I took the plunge and recently purchased a Nexus 7 to combat my prejudice against all things Android – things I’d either heard about, read about, or glanced at personally: sluggish apps, a myriad different implementations of Android on different hardware models, a lousy update history, etc.

I’ve been a happy iOS customer for a few years, and there’s very little that displeases me on iOS: iPhone and iPad, like the Apps I use on them, work very well, and apart from the hog that iTunes is, I have little to complain about.

I like most of what I’ve seen so far of Android on the Nexus 7, in particular:

  • It feels a bit more “techy” than iOS does, if you know what I mean.
  • Apps can run in the background (e.g. Pocket sync) which is pretty much unheard of for iOS.
  • I can install Apps by downloading an APK file and am not limited to the Google Play store. (I can do that on iOS as well, but have to jailbrake the device.) This also means I can easily backup apps.
  • I like the clickable notification area. iOS has a similar swipe-down thing but Android’s is more useful.
  • I can install an App from Google Play by clicking a button on my main Web browser window (on OS/X) and the app is installed OTA onto the device.
  • Integration with Google’s infrastructure is very well done. I don’t think I’m willing to use all of that integration though…
  • Widgets on the home screen are sweet. (I haven’t found one I use regularly though.)
  • Consistent use of the “back” soft-key is well done.
  • I thought I’d miss a hardware “home” key, but I don’t – the soft-key is at least as good

What I dislike about the Nexus 7 hardware itself is:

  • No 3G module (though I read this morning somewhere that it’s coming)
  • The look and feel of the device is great: it feels really good in a hand. However, the power switch is recessed because the case slants downward, and as such is hard to reach.
  • WiFi connections, respectively re-connections, aren’t half as well done as on iOS: the latter asks me whenever I’m near a new network, but I haven’t been able to get Android to do the same.
  • Swiping (i.e. page forward, back, etc.) is more “sluggish” than on, say, iPad.

I didn’t want to invest a lot of time in finding suitable (to me, that is) apps to install so I asked, and I was rewarded with a nice list from which to start with. :-)

There’s a lot for me to learn still, including trying to find answers to questions like “can I sync contacts without using Google Contacts (in the cloud)”, “can I get the device to ask me to connect to WiFi”, and so on, and so forth.

All in all, I must admit I’m very pleasantly surprised, and I’m enjoying my first steps with the Android experience.

Android and Mobile :: 04 Sep 2012 :: e-mail