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Google Nexus 7 - First Look

We've got our hands on the Nexus 7, Google's sub-£200 7in Android tablet, made by ASUS. The first tablet to come with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), it has a stunning screen that stole our hearts. Its 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution is built around an IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel, though ASUS claims it’s clearer and more vivid than most IPS screens.

ASUS also says it’s also more power-efficient, with a battery life of around 9.5 hours when playing back 720p HD video. Limiting your activities to browsing or email should significantly lengthen that, and you'll certainly want to spend hours online because the Nexus handles Android 4.1 brilliantly, whether you're visiting the Google Play Store or just surfing the web.

There will be two versions of the Nexus 7, with 8GB or 16GB of memory, available from 27 July. Google is selling the 8GB version for £159 through the Play Store, while the 16GB version costs £199 and will be available from any shops that stock ASUS product s, including PC World and ebuyer.com. All Nexus 7s will come with a £15 voucher to spend in the Play Store. Both models are Wi-Fi-only, and can be pre-ordered now.

The 7in design makes the Nexus small and comfortable to hold. It has a textured, no n-slip surface on the back, which feels great. It's not particularly slim- at 10.45mm it's 1mm thicker than the iPad 3, for example. But it’s still 1mm thinner than Amazon's Kindle Fire (only available in the US). Weighing 340g, it’s also 73g lighter than the Kindle Fire.

ASUS told Web User that graphical tweaks have improved the smoothness and animation speed of Jelly Bean by 20 per cent.

It looks like a very attractive proposition: a great quality tablet for reasonable p rice. We'll test it fully soon, but our early impression is that this could be the best sub-£200 tablet yet, and will appeal to people who want a tablet, but are unwilling to spend £400 on an iPad.