March 19th, 2013

wood cat

epic Nexus 7 post

I've been meaning to write up my new tablet, the Nexus 7, since shortly after I got it for Christmas. I'm bumping it up the queue now because at Lunacon I said that I think it ought to be the default for someone who wants an electronic device to read books on. There are sound reasons you might want E Ink, but absent those I think people should go for the general-purpose tablet rather than a Nook or Kindle device.

This is, as far as I'm aware, the 7" tablet with the best hardware out there. The screen is gorgeous, it's fast and responsive, and it runs the latest version of Android (which automatically updates). I love the built-in swipe typing, which is practically magic, and the N7 in portrait orientation is just the right width to make that really comfortable. The only minor flaw is that its camera is front-facing, meant for Skype etc. (which I haven't had occasion to try yet), and so it's very difficult to use for anything else. I've taken it on a couple of trips now as a netbook substitute (with a Bluetooth keyboard), and it's been great; the only ordinary things it hasn't been able to do are a few things in WordPress.

As for reading, here's why I think it actually should be the default choice for that purpose: the available apps mean that you can get books from anywhere and extensively customize your reading experience; together with the screen, that means the N7 can be very versatile, simple, and comfortable to read with.

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Final notes:

I like this cover (don't get this one, it started coming apart after a month), this Bluetooth keyboard (picked because it was in Staples when I needed one and had comfortable keys, unlike the Microsoft keyboard also there), and this travel charger (though it does not play nice with my Sony ereader, unlike the included N7 charger).

The manual fails to tell you the critical piece of information that you can paste text into an empty text field by a long press on that field.

If you're moving files onto the N7 by plugging the USB cable into your computer, the N7 has to be awake and not in the lock screen to start.

I was going to do a screenshot of my home page, but I would have had to fuzz out so much it wasn't worth it. I have: a Weather Channel widget with the forecast; GMail and Google Calendar widgets showing my inbox and schedule for the next few days; three Remember the Milk widgets (one showing current/upcoming stuff, one showing (sigh) overdue stuff, one linking straight to my shopping list); and a whole lot of folders for apps.

What else would you like to know?

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