23 Essential Tweaks to Perform on Your New Nexus 7 Android Tablet

By Ryan Whitwam

So you bought that new Google tablet, but you're not done until it's set up properly.

Android tablets have been an afterthought in the tablet market since the Motorola Xoom was announced 18 months ago. Android 3.0 Honeycomb failed to get the attention of consumers and even the improved Ice Cream Sandwich tablets have been slow to sell. The only bright spot for Android tablet sales has been the Kindle Fire, and that was largely for its $200 price. In terms of usability, it was a dud. But now, Google has seized on that price point and offered the Nexus 7, a device that is better than the Fire in every way.

Whether the Nexus 7 is your first Android device or just one of several floating around your home, there are some things you need to do in order to have the best Android tablet experience. Setting up your Nexus 7 is going to be different from setting up a new Android phone. That's partly because of the new form factor, and partly because its running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. (And don't forget, it comes with $25 in free Google Play credit.) Read on for a step-by-step guide to get the most out of your new Nexus 7.

1. Prepare Your Google Account

Your new Nexus 7 is going to tie in with all those Google cloud services. So before you even turn the device on, you should take some time to get your account in order. Start by checking out your Google Contacts to check for inaccuracies. You might want to create groups, which can be used to filter people on your device. Don’t worry about phone numbers too much -- they won’t be of much use on this tablet, which only has Wi-Fi connectivity.

You might remember a while back there was an issue with Facebook setting everyone’s default email address to the @facebook address. If you have a device (like most Android smartphones) that syncs email addresses, make sure you have the right data in that email field. The Nexus 7 is a great Gmail device, so you will be spending some time managing your mail with it.

Speaking of Gmail, there is one simple step I always suggest that Android users undertake. You should create a filter to limit annoyances from Google Play purchases. Every time you buy an app, return an app, buy other content, or make an in-app purchase, you get an email that is pushed to your tablet. That’s annoying, and you can stop it from happening while still holding onto the email for reference.

In Gmail on your desktop, click on the search bar drop down, and put “googleplay-noreply@google.com” in the From field. Then click at the bottom where it says “Create a filter from this search” to go on. On the next page, check the box next to “Mark as read,” and you will never again be plagued with those annoying email notifications.

Lastly, you should set up a Google Voice number if you don’t already have one. This won’t be as useful as it is on a phone, for obvious reasons. However, it will allow you to send free SMS from the tablet and to listen to your voicemail. You have to associate your account with an existing phone number, but you’ve probably got one of those laying around.

2. Unlock the bootloader

This is an optional step, but if you suspect you’re going to want to root or install custom ROMs, now is the time to handle the bootloader. Unlocking the bootloader lets you install unsigned code and root the tablet. Unlocking completely wipes user date from the device, which is why you ought to do it before you get everything set up. These are Windows-specific instructions, but you should be able to work it out with a Mac as well.

First, pick up the free Android SDK from Google, and install it on your computer. This should give you the necessary drivers for ADB control. Plug in your tablet, and make sure USB debugging is turned on in the developer settings. Open a command prompt/terminal from the Android SDK folder with ADB files in it and type "adb devices" (without the quotes). This folder is usually called platform-tools, but it does change from time to time. You should see a serial number for your device after issuing the command.

You will need to make sure a file called Fastboot is in the same directory with ADB. If you don't have it, download here, or search for the newest version. With the tablet still plugged in, type “adb reboot bootloader.” When the device is in the bootloader, type “fastboot oem unlock.” You’ll have to confirm on the Nexus 7 screen, and the device will unlock. You’re done.

3. Secure your tablet

Like a phone, your tablet is going to have a lot of personal information synced to it including your calendar, email, contacts, and search history. It’s probably a good idea that you set up some manner of security option to keep unauthorized users out. In the main system settings, head into the security section, and change screen lock from slide, to something like pattern, PIN, or Face.

Pattern is an Android mainstay. You just draw a user-set pattern using a grid of nine dots as markers to unlock the device. PIN asks you to type in a numerical code to unlock, and face unlock uses the front-facing camera to recognise you and unlock the device.

Face unlock on Ice Cream Sandwich was notoriously insecure. A picture of the owner held up could fool it. In Jelly Bean, you can enable a so-called “liveness check.” With this enabled, the tablet won’t unlock until the person it’s looking at blinks, thus proving it’s really you and not a snapshot.

