A review for an Android device is probably the last thing you’d expect to read on iDB. For those of you who are paying attention though, you probably noticed Jeff’s review of the device a couple weeks ago, and now that I’ve been using the Nexus 7 for a about two weeks myself, I’d like to share my thoughts with you.

Of course iDB is an Apple-focused blog. Of course we are biased towards the iPad and just about everything iOS, but when a device like the Nexus 7 comes out, we feel that we owe it to ourselves and to our readers to have a look at it. After all, it’s good to have a point of comparison, especially if we are going to look down on Android as we often do here.

Now that we have the housekeeping stuff out of the way, let’s dig into this brief and honest review of the Nexus 7. Does it live up to the hype? Is Android better than iOS? Can the Nexus 7 replace my iPad? A few questions and more that will be answered in the next paragraphs…

Admittedly, I had never used an Android device for more than a few minutes so I was very excited about finally getting my hands on one. I was also pretty excited to try something new because I’ve been using iOS devices for the last 5 years, and to be honest, it does feel boring at times because it’s always the same – iOS UI hasn’t changed one bit since it launched in 2007.

The Form Factor

Maybe even more importantly, I was excited at the prospect of finally getting rid of my new iPad. Don’t get me wrong. I love the iPad. It’s a great device and all, but for what I do, it is too much. In my review of the new iPad, I noted my main grip against Apple’s latest tablet: its size and weight. It’s 6.5% thicker and 8% heavier than the iPad 2, and to me, this is a huge deal. Kind of a deal breaker.

Now to be completely fair, I have to disclose what I do on my iPad. Emailing, light web browsing, tweeting, and news reading is basically all I do on my iPad. I sometimes edit pictures. I rarely, if ever, use it to create content, I don’t watch videos, and I don’t play games. If I need to get some work done, I either get at my desk or I use my MacBook Air. More often than not, my iPad is sitting on the coffee table, untouched for days while I’m using my iPhone to do everything I wish I could do on something bigger than an iPhone, yet smaller than an iPad. The Nexus 7 was what I had been waiting for for months now.

Just like I expected, the Nexus 7 feels great in my hand. It’s not too small, not too big. It’s actually the perfect size for what I do. You can hold it in one hand for a long period of time without feeling like you’re going to develop a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sporting a back panel made of plastic, it just fits well in your hand, and is much less likely to slip out of your hand than the iPad. As noted by Jeff in his review, I also love the back made of plastic because it is much less prone to get scratched than the iPad.

To be clear and straight to the point here, this 7-inch device’s main strength is its size! If it wasn’t for it, I doubt I would have even bought it in the first place, but I really needed to find a replacement for my big fat iPad 3.

This being said, size matters, but only to a certain extent. As Steve Jobs put it, “if the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software is their soul”. I will spare you the technicalities of the specs of the device because I don’t care about that kind of information. With Apple products, I’m used to using devices that just work and I was expecting the same from the Nexus 7’s Android.

Android is Awesome!

My Nexus 7 is sporting Android 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean, which to my knowledge is the latest Android version currently available to the public. The initial setup was a breeze. All I had to do was basically enter my Google Account password and there I was on my way to use the tablet. I don’t think Google could have made this part more straightforward.

Pushing the right buttons

The first think I really noticed was that unlike the iPad/iPhone, you don’t only rely on one physical Home button for your navigation, but you actually have three capacitive buttons: Back, Home, and App Switcher. Tucked at the bottom of every screen where they can be needed, these capacitive buttons took me a minute to get used to, but after a while, I found them much more useful than Apple’s one and only Home button. Clicking, double clicking, clicking and holding the Home button can get a little confusing and sometimes lead to unwanted actions on iOS. There is none of that on Android. You know exactly what you’re going to get when tapping one of these non-physical buttons.

My favorite one is probably the App Switcher (or whatever this is called on Android). It provides you with a few thumbnails of recently used applications and to me, this is more helpful than Apple’s implementation of app switching (a row of four app icons). Not having to double click all the time to switch from one app to another definitely is a plus, at least in my own experience.

