Review: Google Nexus 7

AFter a long 3 to 4 week wait I got notification that my Nexus 7 has shipped and its on its way, as soon as I got it I even went out of my way to get it on Friday afternoon on a hot day the first day of Ramathan to start tinkering with it. I had my hunting knife ready to rip the box apart since those youtube video’s showed how impossible it was to open the box, and in this case it was so with the knife I made short work of the box, pretty much impossible to use the box again.

As soon as I took it out and started it up, they already had my email programmed into the Nexus 7, just had to sign in and everything is pretty much the same compared to any Android device. I have also been using Jellybean version of Android on my Samsung Nexus Galaxy, and I’m loving the interface so it wasn’t new to me when I was trying out the Nexus 7, Google did a great job with this software. When your handling it, it feels solid, the screen is fantastic, I didn’t try the camera yet but it isn’t a priority for me.

Just for people who are going to wonder, my home network runs on a US VPN when I switch on from the router so when I was using the Google Nexus 7 the IP was a US Based Address so I was able to play movies, magazines, and books right away. First thing I watched was Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen, very quick playback, excellent video quality, the Nexus 7 handled the action scenes flawlessly and the sound is pretty good too. For a tablet that size the speaker packs a punch, louder then I thought it would be. This is also one of the more annoying things, I took the Nexus 7 with me to another location and hooked up to the wireless, at that moment, Google Movies, Magazines, and Books disappeared so they are forever gone. I don’t understand why Google can’t sort out the media issue so everyone can access the content like Apple in this case.

Pros:

  • Screen Size is Perfect, you can really watch stuff on it without feeling that its too small or too big. You can take it around with you without feeling that its big as the iPad.
  • Battery life lasted about 2 days of extensive use with gaming, shows, instagram, surfing the web and all other sorts of utilities
  • The Price is really cheap compared to any iPad and yet its a powerful device with a great graphics.
  • Great for reading and writing emails, they have perfect the Gmail interface for the Nexus 7, its just so smooth and has all the Gmail features integrated into it.
  • It doesn’t feel like an oversized phone, it feels like a genuine tablet, and I have tried the Galaxy Note, and it feels very different.
  • It’s relatively light, and Asus have done a fantastic design with the design

Cons:

  • Content is still somewhat lacking in comparison to Apple.
  • There is a white screen problem that I am having, I can’t adjust the contrast on it so its a bit too white and it starts off too white then 15 mins later it adjust. I contacted Google Play Support and they are sending out a replacement unit right away, so it isn’t necessarily a con in this case since they didn’t even take 10 mins to say they would send out a replacement, I was just hoping for some sort of software fix for it. But I don’t mind getting a new unit.

Overall:

I love the device even though it’s lacking in content, its quick and presents all the information I want. If I’m somewhere with a wifi connection I don’t have to abuse my phone to keep me entertained, these days the amount of battery a phone has is important so I have started to abuse the Nexus 7. A lot of application work perfectly on this screen, and the Chrome Browser, Gmail and pretty much all Google Applications work better on the Nexus 7. I would recommend this tablet to anyone who is looking for something smaller then an iPad, and it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. The Kindle Fire was my first experience with an Android Tablet, and it was good since it had the content to back it up, but it was majorly lacking in firepower but this machine is another story its the best hardware you can pack into it. I took a few screen shots so you can see how good the screen is, and a few of the applications.

Price: $280
Rating:


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Tech Round Up – Nexus 7, Dropbox, Zenbook

Google Nexus 7

I got a notification that my Google Nexus 7 has been shipped as off the 13th of July which was pretty exciting since it was around 3:53 am and I don’t know why I was up at that time. I heard some people got notifications and some didn’t get it yet, but I got mine I stopped worrying, I thought they might pull an Apple and just cancel you for random reasons as usual. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it, I got the 16GB version and with the hardware its packing, its going to be good.

Dropbox Expansion

I think I use Dropbox for almost everything, I store everything electronically that I can that is usefull like airline mileage cards, a copy of IDs, bookings in PDF, not including music, videos, and tv shows, and any other form of media that can be stored. A long time ago I go the Dropbox Pro plan which gave me 50 GB and then with the HTC One X they give you the an extra 24 GB, so I had a total of 74 GB. Then recently I got an update from Dropbox a few days ago that I got an upgrade to the account and its not 126 GB which is a pretty nice thing to see since its been a while since they updated their packages.

Then I setup a friend’s Samsung Galaxy SIII and I knew they had a package for Dropbox too and since he wasn’t using it I signed up through it and got a nice 48 GB bump to 174.75 GB. I do love Dropbox and now more space to abuse.

Asus Zenbook

I made the jump, it was out of stock for a while on Amazon and the other day it said In Stock so I hit the Add To Cart & then the Checkout button right away. It seems that the Zenbook has been an Amazon Exclusive because I couldn’t find it anywhere, and I specifically wanted these specifications. The only thing I’m going to do is do a clean install of Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate which I have without all the random junk installed for it to be even faster.

Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-3517UM 1.7 GHz
  • 4 GB SO-DIMM, 128 GB Solid-State Drive
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • 13.3-Inch IPS Full-HD LED Screen, Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I will probably get my hands on it next week when both the Zenbook and Nexus 7 hit my mailbox.

Drobo Mini & 5D

Drobo Mini & 5D

A valuable solution for the traveling nerd, Drobo’s brand new Drobo Mini is the world’s smallest full-featured storage array that operates off combined disk and solid-state technologies, making it also one of the fastest. Like Drobo’s other products, the Mini has four hot-swappable drive bays that allow you to manage as much storage as you can afford to purchase. Along with the Mini, Drobo has also released the 5D, a mega storage solution that works with up to five hot-swappabl drives and both have an extra SSD bay which drastically increase the responsiveness of the system.

For the mini you will require 2.5″ Hard Drives (Laptop Size) to fit into it unlike the 5D which can take any type of Hard Drive. The cool data-protecting design features automated SSD acceleration, as well as Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces—a which I don’t think any storage array has yet on the market. The way these bays have been designed is to make it easy for the drives to slip in and out, and when it comes to design I have to hand it to Drobo they have always perfected that with their products. If you are looking for an external storage device to be connected directly to your computer then this is the solution for you, I have always recommend it to people, for me I prefer network connected storage devices but for some people speed is important and in this case Thunderbolt & USB 3.0 are lightning fast.

The Drobo Mini ($599) and 5D ($799) both already on sale on Amazon without the drives.

Link: More Details @ TheVerge

New IOGear DualDisplay Port KVM Switch

I for one love KVM Switches because I have two screens for dual view and multiple computers, I have had my run of dual display KVMs for some time now and I always end up going back to IOGear, they are the best at it and their hardware lasts a long time, with excellent support over the years. Now they have come up with the innovative “4-port DualView Mini DisplayPort KVMP Switch” (GCS1924). Most graphic cards these days come with Display ports, a few of them in fact and for a while I didn’t know what to use them for since most KVMs are DVI and some are VGA but now with this KVM you can use them for this KVM, and the best part is the cable is so small and the KVM switch itself is so small. Its MSRP price is for $880 but you can find it on Amazon for about $650 and for a lovely piece of hardware such as this, its a great price. One of the best things about this KVM is it’s size, it is very small and I like that the connections for the screens are on two different sides, usually with my KVM when you have four machines connected there are a lot of wires to keep connected but this one is really different then the rest.

Video resolutions:

  • Single Link 1920×1200
  • Dual-Link 2560×1600
  • Supports special monitors with 3840×2400

IOGEAR’s newest KVMP product also improves on previous KVM designs with the latest Mini-DisplayPort and Mini-TOSLINK connectors. The connectors ensure ultra-high resolution audio and video performance for dual-link 2560 x 1600 resolution and ultra high resolution up to 3840 x 2400, with vivid picture quality and convenient surround sound.

BBM – The Barren Wasteland

Last year and the year before RIM was struggling, now they are just a sinking ship, when a few years before that it was everywhere like wildfire, everyone had a Blackberry. I still kept mine because of our Dewaneya being on it, and honestly it is still the best group communication App out there, I think they should have sold it off as an App in the App Store and Android Market, it would have helped sustain Blackberry on the software side.

They held on for so long and still RIM didn’t turn around at all, and a lot of people got fed up with it, they even switched to Android because some people didn’t want Apple. The whole of 2011 didn’t change anything for RIM, and Android & Apple just kept coming up with more updates and better handsets. People started shifting, it feels odd when people start leaving your contact list, at first its normal but then it just got ridiculous, floods of people disappeared. It was honestly sad some of these people were gone, it was nice to to star in touch with them. To be honest up to this point there isn’t an application that is better then BBM and nothing beats a good Qwerty keyboard but they had their problems and they didn’t progress. We are still stuck with the 10 MB which is pretty much useless when roaming, it gets used up in two or three days at most. I don’t know why but it feels like I was abandoned when I see the status update “BBM OFF – WhatsAPP +965##$##$##”, as if the person just gave up and left.

Now the migration has begun, very few people are left on Blackberry, I’m still holding on to it and using it when I can. I’m not a fan of WhatsApp even though pretty much everyone shifted over to it. I tried ChatON and a few other Apps they weren’t that great either. I think I’m probably going to stick to it until this piece of hardware quits, then I don’t think I will be getting another Blackberry until I see some drastic changes in the coming future.

Re-Buidling Media PC

The Dewaneya Media PC has been running for a good 6 years, and I think the age is showing. Since I have made some major changes to the dewaneya I was going for a bit of a hardware upgrade, starting off with the media PC.

