On a recent business trip I was annoyed by the heavy weight of my Thinkpad Tablet – this and the badly customized Android distribution by Lenovo forced me to have a look for alternatives. Some days ago I could play a few minutes with the Nexus 7 of a colleague – I was amazed by the device.
In short – I decided to order and test such a device.
The specifications of the Nexus 7 are really interessting – the device is cheaper and more powerful than my Thinkpad Tablet:
|Thinkpad Tablet||Nexus 7|
|CPU generation||Tegra 2||Tegra 3|
|2x 1 Ghz||4x 1.3 Ghz|
|Android||3.1, 4.0.4||4.1.2, 4.2.1|
|Screen||10.1″ @ 1280×800 (149 ppi)||7″ @ 1280×800 (216 ppi)|
|External interfaces||USB, Mini-HDMI, SD-Karte, Docking||USB-OTG over Micro-USB|
|Network||GPS, n-Draft WLAN, Bluetooth, (UMTS)|
|Extras||optional pen control, second webcam, SD card reader||NFC|
|Storage||16, 32, 64||(8), 16, 32|
|Price||480 € (16 GB WLAN) 570 € (16 GB UMTS) 660 € (32 GB UMTS) 750 € (64 GB UMTS)||199 € (16 GB WLAN) 249 € (32 GB WLAN) 299 € (32 GB UMTS)|
In spite of the cheap price the Nexus 7 isn’t processed cheaply at all like frequently supposed. I couldn’t find any flimsy edges or creaking case parts. Thanks to the rubber coating the Nexus 7 feels very comfortable and fits in every tiny bag. With a weight of only 300 grams the device can also be used for longer times while standing or lying – an ideal companion for long bus and trail trips.
I personally like the form factor of the Nexus 7 – a 10″ tablet is slightly too big in my opinion. The 7″ device is tiny and can be carried everywhere – unlike the rather chunky Thinkpad Tablet.
The Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.1 – an update for 4.2.1 is available through the update function. The naked Android is minimalistic but in no case ugly. In comparsion with my Thinkpad Tablet I realized that the Nexus 7 performs very fast – there are no lags like in the needlessly customized Android distribution by Lenovo. The pure Android version designed by Google is satisfying.
The case of the Nexus 7 is minimalistic in the same way – beside a 3.5mm pin there is only a Micro USB port. One of the reasons why I bought the Thinkpad Tablet once was the amount of external interfaces. Beside a full USB port the Thinkad Tablet also had a Mini HDMI port and a SD card reader. The full USB port can be upgraded using a USB OTG adapter – using this adapter even input and storage devices can be connected to the tiny tablet. HDMI is not available on the Nexus 7 – but I don’t really care about this.
The missing SD card reader is a trend in new smartphones and tables that I totally dislike. Because I’m carrying a lot of data and testing a plenty of ROMs on my smartphone this would be a “killer argument” against a new smartphone. Using this heavy frequentation I successfully crashed some SD cards by now. On my tablet I don’t want to play that much – the device is used as digital newspaper and PDF reader, it is used more rarely and should work as designed. Having 32 GB of space for stuff looks fair to me – I don’t have any storage doubts at the moment. On my previous tablet I had 32 GB flash and additional 16 GB on a memory card – I never used this any way.
Using AnTuTu Benchmark I compared the two devices – and was suprised:
|Test||Thinkpad Tablet||Nexus 7|
I never would have guesses that the differences between Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 are that high.
While my Thinkpad Tablet has its problems while playing 1080p streams the Nexus 7 just plays the video as expected. Games are performing more smoothy and looking better thanks to the higher pixel density.
The Thinkpad Tablet’s firmware is causing some stutters that the device shouldn’t have because of the hardware. Probable this is caused by the Lenovo customized Android distribution – like with a lot of other Android devices on the market. Unfortunately there are not very much alternative but stbale ROMs on auf xda-developers – the Thinkpad Tablet is a niche product.
The Nexus 7 is performing very well even if multiple applications are opened – I didn’t recognize any stutters so far.
This is how Android should perform on a tablet – without any bloat and crap ware.
The Nexus 7 offers a very good quality/price ratio. It is cheap and offers a lot of power for the little money – it doesn’t have to hide itself behind more expensive devices. Using its comfortable size and weight of only 340g the device is a ideal daily companion. If you want to play some games and read messages and books on the road without paying a high price, the Nexus 7 might be your device.
Attached some pictures of both devices: