After I ordered a Google Nexus 7 through a campaign on the PostedPlanet.com website, I had time over the weekend to get a first impression. For comparison I have a iPad 3which plays in a different price league, but is the main competitor of the Android tablets. Google wants to create a reference model with the Nexus 7 manufactured by ASUS, which is available with 8 and 16 GB, which will be directly supplied with software updates like the previous Nexus models. So there's no need to worry that the next Android version won't be released for the Nexus 7.
I chose the 16GB model because I do not want to store all my data in the cloud. Google sells it for 249,-Euro, which is ok for the bidding: 7″ display with 1.280×800 pixel resolution, Nvidia Tegra-3-SoC as well as 1 GB RAM offer enough power for all apps the Google Play Store has to offer. It's a pity that the display suffers from bad dithering, so color gradients come along with visible gradations. This is of course not a disadvantage with monochrome surfaces.
Haptics: plastic, but pleasant
Thanks to the slightly rubberized back, the Nexus 7 lies well in the hand. If an aluminum surface looks almost too smooth (you run the risk of the device slipping out of your hand), like on the iPad 3, you don't have to worry about this with the Nexus 7. The back is also only attached with clips, you can easily lift it up with a fingernail and then get a glimpse of the inside. What I first noticed: although the packaging was sealed in the original way, some screws are missing - the display tends to come off. My pragmatic approach until I found appropriate screws: distribute the existing screws better and tighten them well. The display fits correctly, but this should not happen with a device that is sold for 249,- - - ASUS has probably improved the following batches. Otherwise positive: the battery can apparently be replaced quite easily.
Android 4.1.1 "Jellybean": Buttery soft
In everyday life it is of course more about the operating system than the hardware. With Android 4.1.1 "Jelly Bean" Google has realized the project "Butter", which is supposed to provide butter-soft animations, which is also successful: if Android devices have been a bit sluggish so far (even with good hardware) and tended to hang, this is now a thing of the past with the current version. It's really fun to use the tablet, and especially the Google apps (e.g. for Google Analytics or Google+) are quickly at hand. Here it is of course up to the developers to adapt the apps accordingly for Android and not just bring loveless copies of the iOS output. But everything important is there, the play store is also easy to use. The Nexus 7 basically runs in the phone mode of the operating system, some things (like turning the home screen) don't work - too bad, because the display is actually big enough to simply work like a smaller version of the 10 inch tablets. But resourceful programmers will certainly have a solution for that as well.
Conclusion: Good device, the show steals the Kindle Fire HD
Google probably doesn't want to address the mass market with the Nexus 7 at all, the device really addresses interested users and developers. Amazon, on the other hand, wants to bring its own shop to the fore with the Kindle Fire HD and offers the device a bit cheaper than Google. In any case, there is movement in the tablet market, even if Apple is still the market leader with the iPad. It will be exciting when Microsoft gets serious and the Surface appears in a similar price range.
In any case, with the Nexus 7 you buy a solid device, which doesn't have a memory slot, but otherwise everything you expect from a tablet, without the price being too high. It is adequate for the bidding, but those who want more can certainly be happy with offers from ASUS (Transformer Prime) or Apple. Those who want to try a tablet without restrictions or possibly develop it for Android themselves can strike without hesitation.