Google Nexus 10 Android tablet

The Nexus 10 is a great piece of hardware only let down by a lack of tablet-optimised apps

Google Nexus 10
  • Google Nexus 10
  • Google Nexus 10
  • Google Nexus 10
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5
  • User Rating

    4.00 / 5 (of 6 Reviews)

Pros

  • Excellent screen & speakers
  • Good ergonomics
  • Smooth performance

Cons

  • Tablet app ecosystem needs work
  • Bland looking design
  • No removable storage

Bottom Line

The Google Nexus 10 is a thin and lightweight tablet with an exceptional screen and a competitive price. It's only let down by a lack of expandable memory and the fact there's not enough third-party apps optimised for its larger screen size.

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Google's Nexus 7 tablet has proven to be a popular choice for consumers wanting a smaller tablet, but the company clearly wants to offer a competitor to the traditional iPad, too. The Samsung-manufactured Nexus 10 is a thin and lightweight device with an exceptional screen and a competitive price. It's only let down by a lack of expandable memory and the fact there's not enough third-party apps optimised for the larger screen size.

Bland design, impressive ergonomics

The Google Nexus 10's design really doesn't stand out in any way. While we wouldn't describe it as ugly, it's not very attractive, either. It's a very basic looking black slab with rounded corners and front-facing speakers that try their best to blend into the bezel. The Nexus and Samsung logos on the back are carved into the smooth plastic surface and there's also a strip of leather-style plastic at the top of the back, surrounding the camera lens and flash.

We wouldn't describe the Nexus 10 as ugly, but it's not very attractive, either.

Besides these small touches, there's been no attempt to add any wow factor to the design. Interestingly, the soft-touch plastic piece on the back covered in small dimples is removable, but there's no access to any further ports. Google tells us the official folio case for the Nexus 10, an optional accessory, attaches in its place. One positive is the built-in speakers. They're louder than most you'll find on other tablets and because they are facing you when you hold the Nexus 10 in front of you, the sound is more direct.

The Nexus and Samsung logos on the back are carved into the smooth plastic surface.
The Nexus and Samsung logos on the back are carved into the smooth plastic surface.

Well positioned power and volume buttons sit along the top of the tablet, while a headphone jack and a standard micro-USB port are on the left. The headphone jack appears to be too wide for the device and its slot actually wraps slightly around the back of the tablet, but it doesn't cause any issues aside from appearing a little odd. A micro-HDMI port on the right side allows users to hook up the Nexus 10 to a compatible TV.

Weighing barely over 600g and measuring just 8.9mm thin, the Nexus 10 is thinner and lighter than Apple's latest 4th generation iPad. More important than just the weight and thickness, though, is the shape of the Nexus 10. The rounded corners, smooth, curved edges and soft touch plastic makes it very inviting to hold. Ergonomically, there's no doubt in our mind that the Nexus 10 is a more comfortable device to use than the iPad. The iPad may feel more premium, but it's heavier, thicker and not as comfortable to handle.

The rounded corners, smooth edges and soft-touch plastic make the Nexus 10 inviting to hold.
The rounded corners, smooth edges and soft-touch plastic make the Nexus 10 inviting to hold.

There's no doubt in our mind that the Nexus 10 is more comfortable to use than the iPad.

While the Nexus 10 boasts impressive ergonomics, we do wish the back wasn't so smooth. The surface attracts plenty of fingerprints and quickly becomes greasy and slippery, even if your hands are clean. We much prefer the leather-like feel of the Nexus 7's back, which is easier to grip.

The Nexus 10 has a 16:10 orientation, which means its great for watching videos without those pesky black bars on the top and the bottom of the screen. This orientation makes the Nexus 10 best suited to use in landscape mode, but not so good for portrait mode. Reading a book, for example, isn't very ideal on the Nexus 10 because the device is long but not very wide.

The Nexus 10's 16:10 orientation makes it best suited to use in landscape mode, but not so good in portrait mode.
The Nexus 10's 16:10 orientation makes it best suited to use in landscape mode, but not so good in portrait mode.

Outstanding display

Nexus products have traditionally focussed on software but it's a hardware feature that immediately stands out on the Nexus 10. The Samsung-implemented "true RGB real stripe PLS" display is one of the best we've ever seen on a tablet and is easily on par with Apple's excellent retina display used on the 3rd and 4th Generation iPads.

Directly alongside a 4th Generation iPad, the Nexus 10's screen looks every bit as impressive.

The screen has a high resolution of 2560x1600 giving it a pixel density of 300dpi. The end result is a display that produces super crisp and sharp text with no visible aberrations. The PLS panel also offers outstanding brightness, excellent viewing angles and performs well in direct sunlight. Directly alongside a 4th Generation iPad, the Nexus 10's screen looks every bit as impressive and in some cases produces even more vibrant colours.