Keyboard and autocorrect

Something else I love about Android is the keyboard, and more specifically its autocorrect feature. As an iOS user yourself, I don’t have to explain to you how painful autocorrect can be on iOS. It just doesn’t work. Android handles autocorrect suggestions in a much better way by giving you three different options to choose from. More often than not I didn’t even have to touch anything because Android was that good at figuring out what I was trying to say. Coming from the terrible iOS autocorrect, this felt like night and day. Definitely a good point for Android.


Speaking of good points for Android, let’s talk about Widgets. I know there is a lot of hatred towards widgets on iOS. Everyone but a few jailbreak users seem to think that widgets would be overkill on the beautiful and sleek iOS UI. Yes, widgets definitely feel “Windowsy” but they’re pretty darn helpful. I love having a widget for email on the Home screen of my Nexus 7. Launching the app is no more needed every time a new email comes in. I can just have a quick look at it and see what it’s about, then I can choose take action on it or not. You can use widgets for most applications. Twitter addicts will definitely like that!

So far, everything looks good for Jelly Bean, but you may have noticed that my Android likes are more about the small things than the bigger picture. Because when you start digging in and using Android for a longer period of time, it seems that the bads slowly overtake the goods…

Android Sucks!

I switched to Mac computers about two years ago. Before then, I was a Windows user and I loved it. That was until I got my first iMac. I never looked back, and today, you’d have to pay me big bucks to have me use a Windows PC.

Back to my Windows days

When I turned the Nexus 7 on for the first time, it reminded me of Windows. The little animations, the terrible sounds, the Home screen were all reminiscent of my old Microsoft days, and it all felt like nails on a chalkboard. This is obviously a personal preference. Some people will love it, some people won’t care, and some people, like me, will dislike it.

Besides that, the first few days of daily usage were great, but when the novelty effect wore off, I came to realize that I really don’t like Android. The way Android works or looks doesn’t appeal to me. Again, this is all based on my personal preferences.


There are many inconsistencies in the software. Some things work well for a minute, and then magically stop working. Some things simply don’t make much sense to me. For example, I was trying to disable the keyboard clicks sounds. Logically, the first place I looked at was the “Sounds” settings. Nope, nowhere to be found in this section. Instead, click sounds settings are buried deep inside the Keyboard settings. It could sorta make sense, but to me, it makes more sense to put every sound settings under Sounds. No? Details like that were driving me insane.

I guess using an Android device would be great for someone who has never experienced iOS. Assuming you have an iPhone or iPad, you know how smooth everything is. A good smoothness test I like to perform is by scrolling up and down on a web page. iOS is great at this. Android is just very inconsistent. It scrolls funny. The same gesture sometimes gives you different scrolling speeds. Again, some obvious inconsistencies that make it look like a half baked product.

The Play Store

A new tablet is great, but if you don’t have apps to use on this tablet, it’s useless. Upon launching the Play Store, I was pleasantly surprised by its layout. It’s pretty and well designed. But again, when you start using it, you realize it’s not very friendly. For example, I couldn’t figure out how to sort app search results. Not a big deal, I thought, as I started looking for a few apps to perform my basic tasks (RSS reader, Twitter).

Because the search feature sucks so bad in the Play Store, I started googling “best rss reader/twitter apps for Android,” which returned several good results. So I downloaded a bunch of apps and started comparing. Oh boy was it bad.

Android apps

I’m not sure what it is with Android apps but I couldn’t find one single app that I would have deemed satisfying, both on a practical and esthetic level. From the 20 or so Android apps I downloaded and tried, none of them seemed to work well. And for those that actually kinda worked, they were too freaking ugly for me to even dare using them. The RSS reader app I downloaded and resigned myself to use for example (can’t even remember its name), was looking alright, but it would take over a minute to sync my stuff from Google Reader. I sometimes grabbed my iPhone and used Reeder instead because I just didn’t want to wait here for my news to arrive.

Try looking for a decent Twitter app for Android that works… Good luck with that. I used TweetDeck for a minute until I realized you couldn’t even delete an account from the app once you had set it up. I mean, is this acceptable? Not in my world. After bitching about it on Twitter, a few people recommended I use specific Twitter/RSS apps, but all of those were not compatible with my device, which, let me remind you, is Android’s flagship device when it comes to tablets.

