The Nexus 7 is a brilliant and cheap tablet. If you want a well-built and desirable eReader, portable music and TV player, and email and web-browsing device, you could do a lot worse. You could certainly spend a lot more on a tablet that isn't as good. But where is the best place to buy a Nexus 7? We investigate the options. Updated 21 November.
Best place to buy Nexus 7: Google Play
Although it is built by Asus the Nexus 7 is a Google branded Android tablet, like the Nexus 10. As such the most obvious place to purchase the Nexus 7 is direct from the Google Play store. And in many ways, this is the best place. After all, the reason the Nexus 7 is so inexpensive is that Google is subsidising the sale.
Google will sell you direct a 16GB Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 for £159, and we can't find a better deal anywhere. The 32GB Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 will cost you £199 via Google Play. At the time of writing both are in stock and will be delivered in 'three to five business days', according to Google. When we attempted to purchase both models to two different addresses we were quoted delivery in two days at a cost of £9.99. So you'll pay £169 to get a 16GB Nexus 7 in two days, £209 for the 32GB.
Google Play lists the 32GB Wi-Fi and 3G Nexus 7 at £239, but at the time of writing it is out of stock.
Google provides after sales support for returns and general technical advice, and says it will accept returns for up to 15 days (actually less than the statutory distance selling regulations). You get the standard Asus manufacturer's warranty of 12 months, and will probably be better off looking to the manufacturer for technical support.
- Pros: You won't find a better price anywhere - on the 16GB model at least, and it's the only place that even claims to sell the 3G version of the Nexus 7.
- Cons: You may have to wait more than a week to get your Nexus, and we're not bowled over by the support options.
Best place to buy Nexus 7: Argos
Pop 'Nexus 7' into Google's own search engine and it's likely the top paid-for and organic search results will both point you toward Argos. Nothing wrong with that, but you do need to have your wits about you. In our searches we found that Argos lists online both the 16GB and the 32GB Wi-Fi-only Nexus 7. But it lists them both at £199 - if you're paying two hundred quid you want to make sure you are getting the 32GB Nexus 7. To be clear: Argos is doing nothing wrong here, but the unwary customer could be caught out.
At the time of writing due to stock issues you can't order the Nexus 7 to be delivered from Argos, but you can buy or reserve to collect in store immediately - if stock is available. I found stock of the 32GB model only was available in stores near to my current home in Surrey, the PC Advisor office in central London and my childhood home in Yorkshire. The 16GB device wasn't in store at any of those locations, so it is possible that the listing is simply out of date.
There are options to buy on credit, too. You could pick up your Nexus 7 today and pay nothing for six months, and then £8.11 for 36 months. That's a pain-free way of getting hold of Google's tablet, but it will set you back £290 for a £199 device that will be out of date by the time you fully own it.
Return your Nexus 7 to Argos within 30 days and the retailer will refund or replace it. You get the standard 12-month manufacturer warranty, and can purchase longer protection from Argos at £169 for three years. Why you'd want to, we can't say.
- Pros: You can get a Nexus 7 today, and the support and returns options are good. You can buy on credit.
- Cons: You have to go to the store but you still can't try before you buy. Credit is expensive and, you know, bad.
Best place to buy Nexus 7: PC World/Dixons
The UK's largest and best-known high-street technology reseller is offering up the 16GB Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 for £179. That's more expensive than direct from Google Play, but cheaper than that model is offered by Argos (and other online resellers). Also, you get £20 cashback if you buy a case for your tablet. The cheapest case costs £15.
The same deal is on offer for the 32GB Nexus 7, which is listed at £199. So if you want a case and a 32GB Nexus 7 you could pick up a minor bargain by heading to PC World.
You can order online and pick up in an hour from a story, or get free delivery in three to five working days. Next day delivery is available at £3.99, and any slot next day delivery costs £9.99. So if you need the device immediately and you can't get to a store, again PC World and Dixons comes up trumps.
Returns are accepted within 21 days of making a purchase, but credit is available only on items worth more than £250. As well as the manufacturer warranty for £49 or £3 a month you can purchase a 'Whatever Happens Care Plan' offering free repair or replacement for two years.
- Pros: If you want a case with a 32GB Nexus 7 this is actually the best deal around. You can get delivery tomorrow, and you can go in store and try before you buy.
- Cons: The 16GB flavour is more expensive than it is at Google Play, and there is no 32GB with 3G listed. Also, if you want next day delivery you have to pay.
Best place to buy Nexus 7: John Lewis
Following initial publication of this piece several people contacted me to say they had purchased a 32GB Nexus 7 from John Lewis for £199. The key bonus with John Lewis is that the store will provide a 2-year warranty, which is better than anyone else is offering. And, of course, you can go into the store and try before you buy.
That's just as well because on the John Lewis website the Nexus 7 is currently listed as being out of stock.
- Pros: Unsurpassed price and warranty, and you can try before you buy.
- Cons: Not currently available online, and you can't reserve it. So you risk a wasted trip.
Best place to buy Nexus 7: Everywhere else...
A fairly extensive search via Google Shopping and other comparison sites shows that the Nexus 7 in its various forms is available in many smaller e-stores, and some of the large ones including Misco, Pixmania and eBuyer. We have yet to see it offered at the same price or cheaper than either Google Play or even PC World. The same is true of Amazon, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it has its own cheap tablet to sell.
It's possible that with some vigorous searching you can find a better deal online, but we'd advise caution. Whenever a product is available in only limited numbers from a tier-one manufacturer, you are unlikely to grab a better deal from a small independent reseller. Factor in the knowledge that Google is subsidising the Nexus 7 and you can see that there is no margin for independent resellers, so they are more than likely unable to afford to stock it in any numbers, and will need to maximise their return.
A scout around the high street shows that some independent stores do stock the Nexus 7, but again not in any great numbers. If you wish to avoid Argos, Dixons or PC World you can buy the 32GB Nexus 7 from Maplins for the standard £199. It's not currently in stock, however.