tablets

Google Nexus 10 Tablet Review

The Google Nexus 10 has loads of features, but the screen that could have used a little more testing.

November 16, 2012
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Controls

Because there are so few physical controls on most high-end tablets, mostly all of your interaction with the tablet occurs through the touchscreen. Android 4.2 offers a decently wide array of gestures, though most of those are app-specific. For general controls, there is an ever-present bar on the bottom of the screen with back, home, and recent apps no matter what you have open, allowing you to quickly control your tablet in a way that is the same no matter what.

There are also now two unique drop-down bars, notifications on the left, and settings/controls on the right. Google didn't change the notifications bar all that much, but the stock Jelly Bean notifications bar lets you interact with each event cataloged therein. For example, you can send canned responses to email without opening the app, or you can dismiss them with a swipe of your finger.

New to Android Jelly Bean is a keyboard that incorporates many of the best features of Swype right in the stock software. Don't like hunting and pecking on a large keyboard? Swipe your finger to each letter without removing it from the screen and type much faster! There's also the option of voice-typing, and Google's program actually does an impressive job of making this a viable solution: just remember to enunciate so the program can transcribe what you're saying accurately.

Connectivity

One of the things that owners of the Google Nexus 10 will find out over a long period of time is just exactly how much is crammed into the tablet. For example, not only does it have bluetooth 4.0 for pairing accessories like keyboards, but it also has 802.11n wireless internet, a microHDMI and microUSB port, a 3.5mm audio jack, a barometer, GPS for navigation (you can cache maps along a pre-planned route so you can use this in the car), and near-field communication. The last of these can be fun, though their most popular application is the Google Wallet app, which you really can't use with the Google Nexus 10. It's too damned big to use in a store.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is how each of those capabilities is used on the tablet. Unlike iOS, Android has many apps that focus on replacing proprietary functions to give the user the choice in how they connect their devices. For exmaple, if you don't want to use a USB cable to transfer files, you can always use the free app AirDroid to do so over your network. You can also make use of collaborative document editing and sharing for free with Google's Drive app that integrates with GMail. Be sure to explore some of these options if you do grab an Android tablet.

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Battery Life

After subjecting the Google Nexus 10 to a series of battery tests, we've concluded that it does a fairly good job of maintaining a charge, though the screen is a bit of a power hog. In our labs, the Nexus10 was able to read War and Peace for 6 hours, 39 minutes, and it was able to play one of the worst movies of all time for 5 hours, 57 minutes. Because we perform these tests at full backlight and all wireless/extra processes disabled, your mileage may vary in terms of battery life, and in fact we experienced this for ourselves.

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There are many strategies you can use to increase your battery life, like turning down the backlight, but one of the many different capabilities that you earn by buying a Nexus device is the ability to root it and install your own ROM on there. Some of these have been purported to use less juice for basic tasks, but of course, doing this comes with its own risks. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should probably not venture out into the world of hacking your tablet until you learn a bit more.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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