Why couldn’t I find a good app? My guess is that developers don’t care at all about Android, and I can completely relate to that. If I’m a developer, I’ll probably want to focus my efforts on a platform that works well, and maybe more importantly, a platform for which I can do one or two versions of my app and have it run on all devices supported by this platform. There are so many different Android devices with various forms and shapes, that it’s nearly impossible for developers to make sure their apps work as good on every single device.

The Final Twist

Interestingly enough, as I am typing this review, my Nexus 7 screen started acting up. All of the sudden, without warning, the screen turned almost all white. I could hardly see anything on the screen, which also started flickering. And to be clear, I’m not talking about some light leakage here, I’m talking about a major problem with the screen which made it almost impossible and very uncomfortable to look at anything on the screen. A reboot and a restore didn’t do anything so I decided to return it.

Google has a fairly simple process to return a product. I submitted a return application online and a few hours later I received detailed instructions on how to proceed. At the time you are reading this, my Nexus 7 is probably in a UPS truck between San Diego and Dallas.


I could have exchanged my faulty unit for a new one, but why bother? Even though using the Nexus 7 felt very refreshing the first couple of days, it quickly turned into a drag. I could have dealt with the inconsistency and the irregularities of Android, but the crappy apps were the last nail in the coffin.

Shouldn’t have I had problems with the Nexus 7 screen, I probably would have kept it and kept using it, against my will. But this screen issue was exactly the excuse I needed to get rid of it while waiting for Apple to release a 7-inch iPad, likely for the Holidays season (I doubt the iPad mini will be released next month).

After thinking about it, I came to realize that what I loved about the Nexus 7 was just the form factor. To me, a 7-inch screen is the perfect size for casual usage. Bigger than an iPhone, yet smaller and more portable than an iPad. I realized that I had fallen in love with the size of the device and not with the device itself. What I unconsciously wanted was a 7-inch iPad, something that just works, and it was clear that the Nexus 7 and Android couldn’t fulfill that part of the job.

  • I’m a Mac engineer, my Nexus 7 is fine and I think its a fantastic device. There are quality apps out there. Like with Windows and OSX some of the best ones are on both platforms,. There’s plenty of crap on Apple app store too

  • Good one

  • “Your review is completely biased”

    No shit!? Did you even read the first sentence of paragraph #2? My goal is not to be unbiased. My goal is to say what I think. If you want to read a somewhat unbiased review, go read reviews from the WSJ or NYT. You read blogs to have a biased point of view on a given topic, and when you come to an Apple blog, you kinda know what to expect.

    Now being biased doesn’t mean I am not fair. There were plenty of little things that I loved about my Nexus 7, and even more things I didn’t like. I made this very clear. Even though I am very biased to the iPad, I believe my review was fair and honest.

    But if you can’t accept the conclusion (I don’t like the Nexus 7 and I can’t wait for a 7-inch iPad), then I don’t think the problem comes from me. Android users seem to have a heard time accepting Apple users prefer iOS. Personally, I couldn’t care less what you like better, and I’m definitely not going to call you out if you say you prefer Android over iOS. To each his own, and you have to respect that.

  • Dan Schoenholtz

    Nobody said the nexus 7 has better apps or clearer screen resolution . But can you hold one in one hand and read or search the internet ? Plus its half the price , pocket fitting , and whatnot .

  • Dan Schoenholtz

    The iPads like a 2 pound weight . Why not buy a laptop ?

  • Did you searched for and installed apps for android (=phones) or android tablet?

  • cesar lago


  • Ashley Milton

    I never comment on reviews but I feel compelled to. I’m an iPhone and Mac user, have had 3g, 3gs, 4 and countless macs. Just moved over to Galaxy S3, Nexus 7 and android. Both iOS and android have faults, but the biggest one is the fact that iOS is a closed operating system, that makes a HUGE difference. As an iOS user you get used to the fact that you can only do what Apple want you to do and forget that there is so much more a smartphone or tablet can do, due to this and (wait for it) accessibility I slightly prefer android and I really love the Nexus 7. Oh and good twitter app? Slices.

