Nexus 7 Long Term Review – 3 Months On

I’d love to post long term reviews of all the products we review on UltraLinx, however contrary to what many believe, we do not get to keep those devices we review; we only get to play them for around 2 weeks. It’s the same situation with many other technology blogs, they don’t get to keep the devices, they have to give them back.

However any devices I myself purchase I will now try to do a long term review of, so here is my long term review of the Nexus 7.

This review won’t be too long because essentially there isn’t much to say. The main Nexus 7 review covers nearly everything you need to know about the device, I recommend reading it so you see the differences and how my mind has changed in some aspects relating to the device.

Note that this review will of course be biased. It is all based on my personal experience and preferences.

The Nexus 7 has been out for around 3 months now, I got it on release day and like a little child over-excited over a McDonald’s happy meal toy, I couldn’t wait for the thing to come through my door.

Like any new gadget, you play with it for days, even weeks, when you first get hold of it. Am I still playing with it? Not really.

Even though I personally think the Nexus 7 is one of the most awesome and best value for money Android tablet out there, I barely use the device anymore. Instead I’ve gone back to using my 18 month old iPad 2, which has a worse screen, worse specs and is heavier.

The reason I’ve gone back to using it is really down to one thing – the apps.

Whatever anyone says, there is no doubt that iOS at the moment has the best apps. People will argue that there are alternatives on the Android Play Store, sure there are, but are they as good? Not usually.

With the iPad being out for nearly 3 years now, iPad versions of apps have evolved and become pretty fantastic. There are barely any specific Android tablet apps. Sure apps are made to scale up to fit the larger screen, but why would I want a phone app scaled up to fit a tablet, when I want apps which make use of the bigger display.

Some of the apps available for the iPad are just stunning. The experience and the UI is just beautiful and make the apps an absolute joy to use.

I’ll show you some examples.

As you can see from the image above the Nexus 7 version of Flipboard is essentially a blown up version of the phone version, it’s exactly the same as the iPhone 4S. Even though the Nexus 7 has a higher resolution display than the iPad, it fits 5 less tiles than the iPad version.

Again there are three articles on the iPad but only one on the Nexus 7. You can see that it could easily fit at least one more article below, but it doesn’t.

Now this is of course because the developers behind Flipboard haven’t changed it, and they won’t because they don’t care, like most other developers. Developers know that the Android tablet market is tiny and the Nexus 7 is a minute part of that market. They would rather concentrate on the iPad where the users are, and flock to regularly.

For those on the Nexus 7, I highly recommend using Feedly, it makes a lot better use of the screen.

Another example is the Twitter app. You can clearly see it’s just a blown up version of the phone version. And unfortunately most of the third party Twitter clients for Android tablets are absolute rubbish.

This is where the iPad comes into it’s own, with Tweetbot, probably the best third party Twitter client out there right now. You can see how Tweetbot has two panes, making a lot better use of that screen.

Paper is by far my most favourite app on the iPad. I’ve tried many other similar apps on Android but none of them even come close. I didn’t show any comparison here just so I don’t embarrass the Android developers who made the awful apps.

When you’re a designer like me and you start using an app like Paper, you’ll quickly realise how bloody awesome the app is. There is nothing out there which even comes close and it’s a must have for any designer with an iPad.

Now this is just a minute number of apps in comparison but these are some of the biggest and most popular. If the big app developers like Twitter and Flipboard can’t be bothered to concentrate on the Nexus 7, what hope do we have?

The rest of the Nexus 7 though is amazing. Jellybean is a great version of Android, easily the smoothest and bug free. Android is a lot more friendlier than it was when I was on my HTC Desire which was running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

I’m still in love with the hardware on the Nexus 7 and prefer it over my iPad 2. Even though the iPad does feel more luxurious with the aluminium back, the Nexus 7 is just a lot more durable. I’ve dropped it a couple of times already and it comes away like nothing happened.

However the iPad 2 is still my primary tablet and will continue to be for the next few months.

It’s a real shame because I really wanted the Nexus 7 to be my primary tablet, I wanted it to succeed, I want it to be popular, I just want it to be a real iPad killer. Unfortunately at the moment, it’s no where near as close.

I do still recommend the Nexus 7 to people who are looking for a cheaper alternative to the iPad. However with the iPad Mini announcement just days away, if Apple get the pricing right, it may be the tablet which I would recommend over the Nexus 7.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, this is a review based on my experience and will no way be the same case for everyone. Do you have an iPad and an Android tablet? If so, which one do you use most?

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