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Nexus 10 review

Verdict

This Android tablet is a worthy challenger to the iPad, boasting a fantastic screen and an even better price

Review Date: 22 Nov 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £266 (£319 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £340
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

We’ve been saying it for ages now. It’s no good rival tablet manufacturers pricing their 10in products at the same price as the iPad if the quality isn’t at least as good. The all-round quality of Apple’s hardware allied with the sheer weight of tablet-specific apps mean any similarly priced Android tablet has its work cut out. At last, though, it looks as if we have a contender: Google’s Nexus 10.

Hot on the heels of the excellent and well-priced Nexus 7, the Nexus 10 undercuts the iPad by £80, yet on paper it surpasses Apple’s tablet in almost every regard.

The screen

It all starts with the 10.1in screen, which takes the Retina concept and, incredibly, pushes past it with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 and a pixel density of 300ppi. On both counts the Nexus 10 display beats the iPad, which lags behind at 2,048 x 1,536 and 264ppi. It’s the highest resolution screen available on any tablet, and everything on it looks as sharp as cut glass. Text in ebooks and web pages looks fantastic – no matter how close you zoom in, high-resolution photographs look glorious and Full HD movies are an absolute joy to watch.

Nexus 10

The resolution is an impressive feat on its own, especially at this price, but it isn’t only the numbers that stack up. Set the two tablets side by side and you’ll see that quality is close too. The Nexus 10’s IPS panel is bright, reaching a maximum of 415cd/m2, and has a contrast ratio of 807:1 – both figures that aren’t far off the iPad’s 426cd/m2 and 906:1.

Colours on the Nexus 10 seem flatter than on the iPad, however, and a touch less saturated. Viewing angles aren’t quite as good either, with brightness falling off quicker as you move away from the perpendicular, but the iPad’s display does have a tendency to crush darker shades of grey into black, resulting in loss of detail. To our eyes, we’d put the iPad’s display in front, but only by a whisker.

The Nexus’ physical design is much less spectacular: it’s entirely clad in plastic rather than metal, and a rather flexible plastic at that. The soft, rubbery finish feels strangely sticky under the finger. It won’t slip out of your hand easily, but doesn’t feel luxurious.

And yet it’s the sort of design that slowly grows on you. It’s slimmer than the iPad, measuring a mere 9.2mm from the screen to the thickest part of the case, and weighs only 603g, which makes it 59g lighter. The glass front of the tablet is shatter- and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2, which gives us much more confidence in its ability to avert disaster than the iPad’s unbranded glass.

Nexus 10

It’s also worth noting that the Nexus 10 has GPS where the Wi-Fi-only iPad has none, and there’s an integrated micro-HDMI output – with the iPad, you have to pay extra for an adapter. However, there’s no microSD slot to expand the integrated 16GB (or 32GB) storage.

Performance

Google’s Nexus 10 copes with the performance demands placed upon its core hardware with aplomb. Despite having as many pixels to manage as a 30in professional monitor, it feels responsive and smooth.

That’s down to the tablet’s ARM 15-based Samsung Exynos CPU – a dual-core unit running at 1.7GHz with 2GB of RAM. In SunSpider, this combination returned a quick time of 1,362ms – a seriously quick time. In the Android-specific test Quadrant it scored 4,626, only 315 points behind the Tegra 3-powered Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700, and that had a lower-resolution display of 1,920 x 1,200.

All the games we threw at it – from Asphalt to Shadowgun – ran without a hitch, and general performance in and around the OS was smooth. The onscreen keyboard, meanwhile, is as responsive as we’ve seen on any Android tablet, with none of the irritating lag that afflicts so many rival devices. As soon as you’ve pressed a key, the tablet responds with a click or short buzz, and letters appear instantaneously.

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User comments

Almost, but not quite there. The best Android tablet though by far.

Your review is consistent with others across the internet, mostly from other tech magazines and online review sites.

This is another example of not letting headline specs get in the way of actual performance. As with digital cameras, where more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean better pictures (optics, sensors and software being equally important), the extra resolution of the Nexus 10 screen over the iPad retina display hasn't resulted in a "better looking" screen.
Almost every review has noted the less vibrant images with lower contrast and colour saturation. Common used descriptions include "slightly washed out", "colours less accurate" and "not as deep black".