  • I have iPad (Gen 1 and Gen 3), iPhone 4s (and had all the other versions), Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. While the iPad 3 is the best pad device I have ever used, it is big and heavy. So, I find myself using the Nexus 7. It is great in front of the TV. Nice for RSS reading (and I use both Android and Amazon Store for apps). It is a very good device at a very good price. That said, if I could have only one pad, I would go for an iPad – but at almost 4 times the price with AppleCare +, it is a tough call.

  • Antonio Baez

    I bought a Nexus 7 shortly after it was released and I love it. I use it every day for browsing, emails, YouTube and watching movies, etc. The only thing I don’t like is that occasionally I have to reboot it because if open too many apps or web pages simultaneously it will slow down. I think it is a great value for $200. And it is very fast!

    • davidchyriwsky

      If you go to settings then click battery, you can click the apps and stop them there

  • See what you did is you got into Android without knowing what you are getting into. I have used Apple products for good 3 years and was very unsure to make a move to Android my self. So I did my research, alot of it and than sold my iphone 4S and picked up a SGS 3. Its a good phone but I enjoyed it even more after rooting it and flashing a custom rom of my liking and I love it even more now.

    Next thing, my wife needed a tablet for work use so I gave her my iPad 3 and picked up a Nexus 7, knowing that if I don’t like it I will need to spend more money to get another iPad. But again by now I knew how to play around with Android and now I love being an Android user.

    This doesn’t mean I hate Apple or anything, I guess I was just bored of the same look of iOS every year. Anyways, Android is not for everyone, only if you like taking control of your device beyond whats in store for you’ and to that you have to do research and lots of it.

    Apple is very easy, my parents who hated smart phones are champs in using their iPhones lol, and thats what Apple is all about, making it easy. Android on the other hand is for a person who knows tech well or atleast put his time into learning it.

  • sam

    Lol I do not like you because you are just prejudice to a nice tab

  • sam

    PS windows 8 out soon

  • I wonder how much apple paid you???…lol….i am an apple user and have the ipad 2. I cant put my Nexus 7 down!!

  • I’m a mac head, and but the nexus is awesome. I was in awe of my iPad for about 2 months then put it down and forgot about it. My nexus has not left my pocket since I bought it. And at £200 and an increasingly innovative Google, Apple really does have a tasty new sparring partner.

  • Dr. Gasmo

    Honestly, the number 1 reason I’m not switching to the Nexus 7 yet (I want to SO BAD) is because of iPad’s four finger swipe app switch and close. Its so extremely intuitive, fast, and smooth once you take a second to figure it out. I can have my Alien Blue app open and as I get an idea just swipe over and immediately start typing in the Writer app. Android wants me to stop my current motion and press a button at the bottom of the tablet, and then tap the app.

    stupid little quarrel, right? but its actually a very big user interface issue when its done 50 times a session, and its just that much more slick.

  • Gif

    U sound like a right twonk.

  • Psc

    I use to be all things Apple. I’m a professional video editor, and have been using their products for – well a really long time. I bought the first Iphone… And the second. I bought a new mac book pro every time a new one came out. Then an ipad. I switched to Verizon before they got the I phone…I bought a Droid X in the meantime, and when the big day finally came… I kept my droid. I’m on my third. I have one ipad in the closet still coveting dust. I bought a nexus 7, and maybe it’s because I’ve been using the OS for sometime now, but I can say this with all certainty: I love it. It is – without a doubt – the best tablet for the price I’ve used. Now – that being said. I love the apple OSX, Macs just work, and there is no better platform for my work. I will always own mac machines – but right now when it comes to the mobile platform… I’m an android guy. That may change – but right now – I love this Nexus 7 running JB.

  • Sourapple

    Typically apple fanboy material. At least android isn’t ripping us off with new dock connectors etc

  • Adey Romeu

    I think both the Nexus 7 and the iPad are great tablets and are pretty much tied. The Nexus isn’t overwhelmingly large like the iPad, which brings advantages such as portability, ease of storage and a nicer feel (for me anyway). But then you have the iPad which is HUGE in comparison, but watching films on it is an absolute pleasure. I think whichever blog, review site or forum you visit, the reviewer will be more inclined toward the other before a true comparison is done, best way to do it is see if you can find a store or anything that has both and really have a good play about with them, that’s what I did and I’ll be getting my Nexus 7 too, the size, price and the overall feel of the UI sold it to me, I like playing about and not having everything there straight away, I prefer going down the rooting road (essentially android “jailbreaking”) and really getting to know the system. Again, it’s opinion, one way or the other. Don’t dismiss one or the other from reviews, just give them both a really good go. If you like the iPad, you like the iPad. If you like the Nexus, you like the Nexus, it’s as simple as that 🙂

