*The longer answer below:
Before reading, I want you to know that I currently own and use, an iPad 2 with 3G, Kindle Keyboard with 3G, Galaxy Nexus LTE, Motorola Xoom 4G, and an HP Touchpad. My parents currently use the Xoom and the Touchpad, but I’ve had extensive time with each.
I’ve had the Nexus 7 since getting back from Google I/O, and I have fallen in love with it. For $200 I can’t find anything that will make anyone say, “I really need something else because it doesn’t do [x].” It is the perfect size for the things I do most. It fits in my side and back pants pocket. It has all day battery life, and is fully powered.
Until I played with the Nexus 7, I told people to go out and buy an iPad if they wanted a tablet. I kept on making excuses on why, but I think now I figured it out. I initially thought it was because their weren’t enough tablet apps (more on that later). Then I thought Honeycomb was inconsistant (it is). I finally thought it was the skin on top of Honeycomb. After playing with this, I figured it out. All the big tablets are held landscape. They were made to be held landscape. I didn’t hate Android, I hated landscape. Debate me on the landscape vs. portrait, but subconsciously this was the reason I wasn’t in love with android tablets.
A Nexus device means that Google is the only person in charge of the updates. This is an important point to make. When someone at Google says, you will have this feature, it is not encumbered upon by anybody other than Google. That bright and shiny new Samsung Galaxy SIII was touted as one of the first phones to run Ice Cream Sandwich. Well now it is outdated, and Samsung has not given a timeline before it plans to implement Jelly Bean.
I think Google has a long term strategy to get manufacturers and carriers to push out updates faster. With many people buying this tablet, they will start to notice the updates. I hope that people will notice and be vocal about phone updates.
Jelly Bean is the predominant feature on this tablet. It [Jelly Bean] was made for the Nexus 7.
Google Now is awesome. It uses all your google services to figure out what information to display. If you constantly search up your baseball team’s score, it will show it to you. If you, at 8am, leave for the same place, it will ask if you want to navigate there. If you have a meeting set up and it requires more time than expected because of traffic, it will alert you to that. This can be creepy, but this is Google. You either trust them or you don’t. I have seen no evidence to not trust them.
Search Actions got updated so it is more responsive and accurate. Without going into detail it has the Siri like functionality, however it works much better. Siri has more natural conversation, but is slower. Offline typing is now enabled.
The Nexus 7 is built really well. I have the white rubber backed one, so it gets dirty. However, the back won’t get scratched up. The rubber gives it a grip that addresses the the slippery factor. The whole tablet is light. Other than my kindle, this is the lightest tablet I own. It is slightly heavier than my Galaxy Nexus LTE.
Usually with cheap tablets is they are, well, cheap. The processor is underpowered, the camera is bad, and it just feels cheaply made. This feels like a much more substantial tablet. It only has 8 gigs, but if you are on wifi, just use google music, and problem solved. The tablet is fast, and it is using the most recent version of Android. In fact it will always be current because it is a nexus device.
So what is the difference between this tablet and an iPad. Why not just get an iPad? Ask yourself, “What do I plan on doing with a tablet?” If the answer involves more content creation, then get an iPad. 9.7 inches is for content creation. If you answered more of consumption, than this is for you.
Content creation means you are writing blog posts, editing photos and videos, writing long form emails. Content creators generally look for laptop replacements. Content consumption is playing games, checking social networks, and reading the news. The keyboard and screen is on the small side to create content.
If you are already locked into IOS, then stay with IOS. Those $200 worth of apps will have to be bought again. Then again you can use the $300 in savings to purchase the apps again.
Lastly, a word on apps for Android tablets. The 7 inch size coupled with the vector based graphical layouts allows most apps to scale without noticing quality differences. Without getting too technical, the 7 inch size will run ALL apps without the user noticing pixelation. The argument that there are no apps for tablets, is now not relevant. We can argue it, and you will win, but it is not a reason to not buy this device.
Remember this is the best $200 tablet on the market. The price is not a concession. It isn’t that a $300 or $800 tablet is better. There are two great tablets on the market, the iPad at $500, or the Nexus 7 at $200. I highly recommend either.
If you are still reading consider this: An ipod touch, which is a watered down version of an iphone sells for $230. The Nexus 7 sells for less, is more powerful, and has four times the amount of area.