Nexus 7 Review: From Hero to Zero

The 2012 Nexus 7, the old Nexus 7, is riding off into the sunset. After a good year of life, Google has announced a new Nexus 7 that has already replaced the older model on the Google Play Store and will be replacing the original on the shelves of retailers across the country. I’ve owned the old Nexus 7 for a little over a year now, and in the wake of the new model, it’s time to take a look at my Nexus 7 experience after one year.

In June of 2012, Google executives took the stage and announced two products that we already knew were coming. In addition to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the company revealed the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet that would be sold through the Google Play Store and would be sold for cheap, $199 cheap. I was intrigued, along with thousands of others.

The Nexus 7 will soon be replaced by the new Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 will soon be replaced by the new Nexus 7.

While my experience with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus left a poor taste in my mouth, this tablet had nothing to do with Verizon. It was a cheap, Wi-Fi only tablet, that I felt would fit perfectly into my arsenal of devices which at the time included an iPhone 3GS, Galaxy Nexus and iPad 3. So, like many others, I bought Google’s new 7-inch tablet.

There was no question about which one I was going to get because I knew that 8GB of storage, without a microSD card slot, would be impossible to manage. I planned to outfit my tablet with games, movies and books that would help occupy my time at night and during travel. Several weeks later, my Nexus 7 arrived on my doorstep and I was thrilled.

Since that day, I’ve been a Nexus 7 owner for better or worse. And with the new Nexus 7 set to arrive on July 30th, it’s time to take a look back at my experience with the Asus-made 2012 Nexus 7 over the past year.

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Android 4.1 Era

I had been a strict iPhone owner up until the Samsung Galaxy Nexus’ arrival in December of 2011. However, the allure of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus proved to be too hard to resist and I waltzed into a local Verizon store on launch day and bought one for well over $300, something that I regret to this day.

I bring this up because almost immediately, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus crushed my dreams. While I had hoped for the perfect Nexus experience, I was instead was left with a device that was all hype. I found out later that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus wasn’t actually a Nexus, it just so happened to have the Nexus name.

So when the Nexus 7 was announced, I probably wasn’t as thrilled as I would have been if I hadn’t have picked up the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Still, to me, it appeared to be the best Android tablet to date and so I gambled, thinking that there was no possible way that the experience could be any worse than the Galaxy Nexus’.

And for the first part of my year with the Nexus 7, it was night and day. The Nexus 7 was a constant companion of mine (and my girlfriend’s) during travel and at night. So, exactly how I planned it.

Games, books, the web, all of it looked fantastic on the Nexus 7′s display and the quad-core Tegra 3 processor handled Android 4.1, multitasking and gaming like a dream. In fact, there was fairly big stretch where I found myself using my Nexus 7 way more than my iPad 3. Money well spent, I kept telling myself.

And then along came autumn.

Android 4.2 Era

In September, I decided to replace my iPhone 3GS with the iPhone 5, something that kept me in Apple’s ecosystem. Equipped with an iPad 3, iPhone 5 and MacBook Air, I was and still am able to seamlessly move around my devices, something that makes my workflow and life a lot easier.

That said, I continued to use my Nexus 7 and didn’t even flinch when the iPad mini was announced. Yes, it was tempting but without a Retina Display and given how much I liked my Nexus 7, it was a simple decision, holding onto $300 or so dollars.

The horror. The horror.

The horror. The horror.

Around the same time that Apple introduced the iPad mini, Google made some announcements of its own, revealing an HSPA+ Nexus 7 and announcing a Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update. I was elated.

One of the perks of having a Nexus is that updates roll out directly from Google, meaning, that as a Nexus owner, you get them first. As I’ve said, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus isn’t a real Nexus device and thus, it didn’t get Android 4.1 in a speedy manner. But because the Nexus 7 is and was a true Nexus, I would be first to Android 4.2. And I was.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean roll out in mid-November and for the first few days, I thought it was a huge upgrade over Android 4.1 thanks to the inclusion of handy features like Quick Settings, lock screen widgets and multi-user accounts so that my girlfriend and I could set up our own accounts.

It seemed like my Nexus 7 experience only got better and that my decision to pass on the iPad mini would not come back to haunt me. Turns out, I was dead wrong.