  • Clearly and as stated, this was written by someone who isn’t used to using anything other than Apple devices. Obviously, there would be a learning curve when someone like that is going to use an Android device. Just like there was a learning curve for me when I (Windows and Android user) picked up an iPad a few weeks back, my very first Apple device. I returned my iPad to the store today, because quite frankly I can’t do the things I need to get done with it. In my opinion, it’s very limited in its functionality. I will be getting a Microsoft Surface or an Android tablet instead. But I guess it’s all personal and it really depends what you want to get out of the device. I expected the iPad to be WAY better than what it turned out to be. Quite frankly, it left me completely underwhelmed. Mainly due to: Major wi-fi connection problems, which made me want to use it as a frisbee on many an occasion, no option to attach more than one file to an e-mail (really??), no option to upload files through a web interface (double really???), no Word or Excel (and no, Pages or Numbers is not good enough, I cannot deliver this type of format to a client). It’s basically a great device for playing games and videos on, but forget about getting anything done. And I hate the lack of a regular file management system with folders. So, for me personally, it’s Android or Microsoft all the way.

  • Jan Tomšič

    Why you didn’t find keyboard sound settings under “sound”, is that Android has this ability to switch keyboards. If you want, you can install a proper keyboard with ctrl, alt, arrow keys (its good for programming for example), and since you can switch keyboards with ease, you might want to make one make sounds, and the other one not, that’s why this is this keyboard specific setting.

    Yes, you need to get used to it, but then again, you needed to get used to old phones too. Switching from nokia to ericsson was pain in the ass, but no one said that ericsson sucks just because you don’t know how to use it. And I doubt you find the keyboard sounds on iOS in 5 seconds as well, the first time you picked it up. You followed iOS pattern, thats why you were confused and found interface ‘unintuitive’, just like how I find iOS (coming from almost 3 years of android)

    Yes, you should’ve spent a little more time with it then just a couple of days, since you’re obviously biased towards apple products.

    Don’t worry, I’m not trying to insult you or anything, there’s even one thing I agree with you on, and that is consistency of apps in terms of looks. While now more and more apps do look pretty, some of them still look bloody aweful, maybe because they were made for android 2.1, and weren’t updated since, or because they are a complete iOS version of the same app ripoff. However, that is not Android’s fault, it’s developers fault, mostly big companies, since they just turn their iOS app into android one, without changing the looks and anything. So you might say iOS is to blame here 😀 just kidding. Developers are.

    It’s nice to see that there’s apple users who even dare to spend a week with android 🙂

  • Frosty Vanden Bosch

    I recently got rid of my iPad and bought a Nexus 7 and couldn’t agree more with your review. Android could be amazing, but it just isn’t. A lot apps are ugly, don’t work very well or don’t work at all on a tablet. and I don’t even think the play store is particularly good. Its ugly, you can’t filter tablet apps, etc. It also irritates me that even the larger companies like Facebook haven’t optimised their app for an android tablet yet. And for people preaching the freedom of Android, well thats all very well and good, but I’d rather have consistency than a prettier keyboard.

    However, I don’t regret buying the Nexus as I live in hope that with the new generation of Nexus devices (4, 7 and 10) there will be a push towards this consistency. I haven’t had any problems with build quality. The screen is beautiful. I love the new design direction of android. Widgets and notifications beat the crap out of iOS and Google Now is better than Siri. There are many other things that give it so much potential. But thats where I’m at with it now. Potential.

  • iphoneCrusher

    Fuck u writer and fuck this website.Go ask apple to bring isearch so u can stop using google search

  • Samishal

    Firstly, the grammar and spelling of this article is appalling. Secondly, it is highly unfair to condemn a product based OS hiccups and manufacturing errors. This blog is Apple-focused however I would have expected an even-handed review at least. The iPhone 5’s iOS 6, is buggy, and insecure. It’s new mapping application is, let’s face it terrible, and some people experienced severe manufacturing defects when ordering the iPhone 5. Mine for instance came with a **FREE!!** smashed in screen and gouge in the rear of the case body. In conclusion it is my opinion that this review should be removed as it is the first negative review for this product I have come across and has been clearly written by someone with a weak grasp on the English language and has a strong anit-Android prejudice.

