THE TRUTH ABOUT GOOGLE'S NEXUS 7 TABLET: It's Almost As Good As The iPad

ipad vs nexus 7

Photo: Kevin Smith, Business Insider

If you read my post last week about experiencing Android for two weeks, then you’ll remember that I wasn’t too impressed with Samsung’s new Android phone, the Galaxy S III, and went back to my iPhone.Since then, I’ve dipped back into Android territory and have been using the Nexus 7 instead of my iPad for the last week.

I must admit, I love the thing.

Android tablets let you do so much more than the iPad in terms of file management and having a more computer-like experience. 

But for most people, I still think the iPad is more user-friendly.

Don’t get me wrong, both devices are good. If you’re trying to decide between the two, check out my thoughts after spending a week with the Nexus 7.

The Nexus tablet is easier to hold than the iPad, Kindle Fire, and even the regular Kindle.

It's all about the perforated rubber backing. The Nexus 7 feels really nice to hold and when you set it down on a table you know it won't fall off. I could just slip the Nexus 7 in my back pocket and forget it was there.

The Nexus 7 can also withstand much more accidental damage than the iPad.

See for yourself how the Nexus 7 stacks up against the iPad.

7 inches is almost the perfect tablet size.

The iPad's larger size comes in handy when you want to watch movies or read magazines. But the iPad's size makes it difficult to type in portrait mode. Apple tried to fix this by allowing the keyboard to be split in half but, that still doesn't feel like a perfect solution.

The Nexus 7 makes it very easy to type while holding the device with both hands.

In addition to typing, playing games on the Nexus 7 is a lot of fun because of the size. It's easy to manoeuvre in racing games on the Nexus and swipe or tap around on others.

The Android File Management System Is Far Superior

I was able to download a free mixtape, uncompress it, and listen to it using the Google Music app in less than 5 minutes.

Google Chrome let me download the file, free app AndroZip let me unzip the file, and from there it was ridiculously simple to open the files with Google Music.

The freedom to download and open content really is a killer feature of Android. I don't know if this ability will ever be available on the iPad.

I know that because I can download any file directly to the device, it opens the Nexus 7 up to malware and viruses. But let that be my responsibility. Don't decide it for me.

Google Now is amazing.

I've never used dictation on my iPad. The feature just seemed to add another unnecessary layer to the iPad.

But Google Now, Android's voice-powered search assistant, is amazing on the Nexus 7. I love how it tells me exactly when to leave for an appointment so I'll make it on time. The service knows me, and it will know me even better over time.

It can also answer questions better than Apple's Siri. If I ask a question, it gives me the one answer I'm looking for. There's no need to go diffing through search results.

The Nexus 7 doesn't have a rear camera, but that's not a big deal.

According to Engadget, 'ASUS apparently faced two options for a rear-facing camera: go cheap or go for quality.'

I don't miss the rear-facing camera. A tablet is just too big to carry around with you, taking photos. That's what a smartphone is for. I'm perfectly happy with the front-facing camera for video chat.

Now here's how the iPad beats the Nexus 7...

The lack of 4G/3G on the Nexus 7 is annoying

I hate how I can't use the maps when out and about. I can't even do a quick Google search unless I find a Starbucks or some other establishment that has a Wi-Fi hotspot.

LTE would be killer on the Nexus 7 because of the smaller size. I'm glad my iPad has it.

iOS has more tablet-optimised apps

While both Google and Apple have large app stores, Google is still missing apps built specifically for larger tablet-sized screens. Instead, most Nexus 7 apps are just blown up versions of the smartphone version. There's a lot of wasted screen space.

The iPad's Retina display is still better

All those extra pixels really come in handy when watching a movie or playing a graphics intense game.

Movies, games, pictures, the web, and just about everything else looks amazing on this screen.

The Nexus 7's screen is still fine, but the iPad's Retina display is noticeably better.

iTunes is still king for music, movies, and TV shows.

A day after Breaking Bad's fifth season premiered, I wanted to download the episode and watch it on my train ride. Unfortunately, this turned out to be just another example how Google's Play store doesn't have as robust of a content selection as Apple's iTunes does.

This is not only limited to TV shows. Google Play is also missing music from Warner Music, a major label.

The availability of new content really makes the iOS ecosystem a true media champion. I know I could have found it somewhere else and then added it to the Nexus 7 but I didn't want to do that.

I just wanted to find the content and download it instantly and I couldn't do that in Google Play.

Conclusion: I'm sticking with the iPad

I really like the Nexus 7. And if you're looking for a 7-inch tablet, it's easily the best option available.

But Apple is the leader in the tablet space for a reason. I'm sticking with my iPad because I love the 4G connectivity, robust tablet app selection, and more content choices.

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