Google Nexus 7 tablet

My favorite Google Nexus 7 apps

Written by Gail Bjork

Of the thousands of the available apps for the Google Nexus 7 tablet, I found these the most essential for my needs.

The type of Apps you install on a tablet is very personal. My needs are relatively basic since my Nexus 7 is primarily used for viewing photos, gathering news and information, and for some entertainment and not for productivity.

I primarily use my notebook for larger tasks such as writing articles, creating graphics and editing and uploading photos. If I need to view files or images on the tablet, I can access them via hosting site or cloud service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Picasa Web Albums (Web Albums are synced so can be viewed offline when not connected by Wi-Fi). I can download any files and images to my tablet when connected to Wi-Fi or transfer them to the tablet via the mini-usb connector.

The following are the apps I use most often and find most useful.

Dolphin Browser

I much prefer Dolphin to Chrome and Firefox because it’s so easy and intuitive to use. It’s designed for mobile yet is similar in look and feel to a computer browser. Dolphin offers real tab browsing, search the Internet by voice, bookmarks and more. You can create a personal gestures to access websites you use the most. There are more than 60 available Add-ons. The only downside is that you can’t use it to watch Amazon Prime.

For watching Amazon Prime, I switch to the Firefox browser because it uses Flash currently required for viewing Prime movies. You must download Adobe Flash Player 11.1 APK for it to work.

WiFi OnOff

Turn Wi-Fi On and Off with just one click. I am amazed how many apps (including games) don’t work, or will only partially work, without a Wi-Fi connection. Face it, there are times when you want to use your tablet and no Wi-Fi is available. WiFi OnOff lets me quickly toggle Wi-Fi on and off to test apps. Some of the ads for children’s apps are age-inappropriate, so I turn off Wi-Fi when children use my tablet.

Handrite Note Pro

Handrite Note lets you write with a finger (or a stylus) directly on the tablet screen, or use a virtual keyboard. The app is great for quickly jotting down notes such as phone numbers. Since the words are images, not text, you can also sketch symbols, numbers, equations and pictures, just like using a drawing program. There are settings to optimize the program including ink color and width of pen. You can adjust text size for writing and a different size for when it is saved. You’ll need practice to get the hang of using it but it’s fun, fascinating and definitely handy. I bought the Pro app but the free version is very good.

ES File Explorer

A file manager that lets you locate the files on the Nexus 7.  It can be difficult to find files once you save or download them without a file manager. EX File Explorer lets me access system files and folders that I would not otherwise see. When I find the location of  documents or images, I mark it as a “Favorite” to quickly find the folder the next time. Rename, copy, move and delete files with caution.

Kingsoft Office

A free, fully-featured office suite that lets you create, view, edit and save all documents used by Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It also has a built-in file manager to organize your office documents. It can be used with your mail application and supports cloud storage.

Pluse News

A free, highly attractive and easy-to-use news reader (better, in my opinion, than Google Currents that is included on the tablet).  Pulse News takes your favorite news sources and transforms them into an interactive, photographic mosaic. Tap an article to read the associated story. There is a large selection of sources and you select the ones that attract your interest. Topics include news, business, technology, science, photography, entertainment and much more.

Tiny Flashlight

The flashlight is very bright light and useful when you need to illuminate a dark area, better than the average home flashlight. I mostly use the Screen Light but you can also choose from Warning Lights (two yellow lights alternate on and off), Color Light and Police Lights (rapidly flashes red and blue). Swiping the screen up, down or to the side changes the color or intensity of the light, depending on which light is selected. The free version is ad supported but the ads are not overly intrusive. When photographing small objects, you can use the app to illuminate the scene. If you have someone to hold your tablet, the light t can also be used outside as fill light.

If you have a Nexus 7 app that you simply can’t live without, please share it in the commenting section below this article.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.


  • Danny, I want to also point out that Evernote and Stitch are excellent and highly rated apps. I have tried them but personally have no need to use them. The free version is sufficient for many but to get the full power of Evernote, you must subscribe to the service, currently $5 per month or $45 per year. Site readers are encouraged to check out these two popular apps.

  • Danny, thank you for taking the time to suggest some very fine apps. I already took a look at Photo Tools. Unfortunately, because the Nexus7 doesn’t have a rear facing camera, the app is incompatible. I’m going to try others that are compatible. I know other site visitors will too. Thanks again.

  • I’ve got an 8 inch tablet and a smartphone rather than a Nexus, so the best apps might differ a bit.

    I agree that ES File Explorer is essential, and Kingsoft is the best free office suite I’ve found.

    Browsers are a matter of personal choice. I find that Opera Mini works best on my phone, and the default browser (Chrome?) best on my tablet. There’s no harm in installing several, to play around with them.

    Other Apps:
    AppMonster – backup apps. Restore a previous version of any app if a newly installed update turns out to have a bug.

    MapDroyd – Google Maps is good when you’re online, but MapDroyd works offline if you’re travelling somewhere which might not have wifi. Just remember to download the relevant maps first.

    SwissArmyKnife – contains a flashlight, ruler, timer, stopwatch, compass, bubble level, calculator, magnifying glass and mirror. All in one app!

    MyPhoneExplorer – synchronise contacts, tasks, notes etc. with Outlook, Thunderbird etc.

    Kindle – saves buying a standalone Kindle. Other ereader apps are also available.

    Evernote and Skitch – I’m surprised you didn’t mention these. Skitch allows you to draw comments etc. on photos.

    Then there are so many useful apps where the best one will depend on your country: train timetables, weather forecasts, newspapers and more.

    I’ve also downloaded an App called Photo Tools which appears to offer lots to photographers, but I’ve not really used it. What do you think of it, Gail?