Nethertheless, Samsung are to be congratulated for including such a screen on a product at this price. One wonders if the Google policy of selling the current crop of Nexus devices at cost or near cost has made this possible?

Another significant feature that prevents the Nexus 10 from getting top marks, is the still laggy operation of the latest version of Android, JB 4.2.
It still isn't as fluid and smooth as iOS yet, although it gets better with each iteration of the OS. Frame dropping and slow rendering still seems to be an endemic feature.

Mention of the app situation doesn't need repeating. Only time will tell, but for now that is a significant difference in the ecosystems.

In summary, this is by far the best Android tablet to date. It demonstrates how far off the pace almost all previous attempts have been.
Does it top the iPad? Well in hardware terms almost all opinion says no, but it comes close.

As for price, it's a steal. However price versus value for money is relative and a matter of personal opinion and choice.

I don't have any Android or iOS devices. My wife and eldest son have Android phones and both they and my other son have iOS iPod touch's.
I'm in the market for a tablet right now and it's starting to look more difficult now than the foregone conclusion that existed 6 months ago.
On the whole I think the iPad clearly cuts it in so many areas. The hardware is better overall - just, the ecosystem is definitely still way ahead and the overall user experience remains an important aspect. My car has full iOS integration, my expensive HiFi has the option of full iOS integration with the streaming options (no Android equivalents) and there are some professional apps I could use that are only written for iOS.
The credit card may come out very soon.

By GoneWithTheWind on 22 Nov 2012

You mention...

"However, there’s no microSD slot to expand the integrated 16GB (or 32GB) storage." Come on guys finish the sentence "but then again niether has the iPad"

By davidk1962 on 22 Nov 2012

Gorilla Glass is just a lie

Hey PCPRO, before you say Gorilla Glass is shatter proof, DROP the nexus 10 and let me know your results.
I had a Galaxy Note 1 and it had 'gorilla glass' dropped it and it was unusable.
Lets see pcpro do actual durability tests rather than just quoting the PR hokum from corning ware. Drop it please

By r1sh12 on 22 Nov 2012

Safe review

The review, and GoneWithTheWind, hit the nail on the head. None of the tech reviews are willing to stick their neck above the line and irk their Apple overlords and declare the iPad reign over.

Even with a better specified device, hardware, lower price and apps to boot, PC Pro still can't bring themselves to promote this to the number 1 spot, picking minor details out to ensure it remains off the top.

Saturation & contrast as dislikes for the screen? How about the iPad is massively over-saturated. Viewing my photographs on it (iPad 3 I had to test for a little while) I thought I'd slipped in Lightroom, only to see them displayed nicely on my home PC. Apple and Samsung do the same thing with their screens on iPhone & Galaxy devices, masking average screens with lavished saturated colours.

With regards to the "ecosystem" as GoneWithTheWind puts it, no one is more frustrated than that this great hardware is routinely ignored by developers and technology companies alike, but it is hardly Google's fault.

Try to by a docking station for the Nexus 7... it's like looking for unicorn tears. Same with the Nexus 4 for a simple case, having to by a generic leather 'pocket' instead.

Santander have a fantastic banking app for iOs, the Google app is Spanish and points to their mobile banking site.

The BBC still haven't updated iPlayer for 4.2 (at time of writing) yet when iOS 6 came out, it was updated instantly.

This review, like many other across the net, berate the tech from Google's tech companies, yet I'm sure they are as equally frustrated as their tech consumers. Until someone is brave enough to say a device is better than Apple, the situation will continue.

This is never more apparent than the iPad mini, which, from a specification point of view, is an appalling - late to the game device, yet the reviews of it are positive, as if Apple had invented the circa. 7".

By Gogster on 22 Nov 2012

Er?

