Nexus 7 – Daily Work Horse?

Nexus 7 – Daily Work Horse?

The day has finally come, I got a tablet.

Why did I get a tablet?  Well because I am cheap and was sick of paying around $90 per month for my smart phone.   “But how will you make calls?”, cried the masses.  Well I have an odd phone setup.  I use a dumb phone to make calls, and a smart phone for data.  They are tied together with Google Voice so I can use either.

  • $25/month (average) – Ting Voice Phone
  • $90/month (average) – Sprint HTC EVO Shift
  • Total:  $115/month

Wait why the hell am I paying $115/month for phones?  On that note why am I paying around $90/month for TV?  I’ll have to tackle that one later.


Time to do the device shuffle and get rid of something.   The AT&T data plan for the Nexus 7 is $30/month for 3GB of data.  Dropping the smart phone brings my total bill to $55/month and I end up with an awesome tablet and save $60/month.  I do lose unlimited data,  but the majority of my usage is via WIFI, so that is a moot point for me at least.

Is that a Nexus 7 in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Being able to drop a tiny phone in your pocket and still have access to email, web, ssh, ftp, and pretty much anything else you need is a wonderful thing.  The one issue, which may be my age rearing it’s old head, is smart phones are too small to do anything useful on in a reasonable amount of time.  I find myself tethering to my laptop most of the time.

Enter the Nexus 7, which is huge in size compared to a regular phone.  The main issue I was worried about: how portable is a 7″ tablet.  Turns out it is very portable.  Sure it looks ridiculous in my pocket, but it fits in my pocket! 

Will I end up tethering anyway – oh wait I can’t

Today I decided to pretend I was off-site and try to use the tablet for my daily work gamut.  Perhaps the Monday before a holiday was a poor choice to do this since they are notoriously busy.  Well yes it was a terrible idea, but I did it anyway.  Little did I know I was heading towards a 12 hour non stop tech support / development / server admin trifecta of super fun.

First things first, disconnect the internet from my laptop.  Let’s see how long I can do this for.

Things started out fine, but turned non-tablet friendly quickly.  Handling some password resets, setting up new email accounts, monitoring server loads, renewing domains, changing some DNS records and even doing light development work all completely from the Nexus went fine.  Sure it was slower than working from an actual computer, but not by that much surprisingly.

Then came the tablet killer, the always exciting “my site is down” ticket.  It turned out to be a hacked WordPress install that required some fast editing.  A real keyboard wins here hands down, but that keyboard has to be online.   I quickly discovered that I can’t tether the Nexus 7 without rooting it.  Since I obviously wasn’t going to leave a client waiting while I rooted my tablet, it was back to a normal internet connection.  So yes, I went around an entire 2 hours without an internet connection.  Not great.

Once that fire was put out it was back to the tablet to check the next ticket.  A development request requiring some Photoshop editing.  Back to the laptop.  From here on out it was back and forth.

How did the Nexus hold up?

After the dust had settled, I began reflecting on my day … and then another ticket came in during reflection.  Determined I handled it completely from the Nexus.  Then I re-reflected on my day.  At least 40% of my day was html and css editing, which I finally gave up and used a laptop on.  Another 10% was Photoshop, which again back to the laptop.  The remaining 50%?  Completely handled via the Nexus.

My day was unusually development heavy, which is basically word processing for what I do:  PHP, CSS, and HTML.  A keyboard here speeds things up so much.  If I had a Bluetooth keyboard for the Nexus, I may have waited longer to jump ship to the laptop.

For the battery, I was at 45% remaining while on battery for 16 hours.  I don’t know the exact amount of time the Nexus was actively being poked at, but I would say at least 5 hours total time.


Will this replaced my smartphone.  Hell yes.  Will this replace my laptop.  Hell no.  Once I get a keyboard for it … well no it still won’t replace a laptop.  As a super portable work machine the Nexus 7 rocks.  I wrote this entire entry on it just to see how that would go, and if you can read this then it went just fine.


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