Google's new Nexus 7 gets stellar reviews despite faults, jitters, lagging apps

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Reports of "faulty" GPS, "buggy" multitouch, "jittery" scrolling and an ecosystem that "still lags iOS" weren't enough to stop Google's latest Nexus 7 from getting a stellar review on par with Apple's iPad mini.


Nexus 7


Source: Google


In part, that's because some of the issues hadn't surfaced when The Verge awarded Google's new Nexus 7 a 9/10 score in late July, a tie with its review score of Apple's iPad mini. The refreshed Nexus 7 review did note jittery scrolling and a lagging ecosystem of apps, however.

David Pierce wrote that "somehow Google still can't figure out how scrolling animations work, so the Play Store is as jittery as ever ? but there's no question that the Nexus 7 is one of the fastest, smoothest Android tablets I've ever used."

That's not exactly high praise, given that the majority of Android tablets are no-name "white box" devices with underpowered processors that sell for as little as $40.

Garbage Tablets


Pierce also noted that "the Android app situation has improved a lot, but it's still squarely in the iPad's rearview mirror. From Paper to Clear to Badland, it's no contest." However, "outside of that discrepancy," he wrote, "the Nexus 7 is a better tablet than the iPad mini."

A tablet without apps is like a PC without software

Google's Asus-built, Android-powered Nexus 7 suffers from what you might call the Amiga Syndrome: cheap hardware with notable features but a dearth of quality apps. You could also call it an Atari ST or an Acorn Archimedes or a BeBox, or compare it to any number of other computers that didn't run the software the mainstream market wanted and subsequently aren't around anymore.

While Apple focused on making sure its tablet had iPad-optimized apps on the day it shipped, Google has relied on providing tools to stretch Android's smartphone apps to fit larger screens.

That's allowed hardware makers to experiment with a wide variety of screen sizes, ratios and resolutions. But it hasn't resulted in a good selection of tablet-optimized apps, a particular problem for important tablet markets such as education and the enterprise.

Without native apps, Google might as well sell tablets running its ChromeOS, where software is an enhanced webpage. In fact, Google's lack of commitment to Android apps and Android form factors relative to its investment in ChromeOS versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and Apple TV suggest that Google has a much greater affinity to its web-based platform than to its Java-like smartphone platform.

iWork


Apple even wrote its own first party iPad apps to set a high bar for its third party partners to aspire to, including iBooks and a suite sophisticated productivity apps it released alongside the original iPad (Pages, Keynote and Numbers, $9.99 each) followed by iPad-optimized releases of GarageBand and iMovie the following year, for just $4.99 each.

GarageBand 2

AppGate

Writing for Time, Jared Newman observed, "Google should take the lead and make some killer Android apps like these. Both iMovie and GarageBand are excellent apps that help justify the iPad as more than a consumption device, and there?s really nothing that comes anywhere close on Android."

He added, "Some apps that claim to be tablet-friendly are just barely so on Android. The New York Times, for instance, gives you a sidebar of extra stories when you browse the front page in landscape mode, but when you?re reading a story, you don?t get the iPad version?s lovely column view and story teasers."

Android tablet apps
Android vs iPad versions of the NYT Source: Time


Even worse, he noted that while "many of the most popular iPad apps are available for Android, but they aren?t always designed to take advantage of the extra real estate of tablet displays. Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox and Pandora are the worst offenders, stretching out their interfaces instead of filling the screen with sidebars and menus."

Android tablet apps
Android vs iPad versions of Pandora Source: Time


As a platform in competition with Apple, Android is often compared to Microsoft Windows. But the primary reason why Windows became successful and ubiquitous in the 1990s was that it offered a wide range of virtually any kind of software users wanted or needed.

Windows' expansive software offerings included many exclusives that were only available for that platform, or which offered significantly better or more frequently updated versions of apps that only made their way to other platforms much later or in feature limited versions. And of course, Microsoft also offered key first party titles of its own, most notably Office.

