Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
It's near perfect.
on March 22, 2013
This will be a bias review about my experience with this tablet.
This tablet is now my favorite Android device (until a better 7" Nexus come along). It used to be my Nexus phone, but with this tablet having the same stock Android experience on a larger screen, while still being relatively portable gives it a much better usage experience. It's slim and not too heavy so I can hold it using one hand for a lengthy amount of time, which is more flexible compared to a 10" tablet or other 7-8" tablets that are too wide to hold with one hand. Now the only thing I use my Nexus phone for is making calls so I don't have to spend more money upgrading my phone.
STOCK ANDROID EXPERIENCE ON A 7" HD SCREEN:
The 7" formfactor of this tablet is perfect when being paired with Android 4.2. I feel Android 4.2 interface is not designed best for 10" tablet yet, however it work just right for a 7" screen. The screen is 720p and the pixels are just small enough so fonts are sharp, it is possible to do extensive web browsing and reading on this tablet.
With a clean stock Android OS, it's better optimized for performance so the interface feel much smoother and faster than competing tablets with the similar spec, which tend to come with skinned overlay and bloatwares. This tablet is more for people who like to fiddle with their device and customize it the way they like. If you know exactly what apps you want to install and how to customize your Android, it is much more flexible than all the competition.
Some people will complain about lack of microSD slot. There are couple of ways to deal with the limited storage issue. Google Music have a cloud feature to let you store and stream up to 20,000 songs. For videos, you can easily create a UPnP server in your home to stream videos from. For example, install XBMC to your PC, add videos to your library, then enable the UPnP server feature. You can also buy an Asus router that have UPnP feature, enable it, then connect your harddrive with videos to it. Lastly, on the Nexus 7, install "XBMC for Android" or "VPlayer and its UPnP plugin" to stream the videos. Make sure you Google for the official "XBMC hardware accelerated test-build".
LONG TERM VALUE:
When you buy a Nexus branded device, it means you will receive the latest Android updates directly from Google and sooner than all other non-Nexus devices. Google will support the software for a long time. Technically Google only promised to update a Nexus device up to 18months from its release date, but more likely if the hardware of that device is still capable, they'll continue to update it.
NETWORK INFO (read before purchasing):
-Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" (P3100), this device is not capable of making direct phone calls (you will have to use VoIP apps). It's still possible to get network data and do text messaging.
-If you intend to use this tablet with T-Mobile, you'll have to use their 'Mobile Broadband sim card' with the plans available for it. However, using a T-Mobile prepaid (phone) sim card will not work as there will be no data, only texting will work.
-Right now, if you're in the US and want to get a data plan for this, T-Mobile Mobile Broadband plan probably the best choice if you get good signal in your area. T-Mobile have gotten rid of contract plans completely, ie. the official T-Mobile store and website do not provide any plans that require contracts. The Mobile Broadband $40 option will get you 4.5GB of 3G and throttle down to 2G after that, with texting and tethering. In the future the Mobile Broadband plan should also cover LTE (however the Nexus 7 is not compatible with LTE).
-T-Mobile also offer a prepaid option called Monthy Pass, but I highly do not recommend this since it do not offer good value compared to the Mobile Broadband plans. For example, the $35 Monthly Pass option only give you 3.5GB of data, with no texting nor tethering. Also since it is in the "prepaid tier", you will get lower priority in cell towers connection, in other word your download speed will not be as fast.
-NO TV-OUPUT: There isn't a dedicated microHDMI port nor MHL support so no chance of physically connecting it to a TV.
-SCREEN QUALITY LUCK: My previous Nexus 7 WiFi unit have a great screen, but this 3G unit I received have very obvious graininess and color banding.
-NO REAR CAMERA
-Not full USB OTG out of the box: You can connect mice and keyboards, but to mount USB flashdrives you'll need root. Various other Asus tablets do have full USB OTG support out of the box.
Note: A minor issue when I received it, it had no charge and the only way to turn it on was to charge it for a while, then hold the Power button for over 10seconds. Some people also suggested plugging it to a charger while holding Power + Volume Down buttons.