Google Nexus 10 review
|Review: December 2012|
In a nutshell: The ultimate Android tablet, with the fastest processor and highest resolution display available. It's missing 3G and a memory card slot, but it's the best you can buy for the price.
It wouldn't be Christmas without a tech present that's almost impossible to buy. This year it's Google's turn to announce a red-hot tablet and then apparently forget to manufacturer any. Let's take a look to see what a very few lucky people will be getting their hands on this December.
A 10 inch Nexus
The Google Nexus 7 has been one of the most popular Android tablets ever, thanks to its low cost and good set of features. Now, just as Apple announces a 7 inch iPad Mini, Google takes on the big Apple itself with a 10 inch mega-tablet.
There's no danger of mistaking the Nexus 10 for an iPad 4. Although the Nexus is slightly thinner, it lacks the rectangular purposefulness of Apple's benchmark tablet, opting for a curving, arched shape. It's wider, but not so tall, mirroring the 16:10 aspect ratio of the display. It's also quite a few grams lighter than the iPad, and the lighter weight and thinner body all help when lugging a ten inch tablet around the house.
Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protects the screen, but the rest of the visible surfaces are plastic. It's safe to say that the Nexus 10 isn't going to worry Apple when it comes to the designer look that Apple has worked so hard to perfect. But there's nothing to suggest that this Samsung-built tablet has a lower build quality than the iPad 4; it simply doesn't feel the need to flaunt an aluminium body or exotic ceramic inlays to prove its worth.
We suspect that the number-one priority for the designers of the Nexus 10 was to beat the pixel count of Apple's famous Retina display. It was Apple who practically invented the ppi (points per inch) measure as a marketing tool, so you can imagine the Google elves loving the fact that the Nexus 10 has an incredible 300ppi compared with the iPad 4's 264ppi.
Whether you can tell the difference in reality is another matter. The fact is that both devices have incredibly sharp and vivid displays. If you enjoy watching movies, you might prefer the Nexus 10's wider aspect ratio. With a total of 2560 x 1600 pixels, the display goes well beyond the Full HD display of a flatscreen TV.
Specs, specs, specs
Underneath the unassuming plastic casing lurks a monster. It's a dual-core 1.7GHz Exynos 5250 processor supported by a huge 2GB of RAM and a quad-core GPU. If you're thinking that a dual-core processor isn't going to be up to the job, think again. This powerhouse outperforms every other tablet in benchmark tests, including the iPad 4. It eats apps for breakfast.
The Nexus 10 comes in a choice of 16GB or 32GB versions. It's a pity there's no microSD card slot, as this would be a cheap way of adding more memory. It looks like Google thinks the future is in the cloud, but for practical everyday use, the cloud isn't quite there yet for many people. As it is you'll have to consider carefully whether the 16GB version is going to be enough, or whether it would be wise to spend a little more and choose the 32GB version.
Where the Nexus 7 has just a front-facing camera, the Nexus 10 comes with a rear-facing one too. We're ambivalent about rear-facing cameras on tablets, especially ten-inchers. Is a half-kilogram plastic slab the optimum form factor for photographic apparatus, we wonder?
Whatever your thoughts on this, the 5 megapixel camera turns out quite respectable results, and is capable of filming 1080p video too.
More useful we suspect is the front-facing camera which can be used for self-portraits and video calls. This is a 1.9 megapixel camera with 720p video capability.
The Nexus 10 is strong when it comes to audio capabilities too. It features front-facing stereo speakers plus a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Jelly Bean 4.2
Being a Nexus device, you can expect your tablet to always be up to date with the latest software. The Nexus 10 launches with Android Jelly Bean 4.2, and it runs in its purest form, without any of Samsung's usual tweaks and modifications. A new feature for Jelly Bean is the ability to set up multiple users - perfect for keeping the kids away from your stuff.
The tablet comes pre-loaded with plenty of native Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google+, YouTube and Chrome, which all look fantastic on the big screen. Google Play gives you access to downloadable apps, games, books, music and movies.
The number of tablet-compatible Android apps has grown significantly over the past few years, to the point where it's hard to claim that Apple is still the clear winner here. The Nexus simply isn't short of apps or media content.
There's no 3G/4G option available with the Nexus, so you'll be relying on a Wi-Fi network. Since the majority of tablet owners use their devices mainly at home, that's probably not too much of an issue. The Nexus uses MIMO WiFi, giving you maximum download speeds up to 4 times faster than normal WiFi.
The Nexus also supports Bluetooth and NFC wireless connectivity, using Android Beam to talk to other NFC-enabled Android tablets and smartphones. There's a USB connection for charging and plugging in to a PC, and a micro HDMI socket for mirroring to a TV (although a HD TV will have a lower resolution than the tablet!)
No complaints here. The Nexus 10 has a powerful 9000 mAh battery, which is enough for 9 hours of continuous use.
Conclusion - an outstanding performer
There are so many good features about the Nexus 10, from its amazing ultra-high resolution display to its extraordinarily fast processor and the fact that it runs the latest version of Android. It also has excellent battery life and connectivity, provided that you don't mind the lack of a 3G/4G option.
The only weakness is the relatively modest amount of storage, made worse by the lack of a memory card slot.
Nevertheless, if you can live with the memory capacity and the lack of 3G, you won't find a better tablet for the price. At £100 less than the iPad 4, the Nexus 10 looks like a bit of a bargain. Let's hope that the Google elves manage to make a few more of them in time for Christmas!
Google Nexus 10 features include:
- Operating system: Android Jelly Bean 4.2
- Display: 10 inch display with 2560 x 1600 pixels (300 ppi), scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 2
- 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and 1080p video
- 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera with Google Talk
- aGPS with Google Maps, compass
- Gyroscope, barometer
- Processor: Dual-core A15 CPU, Quad-core Mali T604 GPU
- Memory: 16GB or 32GB plus 2GB RAM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth, micro USB, NFC (Android Beam), micro HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Size: 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 603g
- Battery: 9000 mAh lithium polymer battery
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Google Nexus 10 user reviews
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Average rating from 2 reviews:
Reviewed by Dave from England on 17th Jun 2013
This is my first tablet and wow its brilliant.
Reviewed by Richard70 from UK on 1st Feb 2013
Was so keen on getting one of these for the wife (and me) that I pre-ordered!
I have previously used an iPad2 and found the interface confusing, but pretty. Whereas the Nexus interface I was immediately familiar with (have an android phone). The wife was very happy especially with the usb to get stuff on and off of the device (shame on you Apple!).
I love the beam facility with my phone...
Can't wait to see what play full HD video is like.