Nexus 7 tablet

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So this week saw the eagerly awaited delivery of the Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet.

A lot has been written on the web already, but here are a few more impressions from the first few days, from someone new to Android tablets & phones!

First, the packaging - ever notice how small children sometimes have more fun with the packaging than with the gift inside...? Some videos have been posted to Youtube poking fun at the Nexus 7 packaging and the apparent difficulty opening the package!

What did we find? Well, the sleeve covering the black cardboard box was a very tight fit over the carton, probably to avoid accidental damage by preventing the carton from sliding out of the sleeve when the item is picked off the shelf. However, the sleeve was removed without much trouble, revealing a black box, labelled NEXUS in the corner. Quite classy!

And opening the box - well, the tape securing two of the sides to the bottom was certainly strong, but easily slit with a letter opener. Spreading the bottom of the lid slightly with the fingers of one hand, and grasping the bottom with the other had the package open in seconds, without any of the histrionics displayed on Youtube.

Open carefully though, as the tab on the plastic covering seemed to adhere to the inside of the lid, causing the device to lift partially out of the box on opening. The charger and USB cable were neatly wrapped in a box within the box, under the tablet itself. Well packaged overall, in our view.

Enough of the box...

So, to set up, and a problem! Usually, wireless and other network devices have the MAC address (machine address) printed on a sticker attached to the device and often also to the packaging. In this case - nothing!!!

For most folks, this is no big deal, but, if your wireless network has device access control turned on, you'll have to turn it off briefly to allow the Nexus 7 to connect to your wireless access point or router. After that, you can easily get into the settings, read the MAC address, and update your wireless networking settings accordingly, not forgetting to reactivate the router's device access control feature when you're done.

Perhaps there's another way around this hiccup, but at the time, this was the quickest and simplest solution!

During the setup, there was an opportunity to enter a Google email account name and password, and voila - it seemed that 'everything just lit up!' - Gmail, Google Calendar, and all other Google apps started working.

Did off line maps work? YES! Google maps of the north east part of the Fraser valley were still available even after the device was moved away from the network. Even the Navigation app continued to function - having used voice to enter a destination address about 30km away, the app almost instantly came up with directions overlaid on a map, and next day we put this to the test, finding that the app maintained the last requested destination, our position and updated driving instructions according to missed turns, etc. Cool!

Voice search? Interesting - seems that Siri has serious competition! Asking the system to locate the dentist or a family doctor (using voice) was surprisingly faster and more accurate than anticipated, though accents and certain names make some searches difficult to complete! And voice works off line...

What of the apps in the box - there's a good basic selection, but you'll want to go out and customize the collection, adding more, like Zoho, Skype, and others as appropriate for your needs. Perhaps more on this topic in another post...