Saturday, March 9, 2013

Disclosure: I bought this product with my own money out of my own curiosity and interest for the device.  Neither I nor SMRT are getting anything in return for this review.

Bottom Line: This thing is nice, small, fast, and an awesome reader and content consumption device at a good price.  Check it out if you want something that can fit in your white coat, use basic powerchart functions, reference online materials, and consume ebooks and online content with the best of them.

Hi everyone,

I (Veazey) have had my Asus Nexus 7 android tablet now for almost 2 months and I think I have a good enough feel of it to give it a respectable review.  Below is a categorical review of this product with a bent toward med school usability.  

Hardware:  The device is a 7 inch tablet (1280x800 pixels) that comes in two flavors.  Those are 8gb and 16gb storage capacity.  It has a Tegra 3 system on a chip quad core processor at 1.3 GHz and 1GB of RAM.  Translated: its blazing fast but with limited hard disk space (that isn’t much of an issue for me).  It has a front facing 1.2 MP camera but no rear camera (not missed).  It has Wifi only.  No 3g/4g.  It has a rubbery-feeling plastic back that feels durable.  It has just enough weight to it to make it feel substantial in your hand.  It doesn’t feel like it will break if you drop it, although I wont try.  Overall.  Solid feeling device.  Definitely leaps ahead of any other android tablet I have handled (including the eee pad transformer and galaxy tabs)

(EDIT) Battery life: I haven't done any experiments with the nexus 7 vs my iPad (3rd generation) to see how they compare in this area but I do have some observations.  After a long day of usage at the hospital which includes tons of wifi time, screen full brightness, lots of remote access to powerchart through citrix and my home computer through jumpdesktop, they both survive.  The iPad claims to have "10 hours of battery life." The nexus claims to have "9 hours of HD video playback" and "10 hours of web surfing"  I don't think I get 10 hours of constant use out of either of them (not expected from any device).  When I get home with the iPad I usually have 20-30% of battery left.  When I get home with the nexus I usually have 25-35% left.  This is hardly scientific, but it's all I can say with confidence.  They both, subjectively, seem pretty solid.

Apps:  This guy comes running Android Jelly Bean which is quite nice. The Google Play store is much more respectable than it’s ancestor marketplace.  I think Google is really trying to combat Amazon with the store and we (the customers) win.  It isn’t quite as robust as the Apple App store but it is getting quite a bit better.  Nearly all of the mainstream apps from IOS have android counterparts.  The Play Store has tons of books, movies, and music that you can purchase as well.  Of course, all the music, books, and videos you already have will work on this device as well.  There are of course ways to acquire apps and content for android through unscrupulous means that we as SMRT in no way endorse and will not tell you how.  

-Citrix receiver: works well in the device and is really nice for reviewing labs and other patient information in a pinch on rounds in the morning.  I would NOT write a progress note on this thing.  It would be possible, but the keyboard is so small and the connection is more choppy than on the workstations, that it just wouldn’t be efficient enough.  Don’t expect this to be your only powerchart source.  The iPad’s real estate is nice but it doesn’t fit as nicely in your white coat pocket.

-Google Chrome: This is the internet browser I recommend because it works and syncs so well with ALL of my other devices.  Great app, easy to use, and the syncing is excellent.

-Kindle: my favorite eReading source.  I have a solid library in there already, so this was a no brainer.  Amazon could keep all their premium color content for their own kindle fire tablets, but they don’t.  Anything you can buy from them for one of their own devices will work on the nexus 7 and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.  This is where the Nexus excels I think.  This thing is the perfect size for reading and the app works beautifully.  

-Otherwise: Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Calendars, Email: all of these work very well on the nexus.  Email and calendars take a little getting used to when translating from IOS but there aren’t any real deal-breakers And the google-syncing ability is great.  

Medicine:  Like I said with the citrix mention above, the tablet is fantastic for using powerchart during rounds and other times for reviewing patient information and the form factor makes it not look like you are texting, and makes it fit nicely in your pocket (slacks or white coat alike).  However, if I was talking to you from a phase 1 (first 2 years of med school classroom work) point of view, I probably would not feel as sold about the form factor here.  Furthermore, the lack of a Goodreader counterpart in the google play store really cripples it from being an equivalent (to the iPad) PDF annotation and review device.  You can use ezPDF Reader Pro and Adobe Reader to get some basic functionality, but it will never beat an iPad with Goodreader in my opinion (IMO).  

Pricing: The 8GB version is $200 and the 16GB version is $250.  That is quite a steal.  This thing has a better processor than my iPad and it is half the price.  Great deal.  If you just use it as an eReader, $200 is well worth it.  As far as Hard Disk space goes, I just bought the 8GB version because I use cloud storage for everything important to me (Dropbox and Google Drive).  If you would like to store large amounts of music, videos, and pictures on it, maybe consider 16GB, but IMO, the cloud makes 8GB seem quite roomy.  For $200, this device does just about everything my iPad does for me (not the story 1 year ago).


This is a healthy young device in a great google ecosystem that functions very well as a reference tool and an amazing content consumption device.

If you would like a color ereader:

     -Buy one.

If you would like a device that fits in your white coat and can reference medical databases and powerchart:

     -Buy one.

If you are in phase 1 (1st two years of med school or in any other classroom centered schooling phase), and need something to annotate PDFs or create content:

     -Maybe consider an iPad or another laptop/tablet with more real estate.

Not sure where to buy it?

     -Google the phrase Nexus 7.  Click the first thing that pops up!




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