Google Nexus 7 Tablet: Is it worth the money? And where can I buy it?

The newly unveiled Google Nexus 7 tablet is being hyped as a serious competitor to the Kindle Fire if not the iPad, but how do its features actually stack up to the competition?

Is it going to be worth the $200 price tag when the already-established Kindle fire tablet is available right now for the same price?

Nexus 7 v’s Kindle Fire

When it comes to the technical details, the Nexus 7 is coming out with some significant advantages. The Nexus boasts an impressive 1280×800 resolution, compared to only 1024×600 on the Kindle. Users will especially appreciate the higher resolution when using the tablet to watch movies and TV shows or play games, which will look much sharper.

The Nexus will also outperform the Kindle when it comes to processing power thanks to the new Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which has been seen in other Android based tablets already and has enough power to run 1080p videos smoothly.

While the hardware is important, many users are more concerned about the experience the tablet delivers. The Google Nexus 7 will be the first tablet to run the new Android 4.1, known as ‘Jelly Bean,’ which has been touted as featuring perks like more responsive touch typing and a smoother interface for arranging apps and widgets.

Google has also recently expanded their online store, Google Play, to include things like movies and TV shows, features that any tablet user is quickly coming to expect out of the box. Google Play will be one of the Nexus 7’s biggest advantages, because it’ll have access to all of the 200,000 apps already available for Android devices right out of the box. By comparison, the Kindle Fire uses a custom version of Android that can only run those apps specifically designed for it, meaning Nexus owners will have a much wider variety of software available to them.

Given that the Google Nexus 7 has all these advantages over the Kindle Fire, and that it can be pre-ordered for the same price, it certainly looks like the superior choice right now. Google is really pushing for sales of the new device as well, offering those who pre-order from Google Play now a bonus of $25 credit to spend in the store, and a digital copy of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.

However, if you’re currently a happy Kindle owner who’s thinking about switching, keep in mind that the user experience of the Nexus is designed to compete with the Kindle’s, and as a result is going to be very similar. The hardware advantages of the Nexus do look tempting, but in today’s computing world, technological differences tend to disappear fast, and that’s extra true for the mobile market.

There can be no doubt that Amazon will soon be unveiling a successor to the Kindle Fire which will meet or exceed the specs of the Nexus 7, and existing Kindle customers will be able to continue on with all the content they’ve already purchased, using the interface they’re already accustomed to.

And as of right now, while the Nexus does have superior performance and a wider selection of apps, the difference isn’t significant enough to warrant spending another $200 when most of the features you’d be getting are things you already have on your current tablet.

Nexus 7 v’s Ipad

Furthermore, if you’re considering the Nexus 7 as an alternative to an iPad, you will probably want to wait for a larger Nexus design that is targeted at that market.

The Nexus’s vastly smaller price tag does look tempting, but that 1280×800 resolution that seems so impressive compared to the Kindle is nothing compared to the iPad’s 9.7-inch, 2048×1563 display.

The iPad also still has the advantage with two cameras and what’s generally regarded as the best overall selection of apps. The Nexus 7 is shaping up to be a great little device, but it’s not going to cut into the full-size tablet market any time soon. That territory is still firmly dominated by Apple.

So who should be thinking about pre-ordering the Google Nexus 7?

Customers who want a low-cost, highly portable tablet with great features, but who don’t already own a Kindle Fire or an iPad. As of right now, it’s shaping up to be a great device, but it doesn’t yet have enough distinguishing features to warrant switching away from an established design you’re already comfortable with.

If you’re interested in picking one up, head to Google Play’s pre-order page. The tablet should be available by mid-July.