On a phone the face unlock doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. You are often not holding a phone at a convenient angle. With the Nexus 7, though, I feel like it’s more natural to have the camera pointed at your face when picking it up. The recognition software still isn't 100% accurate, and fumbles in low light or if you wear glasses. Try them all and stick with your favorite. I usually use the patterns lock system because it’s fast and easy to input.

4. Screen rotation

You may have noticed that your Nexus 7 home screen is a portrait-only affair. This is just the way Google designed the build of Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7. However, at the outset you might also be confused that other apps don’t rotate to landscape. That is because the tablet ships with the orientation lock turned on.

That’s an unusual way to deliver a product, and it’s not terribly obvious where to turn it off. When you pull down the notification shade, there are a few buttons at the very top. One is for system settings, and the other is the orientation lock (it looks like a tablet with small arrows around it). Tap it and your device can rotate to landscape in apps. This is especially useful in apps that take advantage of the fragments API to create multiple panes of content when held in landscape.

5. Use Google+

If you’re not deeply into Google’s services, you might not make much use of Google+. Now that you have a Nexus 7, it’s time to give the service another look. The Google+ app is on the device, and it will even ask you to set up an account during startup if you don’t have one.

The app is really wonderful these days. The interface is smooth and emphasizes large pictures. In portrait mode it scrolls vertically, but smartly moves to horizontal scrolling when in landscape. It’s worth trying Google+ again just to see how cool the app is.

If you use Google Now (more on that shortly) Google+ can also be an important source of information for Now to tailor itself to your habits. If you check-in on Google+ when you’re out, Google Now will use that data to give you better location suggestions.

More generally, Google+ is a good place to be these days. Usage is still increasing, so you can probably find people with similar interests to add to your circles. There are also pages for companies and brands that can fill up your timeline. Google+ might not have the user base that Facebook enjoys, but it’s a distinctly nerdy place, and your grandmother isn’t on Google+ yet.

6. Get used to new Jelly Bean notifications

Android notifications have always been excellent when compared to the competition at the time. In Jelly Bean, they’re even better. When you pull down the notification shade, it’s going to look fairly familiar to Android users, and easy to grasp for those new to the platform. Tap on notifications to open them, and swipe away to dismiss. Easy.

Some notifications starting in Jelly Bean will appear in an expanded view that lets you see more information. There may also be additional functions in the notifications, like sharing buttons when you take a screenshot. If you don’t want all that extra data shown, you can use a two finger swipe upwards on the notification to collapse it to the standard single line. Use the same swipe downward to expand it again.

Android notifications can sometimes get a little out of hand if you have an app that bugs you about every little thing. There have also been apps in the past that secretly spam you with ads in the notification bar. In Jelly Bean, you can take control of notifications by long-pressing on them. A button for App Info will pop up, and you can get right into the settings page for the app that spawned the notification. One of the options there is to disable notifications for that app. Use this tip sparingly -- most apps have legitimate reasons to notify you.

7. Get your music into the cloud and back again

If you’re new to Android, you might not have taken advantage of Google Music. Head over to the Google music site and install the Music Manager software on your computer. Point it to your music library, and you can get up to 20,000 tunes in the cloud for free. The process might take a few days if you have a lot of content.

Once your music is in the cloud, you can access all of it from the Google Play Music app on the Nexus 7. As you’re scrolling through your albums and artists, you can hit the drop-down menu to the right of each artist or album and save content to your device. The Music app will cache songs in the background so that you can play them without an internet connection. On a tablet without a 3G/4G modem, that’s essential.

You should also take advantage of the Play Music Instant Mix capability. In the drop down menu for any song, there is an option to make an Instant Mix. Google will use the sound profile and tags from your collection to build a playlist of similar tracks. I’ve found this works fairly well, but it takes a few minutes.

8. Cache your maps

The Google Maps experience on the Nexus 7 is really awesome, however, you still have that issues of lacking a mobile data connection. Even when Wi-Fi is scarce, you can get some functionality out of Maps by caching your local area. This was a Labs feature for a long time, but now it’s fully supported and not hard to do.

In the Maps app, hit the menu button in the upper right corner. Tap “Make available offline” and select the area you want to save as denoted by the square borders. Use pinch-zooming to determine how wide of an area you want, and pan by tapping and dragging. Tap Done at the top when you’re satisfied.

A panel will open on the left to show you the download progress. Don’t be stingy with the cached area. My entire metro area was only 15.8MB. You won’t be able to search through all that neat local stuff from the offline cache, but you can still use the map itself, along with GPS for your location.