The only real downside is that the Nexus 10's display is so crisp it immediately makes many images, both in the Android software itself and throughout the Web, look blurry. Apps that have been updated to support the higher resolution, like most of Google's official apps, look superb, but app icons and images on the Internet that don't make use of the display can look poor. This issue will obviously diminish over time as developers update their apps, but given the still dire state of Android tablet apps, it might take longer than expected.

The Nexus 10's screen produces outstanding brightness, excellent viewing angles and performs well in direct sunlight.
The Nexus 10's screen produces outstanding brightness, excellent viewing angles and performs well in direct sunlight.

Smooth and fast but a vast lack of apps

The Google Nexus 10 runs the latest version of Android, 4.2 'Jelly Bean'. There's a few new features but most of the additions are simply enhancements or slight improvements to the previous software version. The overall experience is slick and fast and although there's still the occasional stutter, especially in the default Google Chrome browser, the Nexus 10 offers good performance. It particularly handles graphically intense games with ease and has no trouble switching between open apps.

The Nexus 10 does get rather warm near the camera on the back.

The Nexus 10 is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core Exynos 5250 processor and has 2GB of RAM and that seems to be enough to keep things ticking over nicely. We did notice that the device does get rather warm near the camera on the back, particularly when playing games or browsing the Web for long periods of time.

The most notable new addition to Jelly Bean 4.2 on the Nexus 10 is a multiple user system, which only works on tablet devices. This allows you to create specific user accounts with personalised home screens and apps. Each user requires their own Google account so the feature is ideal for users of the Nexus 10 who may share the tablet with multiple family members, for example. When the feature is enabled, user accounts can quickly be switched from attractive icons at the bottom of the home screen, or by using the user toggle in the quick settings menu.

The Google Nexus 10 runs the latest version of Android, 4.2 'Jelly Bean'.
The Google Nexus 10 runs the latest version of Android, 4.2 'Jelly Bean'.

Most of Android 4.2's other new features are better suited to smartphones than tablet devices like the Nexus 10. We like the new quick settings menu, which is accessible by swiping down the notifications panel from the top right of the screen. It features shortcuts and toggles to brightness, settings, Wi-Fi, auto-rotate, battery usage, aeroplane mode and Bluetooth. We do wish this was customisable, though, and it is a little inconsistent. Aeroplane mode, for example, is a direct on/off toggle when pressed but tapping the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth menus simply opens them in the settings menu.

The 'gesture typing' feature on the keyboard is a nice touch, particularly as the Nexus 10 is too big to type with two hands. It does require some practise to get used to but improves the more you use it and learns words that you commonly input. Other new additions, like the ability to add widgets to the lock screen, a new camera interface and some minor enhancements to the Google Now personal assistant are nice but not really notable on a large screened tablet.

User accounts can be switched from attractive icons at the bottom of the home screen.
User accounts can be switched from attractive icons at the bottom of the home screen.

Sadly, Android tablet apps on the whole remain the Nexus 10's biggest issue.

Sadly, Android tablet apps on the whole remain the Nexus 10's biggest issue. There simply aren't enough apps on the Google Play Store designed specifically for a tablet of this size. This means many apps don't work as well as they should on the Nexus 10. There are examples both ways. The excellent Pulse Reader app, Skype, Pocket and Evernote all make excellent use of the extra screen real estate, but the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Spotify are simply blown up smartphone apps that create an awkward user experience. Google has produced a very good piece of hardware, but it now needs third-party tablet apps to match that experience.

There aren't enough apps on the Google Play Store designed specifically for 10in tablets.
There aren't enough apps on the Google Play Store designed specifically for 10in tablets.

Average cameras, decent battery life

The Google Nexus 10 includes dual cameras, but neither are really notable. The 5-megapixel rear camera takes less than average photos with evident image noise and a lack of detail, while the front facing 1.9-megapixel camera works reasonably well for video calls but takes poor quality photos.

Our review unit of the Nexus 10 came with 32GB of internal memory and retails for $569, but there's also a 16GB model that sells for $100 less. There's no 3G or 4G connectivity, so this is a Wi-Fi only device. There's also no expandable memory slot, so users who want to store loads of content on the device will be left disappointed. However, the Nexus 10 supports USB On-The-Go connectivity, so it is possible to import files from a USB flash drive or an SD card with the right cables and by using the Nexus Media Importer app.

A photo we captured with the Nexus 10 (click to enlarge).
A photo we captured with the Nexus 10 (click to enlarge).

