Google Nexus 7

I wanted an iPad Mini. I really did. Obviously since I'm in that Apple ecosystem, it would make sense. I even had an iPad and some great apps to go with it. But when it came down to it, the screen (or lack thereof) was a huge letdown.  While I can guess as to why the iPad Mini didn't get the high ppi "retina" display (cost, battery), I think it was a big mis-step for those of us who are already used to the retina quality displays.

This brings me to my alternate purchase: Google's Nexus 7. I had wanted to explore the Android ecosystem, and didn't necessarily want to give up my phone. I also wanted the "pure Android" experience.  I tried a Motorola "droid". I tried a Samsung Galaxy (S III to be specific). I also was sorely disappointed and those devices quickly reenforced my belief that iOS was simply superior in every way. But the pure Android Nexus 7 was drastically different. It is clean, works well, and also sports the very latest Android OS - Jelly Bean (which the Droid X2 isn't going to get and the S3 was waiting on Samsung to put its "skin" on top of it-- ie, fuck it up). 

It also sports a high ppi screen and side-by-side with the iPad is drastically glorious (216ppi). It's also $130 cheaper. It also sports built-in GPS.  It also has a 8:5 aspect ratio which is pretty nice for video.  So those 3 things combined made a pretty amazing argument to give it a go.  It hasn't, however, been without some sacrifice.


The Good

  • High PPI display
  • The Latest Android OS
  • Built-in GPS
  • Pure Google Android (no skin- or "taint" as I like to call it).
  • Decent App Catalog
  • Google Now is pretty neat
  • Google Integrated apps]
  • I like the way notifications are done along with widgets and quick access to settings.

The Bad

  • Takes forever to charge (3+ hours and only if you use the USB cord and adapter)
  • Battery Life. I can get about a day and a half with light use. My original iPad would go weeks.
  • Build Quality. It's not terrible, but it is certainly not Apple quality. Feels nice, but a bit on the chintzy side.
  • App Quality. Most iOS apps simply have more polish. Even Google's own apps (gmail for example) are miles better on iOS. What's up with that?

Conclusion

Overall I like the Nexus 7. And for $200? It's a pretty sweet tablet. I do like the UI, but I can't stress enough how much of a difference it makes to use Google's pure Android experience over manufacturer taints. Now if the iPad Mini had a retina display, would I pay the extra $130? That would be a much, much tougher decision.

Have your own opinion or experience? Please share in the comments. I'd love to hear it!