9. Set up Google Wallet (and get free credit)

The Nexus 7 is one of the few devices that ships with Google Wallet built in. Yes, this is a tablet and you’re not going to have it with you as often as a phone, but you can still get free money from Google with the Wallet app.

Open the Wallet app, and wait for it to sign you in. After the device had been authorized, and you’ve created a PIN, you should get a $10 pre-paid debit card that you can use anyplace there is a MasterCard PayPass kiosk. That isn’t going to be a huge number of places, but you can hunt around.

Wallet uses NFC to complete transactions. You’ll just have to hold the back of the tablet up to the reader, enter your PIN, and confirm the purchase. Ignore the perplexed looks you receive during this. Most credit cards can’t be added, but if you happen to have a Citi MasterCard, you can use it with Google Wallet.

10. Get into Google Now

One of the major improvements in Jelly Bean is the addition of Google Now. This is a predictive search app that replaces the standard Google search box. You can access it by tapping on the search box, or by dragging up from the Home button at the bottom of the screen. The first time you open Now, you’ll have to opt into the service, and you definitely should.

Google Now shows you a series of cards that it thinks will be useful to you. There is always a weather card, but upcoming appointments, reminders, and directions show up too. For instance, if you always take the same route to work at about the same time, Google Now will have traffic and route information in a card each morning. Cards that you don’t want can be swiped out of the way. When you are interested in something, tap on it and it will either do a search, or pull up the app associated with the action; like Maps, for example.

The more you use Now, the smarter it will get. Already Google Now is getting to know the places I like to eat from my Google location history, Google+ checkins, and searches. Sometimes Google Now is just dead on.

The other part of Google Now is a natural language voice search. Apple has tried to give Siri a personality of sorts, but Google is just trying to return relevant results with the aid of the Knowledge Graph. It doesn’t have a name; it’s just Google. You ask questions, and it’s very much like typing those queries into Google.

When you type something into a Google search and you get that big detailed results box up at the top of the results, that is the Knowledge Graph. That’s the stuff that comes through on Google Now voice search, but it’s crafted for the user interface. It looks really great, and the voice Android uses to speak the result is very human-like.

11. Set up owner information

So you’ve got your tablet secured to keep prying eyes out, but what happens if you lose it and a kindly person finds it? How are they supposed to know who owns it so they can give it back? It’s not like they can unlock it and check out the contacts looking for a person to ping. That’s why you should always have contact information on the lock screen.

Head back to your main system settings. Then go to the Security menu and tap on Owner Info. Here you can add contact information so that anyone finding your tablet laying around will have the opportunity to return it to you. It’s up to you what info you divulge. It can be an email address, website, or a phone number. Since this isn’t your phone, adding a phone number seems like a good idea.

12. Adjust the Android keyboard settings

There was a day when you really had to replace the stock Android keyboard, which was a real stinker. After Gingerbread, I really didn’t feel a need to swap it out. With ICS things got even better, and in Jelly Bean, it’s wonderful. There is predictive text, spell checking, and very accurate multitouch. Still, you can tweak some of these settings to better suit your style.

Back in the system settings you will find the Language and Input menu. From here you can tweak how the keyboard behaves. Next to the Android Keyboard entry, there is a settings button that will take you to the full stock keyboard settings. There are a few things you might want to change here, but your mileage may vary.

I’d suggest turning off the sound on keypress options, which is off on many Android devices by default. I’m not sure why it was left on here. The auto-correction on some devices is very aggressive, but not so on the Nexus 7. If you want to type a little more haphazardly, though, try upping the auto-correction. It is set to “modest” by default, but you can go to aggressive or very aggressive, if you like. If you use a lot of jargon, this might not be the best idea, but for general use it’s fine.

In the advanced settings, you can turn off next word prediction and contact name suggestions if you prefer. I left these on. If you want to leave keyboard sounds on, but want them softer, you can change the volume here as well.

13. Get the essential apps and utilities

What tablet is worth your time without some killer apps to get you working and browsing more effectively? You get $25 free dollars to spend in Google Play with the Nexus 7, so you might as well spend some of it on these top apps especially for your Nexus 7:

Plume: I use Plume on all my Android devices for Twitter. This app is very well-designed and follows the Holo UI guidelines without being boring. In portrait mode, it shows one column at a time, but in landscape it has three columns for the timeline, mentions, and direct messages. Plume is highly configurable and has an excellent resizable widget. Plume has a free ad-supported version, and it’s $4.99 for no ads. Buy it.

