Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five Great Apps for the Nexus 7


I've owned the Nexus 7 for a little under a month now and can say without hesitation that it is a fantastic device. I'm writing this article for those of you who are new to the tablet phenomenon and wish to get the most out of your new N7 by downloading the very best apps for it.

I'll keep this list short and sweet. Here are the five apps I've fallen in love with over the past month while using my Nexus 7:



1. Pulse

I love to read, so it shouldn't surprise anybody that I bought my Nexus 7 initially for its e-reading capabilities. But this addiction wasn't limited to novels; I also enjoy reading the news and various other bits of information you can find around the web.

Pulse is a neat little app that essentially organizes everything you like to read into one place, and it does it in style. You basically tell it what you want to read, and it gives you top headlines from that website or other sources along with an image from the article. I was even able to load up this site onto it, which was a pleasant surprise.

Another great thing about Pulse is that it lets you save articles for later viewing. Recently, I've become accustomed to pouring over hundreds of articles, hunting and pecking for anything that looked interesting to me. Usually, this will leave me with twenty or so articles that I can access anytime at a later date.

I always have a backlog of interesting things to read on Pulse, and I am sure you will too if you give the app a try. On the Nexus 7, it runs buttery smooth and the screen really brings the best out of the interface. If you are searching for a news/reader app, look no further.


2.Pocket

Have you ever been on a webpage you think is interesting, but don't have the time to read it right at that moment? You could do the old fashioned thing and bookmark the page, but nowadays there are better options. The best of which is, in my opinion, Pocket (formerly "read it later").

Pocket is a great app which I initially used to use to save Pulse articles I really really enjoyed. Now though, I find I am using it more often to save pages I find interesting on the web for later viewing. What's great is that Pocket downloads whatever you are saving to it, meaning you can view it offline.

That's an essential feature to have on something like the Nexus 7, which doesn't have 3g or 4g capabilities. With Pocket, you can load up a bunch of interesting pages from the internet, and view them later while riding in a car or while in any other area that has no access to a wifi connection.

Pocket has other features that allow you to archive articles you've saved to it, allowing you to build a collection of your favorite reading material over time. I for one enjoy this feature, as it's sometimes an eye opening experience to see what I archived just a couple weeks ago.

Much like Pulse, Pocket is a great information compiling tool that allows you to access content while offline. Anybody who is using their Nexus 7 as a content consumer should seriously consider downloading this app!


3.Virtual Table Tennis 3D

Reading is great and all, but sometimes you just want to use your tablet for plain mindless fun. Virtual Table Tennis 3D accomplishes that and more. It's pretty self explanatory, so I won't spend too much time on it, but basically you control one ping pong paddle and the computer controls the other, and you play out a game of table tennis (shocking!).

It's an easy game to learn but a hard one to master. Even on the lowest difficulty settings you'll find yourself losing over and over again until you perfect your strategy and become better at blocking the computer's increasingly tenacious attempts to score.

My personal favorite time to use this app is during commercial breaks on TV. Your favorite show goes on break, you fire up Virtual Table Tennis 3D, play a few matches, and your show is back on in what seems like seconds. It's like magic!

Maybe I'm biased because I like playing ping pong in real life, but I'd definitely say that this game is one of the best available on the Nexus 7. Not only does it take advantage of the Nexus 7's processing power, but it frankly would not be playable on a screen the size of what's on your typical smartphone.


4. Songza

Move over Pandora, Spotify, and other music app competitors. Songza has arrived on the scene with a bang and it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

What's great about Songza, to me, is the interface. You fire it up and you're introduced to what is called the "concierge". It will say something like "It's Sunday evening, do you want to play music for..." and it will list options like cooking, studying, eating dinner, relaxing, and more.

To me it's ingenious how it matches genres to days, times, moods, and feelings. In my mind it's a form of creativity lacking in other music apps, which are either soulless (Spotify) or feature similar but less effective features (Pandora).

Songza is a clever app that makes listening to music fun, and that's saying a lot considering that I'm someone who generally doesn't listen to too much music during their downtime!

I feel like it's interface works great and is easy to use with the Nexus 7's screen and processing capabilities. If you need some music to compliment the state of mind you are in at the moment, this is the app for you. 


5.Wizard's Choice

Wizard's Choice is a game with multiple parts (I believe there are five total), and is essentially a text based adventure game. Before you fall asleep at the keyboard, hear me out. What makes this game impressive is the fact that you get to choose your own adventure, much like those Goosebumps books we all read as kids, or for the avant garde out there, much like Mass Effect or Fallout.

I can't really spoil the story as that's one of its best parts; suffice it to say, it's worth it to read/play it until the end. While the game isn't totally open ended, the writer (or writers, not sure how many were involved in the project) does a good job at portraying the consequences of your choices and actions.


Wizard's choice really is the ultimate package in my mind. You get great storytelling, engrossing gameplay, and a sense of accomplishment all in one neat and cheap little package.

And to close, let me be clear; you absolutely need the greater real estate of a 7"+ screen to truly enjoy an experience such as Wizard's choice, not only so you can read the text and make accurate choices, but also so you can appreciate the fantastic artwork present in the game.


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In closing, these are just five of the many unbelievable apps available on the Google Play Store for your Nexus 7. That being said, I don't think you can go wrong with the ones I've listed!

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