New Google Nexus 7 tablet has some glitches

New Google Nexus 7 tablet has some glitches

The updated Google Nexus 7 tablet has a gorgeous, bright screen, the sharpest one we’ve seen yet in a tablet. It also has a faster processor than its predecessor, a front camera, and the latest Android OS. Looks good, sounds good, and it’s priced at only $ 230.

But we urge caution in buying one until some unresolved issues are cleared up.

It’s been widely reported that a few quirks are being encountered by early owners. For one, the touch screen sometimes reportedly "goes crazy" and misses or repeats touches or keystrokes on the virtual keyboard. On the sample Nexus 7 we bought, we found it impossible to use the Swype method of word entry, as the continuous sliding from one key to the next gets chopped up by whatever the problem is, entering gibberish instead of meaningful text.

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For another, some users report that the built-in GPS loses contact with satellites after a short period of operation. When we walked around outside our headquarters with the Maps app on our Nexus (on a sunny day with just a few clouds), it tracked for less than 10 minutes before the map position "froze" (though the compass direction still updated). The freeze lasted until we restarted the tablet.

Google says on its user forum that it’s aware of both issues. Until there’s a fix, I’d recommend holding off on buying this tablet. Whether that fix will be an easy online software update, or will require some physical repair, remains to be seen. We’ll update this story when we know more.

[Note that the original Google Nexus 7 tablet, which runs on Android 4.2, may still be available for purchase; we haven’t seen reports of these issues with that tablet.]

—Dean Gallea

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