05
Jan
image

Background

Like most in the Android world, I've been steadily increasing my comfort zone on how big a screen I want. Back in the day, I was obsessed with getting my phone as small as possible, like Zoolander. Then I got my first smartphone in the Windows Mobile 6 days, and ever since then every device I get has a bigger screen than the last, and I end up being happy about it.

There are a couple of sizes that are natural points for a mobile device's size. The two big ones that jump to mind are:

  1. The biggest size that you can easily reach the whole screen with one hand, and
  2. The biggest size that you can comfortably fit in your pocket.

Apple's been stuck on #1 forever now, but for me and my hand size, the Android world left that behind once all decent devices started shipping with 4.3" screens. I was upset for about a day with my 4.5" Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch before deciding I liked the bigger screen more than I liked reaching the whole screen with my thumb.

With mainstream phones approaching 5 inches, #1 is a distant memory, so it just made sense to jump directly to #2, which is why I bought a Nexus 7 HSPA+ (outside the U.S. use this link instead) soon after it was available.

wm_nexus

How the size has been working out

Overall, I'd say that I'm pleased with the size of the Nexus 7 as my only mobile device, but it's definitely not perfect from a size point of view.

What I love about it is this: How often when you're sitting around on the sofa would you use your phone to surf the web when you could also go get your laptop?

With my 4.5" last phone, the answer was never. In comparison, the Nexus 7 is a revelation. Though it's still not as good as I would have liked, I do find that I use it instead of my computer a lot of the time, and the problems in this area are mainly where it's held back by software, such as the way the web browser is still very slow and awkward compared to on a laptop, but the form factor itself is great.

On the downside, it's just slightly too large for my pockets. I wear slim but not skinny jeans, and it fits, but it just feels a bit bulky. If it had bezels the size of phone bezels, I think 7" would have been the size for me, but instead it has extra-wide tablet-sized bezels.

From an aesthetics point of view, you can see for yourself in the pictures I snapped. The tablet is actually in the pocket on my left. Just the corner of it pokes out of my pocket, though that's normally covered by my shirt. I've found most people don't notice that I'm carrying it until I pull it out, which is when I do tend to get a fair number of comments on it.

In fairness, I'd say the outlines of the tablet are more apparent in real life than they are in the picture, and are very visible through the fabric of my jeans. But then again, my jeans are slim enough that the outlines of any phone or even my really slim wallet I had in my right pocket in the picture are definitely visible through the fabric. Of course, now the outline is of a very large device, instead of a small one. I'm fine with the look, but some people definitely wouldn't be, especially depending on the type of pants they wear.

One last note on this is that before I got a smart case to control the screen, the screen was often being turned on somehow in my pocket, presumably by the tight fit pushing the power button, burning up the battery.

Satisfaction Level: B

wm_pocket wm_pants

Phone service

One downside of the Nexus 7 is that even though it has mobile data, it doesn't make voice calls.

However, like a lot of people these days, I spend very little time making phone calls compared to surfing the web and using apps. I switched to Google Voice years ago and my friends don't even know my real phone number. I'm pretty much a perfect candidate for this experiment.

Most phone calls that have to be made I just take care of when I'm at home using Google's free phone calling on Google Talk. It's a little like the pre-cell phone era when you didn't feel like you had to talk on the phone on the go, which I've always found a bit intrusive and annoying, only with the benefit of being able to text and chat on the go still.

My communications with my friends are pretty much entirely over text messages (free using Google Voice!), email, and Google Talk. As a result, this has actually been working out pretty excellently for me.

For when I really need to make a phone call in a pinch, like calling a store or restaurant, I've got GrooveIP, which lets me make free phone calls over my data connection. The quality isn't ideal, but it's workable. Unless you're comfortable holding a 7" tablet up to your face or using a speakerphone, though, a headset is probably a must.

On the plus side, my data-only connection of 1.5GB a month on T-Mobile prepaid is super cheap! Buying the refills at a discount, I usually pay a little more than $20 after tax a month.