Thankyou to GoneWithTheWind for a balanced, well-written appraisal. @Gogster - did you actually read what was written? The Nexus 10 is very good but perhaps not quite there. As it stands the iPad is a better option for a lot of people because the applications are available. At least the "retina" displays that Apple are pushing are forcing other manufacturers to increase the resolution of tablets and laptops (I am pleased Google have included such a good screen here). I got sick of discounting 15.6" laptops because of rubbish 1380x768 res displays.

By russell_g on 22 Nov 2012

@russell_g

Yes I did read it. What's your point?

By Gogster on 22 Nov 2012

@russell_g

In fact let me elaborate a bit.

I've owned an iPad 2 and an iPad 3 - I have a Nexus 7 but I haven't managed to get my hands on the Nexus 10 yet.

Things of note from using the two. The Nexus (Android OS) is more flexible for day to day use. Want to USB host and back-up your photos from your camera, sure, try doing that on an iPad.

Yes, the iTunes store has more apps, it's been going longer and there's a lucrative client base for developers to pander to.

The Nexus tablets both 7 & 10 are better spec'd and cheaper than the iPad, yet the iPad remains at the top, odd really.

By Gogster on 22 Nov 2012

Gogstar, are you being blinded by prejudice and paper specs?

Gogstar, please read the review and my post again and look around the internet for confirmation.
There is no bias in this PCPro review. In fact it gives more credit to the Nexus 10 than most reviews from other respected sources.
You will just have to accept the Nexus 10 for what it is and that is a very very good tablet, that doesn't quite match the iPad 4 in almost most respects and as you say yourself, relies on a less well endowed and supported ecosystem.

As for the screen issue, it appears that the extra pixels are not enough on their own and there are shortcomings elsewhere. You are correct in that Samsung have a tendency to overblow their saturation of colours on their devices. Particularly their AMOLED fitted smartphones. This is not just a subjective view as technical tests show the colour values to be wide of natural.

As for the iPad Mini and specs; again you've fallen in to the trap of just following spec sheets.
OK the Mini uses a processor that has been employed for a year and a half, but it is still fast enough to deal with the demands placed on it in the Mini.
Quad core doesn't guarantee superior performance as demonstrated when comparisons with the Mini have been carried out, especially in the key areas of display and rendering graphics where the Mini wins.
Also note the Nexus 10 has a Dual-Core processor !
Is that so appalling and "so last year" ????
Of course not.
In most other respects, the Mini's internals are all new and it is certainly not "appalling" as you put it, or dated.

The screen res was deliberately chosen because using the 10" iPad's screen resolution at 7.9" would have cost a fortune and provided a very high pixel density, difficult to produce and possibly too high for this size of screen?
Not ideal, as most will agree, but the result is a screen that is sharper than the iPad 2 and in real-world use looks just as good as those on competing small tablets.
Look real close and you will see difference though, but it doesn't really matter as it's not noticeable at normal viewing distances unless you look back and forward at a retina display for comparison.
I agree with many others that had Apple used a higher resolution screen, there would be no qualms about this tablet other than the cost (which is too high).
In comparison, the Nexus 7's excellent screen resolution is devalued by poor contrast and week colour rendering. The Kindle HD and Nook HD are said to be better though.

However, when you get to see and use the iPad Mini, you'll find it is a very quick and impressive piece of kit and for most uses, the screen ratio is better suited than the 16:10 used by some others. It may not suit everyone, especially if you prefer the look and feel of Android, or won't or can't afford the extra cost.
Horses for courses and all that. You make your own choice.

By GoneWithTheWind on 22 Nov 2012

Gogster - specs aren't everything.

Quote - "The Nexus tablets both 7 & 10 are better spec'd and cheaper than the iPad, yet the iPad remains at the top, odd really".

Not odd at all. It's one thing having good specs. It's quite another to make use of them and obtain good performance from a product.
It's the same with cameras where more megapixels means nothing if other components in the "chain" (e.g. optics, sensor, software) are not up to scratch or optimised to give good results.

The iPad (big one) remains top at the moment because it is.
It's not only because of the ecosystem either.
Why can't you just live with that and enjoy your chosen devices?
...or this another case of "religious fervour" against all things Apple?

p.s. As I said earlier I am no "fanboy" of any manufacturers products.

