Nexus 7 Review
Upon first starting the unit up and signing in, there was an immediate update to Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, which is the latest android operating system at this time. The Nexus is smaller than an iPad- about the size of the iPad Mini. The device that it most resembles would be the Kindle Fire. Instant Video aside on the Kindle Fire, Amazon has flat out been blown away in the low budget price range it pioneered, by a more appealing and capable device. The only downside of having a small, light tablet like this is that it's currently limited to Wi-Fi connectivity.
Installing the apps that most library customers use to access their ebooks and other content was a snap thanks to Google Play. 3M, Overdrive, and Freegal are all present and accounted for. However, the Library Anywhere app currently is not compatible with this latest Android OS which means you will need to use the Richlandlibrary website as-is. I noticed that the 3M reader sometimes loses track of where you stopped reading last, but that may not be something exclusive to this device. The Zinio software works well and is a much superior experience to using it on an iPod Touch or smartphone. However, an iPad or other 10 inch tablet would be a better magazine reader. I found Overdrive to be the best overall experience of the usual apps that a library customer might use to access our content. Both the Overdrive e-reader and the audio books worked flawlessly.
Using the Kindle app or Google's Play Books app means that you can download and sync your books quickly and efficiently and the text is nicely displayed. Its small size means that holding it in one hand is practical, and that makes it an effective option for those looking to carry lots of books around with them. Obviously the fact that it's backlit means that you don't need a separate light or light case to read in the dark. Page turning is done with a swipe or tap on either side of the screen, and through the Play Books app this is niftily animated (the Kindle app offers a more clunky sliding solution, but it doesn't really detract from the reading experience). When reading, the familiar Android home, back and multitasking shrink to dots, giving you more space to see the all important words. It's decent as an ebook reader. I’m just not sure it's really got enough to sway people from a dedicated Kindle or Nook though. The e-ink technology of a dedicated e-book reader makes a battery charge last weeks, it doesn’t wash out in sunlight, and its easy on the eyes.
I enjoyed using this device and would recommend it to anyone familiar with an android smartphone. If you already have another Apple device, then the iPad Mini will appeal to you. The Kindle Fire is especially good if you have an Amazon Prime account. The Nook Color and Nook Tablet are also fine options. If you are willing to take a little time to customize the Nexus- it cannot be beat for the features you get and the price you pay. I noticed that Consumer Reports rated it a Best Buy among 7 inch tablets.