After a few weeks, it was clear that the experience on my Nexus 7 was deteriorating. Whether or not it had to do with Android 4.2, I can’t be sure, but I will say with confidence that after Android 4.2, things went down hill.

While my Nexus 7 didn’t have a host of issues, it did have one debilitating issue that essentially rendered it useless. For reasons that I am still unsure of, my Nexus 7 took hours and hours to charge. Literally, it would take it eight or so hours to charge to 100% where as before, it took far less than that.

It got to the point where I was just sick of waiting and so, I performed a factory reset, something that I really did not want to have to do but ultimately was forced to do. Nothing changed. So slowly but surely, I began to phase the Nexus 7 out of my daily routine, replacing it with a combination of my laptop, iPhone 5 and iPad 3.

In February, I decided to give it another chance. I fired it back up and it crackled to life. Literally, it crackled to life. From the crackling noise it was making, I thought it was going to explode. Adding to that, it decided to randomly reboot after being on for 15-20 seconds. Turns out, there was a fix for my issue and I wiped my hands clean of it that very day.

Sadly, there was and as far as I know, still no fix for the slow battery charging issue. So, once again, the Nexus 7 collected dust on my desk. That is, until recently, when I went to go boot it up so that I could install Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for a test run.

Android 4.3 Era

With an iPad mini 2 with Retina on the way, the Nexus 7 2 is a tough sell.

With an iPad mini 2 with Retina likely on the way, the new Nexus 7 is a tough sell.

The Android 4.3 era on my Nexus 7 unfortunately ended before it even began. That’s because my Nexus 7 refuses to turn on. It’s dead, lifeless, sitting on my desk next to me, a complete transformation from a year ago.

There are rumors out there that suggest that faulty RAM is the reason my Nexus 7 stopped working. Apparently, others have seen the same thing happen to their Nexus 7 after using it for some time.

And thus ended my year with the Nexus 7.

After a year with the Nexus 7, there is a part of me that is glad that I invested that $250 in Google’s 7-inch tablet. It was a great device, when it worked properly. When I think if my time with these Nexus devices, the word that comes to mind is inconsistent. Owning a Nexus device is like riding a roller coaster with a blindfold on. It’s unpredictable.

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While I’ve cautioned many buyers about the potential pitfalls of the new Nexus 7, there is no guarantee it will have the same issues as the original. But that risk is still there. And at this point, it’s a risk that I, as a consumer, am unwilling to take. Both of my experiences with Nexus devices have ended in disappointment and it’s hard to think that I will invest in a third (at least beyond the scope of my job) and I get the feeling I’m probably not alone.

Comments

  1. ukandroid says

    If your Nexus 7 developed charging problems, why didn’t you get it fixed rather than moan about it here.

    Mine is as good as the day I bought it (well, actually better, as it has had 4.2.2 for quite a while now). I will almost certainly get the LTE version of the new Nexus 7 when it’s available and I really like the reports of the new hidef display.

    • Juan2X says

      I love my HTC One and my Macbook Air equally so I am not a fanboy either way, but in fairness I have heard of a lot of issues with the Nexus 7 crapping out after 6-8 months. I owned a Nexus 4 and LOVED pure android, but the call quality was garbage and so was the camera, so I ditched it for the HTC One. I love Google but they need to improve build quality on their devices.

    • Marty says

      Completely agree. All of his posts seem aimed at finding something wrong with any Nexus. He’s getting quite desperate now.

      I think these ‘reviews’ are put up simply to hide genuine reviews.

  2. Bardi Yunus says

    Yeah, yours was a remote case. My Ipad Mini doesn’t charge until 100% since the first day i bought it. Solved it by getting a new charger. Maybe there is a solution for your case but the point is, things like this happen and there is no perfect gadget out there. It’s purely luck if you get a problem-free one.

  3. mahesh says

    Dear Adam Mills, your article clearly tells that you are not a editor. you are just a iPAID editor.
    LOL. It really surprises me how Adam Mills became journalist/ editor. What a useless/ junk he has written. It clearly shows he is iPAID editor, who knows nothing or he does not know how to use tech products.
    What surprises me more that gottamobile is letting him ruin their reputation.