Better yet, this plan is a data-device plan on T-Mobile, which means that I can also pop out the sim and stick it in my computer and use it there and be completely cool and legal still. I tethered before with my phone, but was always careful to limit my usage to avoid being detected. Now I can tether as much as I want, which is a nice perk!

Satisfaction Level: A-

How it's been working out as my sole mobile device

The screen is a thing of beauty. Mobile devices have been in a crazy resolution race for a while now, but at least for me and my 20/20 vision, what's actually been limiting how much of a website I can see at a time hasn't been the resolution, it's been the size of the screen.

Even with a resolution so high I can't see the pixels, it doesn't help when the text is still too small to read. It is pure luxurious bliss to be able to comfortably read at arm's length, like you would with a book, instead of having to holding my phone like a foot or so from my face like most smartphone users do.

The second biggest benefit is that the battery life feels like it's just unlimited. Seriously, switching from the phone scale of battery life to the tablet scale is paradigm-shifting. Not once when on the go do I have to feel like I should use my device less and save its battery. I just use it as much as I want, and then it's always got plenty more.

Another nice benefit I didn't really anticipate is that a lot of apps have really nice tablet versions that just work much better than their phone versions. I love on Reddit News being able to load one article on the right, while continuing to browse headlines and view images on the left. If only some enterprising developer out there would add the ability to load more than one article at a time, like with tabs, I don't think I'd ever want to use the website on my computer anymore.

One final point that's really nice about the Nexus 7 is that it's super cheap compared to a phone. Not only is the plan cheap like noted above, but buying one with unlocked contract-free GSM is even cheaper than a Nexus 4, at $299. That's the same that a lot of people pay for higher-end phones that come with 24 month contracts!

However, the Nexus 7 isn't all roses as a mobile device. A pretty major downside is that it has no vibration. Google was no doubt looking to shave every penny on the 7, and Apple managed to sell millions of iPads without vibration, so clearly tablets don't necessarily need vibration.

As a mobile device in your pocket, though, the lack of vibration does become a bit of a problem, and I find myself missing alerts at times due to being in loud surroundings. The only solution I can see is getting a Bluetooth watch or something along those lines, but the ones out there seem to get pretty bad reviews, and I don't really want to wear a watch again anyway.

The other major downside is the lack of a back-facing camera on the Nexus 7. On the go snapshots are pretty much impossible now, as are apps that rely on a back-facing camera like check deposit apps, and the loss of the flash that can be used as a light means I'm back to carrying a light on my keychain.

Satisfaction Level: B

Conclusion

I've intentionally left out reviewing anything that isn't specific to the Nexus 7 as a phone replacement. There are plenty of reviews for the Nexus 7 already, and suffice to say it's very nice but not perfect.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the using the Nexus 7 as my only mobile device experiment, and will probably stick with it for a while, at least until phone screen sizes start catching up. A phone with a bezel like a RAZR M but with a screen size in the 6.5" - 7" range would be perfect.

The only phone out there that I still think about is the Note 2, which is probably a compromise that would make sense for more people, but I didn't buy because of its exorbitant price tag (more than twice as much as my Nexus 7 HSPA+) and also since I'm really sick of dealing with Samsung and other non-Nexus issues like TouchWiz and worrying about burn-in on an AMOLED.

tl;dr

Pros:

  • Big screen you can read comfortably at arm's length that you might actually want to just use instead of your computer sometimes
  • Unlimited battery life compared to a phone
  • Super cheap data plans, $20-$25 a month after tax for 1.5GB of data from T-Mobile
  • Cheap device at $299 unlocked and off-contract
  • Can use my data legally on my computer also with the T-Mobile plan
  • Nice tablet apps instead of phone apps

Cons:

  • Slightly too big to be comfortable in pocket due to bezels
  • Phone calls only with GrooveIP, but in practice due to texts, emails, chats, it works fine for me
  • No vibration makes notifications on the go problematic
  • No camera and flash

Overall Satisfaction: B+

Note: This is a slightly updated version of my post to Reddit yesterday.

  • ratatattata

    I really needed that tl;dr. Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

      My words, exactly.

      • Adam

        God forbid people actually sit down and read something...

