Thursday, July 25, 2013

Google's new Nexus 7

Ifr you missed the announcement on Wednesday, Google has replaced the Nexus 7 with the Nexus 7.

It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro--quad core CPU and Adreno 320 GPU with 2 GB of RAM total to power the 1920x1200 pixel resolution display.

The older one used an nVidia Tegra 3 quad+1 core CPU with nVidia's own GPU and a 1280x800 pixel display.

Obviously, it's quite a change.  Having had two of the previous version and returning them for various reasons, I wonder if the newest version will please.  Hopefully, they won't have any quality issues because there were plenty early in each run.  Thankfully, they went with the current 16 and 32 GB storage options.  I also wonder about performance issues.

The older one left me wondering whether I had a defective device or not.  It would be smooth for the longest time (like I'd not seen from Android) and suddenly, it would pause a couple of seconds, and start again suddenly.  There never seemed to be a pattern, and it happened with both the 16 GB version that was then top of the line and after being replaced at the top, the 32 GB version.  You'd think that nVidia (and Google) would have noticed that in testing.

I'm amused at the Apple fanatics who say that there is nothing to the Nexus 7 in comparison to the iPad mini.  What are they missing?  The iPad mini wasn't competition for the original Nexus 7, so how is it that it beats the newer one?  (Update 2013.10.25: Obviously the revised iPad mini with the higher resolution (the same as the full-sized iPad) display is on a more even testing ground with the newer Nexus 7.  Given that both the newer iPad mini and newer Nexus 7 have very powerful processing available, it's simply a matter of taste.  Oh, and the US$170 difference leads to some powerful thoughts.  Google is trying to sell their ecosystem and services while Apple is trying to sell hardware.)

I like Apple products and I was disappointed with the iPad mini by the time it arrived.  There were rumors about the time of the second generation iPad and a 7-8 inch mini version with a 1024x768 pixel display was reasonable then.  As time passed, the specifications remained the same, and the processor was barely newer.  Adding insult to injury, they wanted a premium price for it.  I had zero desire to buy one.

Having had two Nexus 7 tablets and feeling a bit cheated by the experience, I'm not sure I want a tablet at all but I feel it's a good way to display my photos.  If I buy a tablet, it's going to be from 7-8 inches for the display.  The Nexus 7 and iPad mini would still be the likely items.

Right now, Apple is having trouble lining up displays for the iPad mini, so they need to have a fire sale because I don't see how they're going to sell what's now a US$149 tablet using Android.

Update 2013.11.14: I tried the 2013 version of the Nexus 7 briefly and found it to be more agreeable than the 2012 versions.  Even though there is a rather massive difference in display surface area, I'm not sure it's going to be a huge deal for people wanting a tablet that they can hold in one hand.  While I was in Micro Center yesterday, I saw people buying a US$50 tablet as though it would solve everyone's deepest needs.  I suspect, being that cheap, the people behind the tablet have zero mechanisms for dealing with software updates so what you see is what you get, even if you somehow naively think you're getting a Nexus 7 equivalent.

Update 2013.12.03: I've had a 2013 Nexus 7 for a couple of weeks.  It's everything I hoped with none of the bad.  The fact that I got it US$30 cheaper than the regular price helped sway me to part with the money.  The new iPad mini is good, but not very good, and for less money, the 2013 Nexus 7 is so much better.  It's the tablet I expected from Apple before they even had anything ready for the public.  It's too bad that Apple decided to raise the price, rather than dropping it.  Of course, Google raised their price also, but the new tablet is much, much better than the 2012 version.

Update 2014.03.15: I've had my Nexus 7 for a few months.  It got the Android 4.4.2 update not long after I bought it.  I still have my doubts about Android.  It works as though it is tested for functionality, but not for the user experience at all.  The 2012 Nexus 7 is evidence of that.  If anyone had actually tried that tablet, they never would have let it go to market.

Still, in a casual setting, the newer Nexus 7 is stable and except for the occasional glitch performs well.  For games, a lot is dependent on the game but they all seem more unhappy than their iOS relatives.  That's sad because this is the Google tablet.  If they can't get Android to perform correctly on products labeled as their own, how can they handle other products correctly?

Update 2015.04.27: The Nexus 7 has been said to no longer be available via Google.  It's surprising that they didn't replace it already, but it doesn't look as though they care to replace it at all.

With the latest Android version 5.1, mine doesn't seem to be working all that well, even though that was the performance fix release for 5.0.  I can only imagine how horribly the 2012 version of the tablet is struggling to work.  Maybe, it is time to call it quits.

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