Those are circumstances associated today with iOS, not Android. Limited software offerings are not the only issue differentiating it from Apple's iPad however.

GPSGate

Within a couple weeks of the Nexus 7's release, CNET reported that Google's new Nexus 7 was "plagued by a GPS glitch," explaining, "the GPS signal works for a certain amount of time, anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes, and then it simply conks out, leaving the user without a connection."

It added, "Google is apparently aware of the problem and is investigating."

ScreenGate

This week, Engadget reported, "some users are also reporting issues with multitouch" on the new Nexus 7, again citing a response from Google stating, "the Android team is aware of this issue and investigating."

The report included a user's YouTube video depicting the multitouch sensors going haywire while tracking just two finger points.



While Engadget hoped that the situation could be rectified in a software update, a report by The Full Signal added that users have noted the Nexus 7 "touchscreen only becomes problematic when it's laying on a non-grounded surface like a sofa or a coffee table. Some have also mentioned that the issue doesn't seem to be present at all when the tablet is plugged in."

This all happened before

After the The Verge published its 9/10 review, John Gruber of the Daring Fireball noted, "Last year?s Nexus 7 got an 8.8 from The Verge, yet most people, including The Verge, now agree it was a turd."

In June, less than a year after the original Nexus 7 was released, AppleInsider described buyers' frustrations with it.

As Dustin Early of AndroidAndMe observed, "I can?t find one person who has been using the Nexus 7 for an extended period of time, and hasn?t seen a massive downgrade in performance."

TurdGate


In a piece titled, "One year later, the Nexus 7 has gone from the best to worst tablet I?ve ever owned," Early stated, "I cannot pick up my Nexus 7 without experiencing problems like a lag of ten seconds, or more, just to rotate the display," describing issues with "touches refusing to [be] acknowledged; stuttering notification panel actions; and unresponsive apps."

Originally thought to be related to batches of bad memory, the issues were eventually revealed to be a combination of defective hardware and unfinished software. One Android developer described a known "bug in Samsung's flash controller firmware."

Google itself later floated a new version of Android 3.2 capable of properly supporting TRIM commands required to manage solid state storage, an issue that months had rendered many users' Nexus 7 "just a shell of its former self," and "an embarrassment to Google," in the words of Early.

Reviewing the product for The Verge last year, Joshua Topolsky, wrote, "Google's Nexus 7 isn't just an excellent tablet for $200. It's an excellent tablet, period."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 190
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    Media sells story. Story always has drama — the noble king humbled, the peasant who becomes a lord, the evil villain who succeeds but everyone believes deserves to fail, the pure of heart upstart who fails but everyone hopes will succeed.

    We're not reading or watching reality, we're all consumers of stories. This article refers to folks choosing a compelling storyline and spinning out the drama. Enjoy the fiction and move on.
  • Reply 2 of 190
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Reports of "faulty" GPS, "buggy" multitouch, "jittery" scrolling and an ecosystem that "still lags iOS" weren't enough to stop Google's latest Nexus 7 from getting a stellar review on par with Apple's iPad mini.

    In part, that's because some of the issues hadn't surfaced when <em>The Verge</em> awarded Google's new Nexus 7 a 9/10 score in late July, a tie with its review score of Apple's iPad mini. The refreshed Nexus 7 <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/26/4558626/google-nexus-7-review-2013">review</a> did note jittery scrolling and a lagging ecosystem of apps, however.

    But mostly because the Verge's scoring system is to rate the tablets, then add 4 to the score if it's an Android tablet and subtract 1 if it's an iOS tablet. The Verge has NEVER been a reasonable source for unbiased reviews.
    <h2>This all happened before</h2>

    After the <em>The Verge</em> published its 9/10 review, John Gruber of the <em>Daring Fireball</em> <a href="http://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/07/26/verge-nexus-7">noted</a>, "Last year?s Nexus 7 got an 8.8 from <em>The Verge</em>, yet most people, including <em>The Verge</em>, now agree it was a turd."

