10 Things to Remember about Your Nexus 7 Tablet

Have you ever tried to tie string around your finger to remember something? For your Nexus 7 tablet, some things are definitely worth remembering even without the string around your finger.

Use dictation

It’s such a handy feature, yet many people forget to use it: Rather than type text, use dictation. You can access dictation from any onscreen keyboard by touching the Microphone button. Speak the text; the text appears. Simple.

The key to dictation is to look for the Microphone button, shown in the margin, on the onscreen keyboard. Touch the button and talk.

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Landscape orientation

Apps such as Chrome, Play Books, and even Email can look much better in the horizontal orientation. Likewise, it’s easier to read a conversation in the chatting apps, such as Google Hangouts, when things are narrow. Simply turn the tablet over on its side and start reading.

  • Not every app supports portrait orientation. Some apps — specifically, some games — appear only in landscape orientation.

  • Some apps, such as Play Books, have screen rotation settings that let you lock the orientation to the way you want, regardless of what the tablet is doing.

Orientation lock

The opposite of remembering that the Nexus tablet has landscape orientation is forgetting that it has the orientation lock feature. When engaged, the orientation lock prevents the screen from adjusting between Landscape and Portrait modes: The screen stays fixed in whichever orientation it was in when you set the orientation lock.

To set the orientation lock, pull down the Quick Actions shade and ensure that the Auto Rotate icon is locked, and the button says Rotation Locked when it’s active.

Use the keyboard suggestions

Don’t forget to take advantage of the suggestions that appear above the onscreen keyboard when you’re typing text. To choose the suggested word, touch it. The word appears.

To ensure that suggestions are enabled, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Settings app.

  2. Choose Language & Input.

  3. Touch the Settings icon by the Google Keyboard item.

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  4. Ensure that a check mark appears by the Next-Word Suggestions item.

Things that consume lots of battery juice

Four items on the Nexus 7 suck down battery power faster than a massive alien fleet is defeated by a plucky antihero who just wants the girl:

  • Wi-Fi networking

  • Bluetooth

  • GPS

  • Navigation

Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth, and GPS all require extra power for their wireless radios. The amount isn’t much, but it’s enough that you should shut them down when battery power gets low.

Navigation is certainly handy, but because the Nexus 7 touchscreen is on the entire time and dictating text to you, the battery drains rapidly. If possible, try to plug the tablet into the car’s power socket when you’re navigating.

Use a docking stand

The official Nexus tablet docking stand isn’t available. It will be worth the wait. A docking stand is a helpful way to hold the tablet, to keep it propped up and easy to use. The stand makes a great home base for the tablet — you’ll always know where it is, even on the messiest desk with the most storm-tossed sea of paper.

Depending on what’s available in the future, the docking stand may also provide access for USB mice and keyboards and even an HDMI output for connecting the tablet to an HDTV or monitor.

Make phone calls

Yeah, it’s not a phone. The Nexus tablet lacks the native ability to use the cellular system to make phone calls. Why let that stop you?

Using apps such as Hangouts and Skype, you can video-chat with your friends. Skype even lets you dial into “real” phones if you boost your account with some Skype Credit.

Mind your schedule

The Calendar app can certainly be handy to remind you of upcoming dates and generally keep you on schedule. A useful way to augment the calendar is to employ the Calendar widget on the Home screen.

The Calendar widget lists your current agenda of upcoming appointments. It’s a simple way to check your schedule, especially when you use your tablet all the time. Stick the Calendar widget right on the center Home screen panel.

Snap a pic of that contact

Whenever you’re near one of your contacts, take the person’s picture. Sure, some people are bashful, but most folks are flattered. The idea is to build up your tablet’s address book so that all contacts have photos.

When taking a picture, be sure to show it to the person before you assign it to the contact. Let them decide whether it’s good enough. Or, if you prefer to be rude, assign a crummy-looking picture or even a random picture of anything: A plant. A rock. Your cat.

But, seriously, keep in mind that the Nexus 7 can take a contact’s picture the next time you meet up with that person.

The search command

Google is known worldwide for its searching abilities. By gum, the word Google is now synonymous with searching. So please don’t forget that the Nexus 7, which uses the Google Android operating system, has a powerful Search command.

The Search command is not only powerful but also available all over. You can touch the Search icon in any app where you can find it. Use it to search for information, locations, people — you name it. It’s handy.

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Don’t forget about Google Now, which makes voice searching a snap.

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