New arrival


We’ve got a new arrival in the family – it’s a tiny wee tablet called a Nexus 7.

Nexus 7The little fellah’s made himself right at home from the start, being generally helpful around the house, keeping out of people’s way and not costing too much.

In fact, I think I can safely say it’s the best tablet I’ve ever used – especially since it cost just a hair over £150.  The screen is smaller than the Galaxy Tab 10.1 we had previously (and which is now on eBay) and this was my major worry – that the screen would be too small to be useful (more on this in a moment…)

But the Nexus 7 is wonderful to use: smart, well-built and as responsive as an iPad – which, for all its other great qualities, the 10.1 never was, despite costing almost the same.    The Nexus 7 is less than half the price of an iPad, but you’d never know it.

And for the first time ever I’m also impressed with a piece of voice recognition software, the all-new Google Now.

S-Voice on my Galaxy S3, Samsung’s attempt at voice-recognition, is very hit-and-miss; it’s something of a gimmick anyway, because I don’t ever want to be talking at my phone on a crowded train or at work – especially if I have to keep repeating myself!

But Google Now actually works.  And without me having to repeat myself like I’m talking to a small child.

Yeah, seriously – ask it a question and it either answers you or shows relevant web search results.  It’s still having trouble understanding Millie, but for me it gets things right 95% of the time.

We’re still not quite at the point where I can shout from the kitchen, “Oi, Nexus, what are the kids doing?!” but I can ask it “Who starred in The Woman In Black (which we watched on Saturday) and without any fuss or repetition it’ll show me the IMDb page.

“What’s the weather forecast?” “In Sidcup it will be 28 degrees and sunny.

“Play Hip Hug by Slim Smith” brings up the YouTube video for Hip Hug by Slim Smith.

And so on.  At this rate I may begin changing my web browsing behaviour and actually start to use the voice recognition software.  I’ve been playing with computers for a long time and voice recognition has never seemed so useful as it does with Google Now.

But back to the size…

Before I decided to buy a Nexus 7 I read all the reviews, checked all the blogs and technology websites, all of which were as impressed as I’ve become.

The one difference it was hard to judge was the change in screen size: how would 7-inches compare to 10-inches?

Well, 7-inches compares very favourably to 10-inches!

There are occasional moments when the text is just a little too small to read comfortably – just occasionally – but this – ahem – small inconvenience is more than made up for by the way the Nexus 7 fits so perfectly in your hand.  It makes the 10.1 feel like something from The Flintstones by comparison.  The Nexus 7 feels like you’re carrying a handy notebook around: not too heavy and very comfortable in one hand; whereas the 10.1 now feels heavy and bulky and requires two hands to hold securely.

Sure, you wouldn’t want to watch a blockbuster movie on the Nexus, but for catching up on the BBC iPlayer, for reading a Kindle book or checking Facebook, it excels.  There is nothing about this tablet that has disappointed me yet.

Get yourself a Nexus 7 – in fact, take the money you were going to blow on an iPad and get yourself two Nexus 7s!

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