    See?
  • Reply 3 of 190
    This article is sooooo Bias. Why another company can't have a better product than Apple? I doubt all these problems exists in first place. It is really sad to read this article. Does Apple pay you guys? OK we get it Apple is the best nothing is better than Apple. We wont buy the Nexus 7 only iPads got the message.
  • Reply 4 of 190
    And yet it looks to me like an other DOA.
    But hey they have to try don't they?
  • Reply 5 of 190
    That's what happens when you make cheap for the sake of cheap. No surprise here at all. It seems Android owners are accustomed to this sort of behavior and almost expect it.
  • Reply 6 of 190
    Paid shills - The internet is full of them...

    Cheers AI for exposing those crooks for what they really are!
  • Reply 7 of 190
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    The retina Mini better get a 10/10 at all of these review houses then. If not then everyone will know how full of it these shills are.
  • Reply 8 of 190
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Seems the new Nexus 7 got great reviews for mainly one reason: the retina like display. A secondary reason is the first generation was so bad it would be damn near impossible for the second gen not to be an improvement.

    This is why Apple needs a retina mini this fall. Get a retina mini out there and nobody but a few rabid Fandroids will care about the Nexus 7 anymore. :D
  • Reply 9 of 190
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Seems the new Nexus 7 got great reviews for mainly one reason: the retina like display. A secondary reason is the first generation was so bad it would be damn near impossible for the second gen not to be an improvement.

    This is why Apple needs a retina mini this fall. Get a retina mini out there and nobody but a few rabid Fandroids will care about the Nexus 7 anymore. :D

    3rd reason appears to be the price which is an area Apple will not compete thankfully.

    It seems most rumors are saying Retina is coming this fall which is good news.
  • Reply 10 of 190

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stylorouge View Post



    This article is sooooo Bias. Why another company can't have a better product than Apple? I doubt all these problems exists in first place. It is really sad to read this article. Does Apple pay you guys? OK we get it Apple is the best nothing is better than Apple. We wont buy the Nexus 7 only iPads got the message.


    Please buy a Nexus and feel what is written on this article. 


    It is good to feel the slap than seeing it.

  • Reply 11 of 190

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stylorouge View Post



    This article is sooooo Bias. Why another company can't have a better product than Apple? I doubt all these problems exists in first place. It is really sad to read this article. Does Apple pay you guys? OK we get it Apple is the best nothing is better than Apple. We wont buy the Nexus 7 only iPads got the message.


     


    How is this article biased? All AI did was to present events as they happened. Did you even read it???


     


    IMHO the Verge got paid by Google to write an overly positive review and then retracted it about a year later. This is common practice in the world of yellow press...

  • Reply 12 of 190
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,836member

    Originally Posted by stylorouge View Post


    Why another company can't have a better product than Apple? I doubt all these problems exists in first place. It is really sad to read this article. Does Apple pay you guys? OK we get it Apple is the best nothing is better than Apple. We wont buy the Nexus 7 only iPads got the message.


     


    Because they don't. They can, but they don't, which is evident if you use the product. The problems exist. Otherwise it wouldn't be possible to claim they exist and have it stick.


     


    This is probably the first time I've seen a reverse shill accusation. Do you have any 1. fact to back up your claims (any of them, not just the "paid by Apple" crap) 2. idea where you are?

  • Reply 13 of 190

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Seems the new Nexus 7 got great reviews for mainly one reason: the retina like display. A secondary reason is the first generation was so bad it would be damn near impossible for the second gen not to be an improvement.



    This is why Apple needs a retina mini this fall. Get a retina mini out there and nobody but a few rabid Fandroids will care about the Nexus 7 anymore. image


    Retina mini will eat out the share of iPad.  


    They better bring in iPad a yet higher resolution display and retina to mini. image

  • Reply 14 of 190
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Fandroids have extremely low standards and subpar expectations.