By GoneWithTheWind on 22 Nov 2012

What no 3G

Title says it all really. This could be the best tablet on the planet but without 3G connectivity then, to me, and our sales team, this is a useless product as you have to be close to a Wi-Fi spot to use it "on the go".

By JohnSheridan on 22 Nov 2012

Google Nexus 10 Vs Microsoft Surface

Get what you pay for I guess.

Web Browsing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwBJ1ilHH6U

By stephen_d_morris on 22 Nov 2012

Sounds like you’re picking and choosing from reviews to simply reinforce your negative expectations of anything Android.

And, yes, specs aren’t everything. Just ask the WP8 guys who swear by their fast, efficient and well-integrated devices, regardless that the specs on paper aren’t the best, and their software ecosystem isn’t the most extensive. They don’t need the hundreds of thousands of identical apps - just the few that work well and do the job. So if performance (and not specs) truly is everything to you, go and buy a WP8 device with that credit card you keep hinting at, and be done with it.

p.s. from reading your previous posts, if you aren't a fanboy then neither is SwissMac.

By TheHonestTruth on 22 Nov 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwBJ1ilHH6U

So much for that fancy high resolution which adds practically NOTHING to the user experience. MARKETING and numbers. Shame on all of these tech sites!

Watch the video... :)

P.s. Just grabbed myself a Samsung Ative S and it's a really nice machine

By rhythm on 22 Nov 2012

Word

"and everything on it looks as sharp as cut glass. "

?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwBJ1ilHH6U

By rhythm on 22 Nov 2012

My previous post...

was in response to GoneWithTheWind, our resident "no-but-Apple" reviewer, of course.

By TheHonestTruth on 22 Nov 2012

Battery Replacement

Not seen any specific article on this - but battery replacement is an important issue that does not seem to be adddressed currently by any mgazine.

Lithium batteries have a finite charge capability - i recall that they are preferred to be run between 80% and 20% capacity to ensure long life - figures may be incorrect.

When will this issue be discussed - tablets are still new - so we have not seen significant failures so far - i assume ?

Regards,

Shadders

By shadders on 22 Nov 2012

Memory cost

On the Dabs website the median price for a 16Gb class 10 SDHC card is £10. So why do Google / Apple et al charge £70-£100 for an extra 16Gb?

By milliganp on 22 Nov 2012

if only

they did a higher res version of the Nexus 7

By davidk1962 on 22 Nov 2012

no 3G, no Problems.

lack of 3g doesn't bother me - that's what tethering is for. I'm either at home or work with wifi, or i can tether my PAYG S2 and use my 2gb (+free txts) off O2.
I'm also guessing most people would get a case of some sort for it too, so the non-metalness isn't too much of an issue. Just sold my Galaxy Tab 10.1 and definitely looking at this. Shame Photoshop Touch doesn't work well - that would be an absolute winner, but like any buggy bits, they'll be ironed out with updates.
Samsung brought out a USB adapter for their tabs so i could add a USB stick/SD Card for additional storage if necessary. Hopefully something like that will appear for this, and then, it will be A-Listed.

By Badmungo on 22 Nov 2012

The more...

I look at it, the more Windows 8/RT looks like a better solution. I went through the video links in the comments above and I like the look of the Surface, but I'd probably go for the Surface Pro or something like the Samsung or Acer Core i5 tablets.

I like the look of the Nexus 10, it is very nice, but I still don't see me using a tablet as a tablet much, I spend most of my time at my desk, so I want something that will do normal work on multiple screens with multiple windows, but which I can easily carry around with me.

A notebook still seems more practicable than a tablet in most situations, for my type of use...

By big_D on 23 Nov 2012

Ecosystem

What the Nexus 10 does is to fill the final gap for Android - an economically priced 10 inch tablet that competes, or out performs, the iPad. It's now a matter of which ecosystem you choose. For me, I choose Google/Android because it suits my pocket, the way I like to use devices and my values. Amazon comes a close second. I have an original iPad and iPod Touch for development purposes but Apple devices are poor value for money (in my opinion) and the iOS interface now feels primitive and restrictive to me.

