Friday, May 24, 2013


Nexus 7 First Impressions

As most of you know I am an avid iPad user. For some time I have wanted to try an Android tablet. The other day a friend of mine came by and gave me a new Nexus 7 tablet.
Here are a few first impressions.

— For accessibility I've mostly used the speech output. The accessibility features are not as tightly integrated as on the iPad. For Android, accessibility seems to be an after thought, not an integral part of the experience..

— The Chrome browser supports a large adjustable font. So I can see most of the things that I want to read. Unfortunately Chrome does not support read aloud. I wish Android supported select-and-speak like the iPad. Such a feature would solve a lot of problems for me.

— I like the swipe keyboard. You don't have to be all that accurate for it to get your words correct. I have longed for a system-wide swipe keyboard for the iPad or iPhone. Do I hear jailbreak? I also like the back keyboard with white letter — so easy to see.

— I find the speech recognition to be very good. After some use I found that simply using the built-in microphone worked best. In fact the Nexus is my go-to device for dictation now.

— Writing is so very easy to do with the Nexus. I now do all my writing and note taking in Google Docs on the Nexus 7. The Google Drive app goes a long way in making that possible. Additionally this means my writing is now cross-platform and available to colleagues. 

— On occasion the built-in word prediction has saved me from spelling mistakes. 

— I have read some books using the Google Play Books app. The read-to-me mode uses the accessibility settings for speech output. I wish the settings for rate had more options. The normal speed is too slow and the fast is way too fast. More rate options would be very helpful.

— Unfortunately the Kindle app does not support read aloud.

— I like the Moon + Reader but it only supports DRM-free books that I can tell.

— I like the 7-inch form factor. A 7-inch tablet feels better for reading books. I just got an iPad mini. The iPad mini is definitely my go-to device for reading, since the read-aloud reading rates are much better. If I could solve the reading rate speech output problem on the Nexus 7, it would be a serious contender over my iPad mini.

Overall I am very impressed with the Nexus 7. If the accessibility was more integrated and the reading aloud was easier for me, I could switch from my iPad mini to the Nexus 7 as my main device. For people or students who don't need as many accessibility features as I do, I can highly recommend the Nexus 7.

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