Reddit is Fun Golden Platinum: Even if you don’t have a Reddit account, there is a lot of great time-burning content on Reddit to pass the hours. Reddit is Fun is just the best app to enjoy it on a tablet. This app use a dual-pane UI, which is wonderful in landscape on the Nexus 7. It’s fast and has all the features you’d expect out of a Reddit browser. This app will run you $1.99.

Kindle: The Nexus 7 is a perfect size for reading. If you pick up a trade paperback, you’ll see that it’s about the same size of the Nexus 7. The device is also light enough to hold in one hand, and it won’t even murder you if you drop it on your face while reading in bed. Score! The Kindle app gives you access to millions of books, and the app itself is really snappy. You can change the font size, spacing, margins, color, and more. The app is free; the books not so much.

Netflix: This almost goes without saying; you should get Netflix on any Android device. However, the crazy thing is that the app actually runs well on the Nexus 7. I’ve always hated browsing through the Netflix app on tablets. It was laggy and slow on those devices, but it’s amazing on the Nexus 7. Smooth, responsive, and great playback quality. Free (subscription required).

Solid Explorer Beta: You’re going to need a file explorer at some point, and it should be Solid Explorer. This app offers all the usual file management options like moving, copying, deleting, and so on. If you choose to root your Nexus 7 (more on that shortly) Solid Explorer also supports root access to the file system. This is a perfect file explorer for your tablet because it uses a two-pane UI in landscape mode. In portrait, the two panes are still there, but you swipe between them. Solid Explorer Beta is free.

Evernote: This is by far the best note taking app on Android, and it has a fabulous tablet UI. Your notes are arranged in tiles and scrolling through even large lists is completely smooth. You can quickly and easily make text, picture, and voice notes with GPS locations attached. All those notes will also sync to the cloud. Evernote requires a free account with 60MB of monthly bandwidth. That should be more than enough for most users.

14. Get the best games

The Nexus 7 is equipped with the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC. This chip can push pixels around like no one’s business, and many developers code games especially for this Tegra. You can get some of the best games on Android with the Nexus 7, so you ought to use some of that free $25 on these games:

Dead Trigger: Who doesn’t like shooting a few zombies? In Dead Trigger, you’ll get to take on a huge number of the undead while completing various survival missions. The graphics and controls are great. You can really tell this game was designed for Tegra chips by how incredible the effects are. Dead Trigger is free within-app purchases. Spend a few bucks out of your bonus cash, and you’ll have plenty of fun.

Puddle THD: This title uses the power of the Tegra 3 to generate some really awesome fluid physics. In Puddle THD you use the device’s accelerometer to guide various fluids through a level, avoiding various dangers unique to each fluid. Because the Nexus 7 is light and its smaller frame is easier to hold, accelerometer control works very well in this game. Puddle THD is $4.99, but it’s definitely worth it.

Osmos HD: While Osmos HD is not designed specifically for Tegra 3, it still looks and performs great on the Nexus 7. In Osmos, you maneuver your glowing mote around the screen absorbing smaller motes and increasing your strength. You have to watch your momentum and not overcompensate -- you have to actually eject some of your mass to move. This game is both beautiful and challenging. It will run you $2.99 in the Play Store.

Sprinkle: Sprinkle was designed to run on Tegra 2, but it was later updated to work on other chips. On the Tegra 3, though, it really shines. In Sprinkle, you have to put out the flames threatening the good alien people of Titan. You do this with a water spraying rig and a good grasp of physics. You’ll have to use the landscape to your advantage in this game in order to get all the fires put out. This game will run you $0.99 -- well worth it.

Shadowgun THD: Even though Shadowgun is a year old, it’s still one of the best shooting experiences on Android. This is a third-person game, and it has solid dual-stick controls. Shadowgun relies on a cover system, and clever enemy UI to hold your interest. The Tegra version has amazing graphics with lots of shadows, textures, and particle physics not available in the non-Tegra edition. Shadowgun THD costs $4.99 in Google Play.

15. Make home screen settings shortcuts

Here’s a quick tip that will save you some time. Ever since Android 4.0 you’ve been able to create settings shortcuts on the home screen. This is a very easy way to access deeper parts of the settings without tapping through multiple screens. You can and should add links to some of these settings pages to your home screen.

Go into the app drawer and tap on the widget column. Scroll over until you see the settings shortcut. When you add this 1x1 link, the system will ask you where you want it to go. You can link to app management, battery stats, display, Wi-Fi, and more.

You can drop these into a folder on the home screen if you like. In fact, you should take advantage of all the cool home screen features of your Nexus 7.

