reader on my laptop and no e-reader….yet!

  28. Kimberley
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 23:02:57

    I read on a Kobo Touch (and some paper, though I’m starting to get disconcerted by the presence of a left page), but due to rapidly crappifying eyesight, I’ve been seriously considering a tablet for the screen’s backlight and better resolution. I’ve been holding off because I’m not sure what else I’d use it for besides an e-reader, but I suppose that once I have one, I’ll find uses :)

  29. Anita H.
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 00:30:05

    I don’t read e-books, at least not yet. I’m still all about paper books. There’s nothing like holding the book and smelling the pages. Eventually I’m sure I’ll have to get into it but I’m not one to jump into new technology.

  30. Natasha R
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 09:31:47

    I have an eReader (Sony). But I find that I read more on my cell phone. It’s always with me so I can sneak a few pages in while I’m waiting for someone/something.

  31. Lynn K.
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 11:10:37

    iPod Touch! Occasionally the iPad when I can wrestle it off my sibling. I still read a lot of paper books too. :)

  32. EmilyW
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 12:35:33

    I read on the basic kindle and really love it. My next purchase will probably be a Kindle Fire. Unless I win this. :)

  33. vickie schultz
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 14:31:04

    I read from my IPAD with a Kindle and Nook apps!

  34. Arely Z.
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 15:54:45

    I currently read on a Kindle Paperwhite. One question though — I have an Android phone, and I saw that you were able to take a screenshot on the Nexus. Can you tell me how you did that?

  35. donna ann
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 18:51:01

    like the idea of reading on tablet so not limited in where I buy from or hassle with conversion/side loading as much .

  36. Liz Ostwald
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 19:38:03

    I read on my Kindle Fire, but I’ve been pondering an upgrade to the HD or to a real Android tablet of some sort.

  37. Anne F.
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 20:33:24

    My local trade/used bookstore closes next week, so it’s time to bite the bullet and go digital. I do have a Kindle app on my phone, but I’ve only used it in book emergencies (finishing a paperback while away from the house and not having a backup). I read so quickly that I end up spending all my time swiping to turn the page on the small phone screen, so a tablet is a must.

  38. Lori
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 20:38:48

    I’m currently reading on a Kindle Fire.

  39. Katha F
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 04:28:54

    I read on my iPhone with a kindle app.

  40. Jackie
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 13:18:15

    I recently upgraded my regular Kindle to a Kindle PaperWhite, and let me tell you, I never thought reading in the dark would be so lovely! :)

  41. Joanna YoucancallmeNoona (Young Kuang)
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 18:57:23

    I am reading on my Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7! :)

  42. Samantha
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 00:20:09

    I read on my Sony 600 but I have been wanting to switch to a tablet.

  43. Mariska
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 21:07:03

    i read on my samsung galaxy tab :)

  44. Katherine
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 20:36:14

    I am an all-digital, all the time reader. I have a stack of paperbacks that are gathering dust. Sad, really.

    I read on my iPhone, iPad mini and Kobo mini. I use the Kindle app, Kobo app, iBooks and Bluefire so that I am not locked into one platform. And I store all my ebooks in Dropbox.

  45. Marsha Alford
    Aug 13, 2013 @ 10:12:58

    I read on a NOOK and Kindle. Love them both!

  46. elaing8
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 00:07:38

    A Sony ereader or my Blackberry tablet

  47. Limecello
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 00:52:34

    I do everything on my iphone. I’d like to get a kindle paperwhite maybe… at some point. What I covet is an ipad mini that has retina display. Perhaps that’ll be the next version – are they coming out with a new ipad mini in September along with the iphone?
    Of course that will probably make the price go up even more, so I’ll just continue to covet :P

  48. Christina
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 05:17:13

    I read on my iPad Kindle app and sometimes on my iPhone too.

  49. Nicola W
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 05:57:49

    I love my Sony Ereader. It’s the 2nd one I’ve had because after almost constant use the battery stopped holding its charge.

  50. Laura K Curtis
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 08:11:22

    I read on anything that’s available. Seriously. For preference, I have a Kindle Paperwhite because long-term reading on backlit screens gives me a headache, but I also read on my Mac, on my iPad, on my Android phone, and, of course, in paper books. On the phone/iPad I tend to read things that I’ve gotten from places other than Amazon unless I am *so* into whatever I am reading on the Kindle that I just can’t give it up :)

  51. Patricia M.
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 08:49:01

    I got an iPad as a gift so that is what I use.

  52. MarieC
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 09:49:22

    Great Giveaway!

    I have a Kindle, but I still read paper books as well as on the computer.

  53. TerryS
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 10:23:58

    I love reading on my Kindle Fire HD. I finally figured out how to download audiobooks from my library and that makes the experience even better. (The Spymaster’s Lady is wonderful in audiobook!)

  54. CYP @ A Bookalicious Story
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:14:28

    I read on my iPhone! I’m still a student so I can’t buy my own ereader…yet! Haha I’m a fan of paperbacks though, so I prefer my solid books. But anyway, this is very generous of you! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :)

  55. Susan E
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 13:42:30

    I am an old fashioned paperback reader! I just haven’t found the right device to read on yet.

  56. Christine
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 15:33:14

    I read on a kindle paperwhite.

  57. kp
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 16:34:49

    I have a nook color and kindle paperwhite. I enjoy the kindle more!

  58. kp
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 16:35:37

    I have both a nook color and kindle paperwhite!

  59. Aman
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 20:57:24

    I have been thinking about a ebook reader for a while now but keep putting it off.

  60. Karrie M.
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 21:18:17

    I so want a tablet!!

  61. winnie
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 23:59:15

    I currently read digital books on my smartphone when commuting and on my laptop at home. I would love to have a tablet to read on as my laptop is quite bulky and the smartphone is a little small. Thank you for the awesome giveaway! :)

  62. Adnana J
    Aug 15, 2013 @ 02:53:15

    I read on my Kindle and on the Kindle App on my laptop. But I still love to curl up with a good old fashioned paperback every once and again.

  63. Jordan R.
    Aug 15, 2013 @ 21:03:07

    I’m about half and half between paper books and my regular old kindle. I’ve been looking into a tablet, but haven’t made the jump yet.

  64. Joanna K.
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 12:34:36

    I have a Nook HD+ but sometimes it gets a little too heavy. I’ve been comparing the 7 inch tablets and the Nexus 7 really fits what I’m looking for…especially with the microSD slot.

    Thank you for the giveaway, DearAuthor!

  65. Tanya S
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 12:13:30

    I read on my kindle keyboard because it is easier on my eyes. I play on the internet with my kindle fire 8.9.

  66. Lorraine from CA
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 17:52:14

    I read on a Kindle Paperwhite or a Sony prs 350.
    Thanks for the fantastic giveaway.

  67. Natasha R
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 14:15:16

    I succumbed to temptation and bought the Nexus 7. I love it! It’s a great device. I love that it lets you create profiles. My parents own an iPad and it’s missing this. So everyone gets to read my dad’s emails when we use the iPad!

    I live in Canada. Amazon Prime is not a worthwhile expense here. So getting the Nexus 7 was an easy decision to make.

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    Sep 11, 2013 @ 04:32:56

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