Review: Nexus 7

As a user of the first-generation iPad, and owner of the 3rd-generation iPad, I found myself using it more and more for consumption of media and news, but ultimately being dissatisfied with the 10-inch display–it’s too large. If only Apple made a 7-inch iPad, I kept thinking. Android tablets in the 7-inch market are available, but sorely lack in most respects.

When rumors of a Google tablet costing just $200 first surfaced, I was intrigued but skeptical. After all, the Kindle Fire had yet to be released, and competing Android-based tablets in the $200-range were preposterously poor devices. Still, with the release of the Kindle Fire, Amazon proved that a $200 tablet could not only be a decent piece of hardware, but commercially successful as well.

Days before the Google I/O 2012 conference started, reports that Google would announce a 7-inch tablet for $200 once again surfaced, this time with varying amounts of evidence to back it up. This time it was clear that rumor was turning into reality, and that Amazon would soon have some real competition in the 7-inch market.

With Google’s announcement of the Nexus 7, I was hooked. Here was a great-looking tablet, with the right size and form-factor, full Google experience, and not-underwhelming specs for only $200. I hopped on the bandwagon and pre-ordered, opting for the 16GB version, and the extra $50. My iPad went to my wife, who’s happily playing Angry Birds at this very moment.

So, once my Nexus 7 arrived, I was excited and anxious to put it through its paces. Did it live up to the expectations? Does it reflect true competition for the iPad? Is it worth plunking down the $200-250 to buy one? Read on for the answers.