        • Ryan Stuckmaier

          What, on this tiny phone screen? We would need something at least 7 inches diagonally!

  • Kevin Aaronson

    Unlimited battery life? I would have to disagree. I can get a maximum of 6 hours of heavy usage out of the nexus 7 vs 12 maximum of a galaxy S3. Otherwise great article, would love to use a nexus7as a phone replacement, but sadly my job requires voice calls.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You can easily get voice calls done without having traditional voice though.

    • mikeliu

      Well, okay, maybe not unlimited, but it feels a helluva lot longer than my Galaxy S II got. In general, tablets normally get battery battery lives than phones.

      You're getting 12 hours of screen-on time out of your Galaxy S III? That's crazy. According to Anandtech's battery benchmarks, the Nexus 7 lasts 9 hours for web browsing, whereas the S III lasts around 7 and a half hours.

      References:
      Nexus 7: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6073/the-google-nexus-7-review/7
      Galaxy S III: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I must point out that you are using an HSPA+ variant with a mobile radio and linking to benchmarks about the wifi version. The mobile radio is what kills battery the most after GPS, especially in bad signal areas.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Great post, Michael. An interesting experiment for sure.

    I must say that the whole no camera business really is a deal-breaker for me in this case. Maybe I'd use a different tablet (but it wouldn't be a Nexus then, booo), but then again, I'm not this crazy to completely replace my phone with one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1065971454 Andrew Hime

    No battery life issues? Must not have the 4.2 slow charge issue. Lucky you!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Both of mine do :-(

  • Kree Terry

    i think i would have attempted this with the n10. at least for me the 7 inch form factor was too small, i think the 10 inch size fits my uses better than the 7 in. great write up though, posts like this is what keeps me coming to this site even though ive left android for the time being.

    • Pyrotek85

      Can't really fit that into a pocket though, you'd have to be carrying a bag or something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.labrier Taylor LaBrier

    Interesting read. I recently bought a Note II and I think that's the largest screen I could handle as my phone. That might be that I'm still wanting to do things one handed and am currently transitioning from the 4" screen of the Galaxy S. Over time, I might get away from those tendencies. Who knows. Either way, I'm super happy with my Note II after rooting and installing a port of AOKP.

  • Doug Turner

    No Skype? Are you anti-Skype or just not a user or is it not on the 7?

    • http://twitter.com/08ight 0.8ight

      Google+ Hangouts FTW!

    • mikeliu

      Yeah, I'm just not a big Skype user. I hear it actually works a lot better quality-wise than Google Talk VOIP phone calls, but I just stuck with what I was used to.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stormcityusa Storm Millenium

        I use the Skype unlimited calling $2.99/mo plan (not every month but more like every other month when I know I will make a lot of VOIP calls on the go) and It is leaps and bounds more reliable on 3G/4G than Groove IP. Only other app that comes close to reliability is Talkatone. On WiFi it sounds just as clear as cell calls.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pbooker117 Phillip Booker

    I use my Nexus more than my phone but yeah the lack of back camera and vibration may be the only true cons. The size hasnt been an issue and I have the exact same case on mine

    • Peter Frazier

      what cases is that? i would love to have one

      • Todd

        There are several that look like they. I've got one and it was sold by poetic.

  • ltredbeard

    im curious, can you use the t-mo plan you discussed on phones?

    • mikeliu

      Not 100% sure, but I don't believe you can. T-Mobile blocks tablets from phone plans (which is why I am no longer on that awesome $30 5GB plan), I would guess they probably do the same for the reverse as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Padric-OFish/100001855682804 Padric O’Fish

        Why do they care what device you're using??

        • http://profiles.google.com/andy.norman Andy Norman

          Because they want you to buy one plan for each of your devices, rather than buying a single one and swapping it between your devices.

  • Sean Lumly

    As a user that uses a Nexus 7 as my exclusive mobie device, this review pretty much nails it. I do use the device as a hold-to-ear phone (I flip it around so that the speaker is to my ear) using SIP and a provider for calls, and it works well for infrequent, private calls.

