Hi everyone! Happy new year to you all! Well, It’s been a month since we bought for our home our “big” Christmas present…the ever loving Google Nexus 7!

nexus 7Yes, it looks like this!

The monthly analysis is in….it’s awesome. Twice on Tuesdays. Even the Daughter-Child agrees. See, she’s attached to her iPod Touch (like her Dad is!) and she doesn’t have an email account (more on that later!) but I’ve noticed that when she does her homework, the tablet gets dragged out for YouTube videos for “music to study by”.

Now, Dad’s analysis!

Damn thing is QUICK! Processor is not pokey at ALL. I’ve had one “crash” in a month, and it was because I did something wrong. Asus made a solid device here, and I tip my hat!
<tangent> Staples was running an ad for the 8GB for $199, and the 16 GB for $249. They were fresh out of the 8GB, so they had to give me the 16GB for the 8 GB price. I advise getting the 16GB over the 8, so your cost may vary</tangent> <—-there’s an XML joke right there!

Anyway, the item is rugged enough to put on the floor during morning meditation, and is pretty light and portable to transition form room to room. Speakers REALLY pack a punch!

Android: Update was a snap. Ice Cream Sandwich works exactly as advertised. The interface is intuitive for changing settings….not as intuitive as the iPad/iPod..but not a brainbuster. After a time or two, you’re an “old hand” at making changes.

Camera..NIIIICE! Front-facing only..which is fine by me. I wouldn’t want to use it to take videos or pics of anything..it’s too hard to work it around those things….but for Skype or TeamViewer work…perfect. Already had a Skype call from about 27000 feet above Kansas City, MO..connection was poor but the audio/video was just fine.

Integration with Google EVERYTHING is seamless. Amazingly good. A caveat: if you don’t have a Google service set up (like Google Drive, for instance) then adding the app and accessing it is painful. Simple solution: back off and go to Chrome and log into the service that way…THEN access it through the app. You won’t have to access it through the Web again.

(do remember to activate sharing if you attach a file through Drive….thanks!)

Speaking of Apps..the Google Play store is a nice parallel to Amazon.com and iTunes. I’ve downloaded about 10 apps, all without any pain at all. You can drag the apps and group them as you need, just like an iPad/iPod. There may be some confusion between the Apps view and the widgets view..just do what works for you. you can drag just about anything around and make it your own.

Now, a silent warning….you can only log in as one person at a time, so if you’re singed in to Google World as “me”, you need to sign OUT before someone else signs IN. It’s painless, but needs you to learn a new habit.

Security: nice. Standard Android pattern lock, plus a “face identification” item with additional “blink” tech (it tells you to blink before it lets you in..previous devices biometric tech could be fooled with a picture of the user. Nice touch. I’d like to see a fingerprint reader as well (I haven’t explored Google Play for that app..I’m almost sure it’s there! However it’s a great device regardless of how you choose to manage your user accounts!

Now, off to the downsides.

In order to use the device efficiently, all users MUST have a Google account. If you don’t want to be part of Sky-Google-Net, you’re out of luck here. Kerri needs to use my account to do anything on it <tangent> She likes it, and likes the rapid response. Still working on the “touch” part of it, which takes practice for any haptic device. Otherwise, she’s able to use her webmail and Facebook account as she needs to…and feeds her Fruit Ninja addiction….and she looks cute doing it!</tangent>

Logging in and out of apps is easy. Look to the lower right hand side for a vertical stack of three blocks. Touch that, and you can log out of your app (be it Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)

I’m unsure that it will be a good “work tool”, depending on whether or not your business embraces the Android device…but I can manage my calendar, email, daily surfing, RSS feed reading, and use my meditation app.

I find that YouTube Videos that are HD tend to “stick” a bit. but SD it’s very smooth.
Calendar: works fine n dandy…and I like the alerts screen in the upper left side..you drag it down like an old window curtain, and you can dismiss each one with a wipe…or hit the 3 staggered blocks icon and they all just fly away! A brilliant UI component!

Battery life: great. Use like an alarm clock, it works. Indicators, visual and audio are GREAT. Love the names of the sounds..they’re all stars or star clusters. (nice touch)

Speaking of touch, the haptic tech is a bit more crude than the iPad, but I’ve got big hands, so it’s fine for me. The temperature component of the touch is nice though (cold hands work almost as good as warm ones!)

So, end score….9.5 out of 10. It works, it works well, and it’s light enough to wander around the house. It will pass a drop test of 3 feet, and TED Talks and other audio media, great!

2nd place goes to the Samsung Galaxy Tab…nice, but a wee bit heavier and clunkier than the Nexus 7..but a solid performer all the way.

don’t listen to me, though. Go out and try them yourself. The Nexus is getting better reviews than the iPad Mini, so it might be a cost effective way to ease into the tablet market.

Next up…testing it in an educational setting/manner. Let’s see how it works for kids in schools!

Happy New Year!