16. Design your perfect home screens

You’ve got five home screens to fill up with apps and widgets, but Jelly Bean also introduces some cool new features. In general, you should try to segregate things by use. Consider having a screen of entertainment apps, a screen of news content, a screen of social content, a screen of settings, and so on.

When you press the home button, the view will always snap back to the middle screen. You should put your most important data on that screen. Apps that you use often should go here, and a weather widget might be a good call too. Remember that you’ve got six spots on the launcher bar at the bottom that are visible on all the home screens. This should be reserved for the apps you open most.

You can build folders by dropping one app shortcut on top of another. These folders can also be added to your launcher bar at the bottom. If you end up with a lot of spots filled, you can still drag your apps and widgets around and the other items will move out of the way. This is a new feature in Jelly Bean, and it makes it much easier to organize things.

17. Check out other Google Play content

After buying some apps and games, you’ll probably still have some free Google money left over. This is a good time to see what else Google has to offer. There is a reasonable selection of Music -- not quite what you’ll find on Amazon or iTunes, but you should be able to find something of interest. When you buy music from Google, it will automatically be added to your library. A notification on the phone will indicate that your Nexus 7 has refreshed the listing, and you can stream or cache it offline.

The Nexus 7 comes with the Google Books app, and while it doesn’t have the same quality selection you might get in the Kindle app, you can probably pick up a few books with your remaining free money. The Books app is actually very good. You can change the font, spacing, color, and size of the words. It also has a neat page turning animation. Google books will sync your location across Android devices the same way Kindle does.

Video has always been the most lackluster part of Google’s multimedia offerings on Android. It’s still not top of the line, but the addition of TV shows has really improved things. You can rent and buy movies for a few bucks. HD movie purchases are a little pricey -- about $18-20. The cost for SD and HD TV series are about what you’ll find on Amazon and Apple. That’s about $20 for SD, and $30-40 for HD seasons. Your video content will be available in the Play Movies app, and can be cached to the device for offline watching.

Magazines are a new part of Google Play, and I’m not entirely sold on the reading experience for magazines on a 7-inch tablet. A physical magazine is larger than the Nexus 7, so you’ll be zooming in from time to time in order to read everything. There is a text-only view, which is fine for longer articles, but you lose some of the “glossy” appeal. Although, it’s really easy to browse through the pages with the carousel view you can bring up by tapping on the page. You can buy individual issues, or subscribe through Google Play. Again, purchased magazines can be synced to the device.

18. Set up Google Play updates and security

So you’re loaded up with all kinds of content, and you’ve probably got a credit card plugged into Google Play now. It’s a good idea to secure that app so that no one can accidentally buy content on your dime. In the Play Store, go to the settings and scroll down to “Set or change PIN.” The app will ask you to input a PIN of your choosing, and then confirm it.

Once that’s done, check the box next to “Require PIN for purchases.” Google will ask for your PIN before each purchase from that device; even for in-app content. You may also turn on content filtering, but it’s not important unless little ones are going to be using your Nexus 7.

As you accumulate apps over time, you probably won’t want the icons automatically added to your home screen. This is also in the main Play Store settings; just turn off “Auto-add widgets.” Next to that you will also see an option to auto-update your apps. I usually turn this on so I don’t have to open the store and start updates manually. Be careful if you tether your tablet to a phone with a limited data plan though. The Nexus 7 doesn’t know the difference between a hotspot and a real Wi-Fi access point. App updates might automatically start and eat up your data cap.

19. Set up Google Chrome

The Nexus 7 is the first Android device to ship with Chrome as the default and only browser. The old stock browser is nowhere to be found, but that’s okay. Chrome runs wonderfully on the Nexus 7.

If you’ve only used Chrome on a phone, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Chrome on tablets looks a lot like desktop Chrome with the tabs on top. If you don’t use Chrome on your computer, you should think about starting. Chrome on Android syncs a lot of content from your other instances of Chrome. Bookmarks, search history, tabs, and passwords are all pulled right into Android.

You should try to clean up your desktop bookmarks before syncing to Chrome. When you type into the address bar, it will pull up results from your bookmarks. The less unwanted refuse you have, the better your results will be. When the sync is done, I’d suggest placing the Chrome bookmarks widget on your home screen. That makes it very easy to open your favorite sites in a new tab.

If you’re having issues with your Chrome sync hanging, you might have an issue with desktop Chrome’s settings. There is a bug in Google’s sync protocol that prevents some encrypted data from being duplicated. In the main desktop Chrome settings, click on Advanced Sync Settings, and make sure that the encryption is set to “Encrypt passwords” only. The sync should go through fine after that.

