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Old 17-04-2013, 08:59   #1
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Nexus 7 report

I thought I would give a review of my $200 Nexus 7 Android tablet. I'm 2/3 of the way through a month-long cruise down the Texas coast. The N7 was purchased primarily for navigation and internet access on this trip. I personally find a laptop to be overkill for my needs. The tab is cheaper, more portable, lower power consumption, and has the gps built in. My laptop running OpenCPN required a gps dongle. Those were my reasons. You may need "real computing", I do understand that an Android tablet can't do much of what a real comp can.

Shipping from Google was fast (2days) and packaging was solid. Since I've been using android phones for years, the system was familiar. I do like that there is no "extra" stuff like HTC or others put on the phones. But if you don't like Google, MOVE ON! lol

I immediately downloaded 4 things: CF App, Facebook, MXMariner, and Kindle Reader. When using MXMariner one downloads the needed chart groups so that no connection is needed. I was pleasantly surprised that even though I downloaded the entire US, it took very little space. I currently still have 12GB available. I've added several apps, some boat related. Using Google Play (App Store) is very easy, and still there are many free apps.

The CF app is ok. I wish I could enlarge the fonts. I'm a bit visually challenged, otherwise it's fine.

MXMariner is just like OpenCPN...almost. I know nothing about making an app, so I don't know why there are differences. But it works fine. Here in TX NOA charts are just barely better than nothing where depths are concerned. But they are very accurate for where ports, markers, and channels are. I compared the N7 to 2 handheld GPSs, and they all agreed. I have no question about the functionality in that sense. I also use Hook-n-Line fishing maps as they are far more updated and accurate in depths. These have GPS reference spots and the N7 agreed with those as well. There are now RNC versions and I will probably buy them when I can verify I will be able to use them on the N7.

The ability to carry my "charts" in a very small package all over my boat is really nice. I'm solo so I have to be all over the boat, I love carrying the N7 wherever I go. I found it VERY surprising how well I can see it in bright daylight under the Bimini, and actually even in direct light. I don't know why, but I can't see it straight on with my polarized sunglasses, a minor inconvenience. NO I'm not saying this replaces good nav practices or Mark1 Eyeballs. PLEASE don't start paper vs electronic here :-)

I read mostly e-books from Kindle. I signed in and all my books were available, just like my other devices. If you don't know, almost all the classics (like Mark Twain :-) ) are available for free. Also MANY boating/cruising books for free/cheap. Again, the sunlight "viewability" was a shocker. Truly fantastic.

Other apps I've been using a lot are Google Earth and Netflix. I use the mobile hotspot on my smart phone for internet connection. I've been going up and down this coast for years and I'm so surprised at how much the coverage of my ATT 4G HAS IMPROVED. So far, even in the most remote of areas, I've yet to be without a bar or two, and most places 3 to full. I have another free app called "Drag Queen" that is an anchor watch. It really works well. I Facebook all my travels and it's fun to be able to do it real time even in extreme remote anchorages. If you're not into that FINE! Don't need to rain on my parade.

Battery use is just OK, but then GPS on any device is a power drain. I have multiple charging locations to deal with that. I've dropped it twice, so far so good. It isn't waterproof of course. That will be a concern for wet boats. Mine is dry in the extreme, and when things get a little wild or rainy, I can put it just inside the STB companionway and still see it. Cases are available of course.

I operate at an economic level below most CF users, I build most of what I need, and have to get by with a lot of non-marine stuff. Even so I sail a LOT (every week, often several days) so I'm pretty good at making stuff work for a lot less. I'm NOT saying this device replaces your $800 (or more) plotter. But it will get me to the same anchorage...and I'll be able to afford a beer as well, even on my limited finances.

That's my take. YMMV

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Old 17-04-2013, 12:26   #2
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Location: Oriental, NC
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Re: Nexus 7 report

Your experiences mirror mine. I also use MxMariner, but only as a back up to my Raymarine chartplotter. It works fine, but I also wonder why it couldn't be the same as OpenCpn. You do have to switch regions when you move from one to the other. Why can't the software do that?

I mostly use it as a Kindle reader, having gone from the original Amazon Kindle, to an improved version to the Nexus. The Android Kindle app works better than an Amazon Kindle itself.

I also use the NY Times app and like the resolution, color pictures, sharp graphics and embedded links. Amazon lost my business for this publication because they can't support these things. The NYT app is supperb. Although I wish the industry would settle on one or the other- paging down (NYT) or across (Kindle).


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Old 17-04-2013, 13:22   #3
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Re: Nexus 7 report

I use the nexus for everything I would use a netbook for. Great reader and surfing the web is painless. I did not download the cf app. I think my browser does a better job.
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Old 17-04-2013, 13:30   #4
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Re: Nexus 7 report

Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I use the nexus for everything I would use a netbook for. Great reader and surfing the web is painless. I did not download the cf app. I think my browser does a better job.
Same here. Plus with dropbox loads of various manuals, pdfs etc are on all machines and chrome synch's bookmarks on all machines. The lines between different machines are getting more and more blurred but the Nexus is just such handy cool gadget
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