Google Nexus 7 + Speck FitFolio Review

The Nexus 7 is Google’s entry-level Nexus ‘Pure Google’ device. Is the price indicative of the quality?

If it has not been apparent yet, Google is now into the hardware business. They are now doing hardware themselves or thru partners which, in the case of the Nexus 7 is Asus. This is the 7” Android tablet you’re going to want to go up against Apple’s iPad Mini.

Beyond the cheaply plastic outer shell, the the Nexus 7 is considerably priced less than the usual 7” tablets on the market with similar or lesser specs. The Nexus 7 is priced at $199 for the 16Gb and $250 for the 32GB. There is also an option for a 3G version model which runs for $299.

Nexus 7 Technical Specs

  • Display: 7" 1280x800 HD display (216 ppi) Gorilla Glass
  • CPU: NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor
  • RAM: 1GB
  • OS: Android 4.1 Jelly bean
  • Camera: Front facing 1.2 MP
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • Sensors: Microphone, NFC (Android Beam), Accelerometer, GPS, Magnetometer, Gyroscope

Read more for the complete review of the Google Nexus 7 tablet and Speck’s FitFolio.



The box is one of the first grey minimalistic designs among the Nexus line. The front of the box shows the corner of the tablet cleverly displaying the number 7 hinting at the size of the device itself. Also included is the AC adapter, sync/charging cable and manuals. That’s about it.

Hardware + Display + Build

The specs of the Nexus 7 is surprisingly powerful for its price. You already get a 7” 1280x800 HD display with Tegra 3 quad core processor, which is higher than Amazon Kindle Fire’s 1024x600 169ppi display with a TI OMAP 1.2Ghz Dual Core CPU, for just $40 more.

Google also upgraded the 8gb version to 16gb while retaining the original price of $199. Early adopters are hurting but new buyers must be very lucky.

Being spoiled by Samsung’s Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 7’s display didn’t look appealing at first. Apparently the default boot brightness was at low setting and the default wallpaper was also of a muted hue.

Changing it and adjusting the brightness livened up and brought out the vividness of the display.

Everything looks sharp on the HD IPS display. Unfortunately, some app icons still do not scale properly on the HD screen and have that blurred effect on them. Nothing a quick fix these developers can’t do as more HD screens come out.

The Nexus 7 also has 4 pin port for the extra dock accessory on Google Play. It’s similar to the pins on the Galaxy Nexus and I really haven’t tried anything on both of them yet.

What I have tried is this Android Beam feature (similar to WebOS Touch to Share) of just tapping the phone on the tablet and it will sync any open browser tabs (note really needed if you use Chrome tabsync), files, photos. It’s using NFC technology to detect near devices and then transfers them via Bluetooth. I now use this to edit camera phone photos on a larger screen.

I just wished that it would work without requiring the two devices to face back-to-back since it’s kinda tedious doing it alone. It wouldn’t be possible I guess since the NFC radios are located at the back, I wonder how the HP TouchPad and Pre 3 does it with theirs.

Android Jellybean. iPad Mini versus Nexus 7

While I have just discussed the hardware side of the Nexus 7, most of its magic and power lies on the software of this small little beast.

I wanted the iPad Mini only because of one reason alone - the improved rear camera. I wanted the Nexus 7 because it’s a load and store thing and doesn’t require me to sync via iTunes. It also has a better display and is a lot cheaper. I also have an Android phone so syncing between them should not be a problem.

Android Jellybean 4.2 is great on the Nexus 7. Switching between apps and navigating the entire OS is intuitive. Apps are there but tablet optimized apps are not, that is why I won’t recommend the Nexus 10. The Nexus 7 can be forgiven for lack of tablet optimized apps due to slightly large screen but the Nexus 10 can’t and would look worse at iPad’s slew of HD apps.


Nice, solid tablet from Asus. Doesn’t feel cheap even with the plastic construction. For the price, it’s better to get the 32gb version and skip the 16gb. IF you have an iPhone already, try the Nexus 7, If you’ve got Android and want to try something new, better get an iPad Mini. This is basically a larger Nexus phone but works very well on a larger display. Comics, documents, browsing, games looks great.


Speck Fitfolio for the Nexus 7


Choosing a case for the Nexus 7 can be challenging. You’d want a case to offer protection while still retaining the tablet’s slim, and very portable figure. While looking for one, I narrowed the choices between the Speck FitFolio and Poetic Slimline Portfolio Case.

I wanted to like the Poetic Slimline because it’s similar to the current iPad 2 case that I have from Scoche. It’s slim and it’s looks good. Unforunately it didn’t cover enough areas (top and bottom) to safeguard the Nexus 7 from corner drops and thuds while inside the bag. Some negative Amazon reviews on build quality and flap fraying also didn’t help.

I ended up going with Speck’s FitFolio and while it was a bit thicker – it offered coverage on all sides and the a plastic flap to lock the leather cover in place when not in use. It also has the magnetic feature that turns the display on/off when you uncover/cover the flap. If you’re looking a a great Nexus 7 case, consider this one. I like mine.

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