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Google Nexus 7 review

Wed Jul 25 2012, 13:20

Operating system
The Nexus 7 is the first device to come running Google's latest mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This in itself makes the Nexus 7 the tablet of choice for Android enthusiasts, as Google's Nexus devices are always among the first to receive the latest software updates and features.

While you can read what we thought in more detail in our Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review, it has to be said that this is the most advanced and most interesting version of Android yet.

The most notable difference is the deep Google Play integration, which adds to the overall simplicity of the Nexus 7 user interface (UI). Switch the device on and you're greeted with films, books and apps that you have downloaded - or Google is recommending that you download - making this device seem like more of an all-in-one media device than a tablet scattered with apps. It's worth noting that Google offers a great selection of aforementioned media for you to spend your free £15 credit on, although its app store is still not on a par with Apple's Itunes Store.

Google Nexus 7 bookstore

As pointed out by The INQUIRER, Google's Nexus 7 is still lacking music and magazines here in the UK. Although this is disappointing, we expect that these will arrive on the tablet any day now.

The bottom of the screen is filled with shortcuts to Google's most useful features, including Google+, Play and Chrome, providing easy access no matter what home screen you're on. Chrome itself is an excellent touch, outdoing the usual stock Android web browser in every sense with its speedy tabbed browsing and an overall smooth experience.

Another Android 4.1 Jelly Bean stand out feature is Google Now, the firm's more intelligent take on Apple’s Siri. Accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, Google Now offers information that Google believes is relevant to the user - be it a weather forecast ahead of your planned barbecue or traffic information before you leave work. With voice control baked-in, Google Now really does put Siri to shame.

Google Nexus 7 Google Now

One real gripe with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, however, is its lack of support for landscape mode while on the main home screen. This means you're left holding the tablet in portrait mode whether you like it or not, even if holding it sideways would be more comfortable. In a way, this makes it feel as if the operating system has been designed with a smartphone in mind, rather than a tablet device.

 

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