Nexus 7 Review

Nexus 7 Review
General information and first impressions:

This is my first Android device and my first tablet. I purchased it, because I plan to build and sell applications on the platform, it will also come in handy for testing my ebooks. I’ve had the Nexus 7 for a couple weeks now. I started taking notes on my experience right away and the first week of using the Nexus 7 was frustrating. I’ve used and iPhone for years now. For general use the iPhone has been extremely intuitive and easy to use. Even something as simple as unlocking the screen wasn’t intuitive at all. In case you too are lost looking at the locked screen wondering what to do. You have to drag the circular lock symbol away from the center to unlock.

After successfully unlocking the screen the Android system appeared to be locked down more than IOS. The main talking point I hear from Android advocates is that the iPhone is bad because it is locked down, so I was surprised to find that practically nothing works without a Google account. To add insult to injury Google will track and sell everything you do, if you want your Android to work. Granted it is easy to hack, but you can hack IOS as well, if that is your thing.

The 7” is a nice size, but still slightly big for my hand. I found that scroll isn't bad, but it s noticeably not quite as smooth as I'd prefer. I don’t understand why the screen does not rotate by default. I had to dig through menus to turn on auto rotate. "Apps->Settings->System->Accessibility->Auto-rotate screen”. I found later that you can change this by swiping the clock.

Getting my ebooks onto the Nexus 7:

When connecting to my MacBook Pro Android does not show up as a drive. After some searching I found that you need to download a program called "Android File Transfer” (AFT). After starting AFT I can’t figure out where to put my ebooks. The AFT apparently connects to the root of a folder called "/sdcard/" under /sdcard/ is the Books folder but I can't see the Books folder in AFT. Why? After some fiddling, I finally got an ebook into moon+ reader(free version, ad supported), but the ebook is just sitting at the root directory, which isn't a good way to organize things. To move the ebook to the correct folder I had to install ES File Explorer. The day after doing the above the Books folder now appears in AFT. I don't know why?

I later downloaded Kindle reader and imported my ebooks in a similar way only Kindle already had a folder(/kindle) that I could see. Amazon also provides several easy ways of getting your books onto all of your kindle devices.

I love the 3D page curl effect that the Google Play reader has, but I've yet to figure out how to get my ebooks into it. At this time the Google Play reader doesn't support a selected text search either.

E-mail and calendar on the Nexus 7:

Setting up multiple e-mail accounts was a breeze. Using them is a different story. Mail always forgets I want a combined inbox view and checking for new mail is impossible when in the combined view. Mail on android doesn't recognize tracking numbers like mail does on IOS and Mac OS.

I can't sync my calendars. I'm using Yahoo!'s calendar and syncing with my iMacs Calendar application. I sync my iPhone with my desktop calendar via iTunes. Android's calendar doesn't play well with any of this. There are tons of pay for applications to fix this, for various services.

Ultimately I used SyncMate Expert (highly recommended!) to sync my calendars and contacts. The free edition may have worked, but I already had a license from a bundle, which allows me to sync my books, passwords and just about anything else too (via Bluetooth, WI-FI, or USB).

Other useful information:

It took a while to figure out what the cluttered mess in the upper left corner was and how to use it. Some friends and tutorials helped here.
I ran into several browser issues. Most notably a side scrolling issues on that just could not be overcome.

Overall impression:

If you need dead simple buy an iPad. If you are the slightest bit tech savvy the Nexus is a great alternative. In my experience applications are generally stable and snappy. Lockups are rare, with the select applications I've chosen to use and everything I need is still available on the Android. It is a good value for the money ($199).
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