    The device would be much improved with a smaller bezel, for better pocket ability (or a slight reduction in size), and a rear facing camera. I would also appreciate a handset speaker like the international galaxy tab, and a thinner lighter form factor.

    But I am not complaining. For the price, the Nexus 7 is a formidable mobile device for those that talk infrequently.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      There are more of you out there? Start a club!

      • ericl5112

        I'm really close to this as well. Especially as the N4 is out of stock constantly, and the N7 is 32Gb. I have my N7 on me almost always, but it seems like it's just a little too big for me. Still on the edge.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Then you may not become the member of the club.

      • Paul_Werner

        Or a community on G+

      • varun

        Until the N4 came through, I actually was ready to do this. Paired with a BT headset, a screen protector and a back only case (this one - http://www.amazon.com/i-Blason-Series-Premium-Google-Android/dp/B008JFD9I8/), it was basically a large phone when GrooveIP was installed. I use it pretty regularly for GrooveIP calls as I'm on the $30 Walmart plan on the N4, but yeah - works in the winter when I have pockets. In the summer, not so much, I needed a murse.

      • B3nlok

        I wonder how much longer until we reach the point where people luging
        7" phones in their pockets will become standard. At this pace and
        without a breakthrough on the horizon i can envision in 2 years a GNote 4
        between 6.5" to 7.5". Just about the time where the scenario will be
        "My Life With A Nexus 12 As My Phone".

    • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 JJ

      Can't have a "private call" in a public place where any passerby can see your screen as you're talking, ha ha. I'm assuming by "private" you mean when you're all alone or at home.

      • Sean Lumly

        Yes, by private I mean 'isolated', though the screen can be turned off during the call making it as private as a smartphone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Padric-OFish/100001855682804 Padric O’Fish

      > using SIP and a provider for calls

      What does this mean? What's SIP?

    • B3nlok

      I wonder how much longer until we reach the point where people luging 7" phones in their pockets will become standard. At this pace and without a breakthrough on the horizon i can envision in 2 years a GNote 4 between 6.5" to 7.5". Just about the time where the scenario will be "My Life With A Nexus 12 As My Phone".

  • Alex

    The screen size it's getting ridiculous.... For me anything above 5" just don't work as a phone.

    • Somebody

      People say this line every single time a new, bigger phone comes out. We haven't reached the limit yet, and while I don't fully agree with the author, I do think the mainstream phone in the future will be over 5" (probably between 6" and 6.5").

      • JonJJon

        How distant a future do you think, going by the numbers of GS3 vs note 2 sales I think I attraction of a phone over 5" is not going to become the norm for a while at least, unless of course Samsung and the like market it well enough I guess. For me my personal taste is that my GS3 is more than big enough in fact I find it too big for a lot of one handed use, so I expect my phone to be the same size as the GS3 or maybe even a little smaller. I'm not saying you're prediction won't come to fruition (I'm doubtful) but if it did I'd day of would take a long time to be the norm.

    • PCSievers

      People who love big phones dont use their phones as phones. They text or email for a lot of their communication needs and tend to use the phone as an all in one entertainment unit for internet, videos, music, gaming and so on where screen size is all an advantage and as a bonus you get a big battery to go with it.

      At the end of the day if all you use a phone for is to call people and occasionally send a text then small is better. I have owned a bunch of phones over the years, two of note is firstly is the Haier Elegance which was the smallest phone in its day not much bigger than a stick of gum and the second is my current Note 2 which is the largest "true" phone on the market in its day. Love them both, both were completely different and I used them completely differently.

      For a mainstream phone I cant see anything bigger than the Note 2 selling a lot unless it has the marketing juggernaut of Samsung behind it, but when I replace this I could see myself going for whatever is biggest at the time and realistically it could be as big as 7".

      • http://tracker1.info/ Tracker1

        This is kind of where I sit... I waited to get my N4, just arrived weds. Mainly because my N7 was such a great experience. Over six tablets in under two years and it was the first one I liked out of the box without complaint. My main complaints on the N4 are screen size, I'm far sighted, so not so great that it's so small. As well as the power button being too recessed, I have the same case as the author, it works great for screen on/off. Third complaint is a minor bug in the newer swype-like input. However, I remember thinking, if my wifi only N7 had internet, I'd probably just use it as my phone.. I rarely put my phone/wallet in my pocket as it stands, and really enjoy using my tablet... really wanting more convergence.. I really like my N4 and N7, mainly use my n4 as a phone though... but think having a 6" tablet with a slightly smaller besel would work perfect for both duties.

