My Google Nexus 7 review is now live at ComputerActive. I thought I’d add a few quick bits of extra commentary. Firstly, if you are buying one, I strongly recommend that you buy from a UK based retailer, or web store, rather than directly from the Google Play store. I wrote earlier about my problems with the delivery, which only got worse after that post. Google has yet to respond to my last two emails regarding the delivery problems. Effectively, if you buy from Google, you will be paying for a delivery service that is beyond a joke, with crap customer service, and dealing with a company that shows little interest in resolving issues. Buy from a UK retailer and you’ll get the same product, with the same Google Play Credit, but are almost guaranteed to get better customer service, and very probably free delivery too. I’ll say it loud and clear – Google’s customer service stinks. Don’t buy from them.
That aside, I’m very happy with the Nexus 7; it’s a much more comfortable size than an iPad for me, and I use it to read an awful lot in bed – using the Kobo app, since that happens to be where I’ve bought a lot of books recently, and it means I could get started with them quickly, and the in-app buying is pretty straightforward.
It’s a little disappointing that it won’t connect to an ad-hoc network, but I’ve partially solved that by using BlueVPN, though it’s not 100% perfect; some apps still won’t run because they don’t detect a WiFi connection, and they’re just looking for that, rather than a working TCP/IP connection (so, not a clever way to program your app, guys…).
But, though I’ve only had it a few weeks, I can say that it has made a big difference in how I use technology at home. Now my laptop almost always stays in the home office, rather than ending up on the sofa in the evening. If I do want to check email, visit a website, or tweet about something, I have the Nexus 7, and it’s a lot more comfortable using that leaning back on the sofa than hunching over the laptop keyboard; given the problems that has caused with my shoulders in the past, I think the cost of the Nexus will be more than covered by savings on the extra trips to the osteopath that using a laptop would cause me.
I’ve also taken advantage of finally having a tablet of my own to revisit the design of one of my web sites, and make it more touch-friendly; I’ll write a separate post about that later, but it was clear that some aspects of the design, including icon size and the use of pop-up info boxes when a mouse hovers over something, really don’t suit a touch-based interface.
I’d still like to find a really good email application, though. I use ProfiMail on my E72, which is a great, and there’s a version for Android, which can import the settings from my phone. That made setup really easy, but I think I honestly prefer ProfiMail with a keyboard to drive it, and the interface is a bit quirky on Android – not to mention the fact that it costs $19.99. There is apparently a version with a more Android interface coming, so I may revisit it. But I suspect that at the end of this week when the trial runs out, I’ll go back to using the rather basic Android email app, until something better comes along. People have recommended K9 mail to me, but having played briefly, I really didn’t feel its handling of IMAP folders was good enough for me – I have hundreds of mail folders, split across three email accounts, and I want to be able to access them quickly, and easily – one long list doesn’t cut it. ProfiMail at least has collapsible sub-folders, and you can hide the less often used ones. In K9 setting a folder’s ‘class’ is a lots of taps for each one, and the lack of collapsible trees is very annoying.
If anyone can recommend something that might fit the bill, do let me know. For now, I suspect that, despite its small screen, the ease of driving it with a real keyboard will keep me using ProfiMail on the E72 as my main way of doing email when on the go.
Overall, for the price, the Nexus 7 really is a great deal; perhaps it’s not going to be as good for creating content as the iPad, but for me it’s a much more comfortable size, and has the tools I need – and that, far more than quasi-religious wars about iOS vs Android, is the most important thing.