Google Nexus

Search giant’s range


In most people’s minds, Google is an “internet” company, but it’s edging closer and closer to the hardware sector. In terms of Android devices, this is seeing Google move from an organisation that primarily emulated Microsoft (which has historically provided its Windows OS to hardware partners such as HP, Lenovo and Dell) to an outfit seemingly starting to operate more like Apple – controlling software and hardware production.

While Google’s Nexus range of smartphones (Nexus 4) and tablets (7 and 10) are still manufactured by partner manufacturers – LG, ASUS and Samsung – Google’s deep involvement sets them aside. They’re flagship Android releases that launch with the very latest version – and are more likely to receive significant OS updates. Plus, they’re “pure” Android without any third-party software. The price is extremely competitive. The Nexus 7 has already redefined the entry-level tablet market, and the inexpensive Nexus 4 could have a similar impact on premium smartphones.

What is it? Nexus 4

How much? $349 (8GB), $399 (16GB)

Pros: When Google and LG announced the Nexus 4 last year, jaws dropped. A premium quad-core Android smartphone with a 4.7-inch HD display, 2GB RAM, 8MP camera, NFC, wireless charging and Android 4.2, all for $349? Similar handsets usually cost double. A steal.

Cons: 3G only and no expandable storage, but the worst is stock shortages. At time of writing, Google’s Nexus 4 inventory had been completely sold out since day one.

What is it? Nexus 7

How much? $249 (16GB), $299 (32GB)

Pros: The game-changing ASUS tablet of 2012 (and our tablet pick for the year, see Money December-January, page 125) arguably provided the first serious challenger to the iPad (and helped compel Apple to release the iPad mini). It’s seen a price drop since, but don’t mistake the budget cost for budget quality.

Cons: No expandable storage and Wi-Fi only, but if all you want is a decent mini tablet in this price range, the Nexus 7 is hard to beat.

What is it? Nexus 10

How much? $469 (16GB), $569 (32GB)

Pros: Geared to compete with the full-size third- and fourth-generation iPads, the Samsung-made Nexus 10 takes everything up a notch with its super-crisp 10-inch 2560 x 1600 display. The 10 sports a powerful Exynos 5 Dual processor, 2GB RAM and a robust 9000mAh battery.

Cons: No expandable storage, Wi-Fi only, and – like the Nexus 4 – out of stock at time of writing. Also, Android can’t yet compete with the iPad when it comes to diversity of tablet apps.


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