Ding ding ding -- ahem. May I have your attention, please?
As you may know, I got married a few weeks ago -- and today, I'm pleased to announce a new member arriving to my family.
It's not a baby, mind you (hey, give a guy a little time, would ya?!). Nope -- this is a newcomer to the gadget-geek side of my personal existence.
It's the new Nexus 7 -- the updated version of Google's flagship tablet that came out days before I tied the knot. I've been carrying the new Nexus 7 with me for three weeks now -- toting it throughout Europe on my honeymoon and using it around the house since my return -- and it didn't take me long to decide it was just the thing (aside from my lovely bride) that I needed in my life.
The decision was actually quite easy. Using the new Nexus 7, it's hard not to fall in love with the device: The tablet takes all the stuff that made last year's original model so good and makes it even better. Google didn't need to do much to push the Nexus 7 forward into 2013 territory, and with the new Nexus 7, it made all the right moves.
The tablet is sleek and light, with a rubberized back that feels great in the hand. It's thinner and narrower than its predecessor, which makes it even more comfortable to hold in a single hand or slip into a front pants pocket.
The new Nexus 7 has a 323 pixel-per-inch 1080p display that'll spoil your eyes. It's a huge step up from last year's decent-but-not-amazing screen; the only downside is that it could make you resent going back to your phone in comparison.
Perhaps most important, the new Nexus 7 is fast -- really fast. Mobile product performance doesn't get much better than this, folks; if you've got an old Nexus 7, you'll feel like a kid in a candy store with the way this thing flies. And the battery life is admirable, too: Even with numerous hours of daily on-screen use, I've consistently made it through multiple days without having to recharge.
All of those qualities make the 2013 N7 ideal for video-watching, Web surfing and general Internet use, whether you're sitting on a plane or lounging on your couch. It's the kind of gadget that's hard to put down; after three weeks with a review unit, I had no doubt I needed to order one of my own.
Now, there is one caveat I'd be remiss not to mention: A growing number of users are taking to online forums to report issues with the device's GPS connectivity. The problem seems to revolve around prolonged GPS use: After anywhere from a few to 30 minutes of GPS-oriented activity, some folks are finding that the tablet fails to lock onto position and requires a restart in order to start locating properly again.
I haven't experienced this myself (even in controlled testing with 60+ minutes of ongoing GPS activity), but enough people are reporting it that there's clearly something going on -- whether it's an across-the-board problem or a more limited-scale sort of glitch. Representatives from Google have said they're "looking into" the reports. For now, if you plan on using your tablet for intensive navigation or other GPS-heavy tasks, it's certainly something to keep in mind.
Based on my own personal experience, though, I don't have much negative to say about the new Nexus 7. The tablet delivers a stellar overall user experience and, with its $229 starting price tag, an unmatched value in the tablet world.
Factor in the pure Google Android software and guarantee of ongoing instant OS upgrades directly from El Goog, and -- just like with the original Nexus 7 -- other tablets are going to have a tough time competing.