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Google Nexus 7 Review

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean:

Nexus 7 is the first device along with the Galaxy Nexus, to taste Android Jelly Bean. It’s the latest and greatest version of Android OS and it takes the user experience to a whole new level. In terms of design, Jelly Bean is pretty much identical to Ice Cream Sandwich except a couple of very minute changes but in terms of performance, user experience and features it has a lot to offer than its predecessor Ice Cream Sandwich.

To begin with, Google is implementing the ‘Project Butter’ in Jelly Bean. Project Butter actually brings some changes to how animations are displayed or transitions are displayed to make the user experience more fluid and lag-free. Triple buffer is introduced along with VSync for UI and FPS is now bumped to 60 to make the overall experience buttery smooth.

Home screen still looks the same with five screens, a five icons dock and three buttons on bottom. These buttons always stay there. Even though the screen resolution is 1280 x 800 but apps detect it to be 1205 x 800. 75px are taken by these buttons because Google doesn’t want developers to mess with the overall user experience. The left button is for ‘Back’, middle one takes you to home screen while the right ones shows recently opened apps. You can swipe the recently opened apps to close them completely.

Widgets got a major upgrade; Google has now changed the way to add and delete icons and widgets from the home screens. Now, widgets can also be resized according to your likings and space available on the screen.

There is one issue with the home screen; it works in portrait mode only. Pressing the home button from an app which is working in landscape mode will take you instantly to home screen in portrait mode. This kind off discourages the user for a moment.

Another feature Google has introduced with Jelly beans is ‘Google Now’; it’s their answer to Apple’s Siri. It a huge step forward in terms of a personalized experience that Google is trying to offer since quite some time now. You can ask for something by speaking and it’ll look at your calendar, search history and many other factors to offer you best possible answer. It also brings up sports scores without even asking.

It’s still not like Apple Siri. Google Now actually feels like a search companion (though it does a lot more than that) but Siri acts like real assistant and gives the feel like you are talking to a real person but sadly that’s not the case with Google Now.

Notifications also got considerable improvement with Jelly Bean. More detail about the notifications is now shown along with option to take actions related to them. Some notifications show up a bit larger than other showing extra information. You can now share photos, snooze calendar appointments and do other right without opening the related app.

Google has also launched APIs for actions on notifications. Developers can use them to make notifications, which are related to their apps, more engaging.

Google significantly improved the default android keyboard in Jelly Bean. Now, it has improved auto correct and better word prediction. It not only shows the prediction for what you are writing right now but it also shows predictions about what your next word might be. According to Google, it learns about your usage and improves word predication over time. You can also speak the sentence and it’ll write it for you.

Google Maps have also got some improvements. First of all, it’s very pleasant to use maps on a 7-inch screen. Secondly, now you can make some part of the map to be available offline. Currently, it only allows up to 70MB to 80MB of maps to be downloaded.

Moreover, default Android web browser is now replaced with Chrome. Its UI has extreme resemblance with desktop version of the browser which makes it very welcoming for almost all users. The overall browsing experience is very fluid and smooth. Chrome preloads the web pages if you are on WiFi, which makes browsing experience even better.

Other new features include Android Beam; it lets you share photos and other stuff via NFC. Face unlock also got a new option called Blink Detect. If you have this feature enabled, it’ll require you to blink in-front of camera to unlock to device. Overall, Jelly Bean is a big step forward from Ice Cream Sandwich and it takes the Android’s user experience to a whole new level; a level at which it can be compared to iOS.

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