  4. Jay Ramos says

    Jesus H Christ. It’s an experience that happened to someone who is able to voice out potential issues. My experience with electronics is a love hate relationship. As is with consumers in general. I don’t see why some of you feel the f$&@ing need to take this review as an attack on your preference/choice. I’m sure you’d bitch about not having this article as a base. In regards to making an educated purchase.

  5. ben goshi says

    thank you adam.similar experience except battery problems left right & centre (you name it..i got them all..)…no more asus made tablets for me..lousy quality and parts..they lost my trust..ben

  6. Megat Effendi says

    I think this article is recklessly written simply to condemn a particular model by someone who is not an expert in the field.

    Comment typed from HP keyboard connected to my Nexus 7 via OTG cable

  7. Brett S says

    I purchased/received my 16GB wifi only Nexus 7 at the beginning of last September. I have yet to see any of the issues that I have been reading about from many different places. I have used it everyday and the experience is same as new. (and it has taken multiple tumbles to the floor. Yes sometimes it can run a bit slower or hang for a second but have found that the cause to always be way too many apps running at once or some other software related problems. The battery life has declined slightly, but all batteries do that. As far as hardware, there have been none of the issues ive read about. So I must lucked out. Maybe I’m speaking too soon, or, it could be that SOME of these self destructing (after a year) problem ridden N7 stories were created to help convince that “You should really just get the new one. Im still love my Nexus 7 7 and dont feel the need to replace it yet. But who knows. Maybe tomorrow this thing will pile up! Lol. Knock on wood. :-P

  8. George says

    oh no just because your nexus 7 had problems (and yeah, why didn’t you get them fixed under warranty instead of putting up with them. thats a bit dumb) it means that EVERY nexus 7 must be equally crap.

    way to go with your use of statistics!! go back to your precious apple, you’re always plugging them on here anyway

  9. Dana W says

    I’m an iPad Mini owner, but I used to have a Nexus 7. The reason it was charging slowly is you were NOT using the stock charger. The Nexus 7 needs a minimum 2.1 amp charger, charging it form a 1.1 amp charger or usb 2 port results in endlessly slow charging time. If the pack in 2.1 amp charger is used, an aftermarket 2.1 charger or a USB 3 port charges it fine. I had my own issues with the Nexus 7, primarily the 4.2 update. But this wasn’t one of them. Credit where credit was due. The charging issue was not a device issue. It took me about an hour to figure this out. Google’s crap tech support will NOT tell you this. sadly.

  10. Dana W says

    @Jay Ramos Android Fanbois HATE free choice. Their belief in their devices is a religious faith. Only Android is the answer, ONLY Android is the solution. I’ve had both. They both have their points.

  11. Scott says

    I actually had the same charging issue occur with my Nexus 7. A quick search of the problem on tech threads revealed an easy solution. Turn off your tablet, and restart using the start button. Hold the button down for at least 30 seconds (until the Google logo flashes off, then on again) and wa-lah! Problem solved!

  12. Jay Ramos says

    @ Dana. True. It does get nasty between both camps. Both guilty of drinking the punch. However, I find it interesting that Apple took the touch screen versus then the QWERTY keyboard used by most manufactures,(Blackberry) and took it in a whole different direction. Android fans do not realize how silly they look when they bash Apple for improving the smart phone business. Most manufacturers started to emulate the very thing that got Apple popular. Bottomline, there are benefits to both sides. If you fail to see that, then you are just narrow minded.

    • Joe says

      As if Apple innovated anything new at all. All they did was make smart phones cool and popular.

  13. Joe says

    Ummm OK. I came here looking for a review and instead got a biased rant in a rambling article about practically nothing. What a worthless post and I hope no one takes this guy 100% seriously.

  14. Steve 'In the ground' jobs says

    How is that a review? no detail at all and more about the iFanBoy’s emotions of using a clearly superior device.

  15. Jack Melanson says

    Defective charger or abuse of the battery killed it. Replace the battery for $50 and you have another 2 or 3 years of life…..then replace the battery again. The battery life on my nexus 7 2012 WiFi 32GB model is all day long. 7 or 8 hours of screen on time.

    It takes less than ten minutes to replace the battery. That includes watching the video.

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