I've had the 2013 Nexus 7 for more than a week now. This is coming from the iPad and, to come extent, the HP Touchpad. I've played with sub-10" tablets from time to time but never over an extended period of time. Now I have. And I am to about deliver some opinion about it.
First, let me talk about my expectations and I have a lot and they are high. I expect to do work on the Nexus. I expect much from Google Now. I also want it to it to serve my day-to-day schedules and happenings - you know, out-Siri Siri. I also want to use it for my entertainment needs -watching videos, read news and surf the Web, and play games.
Well, I can but with some adjustments to my workflow, learning new tools, looking for the right tools. The same could be said about my experience with the iPad. The difference here is the level of attention both companies give to their hardware and software design that ultimately determines the user experience.
Simplicity Versus Control
There is a certain fluid flow to iOS for the user. At times, it is almost indescribable. When it came to navigation around the iPad, that is the case for the apps and the touch applications. That can't be said about Apple's cloud and some of its core services.
That can be said about Google's core Android services but not the core apps. Nexus' UI experience has a familiar feel to it. If you know how to use a PC, you can almost immediately know how to operate an Android tablet. But that familiarity also mean that there is a level of complexity that require much higher learning curve that the average mobile warrior is willing or even capable of investing.
The other issue on the Nexus is the greater control that it offers the user. I can go into settings, go to the apps section and get a level of better control over the apps that on the iPhone. However, most users probably won't need that kind of control. This is why you will not see this on the iPad. This is why or will never see this level of control for some other services on the iPad either.
At the same time, having this level of control is fine if the user is savvy enough to use it. Personally, I am semi-geeky enough to appreciate it. On the iPad, the user can move or delete an app around by holding down on the app until it jiggles around.
That's the simplicity of the iPad has won it a large segment of tablet market. When Apple does add new features or update new ones, it takes a while for it to show up. When new features do show up, they may be limited but simple and easy to use.
But that simplicity is also why I've recommended to the less techy friends and family the iPads over other tablets.
Onto productivity. I have vowed to do half of the Google and Android posts on my Nexus. I've done that. The hardest part of working on tablets is the typing. Also, the level of sophistication of some of apps just are not there yet and may never be anything like that of desktop.
Be it on the iPad, Touchpad, or the Nexus, typing on the screen is par at best on my super days. I've grown to like typing on the iPad but almost never do it on the iPad mini. the same can be said about the nexus.
However, there is one trick Android has over the iPad and that the built-in SWYPE implementation. I started off this post clicking away on the Nexus using my index fingers slowly but switched to swiping on the keyboard layout and grew increasing more proficient over time. Trust me, you'll never ever see Apple give third party control key features like the keyboard.
So, I have written blogs, emails, chatted with knowledgeable Android users, and even work on docs. Oh, I have used the Nexus to read a lot of posts and articles. The screen size is almost perfect. The newer 1080p screen makes it the best Retina Display tablet for this size. There is indication that Apple may not release an iPad mini with Retina Display for another year.
I can say that Google has a winner with this Nexus 7. You can be productive on this tablet or other similar size tablets. It is not going to be easy and will need one to develop unique workflow to make the happen.
One more thing. the dictation feature on the Nexus is superb. Because you can use it without having Nexus go to Google every single time makes it by far a much more useful and versitile than joss devices.
I am not going to give up my iPad full time yet. Someday, right? Who knows what the future holds. Theft are just to many inherent advantages Apple have at this time. Apps, for instant. Using the Nexus feels like using a giant phone at times.
Given the price of the Nexus, starting at $229, I got the 32 GB version for $269, the above average build, and Google's version of Android, there is nothing like it on the market. Not from Apply, Amazon, or even frenemy, Samsung. This isn't quite a review of the the new Nexus 7 but I can wholeheartedly endorse it if it's a first rate tablet experience you're looking for our of the box.