Analysis

Google's Nexus 7 tablet: A better deal than the Kindle Fire?

The tablet wars heat up as the search giant leaps into the hardware business with an impressive machine that costs just $200

Now that the confetti's all swept up, reviews are trickling in for Google's first tablet, the hotly anticipated Nexus 7. At an asking price of $199 for the 8 GB model ($249 for 16 GB), users will get a powerful 7-inch tablet that ships with the newest version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean; a fast 1.3GHz quad-core processor; a camera; and a polished look and feel that's been missing from all other Android tablets that came before the Kindle Fire. Although Google hasn't set a release date, the tablet will reportedly ship in the U.S. in mid-July. Does it offer more bang for your buck than Amazon's best-selling gadget?

Without a doubt: It's the best Android tablet ever, says Brent Rose at Gizmodo. "It's fast, it's smooth, it's portable, and it's inexpensive." Best of all, it doesn't feel like a budget-edition gadget — "it feels high-end." The Nexus packs some "serious horsepower" into a 7-inch frame that's "small enough to slip in a pocket." Most tablets are still considered luxury items, but with the Nexus 7, spending $200 gets you a "full-fledged, seriously-spec'd, fully capable tablet" that's an "absolute steal." There's no reason to buy a Kindle Fire at all."Google Nexus 7 tablet review: The new best way to spend 200 bucks"

Actually, Amazon wins in one key area: On paper, the Nexus 7 beats the Kindle Fire in almost every possible way, says Tim Stevens at Engadget — except for content. Amazon's selection in terms of Kindle books, movies, and music "almost always trumps that of Google's, both in terms of variety and cost." Of course, if you purchase the Nexus 7 you could download the Kindle app. But you still won't be able to access Amazon Instant video, which is Kindle-only."Nexus 7 review: The best $200 tablet you can buy"

You should hold out for the next Kindle Fire: Rumor has it that the next version of the Kindle Fire could be announced this month, and may even debut at approximately the same time as the Nexus 7, says Sean Portnoy at ZDNet. Amazon understands that the gadget needs to be "reinvigorated," and since it understands it won't be able to beat the Nexus without a "radical redo of its hardware," it'll pursue other ways to stand out. The company is reportedly doubling down on its key strength — content — and is courting developers to build Fire-specific applications instead of generic Android versions. It might be worth waiting to hear what Amazon has to say first before springing for a Nexus 7."Next Amazon Kindle Fire rumors: Higher quality, social gaming features"

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