When the Kindle Fire singlehandedly of the Android operating system Google finally sat up and said, “Oh, ****, we gotta get in on this game!” The same thing that Amazon said after Barnes and Noble released their first tablet.
Google finally said enough is enough; this is how you make a tablet for content consumption. After playing with mine for a few hours now, I agree. This is what a tablet should be: responsive, light, solid, capable, and intuitive.
Now, just so you know, I’m about to argue that you should ditch your Kindle Fire and your Nook Color/Tablet for the Nexus 7, which is just pure Google and entertainment goodness. If you’re rocking a traditional e-reader, the Nexus 7 probably isn’t for you, since I assume you’re not interested in tablet devices.
Here’s why the Nexus 7 is worth it:
CNET rates the video battery life of the Kindle Fire at about 7 hours, the video battery life for the Nook Tablet at 9 hours, and the Nexus 7 video battery life at 10 hours. Note that these are CNET’s tests, and not Google’s or Amazon’s or anyone else’s. CNET is a reliable source of information. Strong battery life for video playback (a demanding task compared to reading) shows the overall quality of the battery, hardware, and software. Advantage: Nexus 7.
The Nexus 7 also weighs about 12 ounces compared to 14.1 for the Nook and 14.6 for the Fire. If you’re going to go portable, go small or go home, I always say. I’ve held Nook Tablets and Kindle Fires while working with patrons at my librarian gig, and the Nexus 7 feels and looks slimmer. Advantage: Nexus 7.
The Nexus 7 lets you read books from Amazon, Bamp;N, Google, Smashwords, Kobo, your local library – everyone but Apple’s iBooks. But you wouldn’t get those on the Nook or Fire anyway. You do lose the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, but I’ve never met anyone who is super excited about that anyway as a reader. Advantage: Nexus 7.
With the Nexus 7 you also get Bluetooth. This is important because that means you can pair a wireless keyboard with it and use it as an extremely portable netbook replacement. Advantage: Nexus 7.
The new version of the Android OS is also absolutely gorgeous. I have an iPhone 4S – the newest model – and in my opinion, Android 4.1 puts iOS 5 to shame. And I’m an Apple fanboy. Ask my wife.
In terms of storage expansions, only the Nook Tablet and Color give you an SD card slot. However, because the Nexus 7 is rocking a full Android experience, you get the benefit of mini USB to full size USB port conversion adapters that allow you to attach a flash drive or externally powered hard drive to your Nexus. Admittedly not particularly sleek or stylish, but still pretty clutch. However, the lack of an SD card slot is a fatal flaw for some folk. Advantage: Nook.
The Kindle Fire gives you access to the free (if you pay $79/year) movies and TV as well as free book borrows of the Amazon Prime membership. But, you can get Netflix just fine on your Nexus 7 and for me, the selection on Netflix is better. As for the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, while I’ve benefitted from it as an author, I don’t find it particularly attractive as a reader. It’s hard to borrow from, and the selection at my local library is much better. Advantage: Nexus 7.
Now here’s the best part. The Nexus 7 8 GB model is just $199.
Same as the current generation Kindle Fire and $50 less than the Nook Tablet.
If you’re a Bamp;N fan, there’s no reason not to get the Nexus 7. You can enjoy all titles that Bamp;N has to offer and that you’ve already purchased with the Nook app, as well as Netflix and Pandora, plus you can video chat with your family over Skype or Google.
If you’re a big Amazon user, and subscribe to Prime, you might want to wait and see what the Kindle Fire 2 will offer. You’ll lose the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and all Amazon Instant amp; Prime Video services. There is an app for Amazon Cloud music, however, and it works really well so far for me. For people in the market for a tablet to serve primarily as e-reader but that can function as a full tablet when they want it to, the Nexus 7 is the clear winner.
Audio quality through the speakers is surprisingly good, and subjectively is on par with my iPhone’s speaker, only louder. Apps load quickly and dismiss quickly. Typing is relatively easy for a 7 inch tablet. I had no problems setting it up with my Google account, and it promptly notified me that there was an OS update ready to install which took just a few minutes. Netflix loaded up an episode of Supernatural very quickly, and while the viewing angle wasn’t great, the quality of picture was wonderful.
And finally and most importantly, the Kindle reading app is superb (so is the Nook app). Pages turn easily, you can choose white, sepia, or black for your background, adjust the fonts, etc. I was able to purchase a book from the Kindle store on the device. And most importantly, OverDrive through your local library should be able to show you Kindle titles to check out (YMMV depending on your library system). I was able to successfully check out a Kindle version of an ebook from my local library, all on the Nexus 7. This has been a huge problem for tablets and phones, but at least on stock Android, it appears to function properly.
Further Evidence of the Nexus’ Aweseomeness:
TG Daily – Why I Traded My Kindle Fire for a Nexus 7