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After a hands-on with the Galaxy Nexus 7, the new Asus-built tablet running Android 4.1 and available in mid-July, we came away impressed by most of it, bored by some of it – and thanks to one simple fact, a little bit blown away.
Yes, the Nexus is a light, well-built, capable seven-inch tablet that boasts a decent processor, a good screen and a comfortable, carbon-like backplate. But it isn’t the build quality that impressed us most.
So was it the form factor? True, in your hand the Nexus feels solid, straightforward, and usable. It’s about the size of a paperback – big enough to read and possibly watch a film, but not too big that you’d actually notice it floating around in your bag. But no, it wasn’t that either.
In software terms, the Nexus also does well – it runs the latest version of Android, snappily, with all of the niggles and joy that implies, and is possibly a bit too focused on selling you something/everything from the Play store. Overall it’s a solid experience. But it wasn’t that exciting either.
Then there is the price. The 8gb Nexus 7 costs £159, the 16gb £200. That’s much, much less than the market leading iPad, and although Apple’s product is obviously a more premium experience, we can see lots of reasons why you’d pick this instead. Basically, it’s a steal. But it wasn’t that either.
No – the one thing about the Nexus 7 that blew us away, is that no one has done this before.
There is nothing massively innovative on show here. Nothing you haven’t seen bits of before in other products, or assumed would be coming along sooner or later. The thing is – it didn’t.
Only Google, with Asus, has managed to put together something this simple, obvious, solid and dull (in a good way) for such a decent price.
In the end it’s a product you’ll see for the first time and swear you’ve seen before. Only, you haven’t. Now that’s remarkable.