The second generation Nexus 7 costs a little more than its predecessor, though it’s still pretty inexpensive. That leaves room in the budget for a few accessories to enhance the experience. Looking to be more productive? Want the best media experience? Intend to carrying it with you everywhere? We’ve got all that covered.
Quirky Converge ($40)
Google and Asus didn’t make an official media/charging dock for the new Nexus 7 like they did for the first gen. This isn’t that big a loss since the last dock didn’t do much. You can get the same basic functionality from Quirky’s Converge dock and have room for other devices. The resting angle is good for both watching video and reading and it’s possible to charge up to four devices at once. The USB charging ports are tucked under the dock and good cable management ensures you won’t have a tangled mess making your desk look cluttered. A single wire connects the dock to an outlet, so you can free up space there, too.
Google’s new Play Textbooks will make the Nexus 7 attractive to students. Why not go digital with your notes as well as your books? For that, you need a good pen. The Amphibian has a long rubber tip that allows you to use it at wider angles than most capacitive styli. That tip also glides smoothly across screens without scratching and should satisfy even fast scribblers. Same goes for the ballpoint pen on the other end. If you prefer gel to regular ink, Parker cartridges fit the Amphibian and offer even smoother writing.
Toddy Gear Wedge ($15)
We’re big fans of Toddy Cloths for keeping screens clean – especially when the screens are as beautiful as the Nexus 7′s – but we’re even bigger fans of multitasking tools. The Wedge is a little beanbag chair-like stand for small electronics that has both the microfiber and silky cleaning materials that make the Toddy Cloth so useful. It will hold the Nexus in landscape mode with no issues (portrait is a no-go) and is small enough to carry with you everywhere.
Oberon Design Leather Covers and Cases ($70 and $64)
The new Nexus 7 is a bit slimmer and sleeker than before, but it’s still not that visually striking. The best way to add some personality is with a great case, and cases with the most personality come from Oberon Design. The company’s handmade leather Nexus 7 folio covers come in over two dozen patterns and even more colors. You can go with the classic leather-bound book look, tree and nature themes, or Game of Thrones-worthy dragons and castles. The folios are sized for the original Nexus 7 but thanks to the bungee cord holders will fit the new generation with no problem. If you’re more into sleeves, the Medium Tablet Case comes in many of the same patterns and colors. The Nexus slides right in and the magnetic closure on the top ensures it won’t fall out.
The Executive from iWalk ($70)
At the Nexus 7 launch event, Google made it clear that its new tablet isn’t just for playing around but serious business, too. Productivity isn’t just for 10-inch tablets, and neither are good Bluetooth keyboards. The Executive is slim and light though substantial enough not to slide around if you’re a forceful typist. Most keys are full sized – a few lesser-used ones on the edges get squished to make enough room for common keys – and the tactile feedback and return is good for a portable keyboard. Function keys along the top row are made for iOS so a couple don’t work with Android – you won’t miss them. The cover includes a kickstand that’s adjustable to a few angles, just enough to eliminate glare.
Quirky Upwrite ($28)
Kickstands don’t get much love from tablet manufacturers so tablet owners are forced to find great solutions on their own. What we like about the Upwrite is its versatility. Not only will it hold a tablet or smartphone up at multiple angles, it’s also a capacitive stylus. Multitasking tools mean less to carry in your gear bag. Plus, the Upwrite attaches to a keychain, making it that much harder to misplace.
The Nexus 7′s micro USB port is MHL-enabled and capable of outputting to TV via HDMI with the right dongle. That is not nearly as awesome as doing so with the Chromecast. This media streamer quickly became one of our favorite devices in the Digital Trends office as it makes it so easy to play YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play videos with just a few taps on the Nexus. Plus you won’t drain the tablet’s battery as fast since it just acts as a remote once video starts playing. The Chromecast isn’t limited to just video, you can also fling browser tabs from Chrome to view or share. Gaming isn’t supported yet, so you will need a physical wire if that’s what you want to see on the big screen.
Booq Boa Courier 10 ($100)
Chances are if you’re carrying a small, compact tablet, you don’t always want to rock a giant bag. The Boa Courier is designed with 10-inch tablets in mind but will work just as well for smaller sizes. You won’t even need a case since the tablet pocket is heavily protected and lined with a soft, scratch-free lining. The Boa’s dense, nylon exterior is water-resistant and tough and the interior is roomy enough for a few key items, though not too many. Wear it like a messenger bag or like a backpack with the detachable cross-body strap.
Cambridge Audio Minx Go ($150)
The Nexus 7′s screen is the best you’ll find on a tablet this size, yet that’s only one part of a good media experience. Audio quality is important, too, and even the best tablet speakers are pretty meh. A good Bluetooth speaker is a must for excellent audio and one of our current favorites is the Minx Go from UK-based Cambridge Audio. The Minx Go isn’t as compact as the Beats Pill even though it is designed to be portable. We forgive it that small drawback because the sound it pumps is really good for a speaker this small. You will never lack for volume or for roundness of sound whether in a small room or out on the back deck.