    Clueless people who have no clue about anything technical like to boast about specs, but what the hell does specs matter when you pick up the damn device in your hands and it jitters and lags? Who gives a crap about how many cores or how much RAM your device has, when it performs like crap? A Fandroid would probably boast about a girlfriend that has size D boobs, while neglecting to mention that she also has the face of a pig and the butt of a cow.

    And then there's the case of actually having tablet apps, not blown up phone apps that look and perform like crap. And good luck trying to do any music on any Android tablet.

    All Android tablets gets two thumbs down from me.
  • Reply 15 of 190

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post



    Fandroids have extremely low standards and subpar expectations.



    Clueless people who have no clue about anything technical like to boast about specs, but what the hell does specs matter when you pick up the damn device in your hands and it jitters and lags? Who gives a crap about how many cores or how much RAM your device has, when it performs like crap? A Fandroid would probably boast about a girlfriend that has size D boobs, while neglecting to mention that she also has the face of a pig and the butt of a cow.



    And then there's the case of actually having tablet apps, not blown up phone apps that look and perform like crap. And good luck trying to do any music on any Android tablet.



    All Android tablets gets two thumbs down from me.


     


    No words can describe better than this. 

  • Reply 16 of 190
    "Google itself later floated a new version of Android 3.2 capable of properly supporting TRIM commands "

    That should read Android 4.3 (not 3.2)
  • Reply 17 of 190
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    apple ][ wrote: »

    And good luck trying to do any music on any Android tablet.

    :???: Music is one of those things that isn't an issue to the best of my knowledge. Google All-Access is pretty well done IMO. I particularly like the access to specific songs and/or artists and finding that even your "thumbs-up" selections can be turned into you own radio station was a nice find. That $8/mo I pay (I believe it's $10 for new users now) for streaming to a smartphone, tablet, computer or even HDTV is hard to beat value-wise. Excellent audio quality too.
  • Reply 18 of 190
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    :???: Music is one of those things that isn't an issue to the best of my knowledge. Google All-Access is pretty well done IMO. I particularly like the access to specific songs and/or artists and finding that even your "thumbs-up" selections can be turned into you own radio station was a nice find. That $8/mo I pay (I believe it's $10 for new users now) for streaming to a smartphone, tablet, computer or even HDTV is hard to beat value-wise. Excellent audio quality too.

    This has been discussed before. I am specifically referring to music creation, not regular music playback.

    It is a well known issue that realtime music creation on Android is a huge problem, with enormous latency.

    That's why all of the big music apps are on iOS, from companies like Korg, Moog, Yamaha, Waldorf, Arturia etc.........
  • Reply 19 of 190
    gatorguy wrote: »
    apple ][ wrote: »

    And good luck trying to do any music on any Android tablet.

    :???: Music is one of those things that isn't an issue to the best of my knowledge. Google All-Access is pretty well done IMO. I particularly like the access to specific songs and/or artists and finding that even your "thumbs-up" selections can be turned into you own radio station was a nice find. That $8/mo I pay (I believe it's $10 for new users now) for streaming to a smartphone, tablet, computer or even HDTV is hard to beat value-wise. Excellent audio quality too.

    I don't think he means what you think he means by 'music.'
  • Reply 20 of 190
    apple ][ wrote: »
    Fandroids have extremely low standards and subpar expectations.

    Clueless people who have no clue about anything technical like to boast about specs, but what the hell does specs matter when you pick up the damn device in your hands and it jitters and lags? Who gives a crap about how many cores or how much RAM your device has, when it performs like crap? A Fandroid would probably boast about a girlfriend that has size D boobs, while neglecting to mention that she also has the face of a pig and the butt of a cow.

    And then there's the case of actually having tablet apps, not blown up phone apps that look and perform like crap. And good luck trying to do any music on any Android tablet.

    All Android tablets gets two thumbs down from me.
    ROTFL are you saying you dont pork and beef to go with your milk
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