I make a lot of aspirational purchases. I constantly buy books I really ought to read, subscribe to magazines that are so good the one time a year I actually get around to opening them, and add movies like Schindler's List to my Netflix queue because it's an important cultural touchstone. My credit card bill makes me look worldly and educated — my actual habits involve a lot of watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and re-reading The Da Vinci Code.

Last fall, I bought an iPad mini hoping that consolidating all those things into one place would make me more likely to do them. It didn't, really — movies don't look that great on the mini's screen, magazines take about 46 years to download, and oh man are there a lot of fun games on iOS that are more exciting than Schindler's List.

So when Google announced the new, $229 Nexus 7, I immediately leapt to the pre-order page. This would solve all my problems! It has a fantastic display, a great processor, all the books and magazines and movies I want, and it's so small and light it'll go everywhere with me. Right?

Then I looked over at the Nexus 7 I bought last year, which I loved to pieces. But it's sat dormant for six months. The battery's dead, maybe permanently. I scratched the screen pretty good, too. But a year is a long time, and maybe this would be the one. I had to find out.