  • htg

    What case it that in the pics?

  • Andre Bradshaw

    I replaced my wife's phone with a nexus7 about 2 months ago. She is pretty happy. I have my n7 as a backup phone. The call quality is okay. It is good enough for friends, but it is not good enough for business calls.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      That's the way to go: run experiments on the wife, then adopt for yourself if success later.

      • StriderWhite

        And if you aren't married?

        • srkelley

          Sisters, brothers, someone that doesn't have major needs.

  • NeedName

    I've been saying a 6" to 6.5" phablet would be perfect for a long time now and people always think I'm crazy till they get a bigger phone and then say, "wow the screen is so much more useful." And that's at the ~4.5" size. . .

    • ericl5112

      I've been saying the same. The N7 might be a little too big by an inch, but I've been saying 6" would be fine since the Nook simple touch came out.

      • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

        If the N7 had the same bezel as the N4 it would be 1.5 inches narrower.

    • Toright

      You where spot on! Xperia ZU is 6.4" :)

  • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 JJ

    Does anyone know if you could take the data only sim card T-Mobile or AT&T give you and use it in a phone? Would they catch on and cut you off? I realize you wouldn't have voice, but I'd like to have the cheap data only plan with a smaller (and fuller featured) form factor.

    • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

      Why not just use the 5gig unlimited text 100 minutes for $30 a month with T-Mo on a phone?

  • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 JJ

    Also, I've carried my N7 in the front pocket of my non skinny jeans (boot cut), and all I can say is that if you do that and plan on using stairs or sitting, you'll need some pretty baggy jeans.

  • Noah Atwi

    Please do an article about using the Nexus 10 as your phone! :D
    Edit: If only for the lulz.

  • Somebody

    "A phone with a bezel like a RAZR M but with a screen size in the 6.5" - 7" range would be perfect."

    Things are already heading that way. Note 2 increased size from 5.3" to 5.5", ZTE is going to release a phone at 5.7", and Huawei one with 6.1". Being a Note user, I can confirm that my pockets can hold a significantly bigger phone - 6 inches is reasonable, and it would provide much more screen real estate.

    2013 is certainly going to bring a lot of these phones, just wait for CES. Almost every high-end Android released this year will be 5" or bigger, and there are already mid- and low-end devices being released in that range.

    PS: this also makes obvious how misleading some reviews of the original Note were. Of course it fits in 90% of the world's trouser pockets (the other 10% is children). Those saying it barely fit or whatever were just lying.

    • yarrellray

      I love the Galaxy Note 2 it's perfect for today's use case but I look forward to the purchase of the NOTE 3. If the 6.3 inch screen expected turns out to be exactly what launches then YES many people will line up for that device in the ladder part of 2013. That will be me on day one...

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Padric-OFish/100001855682804 Padric O’Fish

    >"Better yet, this plan is a data-device plan on T-Mobile, which means
    that I can also pop out the sim and stick it in my computer and use it
    there and be completely cool and legal still. I tethered before with my
    phone, but was always careful to limit my usage to avoid being detected."

    Whats he mean about detection? How does a laptop use the cellular network by sticing th sim into the laptop? Wouldn't you still need the cellular transceiver in the Nexus7?

    • lewishnl

      Cell networks can track what device is being used to access data by how it requests it (something like that I believe), basically the key thing is if you tether without a tethering contract, you can get in trouble...

      • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

        Will your carrier send you to the principals office?

        • lewishnl

          lol, no, they'll start charging you for tethering... can cost a lot...

          • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

            Then you call breach of contract, buy a Nexus 4, and give T-Mobile $30 a month.

          • lewishnl

            Except it's not a breach of contract. You'd be told to GTFO. They are allowed to charge you extra for tethering...

          • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

            You agreed to pay a certain amount, they can't just change the terms, they can block tethering, or let you go. If they break the contract, you don't owe an ETF.

          • lewishnl

            Either you're trolling or really dumb. IT'S NOT A CHANGE IN THE TERMS, you agreed to using data only on the mobile not for tethering, hence, they can charge you an additional fee for tethering and if you ask them not to they'll block you tethering. If you want to leave, you'll have to pay ETF.

  • troph

    Now THIS should be the Lebron James ad-- instead of Galaxy Note, Perfect pocket size for NBA players.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Padric-OFish/100001855682804 Padric O’Fish

    Can you get a GPS app that does not charge you monthly for usage? I want to pay one time and that's it. I'd also like the GPS app to shows coords and be good for hiking.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Google Maps for the first one?

    • rap

      If you mean one that doesn't require a data connection use, check co-pilot live. Pay once and it work without needing a data connection. If you don't need maps just coordinates I think there are some in the play store. I haven't done a lot of comparing but GPS Test did it for me.

  • Matt

    Where are you getting the discounted refills for the data plan?

    • Mike Liu

      I usually use callingmart.com, which has monthly discount coupons they post on Facebook and get re-posted everywhere. You can do better than that on eBay, but that's a bit of a hassle.

  • http://twitter.com/louiedog louiedog

    I don't wear skinny jeans but my pants are more fitted. My 4'3" phone is plenty obvious in my pocket and there's no way that an S3 would fit, let alone a tablet. Still, most of my calls are gvoice and I like where you're going with the rest of this article.

  • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

    The Nexus 7 doesn't have a headset input, meaning that there's no mic. It has a TRS and not a TRRS connector. Might be a factor to consider. I don't know if they fixed this for the 3g and 32GB models, though I wouldn't bet on it.

    Also, Groove IP is not the best option for calling on mobile data, cause Google Talk's codec sucks for it. The easiest option is to use Talkatone with compression. The app will compress audio and route it to Talk through their servers. Works much better, and you can pay $20/yr. for no ads and better quality compression. Also, you can ring other devices simultaneously that run Talkatone, and if you're also using a phone, you can forward the calls dynamically to your cell number depending on if Talkatone is connected or not.

    • Steve Smith

      I have a headset with a mic that works just fine. I bought the headset originally for my HTC EVO 3D but have used it with my Nexus 7 on many occasions as I am currently overseas and also use GrooveIP to make voice calls when I have a solid wi-fi connection.

      • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

        Try testing via tapping or blowing on the corresponding mics. The N7 was confirmed independently, by ifixit (which found there's no TRRS connector), Google Play support, and all users who tested properly, to not have it. Some thought it did, but it was the tablet's own mic which is still active when you plug in headphones. The most conclusive evidence is the TRS connector. Here's the references http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1793093. You don't have to read too long, everything gets figured out in the first few pages.

        • xophere

          Hmm that does it for me then. I can't believe they did not included a wired mic connector. ;( But perhaps it was to make this difficult.

  • Law L

    Nice experiment going on there. I feel the same way, perhaps, with the Note 2. I also use "roundabout" ways to not have to buy in to redundant mobile services. Seems I'm not the only one enjoying Google Voice and VoIP.

    It's far nicer than having a 4 inch screen.

  • 102559

    Hi what case is that you are using? Thanks

  • Fellwalker

    I have a nexus 7 and cannot imagine using it for voice calls. I the speaker is too quiet, but the firm factor does not lend itself to comfortable use without headphones. It is great as a laptop replacement for browsing and Web mail. It is heavier than I want to carry. I did carry it alongside my HTC HD2 for a couple of months but...
    I've bought a nexus 4 and it is so much more convenient. I do use it to browse, email, and to read kindle books, but will equally use my N7 if I'm home.
    The best trousers for the N7 are craghoppers with a thigh cargo pocket. (UK).

  • GraveUypo

    ew.
    internet addiction is getting out of hand nowadays.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristophRotolo Christopher Rotolo

    galaxy tab plus w/3G with calls out of the box... like a boss.