New Specifications

  • Intel® Desktop Board DH67CF – Mini-ITX – Media Motherboard
  • Core i5 2300 – 2.8 GHz
  • 8 GB Ram (2x4GB)
  • Corsair 90 GB SSD – Sata 3 (For The OS)
  • Pioneer BluRay RW

Total 187 KD From Professional Computer

What I Already Have

  • Thermaltake Case
  • Power Supply
  • 2TB HD – Sata 3 (For The Media)

I almost store nothing on my PC’s these days, everything is stored on a network storage device which in this case is the Netgear 24TB Storage Unit. This little Unit is gonna pack a punch with the upgraded hardware and will be able to handle everything that I throw at it. Gonna install Windows 7 on it and from there I’m going to configure XBMC for my network, gonna take some tweaking and getting used to but I’m sure it will work perfectly. Other hardware upgrades are taking place in the dewaneya but that will be forthcoming in another post.

New Mac Book Pro

I’m not usually posting about hardware updates from Apple but this one seemed very interesting and enticing. These new Mac Book Pro with Retina Displays are supercharged machines in a smaller size then expected.

The one thing that is oddly changed is that power socket for the new MBP Retina Display models. That means if you have been collecting the power cables for your Mac Book Pros & Mac Book Air for all these years then you can’t use them for the new machines, going to have to collect a whole new bunch of them.

As usual the price is also up there, for a while I have been thinking of getting a new laptop, probably a Zen Book, but this update has thrown a wrench into that idea with a very lovely spec sheet below. Still its a bit on the pricey side, I think I want to see one in real life before making a decision.

Standard Model: 2.3Ghz quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel HD 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB [$2199]

Premium Model: 2.6GHz quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel HD 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB [$2799]

Just to get an idea, this is the difference between the MBP 15 Inch & MBP Retina Display 15 Inch, and it packs a bigger punch then it’s predecessor.

Physical Comparison Between The Old & New MBPs

  • Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm) vs. 0.71 inch (1.8 cm)
  • Width: 14.35 inches (36.4 cm) vs. 14.13 inches (35.89 cm)
  • Depth: 9.82 inches (24.9 cm) vs. 9.73 inches (24.71 cm)
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds (2.56 kg) vs. 4.46 pounds (2.02 kg)

This is just a simple look into the Apple update on the Mac Book Pro. For a full breakdown check out all the articles over at Jacqui’s CouchAvenue she covers the Mac Book Pro, OSX Lion, iOS 6, and Other Minor Apple Updates. (She is the Apple Girl)

The Chrome Book – Updated

I’m always interested in Google Products, and I have been very interested in their Chrome platform, basically the online all the time OS. There are very few times when we aren’t connected to the net and this case it is the only way the Chrome Books operate. Right now the Chrome OS received a major update and you can get a laptop and desktop/box version for it. The Verge has a fantastic article below which goes into every freaking detail of Chrome OS and basically giving you the breakdown of what is really useful for you and how it could improve and whats great about the update. The video below is a simple review of Chrome Book, and what major improvements they have done and the feel of it, and the capabilities of the Samsung hardware. The video review really got my interest, I’m tempted to pick one up a laptop and try it.

Link: TheVerge

MotoClassified2

If you love hardware and furniture then this is the perfect accessories and furniture for the male domain. I’m assuming that only some females would like it, and very few would allow it into their homes. Classified Moto Furniture lets you subtly show your love of motorcycling with a selection of stylish lamps, lighting fixtures, and tables that are built from salvaged/recycled parts taken from Japanese motorcycles from the ’70s and ’80s. Their prices range from $200 to $1500 which isn’t too bad, they are a bunch of creative guys who do love what they are doing. This makes me want to park one of my motorcycles in the living room just to look at it, again not my choice.

Top Gadgets & Things For 2011

KindleFire

At the end of a crazy year I think I have done some decent damage to my Amazon cart. Year on year the selection of electronics just keeps getting better and larger, with a few big ones that made a big scene like the iPad 2, Kindle Fire, iPhone 4S, and Google Galaxy Nexus. Below are just the list that popped into my head by the end of the year that left a mark for being interesting products and must be added to cart. Any other gadgets or items that pop into mind?

  • Amazon Kindle Fire – Small, relatively cheap, and relatively awesome, the Kindle Fire is a great econo-splurge if you have any interest in portable movies, books, and games.
  • Samsung Google Nexus – If you don’t want an iPhone this is the best option, and in my opinion a better option for sure!
  • Harry Potter Blu-Ray Box Set (All 8 of them) – How could you not want this?
  • Roku 2 XS – Simplest and best media player for your home
  • Mac Book Air – They revamped it and it packs a bunch and still very light
  • Go Pro HD 2 – The coolest and smallest video camera out there
  • Sonos Play 3 – I’m a huge Sonos fan and they have made the perfectly sized audio player/speaker for this size
  • Nike MAG – The Special Edition Back To The Future Nike Sneakers, I still want a pair to display on my shelf
  • Sharp 80″ LED AQOUS – 80 inches and only $5500 not bad at all, every man loves big screens