Google’s Nexus 7 tablet began shipping its pre-ordered units today, according to a Google+ post by the company.

“Locked and loaded, ready to play: we’ve started shipping Nexus 7 pre-orders today!” said Google’s “Google Play” account today.

VentureBeat mobile reporter Devindra Hardawar called the Nexus 7 the “best value of any mobile device, be it smartphone or slate,” though he maintained that the iPad still reigns. Android hardware makers have had some big misses in their attempts to compete with the iPad. Indeed, Samsung’s current Galaxy Nexus is banned from sale, as Apple is suing the company for what it says is an infringement on its patents. But the Nexus 7 is seemingly powerful, light, and a good value at $200.

The 7-inch tablet created by Asus has access to Google Play and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but doesn’t exactly break the tablet mold. Its power stems from a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 1 gigabyte of RAM, and it sports a 1,280 x 800 resolution IPS (in-plane switching) display. The tablet also supports 300 hours of standby battery life and can last up to 9 hours during video usage.

It doesn’t have the greatest amount of storage, however, with only 8-gigabytes available on the cheapest model.

Many are saying that this is a tablet finally worth taking on Apple’s iPad. But, of course, Apple takes nothing lying down. Rumors say the iPad creator will be striking back with its own 7-inch tablet, the iPad Mini. John Gruber, who often predicts future Apple innovations correctly, says Apple is developing a 7.85-inch iPad.

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