How is a Nexus 7 to show PDF’s?

The Google Nexus (AKA Asus Nexus 7) is a popular and big selling tablet. A recent study, made public in February of this year, estimates that around 4.8 million Asus Nexus 7 units have been sold so far, with sales figures creeping up to around the ‘million a month’ mark.


The latest Nexus has been positively received by reviewers and customers alike. Reviews have praised everything from its well-designed hardware (“the build quality is on par with Apple”, said Techradar’s James Rogerson in January, before describing the tablet as “astounding value for money”) to its Quad-Core 1.2 GHz processor and full GB of RAM, a pairing described in action by’s Dave Oliver as a powerful combination that seems very quick off the mark in use. Flicking between apps is seamless and swift, as is web browsing and movie watching”.


Due to its affordable price (Amazon is selling the Nexus 7 for under £200) and solid reviews, the tablet is no doubt being acquired by a vast cross section of people and for a considerably broad range of uses. Students, in particular, seem to be buying the Nexus 7 for use as a study aid and generally handy all-purpose tool. This has caused some to ask the question of whether the Nexus 7 handles PDFs well enough to be considered as an important device for students.


At the beginning of February, this question was featured on Yahoo! Answers, warranting several responses, the most important of these shall be addressed in this, our own answer. User ‘Jake’ responded that the PDF function works fine on the Nexus 7, but that it was equally viable and useful to bring aNexus 7, an iPad 2, and/or a MacBook Pro to campus”, he went on to say that “The Nexus 7 opens PDF documents (such as those you store in Google Drive) with a PDF Document Viewer, so it’s fine. Kind of like the way the iPad opens (or can open) PDFs in iBooks, except iBooks stores a copy. The PDF viewer works but it’s not amazing. If pages are too small on the screen you just need to rotate it, pinch to zoom in a bit, and scroll vertically (zoom stays the same for each page)” Although he wasn’t overwhelmed by the quality of the PDF reader, he did seem to think it worked well enough.


However, not every user agreed, as ‘Techno’ countered with the following: “If your main priority is to read PDF files/e-books then I wouldn’t recommend the nexus 7. I would recommend the kindle Paperwhite which is designed specifically for reading e-books (PDF files)”


After weighing up the positive and negative attributes of the Nexus 7 as a PDF reader, as well as considering our own site’s test, it is the contention of this piece that the Nexus 7 does indeed make a fine eBook reader. However, equally worth consideration is the Kindle Paperwhite, which is a cheaper device that has been singularly designed as an eReader.


In conclusion, if the only function sought by the customer is PDF reading, then the customer would be advised to save money by buying a device especially designed for the purpose. However, if PDF reading is just one of the desired functions, then the Nexus 7 is both capable and relatively affordable.