While we love the new Nexus 7, we’ve got some complaints about it, including problems with apps and hardware issues.
As an owner of the original Nexus 7 and someone who loved the tablet, the new Nexus 7 couldn’t come soon enough. With high hopes for the new tablet, the old Nexus 7 found a new home with a friend who didn’t own a tablet. We waited expectantly for Google and ASUS to finally release the new Nexus 7. Our local Staples store started selling them a little early and we barely got our hands on one, buying the last 16GB model left in the store with no 32GB models available.
HBO Go usually gets installed early on when we get a new phone or tablet. Not with the Nexus 7. The Google Play Store reports that the app won’t work because “Your device isn’t compatible with this version.” This happened with the first Nexus 7 too. Some apps just wouldn’t work because the app maker didn’t update in time for the launch. This could result from the Nexus 7 running Android 4.3. We expect a solution soon, just as we found with the original. A user at the XDA Developers Forum contacted HBO and got a response which said the update would come soon.
Tivo for Tablets originally didn’t support the device, but now installs fine, so most apps will likely receive updates to work soon.
Strangely, one incompatible app comes from none other than Google itself. The Google Wallet app won’t work on the Nexus 7 and probably never will due to a lack of a “Secure Element.” Search the play store from the tablet and Wallet won’t even show up in the results. Here’s the word from Google’s Peter Hazlehurst commenting at Android Police.
Hi folks, there is no Secure Element in the new Nexus 7 (or the HTC One Play Edition) which is why Google Wallet isn’t supported.
Poor Quality Tablet Apps
Android developers made great strides in the past year tablet specific apps. However, we can’t find good apps in a few categories, like handwritten note-taking or inking apps. On iOS Notability ($1.99) does a great job with:
- fluid inking
- note organization
- note exporting and syncing
- typing and inking
- page layout with inserting photos
- zoom feature for fine inking
That last feature means the most to those who take notes in their own handwriting. Notability gives users a zoomed in box that lets them write in large print, but shows up on the page looking more like fine print written on a real paper tablet. The app shrinks the words and places them at the insertion point for precision inking.
Some Android apps give us a close facsimile to Notability, but nothing works as well on Android. Here’s a few apps, mostly free, with potential, but they’re frustratingly not close enough.
Of those, Note Anytime (below) offers the best hope, but it’s still not good enough to replace Notability.
Lack of LTE at Launch
We knew they’d leave out LTE at launch, but it still frustrates some users. The ability to jump online any time regardless of available Wi-Fi makes LTE tablets useful for mobile users.
Phone hotspots solve the problem, but they’re not as convenient, even with Android widgets that toggle the phone’s hotspot on and off. The iPhone hotspot feature doesn’t work as well since it forces the users to toggle it on/off every time from within Settings. iOS 7 promises to fix this, but it’s not proven and months away.
Hotspot drains the phone battery faster and could create a security risk.
An LTE version of the new Nexus 7 will come shortly, but impatient gadget freaks don’t like waiting. Apple had this problem with their first iPad, but the later versions dropped the same day as the Wi-Fi only models. Google needs to fix this with the next version.
Sensitivity of the Touch Screen
The display looks awesome on the new Nexus 7, but the touch screen’s sensitivity causes problems. Tapping and holding icons to drag them, like when a user wants to move an app icon, proves difficult. The screen is so sensitive that the finger must remain perfectly still. Any movement at all keeps the tap and hold feature from working.
The new Nexus 7 battery runs about as well as the old Nexus 7. We get about 8 hours with average to above average usage. On an iPad mini one can expect about 8 hours, so the Nexus 7 doesn’t run as long. We’re not too upset over an hour’s difference. Just keep it in mind if deciding between the two devices.
Not All Bad
While some people found the build quality suspect, we didn’t. It feels like a solid low-end tablet. We’ve played with other tablets that feel like they’d likely fall apart quicker than the Nexus 7. The original Nexus 7 held up well, so we’ve got high hopes. The iPad mini sat in a drawer for a few days while exclusively using the new Nexus 7. A full review will come later, but these were the few issues discovered early on.