  • shurcooL

    I tried the same experiment, except on the Apple side. It was between iPad mini with Cellular vs. iPhone 5. I decided to keep the iPad mini. I echo your conclusion very closely.

  • deltatux

    I'm already complaining 5" is already too big for a phone, why would I want anything bigger than that O.o?

    • dan

      it sounds like you wouldn't

  • http://twitter.com/nagi603 Nagy Balázs András

    My problem: inbound Google Voice only works in the States. :-/ Then again, there is the original 7" Galaxy Tab that HAD a full phone modem.

  • http://twitter.com/nagi603 Nagy Balázs András

    The lack of vibration might be fixed with a smartwatch, like what the pebble is going to be, or what the Sony ones wanted to become. So that is one off the cons list.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000188276196 Force Meow

      The best bluetooth headset I had which of course they don't make any more, is the jabra Bt8010. Had vibration, and a DIAL to adjust volume, which was much more natural and quick than trying to rapidly find and press a tiny button repeatedly as the thing jabs into your ear... and makes you look super spazzy.

      Also had a removable stereo end for your other ear, worked great on the freeway, and never got a ticket in like 5 years of using it.

  • http://dakuten.fr dakuten

    How fat must you be to be able to carry a Nexus 7 in your pocket? My Nexus 4 hardly penetrates my jeans' pocket, slightly easier with my chinos or other trousers, but my Nexus 7 would NEVER make it.

    • Sorian

      I can't speak for the writer, but I am able to fit the N7 in my pocket. 82 kg at best.

    • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

      You are aware if you wear pants that don't crush your balls you can fit much larger objects in your pocket.

  • Luis Cardona

    Download BobSled calling by T-Mobile, it will work better for calls and reception is very clear while in use.

  • spydie

    how do you buy t-mobile refills on discount (where)?

    • varun

      That's what I came to find out too! That would be perfect.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202836 Hovannes Abramyan

      Calling Mart. Their Facebook page usually posts discount codes. That's how I get mine.

  • spydie

    oh wow, big discount you're getting... 1.5-2%...

  • fartlord420

    lmao what a big homo fail ass crap

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    EBay offers a nice selection of of 6 inch phones for around $250 there thin and made to a decent standard. The only downside is that you are stuck with 4.1.1 forever as these phones don't get updated. But if your cool with that then they make a great phone.

    • MarylandUSA

      I used to be the Web's most vocal cheerleader for these 6-inch off-brand phones. But i lost the love when it became impossible to find a 6-inch smartphone that had ALL of the following features:
      1. a resolution higher than 854 x 480
      2. RAM higher than 512 MB
      3. Android newer than 4.0

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000188276196 Force Meow

        And how's the performance? I always WANT to believe in these off brands, but inevitably get burned...

        • MarylandUSA

          They tend to score between 5400 and 5800 on AnTuTu.

  • http://twitter.com/Argote Luis E. Argote Bolio

    Be aware that most VOIP providers are not able to make emergency calls (911 and such).

  • http://geeknizer.com Geeknizer

    Probably this article is weird for Americans but here in India, 7" Tablet/phone hybrids are a common thing. No one is surprised when they see giant 7" screen slapped to a face for calling. Galaxy Tab 2 is the most popular one such device.

    No wonder Galaxy Note and Note 2 are pretty popular in India. We've more Notes than iPhones.

  • Hardin H. Hawes

    have the nexus 7, absolutely love it at home, but as a phone...too many drawbacks. Just got the DNA. 5" screen is awesome. I might just give the nexus to my wife.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002368195591 Debra Cooper

    Enjoyed your story and to let you know I'm doing the same thing on my Acer iconiaTab 200 with a Mifi Jet pack. The google voice and Groove ID is amazing!

  • Paul

    Wish i could clone myself just to do this:
    http://ozhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/double_facepalm.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/DawaChodrak Mike Keller

    My Google Voice Menu has no Compose option.

