The all-new Google Nexus 7 hits store shelves today – but now that you've torn off the packaging in eager anticipation and have the tablet in your sweaty little mitts, how best to take advantage of its 323ppi screen and Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor?
We’ve had our hands on the Nexus 7 for a while now – and as well as coming up with five little fixes that would make it (almost) perfect, we've compiled a shortlist of the best Android apps that should take pride of place in any of your of new Nexus 7’s five screens.
Although Google’s Play Store has a way to go in catching Apple for tablet-optimised apps, there are enough gems to make you glad that you settled on the new Nexus.
Best Productivity apps
For all Steve Jobs' claims that 7in tablets would be "dead on arrival," they've taken off in a big way – inveigling their way into every aspect of our home and work lives. Here are some killer apps to ramp up your work rate – before you head home and fire up a movie or a game.
1. EVERNOTE (£Free)
Evernote is a decent note-taking app – and Usain Bolt a respectably swift runner. Sign up for a free account, and your notes will automatically sync across any device with Evernote installed (so count in Mac, PC, iOS, Android and Blackberry).
Notes have enough formatting options to keep everyone but the most extreme of Word lovers happy, and you can even attach files. And a month or so back, they even built in reminders, so you’re note-taker is also now a task manager. Not enough for you? What if we told you that the Evernote Android app is as beautiful to behold as its iOS or Mac desktop counterpart.
2. GOOGLE DRIVE (£Free)
Google Drive’s app interface (both iOS and Android) has come on leaps and bounds in recent months, making it laughably practical to manage and edit docs on a sub-5in screen.
Google's even thought through the potential for wallet-crumbling data charges on the go; just set your docs to offline when you have a wifi connection. And there’s still something giggly about creating an entire slide presentation on a 4.7in screen, sharing it with your team, then watching their offensive comments pour in in real time.
3. TODOIST (£Free)
Your OCD is out of control. If you don’t complete over 50 tasks a day, you are compelled to wash your hands 17 times. Luckily, there’s Todoist. One of the top tier of task management suites, Todoist instantly syncs across your devices, and its Android app was recently given a mightily impressive v2.0 facelift.
The refreshed Todoist sticks to Android’s Holo design guidelines like glue, right down to the swipe-in left-hand drawer. And the accompanying widget is as useful and pretty as the app. There may be better task management web apps out there (we’re just suckers for Asana), but there are few Android apps that can better Todoist for usability and polished-til-it-gleams good looks.
BEST MUSIC AND MOVIE APPS
The Nexus 7's 323ppi screen makes watching movies a pleasure – and with 16 and 32GB options, there's plenty of storage space to fill with films and tunes. Here's our pick of the best music and movies apps.
1. GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC (£Free + £7.99/month)
Now that Play Music All Access is a reality in the UK, Google’s Music service is a serious threat to iTunes and Spotify - £7.99 a month (if you sign up before September 15, after which it’ll be £9.99) for all you can eat, through an app interface that’s easily as handsome as its iOS rival.
You can set your tunes to offline (by track, artist, album or playlist), and the recently revamped Play Music app is perfectly optimised for tablet. Just remember to dip into settings, and make sure that you only stream over wifi (unless you’re some extraordinary soul with a 10GB per month data contract).
2. POCKET CASTS (£2.70)
Podcasts should be a dead medium by now, but simply aren’t - as the popularity of Pocket Casts proves. Perhaps it’s helped by the fact that its Android app looks great and works darned well on both smartphone and tablet (and ironically, is infinitely better looking than its web app cousin).
As seems to be the price of being in the game today, Pocket Casts will sync your stuff across devices. Just add your subscriptions, set everything to download and away you go.
3. GOOGLE PLAY MOVIES (£Free)
Yes, yes, we know: another Google app. But then, Google is on a mission to upgrade its own core suite of apps to be best-in-class (and let’s be honest, it was shocking that they once weren’t).
The Movies app may still be stuck with a pig-ugly icon, but the app’s innards are now packed with Holo goodness - easy to navigate via the swipe-in drawer, and easy on the eye. As with the Play Music app, you can pull movies down from the cloud at a tap, and it all syncs seamlessly with your Play Store account.
4. YOUTUBE (£Free)
Perhaps the best of Google’s recent upgrades, the new YouTube app is an essential install on the new Nexus 7 - especially if you’ve invested in Chromecast.
And even if you don’t go down the Chromecast road, the new YouTube comes with one feature that’s a delight on smartphones and tablets alike - picture-in-picture. Watch a video, hit the back button, and the playing video nestles into the bottom right of the screen until you swipe it away. Dumb novelty, you may think - until you use the app in anger, and realise that it was utterly useless without the feature.