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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

My first impressions of Nexus 7 tablet

I've been using the Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi, 16 GB) tablet for the last ten days and I'm impressed. I plan to use it primarily as an e-book Reader to clear off at least a part of the pile of e-books I've collected over the years.

Current prices of Kindle devices in India (click to enlarge image)

I had to take a call between buying a Kindle or Nexus 7 but the superior hardware specs of  Nexus 7 (NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad Core Processor, 7-inch HD Display) and the relatively cheaper price made me fall for it. (I bought my Nexus 7 on Flipkart for INR 9999. For the next few days it will be going for less than Rs. 9000 as part of their Diwali Cyber Sale promotion)

Thankfully, Amazon offers their Kindle app for Android devices which makes reading Mobi & Kindle  (AZW) files on Nexus 7 as good as reading it on Amazon's own Kindle. It's a 22.49MB download for Nexus 7 (the size of the app installer varies according to device). This app also helps you sync up your reading with other devices that support Kindle.

The Kindle app has the Send to Kindle by E-mail feature that lets you send documents to your Kindle as an email attachment.

Kindle Personal Documents Service supports the following file types.
  • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
  • HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
  • RTF (.RTF)
  • Text (.TXT)
  • JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
  • Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
  • GIF (.GIF)
  • PNG (.PNG)
  • BMP (.BMP)
  • PDF (.PDF)
These files can be combined into a compressed ZIP (.ZIP) file. ZIP files are automatically opened by the conversion service, converted to the Kindle format, and stored in Your Kindle Library.

To convert your personal PDF documents converted to the Kindle format, type "convert" in the subject of the e-mail when you send your personal documents to your Send-to-Kindle address.

The conversion is not immediate but you get a status report by email upon completion. A few of the many PDFs that I emailed to my Kindle account could not be converted. I wonder if there is anything about the contents of the PDF (images?) that causes the conversion to fail.

Another interesting feature of the Kindle app is that it can learn your reading speed and tell you what percentage of the book still remains and provide an estimate of the time you would need to finish the book based on your reading speed.

One thing I sorely missed in Nexus 7 was the lack of a file explorer. Owing to the popularity of the Android platform, there is no dearth of information. I was quickly able to find out that ES File Explorer (4.08MB) was a free, popular file manager with several other features.

(Update 22/Oct/2013) I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wordament, my favorite word game, is available as an Android app.

(Update 28/Oct/2013) Right Choice magazine gives Nexus 7 a score of 72 (In its tests, iPad with Retina Display which sells for ~32K gets the highest score of 82)
click on image for enlarged view

(Update 1/Nov/2013)  A tablet feels incomplete without a cover or case. I went for an inexpensive DOMO B8 Case (Rs. 249 on Flipkart at the time I purchased) as it is not possible to guess how the more expensive ones would feel like from the pictures online.

Having got it, I find it pretty decent. You can make it stand for hands-free viewing.

It does not include a cover for the screen so it may be a good idea to retain the original plastic cover the Nexus comes with till you go for a screen guard.

The case is light-weight and looks good.

I'll keep updating this review with more of my findings.

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