Hands-On Video Review of Google Nexus 7 Gaming Experience

When it was announced that the Google Nexus 7 was going to have the nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a multi-core high-performance GPU, I had a very simple thought go through my mind: mmmmmmmm Games …

Now that I have the Nexus 7, I was able to put it through the gaming paces – and within a few hours I noted performance good enough that I decided to do a separate look at several games rather than just embed it into my overall review.

Here are the games I looked at along with links to Google Play:
ShadowGun THD
Avadon The Black Fortress
Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation
Grand Theft Auto III
CrossWorlds: the Flying City

With each game I show loading times, graphics, gameplay and make some comments based on what I am experiencing and how the game ‘feels’ compared to other platforms (none of these are ‘exclusives’). Check out the video:

As noted in the video there are some good and bad elements about the gaming performance. The optimized ShadowGun showed the best graphics and performance, but suffered a bit of audio stuttering. GTA III was also quite solid, and once I managed to get Modern Combat 3 running it also worked well. Fieldrunners and Crossworlds I expected to perform well – and they did. Avadon was rather disappointing, and honestly performed WORSE than the Kindle Fire. It is a reminder that all things being equal … all things are NEVER equal!

One thing I didn’t mention in the video but HAVE discussed before is that I have always thought that a solid 7″ tablet running iOS or Android would totally destroy my need for any PSP or DS style system. I tend to use my iPad like a ‘gaming laptop’, but with the Nexus 7 I have found the first Android tablet worthy of being a full-time gaming replacement!

Of course, even THAT needs a caveat – games such as Mass Effect: Infiltrator and several GameLoft games are not compatible with the Nexus 7 … yet. All I can hope is that the popularity of the device lead developers to tweak their games to work on the tablet. Because if something with this much power and buzz can’t galvanize developers then I don’t think anything will.

If you are looking for a solid gaming device for $200, the Nexus 7 is a worthy alternative to the DS or PSP.

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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3 replies

  1. It looks like one of the issues for Android gaming is going to be screen detection. Between resolution, density, and aspect ratio, you could end up with a game developer making assumptions that are true one day and false the next.
    Last year, you could assume any tablet with the resolution of the Nexus 7 was a 10″ Tegra 2 device and you’d author to that assumption. Now, that’s going to cause some pain. Just a few months ago, if a program detected a 7″ screen, they could assume a certain aspect ratio; now that’s inaccurate as well.

    I’m not sure how well Android devs are going to adapt to this Windows-like model of varying hardware, but it is beginning to look like they’re at least trying to.

    • Agreed – I think that is definitely one of the issues I experienced. The optimization for varying graphics cards is another. Like you say … very ‘Windows Like’ – but from BEFORE DirectX did a good job abstracting this stuff.

      • Unfortunately, a hardware abstraction layer would suck down the battery life by a not insignificant amount. Ah, the days before DirectX worked…what a nightmare of config.sys editing.