Five complaints and problems with the Google Nexus 7 and how to fix them

The Google Nexus 7, developed by ASUS, is the first tablet to come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, as well as the flagship JB tablet.

I’ve had mine for a few days and have throughly enjoyed it. However, being the test-drive device for Jelly Bean, it still has a few rough edges that need to be ironed out, and some things that could simply be done better.

It’s important to remember that this blog post is specifically about the mostly small, minor errors made with Jelly Bean, most of which can be fixed with a small OTA update. It shouldn’t be used as an example of how the Nexus 7 is a bad device, as it is not.

1. Display popping out of device

 This is an acknowledged issue with the Nexus 7’s first factory builds. People have been getting their replacements, however, some are choosing to use a hands-on fix found here

Yes, I know it sucks, yes, it is something you’d hope would have been sorted out prior to launch, but it serves well to remember that many devices have had launch- day issues. Think of the iPhone 4 antenna issue.

2. Phone/Phablet UI used instead of Tablet UI

This is an odd design choice found about a week after this device was announced Google/IO.

When loading the Android operating system, the device does a simple calculation to figure out which UI to use:

800 (short side of N7) * 160 / 213 (LCD Density) = 600.938

This int is then called shortSizeDP and is then used to decide the UI:

shortSizeDP < 600 = Phone UI

601 < shortSizeDP < 719 = “Phablet” (N7 stock)

shortSizeDP > 720 = Tablet UI

If you have already rooted your device, then you can get the Tablet UI by installing one of the many custom Nexus 7 roms.

3. My screen goes black/isn’t turning on

 This is incorrect. Your screen IS turning on, however, the tablet, when on on auto- brightness mode, seems to have no lower limit. As a consequence, when not directly lit, the device will sometimes not turn on.

Whilst it’s obviously simple to just turn off the auto-brightness, the larger issue with this is that auto-brightness is used during the initial setup of the Nexus 7. Thus, during setup, you may need to shine a light on the device.

I know, it sucks, hopefully they’ll be a fix released soon. For now, just use a manual brightness setting

4. There is no Camera launcher

 I honestly have no idea why this is. Maybe it was oversight, maybe it was deemed unnecessary due to only having a front-facing camera.

Thankfully, there is an application, made by MoDaCo, which provides a camera launcher. It is free of charge, and can be grabbed here

5. My home screen doesn’t rotate

 For some odd reason, the homescreen on the Nexus 7, whilst using the stock launcher, is fixed to portrait, and will no rotate at all.

For those uncomfortable with editing build.prop or rooting your phone, the app “Ultimate Rotation Control” works on the Nexus 7 without root. There is a £1.69 licensed version , however, it is not necessary to rotate your home screen.

If you have no qualms with rooting and editing build.prop, a user on XDA- Developers found that adding one line enables home screen rotation:


Five complaints and problems with the Google Nexus 7 and how to fix them

11 thoughts on “Five complaints and problems with the Google Nexus 7 and how to fix them

  1. Anonym says:

    I’m a novice but I just read a review of N7 saying :
    Turning on automatic orientation switching is hidden in the system Accessibility menu, not the Display menu. Hope that helps…

    1. Ooh, I didn’t realize that.

      Just tried it, It’s enabled by default, and, whilst it does rotate most apps, the home screen stays firmly in portrait.


  2. wormss says:

    Nope. My screen is BLANK. I donot have auto brightness turned on. Its just black. I tried the light trick anyway and its still nothing. NY suggestions?

  3. This could be a problem if you’ve attempted to install a rom unsuccessfully, the holding power and volume down when turning device on then use the volume keys to select recovery and the power button to select it

  4. dtravis says:

    When using a case with a magnet in the lid, the magnet will put the screen to sleep when you flip the cover behind the unit as one would normally want to do when reading something. This probably means the hall switch is not shielded as well as it could be.

  5. David says:

    Is it possible to have more than 5 screens? I have 7 on my Thunderbolt (yes… I am still rockin’ an HTC Thunderbolt 4G rooted phone running Android 4.0.4)

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