I've been off and on with the Nexus 7. I've been wishy washy about it since day one for more reasons than one.
While I've welcomed one back into my arsenal, 7-inch tablets are still unwieldy at times, particularly when running about. Specifically, the Nexus 7 fits in the back pocket of most (keyword being "most) of my jeans. Some other 7-inch tablets do not. But, if you can find a viable way to carry the Nexus 7 around, the additional display space (over the 4.3- to 5.5-inches your smartphone offers) is undeniably awesome.
A 10-inch slab may be even more ideal, but carrying one in my pocket is never going to happen. I'm either forced to hold it in my hand the entire time I'm out or throw a bag over my shoulder.
Another issue is the storage space. Before yesterday, the Nexus 7 came in only two capacities: 8GB or 16GB. It was hard to complain considering the price. The 8GB model ran for $199 and the 16GB model was only $50 more. At $199 or $249, you couldn't ask for a better tablet, much less more storage at those prices.
Lastly, being limited to Wi-Fi for connectivity was never a deal breaker. But the more I started to use the Nexus 7, the more I started to hate flicking on the hotspot feature on my phone every time I wanted to use the tablet. It got to the point where the HTC One X in my pocket stayed there and I reached for the Nexus 7 every time.
However, Google upped the ante yesterday in more ways than one. First, it dropped the 8GB model from the lineup in favor of a 32GB model. The 16GB unit dropped to $199 and the 32GB version is priced at $249. On top of that, Google announced a 32GB Nexus 7 with HSPA+ connectivity for only $299.
Now making my next move has only become more difficult.
For the last two months, I've been trying to plan ahead for what my next devices will be. I pre-ordered an iPhone 5 on Verizon and now plan to keep the device in my lineup. At some point, I want to get a Windows Phone 8 device, too, and I'm on the fence between the Windows Phone 8X by HTC or the Nokia Lumia 920 and its PureView camera.
But there has to be an Android device in the mix at all times. I rely too heavily on Google Apps to totally remove Android from the equation and, on top of that, I prefer Google's mobile OS over its counterparts. As far as smartphone selections go, I have it narrowed down to one phone: the Samsung Galaxy Note II. I reviewed it yesterday and, without a doubt, it's the phone for me. However, notice I didn't say I must have an Android phone in the mix, but an Android device.
Back in June, I asked: "Why must we wait for data-only smartphone plans?" If smartphones and tablets are, inherently, the same internally, why can't I opt out of paying for minutes on my smartphone? The short answer to that is that carriers have the final say and because a smartphone is still designed to place phone calls, I must pay for minutes.
In truth, no one should have to pay for anything, especially if they're never going to use it. Lumping together all of the calls I have placed using my AT&T line since I started with the service back in April, I still wouldn't have passed my monthly allowance of 450 minutes. This month, I've used a grand total of 17 minutes, and I've made more calls this month than usual.
No less, I am forced to pay $39.99 every month for a service I rarely use so I can purchase a service I will use. I would fare better paying a higher rate for individual minutes, but unfortunately, that is not an option.
So, with the announcement of the HSPA+ Google Nexus 7 (with 32GB of internal storage to boot) for only $299, I had the thought, "Why not just get a small tablet that I can throw in my bag or back pocket and drop the second phone?" It would save me $40 each and every month, and the tablet would have paid for itself in only eight months.
As always, though, I have my reservations. For one, the tablet doesn't have a rear-facing camera, which is only partially an issue considering I have an iPhone 5 on my primary line. The other hesitation I have is the fact that I may eventually become tired of lugging around a tablet everywhere. Like I said, it only fits in most of my jean pockets. It's cooler weather – jacket time. So I'm fine with carrying it around, especially when I can throw the Nexus 7 in a coat pocket. But when warmer weather comes around again, I won't be able to fit the Nexus 7 in the pockets of my shorts. Only then will I really have a problem.
I used the Nexus 7 last week to keep all of my travel info at hand and organized. While I could have done it just as easily with the One X, it was nice having the extra display space when browsing the Web and looking up locations in Maps. The Galaxy Note II, however, is great middle ground. And I may end up switching to Mobile Share and just adding the Nexus 7 to my plan for $10 more each month.
I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do, but I'm almost positive the HSPA+ Nexus 7 will replace the 8GB model I currently have. It's a killer price and the ability to pop a SIM in and use it anywhere for such a low price is irreplaceable.
Tell me, readers. Have any of you considered buying the HSPA+ Nexus 7 since it was announced yesterday? Would you use a small tablet in lieu of a smartphone? Or have you considered a larger phone, like the Galaxy Note II, instead? Share you sentiments below!