20. Check your remaining storage

At this point, your installed apps, games, cached some media, and perhaps even sideloaded some files of your own. That’s a lot of bytes, and the Nexus 7 is not endowed with a lot of storage. In fact, the 8GB model only has 5.62GB of user-accessible space out of the box.

Before you go any further, you ought to take a look at where you are and modify your usage as needed. Go into the main system settings and tap on Storage.This UI will break down how much storage you’re using on apps, music, pictures, and so on. Most users should be fine, but that 8GB tablet will be tough to live in long term, and there is no SD card slot.

If you’re a bit of a digital packrat, consider adding a storage widget of some sort to your home screen. This will keep you appraised of your storage state as you accumulate more junk. There are plenty of options, but I’m fond of Mini Info. it’s highly-configurable and there is an ad-supported free version.

21. Install ClockworkMod, Root, and backup

So it’s come to this? If you decided to unlock your bootloader earlier, you can take the next step and root your Nexus 7. This will allow you to play with some neat root-only apps, and even replace the operating system if you choose. This is a big step to take; it’s easier to break things, and you’ll have to do some work to return the device to “stock” for returns should something go wrong.

If you want to proceed, you’re going to need a few things. Grab the current version of ClockworkMod recovery for the Nexus 7; you’re probably going to want to Google around to find the most recent file. Place that .IMG file in the same directory you placed the Fastboot file earlier, and plug the Nexus 7 in with a USB cable.

Open the terminal/command prompt from the Android SDK directory containing Fastboot and ClockworkMod, and type “fastboot reboot-bootloader” (without the quotes). Once that’s done, enter the command “fastboot flash recovery CWM-grouper-recovery.img” making sure the Clockwork file name matches the one you downloaded.

Once the flash is done, type “fastboot reboot-bootloader” again. When the tablet boots back into recovery, you need to navigate (using the Nexus 7 recovery) to Mounts and Storage > Mount /system. Back on the command prompt on your computer, you have to enter the following commands, pressing enter after each one:

  • adb shell
  • cd /system
  • mv recovery-from-boot.p recovery-from-boot.bak

These steps just makes sure ClockworkMod sticks and is not overwritten by the stock recovery. Reboot your device when this is done.

To actually root, you need to get the Jelly Bean superuser package. Again, you will want to make sure you get the most recent version from someplace like XDA or RootzWiki. System updates tend to require new superuser files, but here’s the current file as of July 2012. You will be looking for a .ZIP which you will then copy to your tablet’s internal storage. Again reboot into recovery, and navigate to “Install ZIP from SD Card.” Find the superuser ZIP and flash it. Then go back to the main menu, and reboot. Your Nexus 7 should now be rooted.

You can also boot into recovery at any time and do a backup, provided you have space. This is a good idea before you do any risky system modifications. If worse comes to worse, you can restore the backup from ClockworkMod.

22. Analyze battery usage

You've made a lot of tweaks by this point, and hopefully you’ve been enjoying the device. This is as good a time as any to get acquainted with the Android battery use menu. You can find this in the main system settings under Battery. This screen is your best friend when you feel like something is sapping your battery faster than usual.

You get a nice graph of charge over time at the top, and applications broken down below that by how much of the total power expended each one used. If you see a third-party app at the top, and you haven’t been running it all day, there could be something wrong.

You can tap on any listing to go to the app information screen. One of the buttons there is Force Stop. You can use that if things are getting out of hand and you suspect something is wrong. Google is estimating 8 hours of battery life, and I don’t think that’s too off-base. If you have the tablet asleep most of the day, two solid days of use is totally doable between charges.

23. Take some screenshots

By now you’ve crafted a device that is completely you. You’ve got widgets, games, and all sorts of media at your fingertips. Maybe you have a high score to show off, or you just want everyone to see your masterful home screen design. You can take screenshots without any fuss by holding the power and volume down buttons down for a second.

All the images you take will go to the Gallery app for easy sharing. So if you’ve been following along at home with your Nexus 7, let’s see what you’ve come up with.

The Nexus 7 is a big deal for Android. Google appears to be selling the devices briskly, and the 7-inch form factor is a market the Nexus 7 can own at $200. Anyone that was considering a Kindle Fire should immediately take a look at the Nexus 7. Even as just a reader and web browser, $200 isn’t a bad price. If you follow this guide, you’ll have a device that’s ready to take on any computing challenge you can throw at it.