  • What jumped right off the screen in this article is that while claiming early to routinely “look down on Android”, it is mentioned in nearly the same breath that this individual (prior to the Nexus 7), hasn’t spent more than a couple minutes with an android device. Seems apropos and consistent with many other IOS-biased sites, in that negative judgements are made because its not Apple…. not because the reviewer has extensive experience with IOS and Android (or even close to enough to offer an objective pro’s / con’s for each platform). I have owned devices in both ecosystems, and there are things IOS does better and things that Android does better. What IS consistent is the type of end user. There are those who are happy to sacrifice operating system flexibility for little learning curve, and for these people IOS is the obvious choice. There are also those who are willing to put in a little time into learning an OS (e.g. Android), ultimately to be able to leverage the superior customizations and flexibility that Android affords.

  • Tremayne Scranton

    No,no,no….this is very disappointing.It’s one thing to visit a Fandroid site and see everyone bash apple for corny (but truthful) reasons; but I suspect that all of you apple lovers are liars.
    For 1,I seriously doubt that the blogger even had a Nexus 7 for review/as there are no exclusive pics of him handling the device,let alone a video.You Tube would have made this brand-bash of an interview more credibility.
    2nd,apple products don’t “just work”. From iMac’s to iPod’s- Apple’s signature malfunction has always been the beach ball/loop of death. Because Apple disguises their malfunctions/freezes behind the OSX/iOS’ deceptive progress bar system it’s not as obvious.But it just won’t respond ,and usually a reboot is needed in these instances.
    On the my 3rd and main point, you Sebastian,are the biggest I sheep on the planet if your are going to attempt to say that the Nexus 7 isn’t a premium device,no matter the cost.It could be the exact same price as the iPad mini and I would still choose the Nexus 7.Everyone keeps mentioning Apple’s appstore,but 60% of the apps in the store have NEVER been downloaded!!!! So,for the ratio of shitty apps amongst the remaining 40% to be just as high,if not higher than Google Play-blows holes in that marketing ploy. All apple has is more major development firms developing for them,but those are mostly in creative arts music/video (Cubasis,FL Studio). But graphic/photo (Sketchbook,PS Touch) are already on android. Factor in Caustic and Audio Evolution,Pocketband ,and SPC-which all run on gingerbread and up-and the creme’ de’la creme’ of apps are pretty evenly matched. Quality apps are just as hard to find on Apple. I use Twitter’s official app by the way,as I do all social sites.
    There’s no way the A6 chip out performs the Nexus’s chip.I won’t bore you with the specs, you know them well.

    I own a iMac,Mac mini,Acer aspire one (win 8),and kindle fire hd,and Nexus 7. I keep the Fire HD HDMI’d to the TV running prime, I have my iMac in the studio to vainly look the part, the MacMini for access from home. My Nexus 7 has taken over for EVERYTHING. Design,production, etc. All my ideas start there.For less than half of what i would have paid to equip an iPad with equivalent apps. Google pulled that off.Not Apple.Not even Microsoft.

  • ali

    I am using a nexus 7 its surprisingly fantastic wish it was running on iOS rather I use my tablet for email and light browsing and unfortunately stock email and browser app on nexus 7 are crap so nexus 7 will be used by my 4 year old son and I will use my iPhone 5

  • This is clearly a biased opinion and should be taken lightly. You are obviously a headstrong apple user who won’t acknowledge android for what it is. I was a die hard apple user from my imac to my macbook pro, iPhone and ipad. Then I got a taste of android and realized that there’s a better world out there. One where apple doesn’t dictate to me how my experience should be. The world is opened up to me and I’m given the opportunity to dictate my experience. Maybe apple will one day wake up and realize that producing the same product over and over and just using big names in there advertising will backfire.

  • blahbluh

    i’ve had my 2012 nexus 7 for over a year and it runs beautifully. never ever had a problem with it