Battery life on the Nexus 10 is reasonable but not outstanding. We averaged between seven and eight hours, depending on use. It's a good result but not good enough to match the iPad, which almost pushes close to 10 hours on a full charge.

The Google Nexus 10 can be purchased online directly from the Play Store.

Related content

Google Nexus 10: First look
Google Nexus 7 review
Apple iPad 4th Generation review

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Jenny Jones

1

I prefer the Kindle Fire HD. The interface is just amazing and it's very easy to use. Check out the Amazon page of the Kindle Fire HD(http://bit.ly/S1CzWe) if you want to compare what they bring to the table.

bill

2

Still waiting for someone to tell me what apps Android tablets lack????

Apple has cleverly fooled everyone into thinking that you MUST pay 3.00 more for an app you already paid .99 for because its for "tablet".

Android 4.0+ is designed to use the real estate of various screen sizes without having to make it a "tablet" app.

paul

3

"Sadly, Android tablet apps on the whole remain the Nexus 10's biggest issue."

If this is the biggest issue, than folks we have a WINNER here because this isnt an issue at ALL!!

Turbo

4

Yeah, this whole lack of tablet optimized application hyperbole needs to die. Propaganda , I expect from a competitor (Apple), but seeing it's ad nauseum recitation by "journalists" gets tiring.

Lukie

5

This review is spot on...how isn't it an issue at all? There are only a handful of apps I've seen that make good use of the screen, the rest are usually blown up smartphone apps...look at Dropbox in that picture, how is that a good experience? Look at Facebook, twitter etc.

Skype is a good example they just made it tablet friendly recently and it's excellent...it's not about paying more for apps its about apps making use of the larger screen not just stretching or blowing up everything to fit

Todd

6

One of the hottest ticket items this season -- here's a brand new Android tablet model released last week that's worth checking out -- the new Novo 10 Hero - priced at $225 USD at a site called TabletSprint -- And is possibly the best 10-inch "price-performance" tablet under $300 available this year and features a High Resolution 1280x800 IPS screen, 16GB Memory, MicroSD memory cards, a strong Battery and Dual Core processor with Quad Core GPU, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, HDMI connection - that makes it easy to download movies to the tablet and watch them on a big screen TV in full 1080p (HD), Wifi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and an option for 3G/4G connection. Definitely worth comparing to the Kindle, Nexus and iPad - and TabletSprint also offers $25 in bonus Apps and free 3G/4G internet connection with 500MB Data use each month at no cost - with full internet access and VoIP voice calling from your tablet.

hubcap

7

I have an Asus TF101. Before adding a photo set, I crop them to 1280 x 800, which is 1/4 of the Nexus 10's resolution. What I want to know is how will those photos look if/when I copy them to the Nexus. I assume there is a stretch-to-screen feature. Do they look like crap on the Nexus?

TIRED OF TABLET BULLSHIT.

8

Ummmm........i had an hp touchpad running android 4.0 for..... Oh over a year.... i must say I've never had a problem finding tablet apps...... EVER! It was as hard as typing "best tablet apps for android"

Pete J

9

"I need hundreds of thousands of apps" - why?? How many do you use? Seriously, grow up.

Anonymous

10

why is google still selling google 10 's when the hdmi port doesnt work. it seems there would have been a recall and fix. Who can i complain to? i just bought 3days ago

CJ

11

I think tablets are just as popular as laptops were they first came out. The only difference is tablets cost a lot less than laptops cost when the first went on sale.

PW

12

Possibly the most underrated tablet on the market. I got mine recently very cheaply, as the Nexus 10.2 is due out. My wife tried it out and was so impressed she's selling her iPad for one (she has come to loathe Apple). An outstanding tablet for the money and being android you have file access etc, that is, you are not an Apple tool.

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Kevshmin

5.0

1

Pros
Almost Everything!
Cons
Limited internal memory, but that can be easily worked around with OTG.
• • •

Best android experience.

mjpado

5.0

2

Pros
Speed, screen, and price
Cons
chrome needs fixing, dolphin works worderfully though.
• • •

I love this machine. I have used my laptop four times since the 21st of November! Its speedy responsiveness and apps are all very enjoyable. Don't let reviewers dump on the app "shortage" I can say, I could possibly have to many apps to chose from. In fact, all the essentials are there and run great. I highly recommend the Nexus 10. The price is unbelievable for its specifications. I have owned an ipad2, Samsung galaxy tab 2 7.0, Asus transformer 300 and Infinity and can say the Nexus 10 is far and away the best one I have owned. BONUS: Front facing dual speakers are spectacular! Amazing sound.

A Guy

5.0

3

Pros
All the things.
Cons
None of the things.
• • •

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