First Impression: Nexus 7–LTE Version

About 20 minutes ago, UPS came with a few items I had managed to get. The one in relation to this blog posting is the Nexus 7 with LTE. The reason of why I acquired this tablet was to have something that will supplement the demands on my phone, and provide a better experience with a larger display. The tablet has LTE, therefore, in the event that I should need LTE data, I have it available. And since this is a Nexus device, it will receive a reliable update path. This in turn will be my primary tablet – leaving the Hisense at home exclusively.

The Nexus 7 is $385 from T-Mobile, and will cost about $16/month for 24 months. For those that can afford it may want to just go to Google Play, and purchase directly for $350. Personally, if I had the $350+tax, I would have purchased that way. With it being T-Mobile, I had to pay the SIM kit ($10), and taxes (7%) upfront. I chose expedited shipping which is the only benefit over Google (their shipping of products takes longer). It is a 7” tablet with a 1920×1080 resolution for a total of 323ppi. It has a Corning Glass to help fight against scratches, a 1.2MP front + 5MP rear camera – however, there is no LED flash. It has dual band Wifi-abgn, but there is no Wifi-AC. It also supports all GSM-2G bands, as well as all GSM-3G bands. For LTE, it supports 700/850/1700/1800/1900/2100 Mhz bands. As with all Nexus devices, these are unlocked so I could theoretically take it to another carrier, and not have to beg T-Mobile to allow me to have the device I paid for. There is also Bluetooth 4.0 support and NFC.

The CPU is a quad core 1.5Ghz Qualcomm S4 Pro CPU. It has 2GB of memory, and 32GB of storage. There is no other option with the cellular edition device in storage. In addition as with all Nexus devices, there is no expandable storage. An Audrino 320 running at 400Mhz is the graphics GPU. Audio includes stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm jack. There is a power and volume on the right side, as well as a Slim Port enabled USB charging port on the bottom. The micro-SIM tray is located towards the bottom on the right hand side. A SIM ejection tool comes with the cellular edition of the Nexus 7.

The Good

The screen is wonderful. It feels as if it is a better screen than the Nexus 4 which I own as well. The tablet is easy to hold in the hand, and while I haven’t set it up the exact way I want it, I am confident it will supplement the demand on my phone, especially while I am out. This will reduce the demand placed on the phone, and allow it to last longer through the day. The storage capacity while not as much as I would like in my primary tablet, it is sufficient. Obviously, I will use software to manage my music library.

With the larger and higher resolution screen – I can stuff more on the screen than otherwise. I have a row of 7 icons and I was able to put the digital clock, Google Now, and an adjusted calendar on the home screen along with a folder of applications. With Dual band wifi, once I can get a much better router than the POS Verizon router, I should be able to have pretty good speeds on the tablet. In addition, there is also LTE which I can assume will only be faster than my GSM-3G on the Nexus 4, or the WiMax router I have. In a simple sentence, the Nexus 7 is far superior to the Sero 7 I recently reviewed, and this is again on first impression.

The Bad

The worst thing is I don’t have access to SMS/MMS services, even though I have an associated phone number that Twitter seems to recognize. Thankfully my SMS and limited MMS goes through Google Voice, but it would have been nice if Google will allow SMS services on cellular enabled tablets. As of 4.4 – this is not possible. I am also disappointed, but I already knew that there is no LED flash for the rear camera. While this isn’t a deal breaker – it is still disappointing. The LED is a hardware issue, however, the SMS/MMS issue is a software issue which can be updated OTA by Google at anytime.

The Ugly

Obviously, I am not a fan of the lack of SD card slot. Obviously, I have come to accept this since I own Nexus devices. However, it is still an issue I would rather not have to associate with. I will also be curious to know what will happen when I surpass the 200MB of data included by T-Mobile. Most of their plans will just throttle, but I will be calling to make sure. It would also be nice if the button placement was such as the Nexus 4, but again – this is a minor issue.

Verdict

So far, this is a pretty good device, despite the couple of flaws (one of them Google made). However, I don’t think most people will need the LTE version. Getting a router, and service such as Ting, or Freedom Pop might make more sense especially the premium of the LTE version. One of the reasons I purchased this one is the payment plan I was able to have with T-Mobile. The data service is $10 with a $10 monthly credit, so that comes out to just the cost of the tablet in monthly payments. I will suggest to purchase a case with a keyboard – especially if you were to do anything truly productive with it.

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