Price is the most important factor for people shopping for tablets, a recent YouGov poll confirmed. So with the iPad 3 starting at a lofty £399, are we ready for cheaper alternatives like the Google Nexus 7?
I have to say I’m not surprised by the poll results; the iPad is the most expensive tablet and it’s rarely sold below recommended retail price.
Even a refurbished first generation iPad will set you back between £219 and £279. That’s why I think there’s room for cheaper tablets from the likes of Samsung, Asus, and now Google – a trio of tablets that’s good for your wallet.
The trial of the tablets
The new Google Nexus 7 tablet comes with a lot of features for a snip of the price of the iPad. It isn’t directly comparable, but nor is it trying to compete – it’s a different size (7-inches compared to the iPad’s 9.7) and as such, is better-compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.
It could also appeal as an alternative to the Kobo Vox and US-only Amazon Kindle Fire, which are both Android-based e-reader/tablet hybrids with multi-touch colour 7-inch displays.
The Google Nexus 7 costs £159 for the 8GB version and £199 for the 16GB model and comes with £15 credit to use on Google Play store, making it a very affordable option (around the same price as a Galaxy Tab and much cheaper than an iPad 3).
It’s also the first device to feature Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, which includes better touchscreen, text input and search features.
The quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 and 12-core graphics processor sound impressive compared to the dual or single-core processors of other tablets, and it also sports one of the best displays available, beaten only in spec by the iPad’s retina display. It’s definitely an impressive piece of kit for the price.
A clear competitor?
So, is the Google Nexus 7 a competitor to e-readers? I think so. By spending a bit more, you’ll get an equally portable device that can be used as an e-reader and a tablet. True, it doesn’t have an e-ink screen (great for reading in sunlight), but I’d expect the text to be sharp.
Like the Google Nexus 7, the Kobo Vox and Kindle Fire use LCD screens, but they suffer from a lower resolution, giving the Nexus 7 the edge. Plus it feels lighter, well-made, and the back panel has a rubbery finish so it’s easy to hold in one hand.
But what about posing a challenge to the Galaxy Tab or iPad? Google’s tablet has some impressive features and it beats its nearest rival, the Galaxy Tab 2, on its operating system, screen resolution, battery, weight and price. However, when compared to the iPad, Google’s decision to leave out a second camera, video recording and 3G might be an issue for some.
In the end though, Google’s Nexus 7 looks to be a strong all-rounder and the £159 – £199 price makes it a tempting alternative if you’re happy to overlook those drawbacks.
While I’d like both a tablet and an e-reader, the high price-tags have put me off buying them before. But the new, affordably priced Nexus 7 appeals to me for its portability, features and price, and would work well as both tablet and an e-reader. I don’t even mind that the memory can’t be expanded as the 16GB version doesn’t cost much more – it might just encourage me to be better at ‘house keeping’ with files.
I’ll be interested to see if the Nexus 7 takes a bite out of Apple’s market, and whether or not a ‘mini’ iPad is released in the future to compete with it. Has the Nexus 7 caught your attention?