Over the last few years it has become somewhat of a mantra – a new 7″ Android tablet comes out, I buy it and quickly lose interest, sell it off for a minor loss, and repeat. I have gone from Samsung Galaxy Tab to HTC Flyer to Acer Iconia to Kindle Fire to Nexus 7 to Fire HD … but it all pretty much stopped with the iPad Mini. With the Mini I found the perfect intersection of a size I knew would work and the functionality I need. Still … I kept contemplating new Android tablets as I heard about them. But nothing was remotely compelling enough to consider buying – until the Nexus 7 2 (even with that stupid name). Here are some thoughts:
- Awesome, High-Res Screen: I mean, c’mon – a 1900 x 1200 pixel screen with 323 pixels per inch? Gorgeous screen that is perfect for everything media-related. Games, movies and so on.
- Packs Loads of Gaming Power: 2GB RAM, quad-core Snapdragon CPU with Adreno GPU, and stereo surround speakers. This is undoubtedly going to be the best 7″ gaming experience in a handheld system when it is released.
- Maybe THIS is The One?: with each passing year, more and more functionality appears in the Android Tablet OS and in apps. I am not an OS zealot – I have different things on my Mac & PC, so why not have Android for productivity and email and games, and iOS for music and games?
All of those things are true, and in times past would have been enough that I would have a Nexus 7 2 on pre-order. Yet as I sat on the Google Play Store site I paused, and then closed the tab. Several days later I have looked more than once, but never come close to ordering – why? Let’s take a look!
- Aspect Ratio is STILL All Wrong!: here is the bottom line – the Nexus 7 failed my ‘basic productivity test’ because it was too narrow in portrait mode, and too short in landscape. As I said, this would need to work for me as a productivity tool, so having decreased usability in office apps, WordPress, and so on really makes the Nexus 7 hard to justify. That was the case last year and once again the screen remains designed for movies rather than productivity …
- Android STILL Missing Major App Categories: Apple baked in Core Audio and Core MIDI, and allowed AudioBus to provide inter-app routing of audio signal processing. By comparison, Android is a laggy mess devoid of even remotely useful music production tools. Other things are missing, but music is hampered by an inherent lack of capability and that is a capability I want and need.
- Tablets will NEVER be the focus of Android: I know it gets better every year, but STILL the apps I am seeing for Android tablets are just stretched phone apps. There isn’t the market to support Android tablet software at the same level as smartphones and, as a result, apps we do get lack the tablet-centric feel of iPad apps. And lets face it, on a bigger screen an app ought to offer more flexibility the way many iPad apps do compared to their iPhone versions
- Whatever Amazon Does Will Be Better: OK, so ‘better’ is subjective, but I prefer the Kindle Fire HD to the Nexus 7 – and so does the broader market- by quite a wide margin. The Fire HD had a better aspect ratio, better feel and much better sound system than the original Nexus 7- and IT didn’t have the laggy slow-down that happened over time to the Nexus 7. Rumors have the next Fire HD arriving with even better specs, and given how great the ‘Special Offers’ were through Amazon, it is worth the wait.
- Games and other apps STILL come to iOS first: aside from basic productivity stuff, I use my iPad for data analysis on the go. While it lacks the full functionality of my laptop, having JMP Graph Builder and Stats Pad to do ANOVA, regression, and basic analyses provides me amazing utility. None of thse apps are on Android. Also, XCOM and Deus Ex just released for iOS … and may or may not jump to Android. Quite simply – gaming and apps on Android compared to iOS is like gaming on a Mac compared to a PC: longer wait, smaller selection.
If you note, I am not putting down the technical aspects of the Nexus 7 2, nor am I saying that for some people it won’t be an awesome product. In fact, I know someone at Gear Diary has pre-ordered one – so it will be interest to read impressions and see how long it lasts before hitting eBay.
What are your impressions of the new Nexus tablet? Do you plan to buy one? Let us know in the comments!