The Wrong Compromise

So what's not to like about the new Nexus 7? For one thing, its 7-inch screen isn't as big as the nearly 8-inch iPad Mini's. While an inch of difference isn't remarkable, smartphone screens are growing to over 5 inches, making the Nexus 7 look more like one of those than a tablet.

Another drawback: In my test, the new Nexus 7's battery life was underwhelming. Compared with the same battery test of the iPad Mini and first Nexus 7, it fell short at just six hours; the others clocked in at 10 hours and 27 minutes and 10 hours and 44 minutes, respectively. Google claims the battery life can last over nine hours, but the company tests it in Airplane mode (Internet connection off), with screen brightness set to 44% while playing video. I keep Wi-Fi on in the background and screen brightness at 75% while playing video.

Design is all about compromise, despite what Microsoft would have you believe. Great design is about making the right compromises. I once noted that the original iPad was essentially a more-than-good-enough display bolted to a great battery, and I still think that's mostly the right balance for a tablet. The new Nexus 7 seems to have prioritised screen over battery (that display is a remarkably tight 323ppi). That'll demo well, but over time it'll annoy to have the device die on you at the six-hour mark. (Hat tip to The Loop for the original link)