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Playing with my new Google Nexus 7

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So I indulged myself with a new toy today, buying the new Google Nexus 7 tablet and a bluetooth keyboard. The theory is that I can replace my laptop with this and still write full posts. Let's find out.

Barry Cronin - Bongarts/Getty Images

The reviews of the new Google Nexus 7 tablet have been very good. Unlike other 7 inch tablets at the same price point like the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color, the Nexus has a full Android OS (the fresh off the presses Android 4.1 dubbed Jelly Bean) and most of the features and functions you would normally find in an iPad. So for instance while you can't even use an external keyboard with a Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 paired right up with my new bluetooth keyboard.

So for $199 (and another $79 for my Zagg Flex keyboard), I can get a really cool tablet that I can use as an eReader, media player and general app platform AND when I'm on the road I can dash off a full post in a pinch. That's the theory anyway. Of course, I don't NEED any of this... I already have a (wildly underpowered) laptop and a Kindle Fire. But this is much cooler, right? It's newer anyway.

So far so good. The Zagg Flex keyboard is tiny, but has good key action and I don't seem to be making many mistakes, and I'm typing along at a decent clip. One problem (that could theoretically be solved with a bluetooth mouse) is the non-intuitive switching back and forth from the keyboard to touching the screen. Usually, either you are touching the screen on a tablet or you are touching the keyboard on a laptop or desktop -- you just don't do both at the same time.

So while I'm here in the body of the post using the keyboard almost exclusively it's one thing. If I want to reposition in the editor or use the toolbar or something, it's a little inconvenient, but not untenable. But what happens when I want to add a photo or apply any of the other finishing touches that I have to do to complete any standard post? We'll find out soon enough.

I've now added a photo and been through the standard end of post rigamarole, and it's all doable. Not elegant mind you, not something I'd want to do all the time, but totally doable. I have to say, the fact that the typing experience is as positive as it is is huge. For any given post, the extraneous functions are a relatively minor part of the process; but if I can type, then I can be reasonably productive. And it seems like I can type.

The good news is that as a browsing device, (and I write my blog posts inside a browser after all) Google Chrome on the Nexus 7 seems very fast and rock solid. Believe it or not, my initial impression is that response time and general performance seem to be better on this tablet than on my (admittedly underpowered and three year old) netbook. It stands to reason that the Google Nexus 7 running Google Chrome is going to provide a solid browsing experience, and indeed it does.

So as of now, it's seeming like this is a go (although I do have two weeks to get my money back at Staples). The next time I'm on a game thread from Staples Center during a Clippers game, it will probably be from my new tablet. So that's cool.