tablets

Google Nexus 10 Review

The Nexus 10 has loads of features, but uses a screen that could benefit from a little more testing.

November 16, 2012
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Introduction

Google found its Andrew Luck in the Nexus10 to the Nexus7 's Peyton Manning. Yes, the Nexus10 is larger, but it offers much more: Its insides are juiced up, it has 2GB RAM, a great screen resolution, and Android's latest iteration of Jelly Bean to make it a very notable tablet. It may be a little green with the newest software, but the kinks are quickly getting worked out. As this is a Nexus device, it will always have the newest version of Android, making it a good tablet for the long haul.

Design & Usability

A stupendous spec list, fantastic software, and great form factor make this a formidable tablet.

While the Google Nexus 10's body is made of plastic, it allowed Samsung—the manufacturer tapped by Google—to put a rubbery coating on the back of the tablet, allowing for much easier grip. The tablet is a bit on the heavy side, but overall isn't that difficult to handle without fatigue. You may find that you periodically cover the speakers on the front with your thumbs by accident, but Samsung has yet to figure out a good placement for those.

Android 4.2 offers a wide array of gestures, though most of those are app-specific. Tweet It

Because there are so few physical controls on most high-end tablets, most of your interaction occurs through the touchscreen. Android 4.2 offers a 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 icons no matter what you have open, allowing you to quickly control your tablet in a way that is the same across all apps.

There are also 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.

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Performance

This Nexus comes loaded for bear.

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 micro-HDMI and micro-USB 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 (NFC) can be fun, though its 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 of how they connect their devices. For example, 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.

A low contrast performance and poor color gamut rain on the Nexus10's parade. Tweet It

Measuring in at 8.5625 x 5.375 inches, the Google Nexus 10's display is thoroughly average among the larger tablets out there in terms of gross size, but it has impressive measurables like a bright screen and unprecedented pixel density. Couple that in with an anti-glare coating, and you've got yourself an impressive screen with an unusual LCD. Instead of an IPS (in-plane switching) display, it uses a plane-to-line display (PLS) that increases viewing angle and potential brightness. Unfortunately, a low contrast performance and poor color gamut rain on the Google Nexus 10's parade.

Conclusion

A solid tablet platform, but with some strange shortcomings.

If you're looking for Android's answer to the iPad, the Google Nexus 10 is it. With a higher pixel density, the newest software, and a slew of features, the Nexus10 makes a statement amid a large number of tablet releases.

A dearth of tablet-specific apps will continue to frustrate Android users for the time being. Tweet It

While it is true that this tablet is an impressive piece of hardware, there are a couple strange deficiencies that are a little surprising in the performance department. For example, the color gamut is very lacking in comparison to even that of the Nexus7, and a dearth of tablet-specific apps will continue to frustrate Android users for the time being, essentially wasting that pixel-packed display.

All that being said, the most recent upgrade to Android Jelly Bean (4.2) offers a crazy amount of inventive and captivating features, all with the same customization and pedigree of a stock Android device. Don't like something? Change it! Love another feature? Make it better! Additionally, you will always have the latest and greatest version of the Android operating systems, as Google's Nexus program practically ensures it. There is no other Android tablet save for the Nexus7 that offers this kind of longevity and feature arsenal.

If you are curious about making the leap to an Android tablet, there's never been a better time than now after the latest Nexus line of tablets and phones have been released. While they're not perfect, they do offer quite a lot for the price tag, and it's hard to argue when it's less expensive than its nearest competitors of any operating system.

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.
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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