Touted as the world's first 7-inch tablet with a quad core processor, the Google Nexus 7 hasn't even been released and it's already turning heads. It's also causing a stir for being the planned platform on which the intensely anticipated Android 4.1 OS, nicknamed "Jelly Bean", will make its worldwide debut.
Made by ASUS, the Nexus 7 seems perfectly priced and designed to go head to head with the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble NOOK Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 for supremacy of the 7-inch, budget brand name tablet market. Considering the goodies this sucker's packing under the hood, it just might win that contest hands down. Let's take a closer look at how the Nexus 7 compares against the Kindle Fire, NOOK Tablet, and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
Ranging in cost from $199 for 8GB and $249 with 16GB of storage, the Nexus 7 will be competitively priced against the competition when it hits the market in July. One of its biggest selling points is its quad core processor, which blows away the immediate competition and matches the most powerful tablets on the market as of summer 2012. It also comes with a battery purportedly capable of 9 hours of video playback and 300 hours of standby, and has a front facing 1.2 megapixel camera, for video chat, but not pictures: something the Fire and the NOOK Tablet don't offer at all. The Nexus 7 also matches the Kindle Fire where the Amazon tablet is strongest, and that's content. The Google Play Store offers apps, movies, eBooks, magazines, music, and TV shows for downloand. At a measly 0.75 pounds, the Nexus 7 will also be the lightest of the bunch. Here's a breakdown on the basic specs.
Amazon's Kindle Fire is the darling of content-hungry tablet users, for two reasons: its $199 price tag and its incredibly user friendly interface. While the arrival of the Nexus 7 may not be enough for Kindle owners to plunk down another $200 for the Google tablet, certainly comparing the specs will win over those on the fence, as well as those looking for a slightly lighter, less "bricky" device. Bottom line: there is little reason to choose the Kindle Fire over the Nexus 7 at this point, but Amazon is expected to announce a Kindle Fire successor this summer. It's going to have to be something special to top the Nexus 7.
There are two NOOK Tablets, a $249 16GB unit and a $200 8GB unit, similar to the Nexus 7 price structure. At $249, the argument could be made that the NOOK Tablet is worth every penny for an additional 8GB of storage space. But with the entry of the equally priced, 16GB version of the Nexus 7, that argument is effectively slapped down. Yes, it does have a microSD card slot for expandable storage and some great NOOK content and software offerings, but the NOOK Tablet is basically a Kindle Fire with a slightly better spec sheet. In addition, it has no camera, so you've got plenty of reason to step around that enormous NOOK display floor at the nearest Barnes and Noble.
Probably the closest tablet in performance and variety to the Nexus 7, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 manages to pull off a one-up through the presence of a microSD external port that can quadruple existing on board storage space as high as 32GB. In the US, it's Wi-Fi only as of this writing, but it has been spotted at the FCC with clearance for both 3G and 4G bands. The Nexus 7 is and probably will remain Wi-Fi only. The Tab 2 even offers Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) with Samsung TouchWiz, which is closer than the others to the slightly more advanced Android Jelly Bean (4.1), and has front- and rear-facing cameras. The only minus? A dual-core processor and $250 base price.
Anticipation over Android 4.1 Jelly Bean aside, the Google Nexus 7's quad-core processor is poised to suck the thunder straight out of the lungs of three of the biggest selling 7-inch tablets on the market. With that much power under the hood, we might be seeing the emergency of a summer blockbuster whose popularity will likely steamroll straight through summer into the rapidly approaching holiday shopping season. Too early to start thinking about an affordable Christmas stocking stuffer? Not on your life.
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