  • SoWhy

    I had considered a switch like that but since I actually sometimes use my phone to make calls and text all the time plus having bad data-coverage at times, I'm hesitant to actually do it. If they release a N7 with SD-slot and the ability to actually use it as a phone (not VoIP which requires data-coverage), I'd probably be game (if they made it smaller as suggested and add a decent rear-camera)

  • Sandy McArthur

    As for vibrate when a call comes in I use a LG Tone bluetooth headset and it has a vibrate feature: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=LG+tone&tag=wamjr-20

    My only complaints are it looks a little weird if my shirt doesn't conceal it and can be tight on my larger than average neck.

  • srkelley

    I understand that GrooveIP didn't give you the best voice quality but was there any major lag in the conversations? Would you mind running a few speed tests in the speedtest.net app then testing the conversation lag/fluidity in the same location please? I've been wanting to do this same exact thing but was a bit concerned about latency.

    Sure, it uses Android and has mostly (if not perfectly) the same networking framework as an Android phone but would Google cheap out on the radio? It may be able to receive extremely fast speeds but does it have a higher likelyhood of being laggy when compared to an Android phone and other phones in the same area on the same carrier?

  • Dan

    Unfortunately, this all hinges on Google voice, which isn't available outside the US...

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanville.farm Ryanville Farm

    I do the same exact thing with my Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Groove IP only needs wireless to work. I have a S3 but use the GT2.7 as a phone for my business. Im always somewhere where wifi is active so it works out very very well. Then I also get to take advantage of the sd expansion slot, and the great camera.

  • http://twitter.com/CensoredCyclist Censored Cyclist

    Hold on. You don't use it as a phone? That kinda misses the point of why I googled!

  • Keith Tyler

    Is the T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling app not available / not usable over mobile data? That would make or break it for me. I don't want to deal with alternate VOIP providers, and besides, I'm on a family plan, so I wouldn't save anything.

  • Velma

    Thanks for this, it was exactly what I wanted to know. Now I can ditch VZ.

  • Velma

    WHOOPS
    No I can't. Not every number is eligible for porting. :C
    "Ooops! We currently don't support porting from your carrier. We apologize and are working on adding support for more carriers."

    You can check yours here - https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/porting

  • Joshua deVille

    2nd Gen Nexus 7 Coming out In July 2013, With Built in Call Capabilities, and a 1080p Screen plus Jellybean 4.3 I might just throw out my phone all together as mini tablets that can make phone calls increases. Soon carrying around separate devices is going to become less and less

    Also Am I the only one who thinks it's Crazy That I pay more for a phone off contract than I do a Tablet? The Only Difference is a Lack of Call Capabilities.

    I mean a 32gb Tablet with HSPA + and Wifi for $299 is a Steal that and only $50 bucks for 5GB of Data with T Mobile or AT&T

    Goodbye contracts Hello Freedom! Here's to the Future of tech! :)

  • Joshua deVille

    I have a 4.5 inch screen an my phone feels small to me.

  • Joshua deVille

    dbrand dot come has some great Carbon Fiber Cases for Nexus and Galaxy Devices.

  • none

    you could make phone calls with a dialer app and the right plan on your sim? private call with a Bluetooth headset.

  • Abdul Wahid Khan

    Really nice description man.
    I need to make lot of voice calls using the network provider. In that case, is it true that I cant use it as my mobile phone right?
    Also, it says it doesnt have a rear camera? How do I take pics or videos? I would expect atleast front and rear cameras in such a device?

  • BMBvideo

    How's the Nexus 7 2 work as a phone?

  • Alofyn

    I curse female fashion. I'll have to go back to wearing my hip-hop trousers from 10 years ago.
    Also, Groove IP only works for US/Canadian numbers and it's sadly not where I live. :(

  • Vicki

    Looks like Google answered people's prayers, since the 2013 Nexus 7 is thinner and lighter

  • John in Colorado

    I receive incoming calls on my Nexus 7 using a free service from Callcentric in combination with google voice. I ported my local cell number to Google Voice recently. It forwards calls to my upstate New York, free, incoming-only 10 digit phone number accessible to the telephone world. That number appears on my phone on a SIP client app. I use CSIPSimple for that. To make outgoing calls, I dial diectly through the google voice app. I may soon convert to a data-only plan.