Consumer Reports Recommends ‘Holding Off’ on Google Nexus 7 Tablet

| Analysis

Consumer Reports (CR) told readers on Thursday to "hold off" on Google's Nexus 7 tablet due to significant issues with the touch screen and intermittent problems with the device's built-in GPS. The magazine said that it was urging caution until those issues are fixed.

Consumer Reports and the Nexus 7

The magazine praised the device's display as, "gorgeous, bright screen, the sharpest one we've seen yet in a tablet." It also said that it looked good and sounded good, especially for the price of $229.

But, there's a "but" in there:

It's been widely reported that a few quirks are being encountered by early owners. For one, the touch screen sometimes reportedly 'goes crazy' and misses or repeats touches or keystrokes on the virtual keyboard. On the sample Nexus 7 we bought, we found it impossible to use the Swype method of word entry, as the continuous sliding from one key to the next gets chopped up by whatever the problem is, entering gibberish instead of meaningful text.

For another, some users report that the built-in GPS loses contact with satellites after a short period of operation. When we walked around outside our headquarters with the Maps app on our Nexus (on a sunny day with just a few clouds), it tracked for less than 10 minutes before the map position 'froze' (though the compass direction still updated). The freeze lasted until we restarted the tablet.

You might expect me to be crowing about this, but I'm not. For one thing, Google said on its forums that it is releasing an update that fixes the touchscreen issue, and the GPS issue is not yet definitive. If Google's software update properly fixes the touch screen problem, it will quickly be a non-issue.

The other reason I am not crowing is because many Apple fans were quick to accuse Consumer Reports of having an anti-Apple bias after the magazine vociferously condemned attenuation problems in the iPhone 4, the so-called "Antennagate" problem of 2010.

The magazine also criticized the iPhone 4S, and while it heaped praise on the iPhone 5's camera and called the iPhone 5 the "best iPhone yet," it scored the device below the Samsung Galaxy S III and Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX.

Many of us may have disagreed with the magazine's stance on the iPhone 4, but the magazine has since given Apple top marks in customer service, and really, it has given many Apple products and services its highest recommendation over the years. The publication's treatment of the Nexus 7 shows that its criticism goes wherever it believes it needs to go.

On the other hand, we haven't seen many third party headlines screaming about this. Apple-centric BGR mentioned it, as did Gizmodo and TheStreet.com, but few other publications have taken up the banner.

Had CR found similar problems with an Apple product, there's little doubt that the hue and cry would be deafening. That's not CR's fault, of course, and it's due to the fact that Apple is the mind share leader, especially in tablets, and Apple doesn't make many mistakes. When it does, people jump on it.

It's hard to be the world's most valuable company sometimes.

But the Nexus 7? Google's Nexus tablets are the only Android tablets I would buy, but they still aren't hot sellers. Accordingly, it's not much of a surprise that few are paying attention.

Comments

skipaq

Fair and balanced reporting gives the feeling I landed on a Fox website. wink

CudaBoy

  I wonder if that is the new 7 only because my friend and writer buddy sends me almost daily e-mails on how great his Nexus 7 is including a recent auto update that doubled the battery life (!!!). The 3D Compass is awesome and the GPS app that tracks his hiking routes and plays them back w/breadcrumb trail showing altitude and speed as well as the actual trail has never failed nor froze.
  I’m not into the tabs and pads and phones (strictly Mac Pro user/fan) but if I ever needed a toy it would be the Nexus 7 over Mini every day-it just kills the Mini in every way incl. price.

MericS

Update: Google pushed a fix to the Nexus 7-2013, resolving both the multitouch and GPS issue. Nice to see issues resolved within days and not weeks of bugs being reported. Good article, but lacked a tad bit of research unless the Google update omission was intentional.

Terrin

CudaBoy, the Nexus obviously does not kill the iPad Mini in every way. For instance, build quality. This article illustrates other issues. The first model had memory leaks problems where the tablet was unusable after a few months. You get what you pay for .

Jake Van Epps

Too bad the update was released the day BEFORE this article was written…

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