For those with no current investment in an ecosystem, they now have credible choices for the three main players - with Samsung's Tab 2.7 perhaps adding a fourth given its current low price.

Newcomers are, therefore, finally able to make a choice about whether they prefer the world according to Google or Amazon or Apple - without having to make compromises. This is a good thing for consumers, less so for Apple.

By KevPartner on 23 Nov 2012

Keep Reading

I keep reading this damn review and I have come to the conclusion, that is is more than a worthy contender and should at least be placed equal 1st place on the A-list. It all comes down to wether it is a review of the device or the eco system that surrounds it. As a device i think it is at least the equal of the iPad.
As for the eco system that surrounds it, that is surely something for us the indiviual to consider not the reviewer or at least a subject for another (seperate) article but not one that should be the closing statement and conclusion on a device.
Some will argue that you cannot review one without the other, I disagree of course. If you are already part of the "i" empire your path is pretty much clear. If you are not then you have several choices and it is this choice (ios/android/w8) that will make your final device decision that much clearer (I hope).
Someone will now argue that if it is a decision on the ecosystems, then Apple wins hands down ....maybe. Despite its undeniably high status in this area, there are a lot of us that do not want to get dragged/locked in to such a system. It would also appear that a small but growing manority of Apple fans are becoming less enthusiastic of their situation. Microsoft seem to be heading/wanting to go in this direction with W8. Whilst I cautiously use the word "Open", this is how I feel about android as an ecosystem. The apple ecosystem is basically complete, W8 is growing and needs to, but it appleness is worrying. Android, well its clear there is room for improvement, but its not so bad that you would be left high and dry by a lack of apps.

I think it is pretty clear where I am going to spend my money, when i make my final decision. It is likely to be a Nexus 10.

I also think that the "market place" should reconsider the market and what(some)people actually want of it. I may be considered an old fuddy duddy (I,m not though). I do not want to be "connected" and "integrated" into the rest of the world. My device will function as a personal organiser, media centre and photo album. Of course it will function as a web browser and I already have a cloud account (not such an old fuddy duddy!) but nothing beyond a simple wifi connection is necessary.

When they finally invent teleporting, many of us will still be happy to take the car.

By davidk1962 on 25 Nov 2012

SD Slot

It is a shame that this prodcut did not come with an SD slot - this provides the ability to take your data immediately to another device without the issue of cables/wifi.

Regards,

Shadders

By shadders on 25 Nov 2012

@david1962 - if only

Why does the Nexus 7 need more screen resolution? Mine looks super.

A general point - there is a lot od discussion above about the ipadx ecosystem - and undeniably apple have a first mover advantage here. But that should not itself detract from the N10's review. To do so would be to say only an Apple product can hold the top slot.

My (early 20's) children use iproduts. Has my nexus 7 changed the way I do things - unquestionably. Would an ipad have made that change better or greater? No, not for me.

By WilliamW on 26 Nov 2012

GPS ?

The review states the Nexus 10 has GPS (a facility I'd like) but other reviews state it doesn't have GPS.
Can anyone confirm whether the Nexus 10 does have GPS 'cos if it does the credit card will almost definitely take a hit.

By stormsinger on 26 Nov 2012

@stormsinger & williamw

It is clearly listed on the Google play website that GPS is fitted.

&

Just a little bit more res nothing silly just enough to make it a cracking photo viewer. (Friend from the states had a nook which is 1400 x 900 i think...lovely)

By davidk1962 on 26 Nov 2012

everyone seems to be obsessed with how many an operating system has who has the time to look at 600000 or 1000000 less than 5% are actually looked at, most people only have time to quickly look for what they want or try something they have seen a friend use ,if you search all apps get a job then get a life .i am a photographer an i can say with some knowledge there is more noise with the i-pad and to much contrast with ipad you pay more for less and other pads feel different not because they are less well made but so apple dont sue them PC Pro get some objective reporters that do not suck up to any manufacterors

By wildonion on 27 Nov 2012

everyone seems to be obsessed with how many an operating system has who has the time to look at 600000 or 1000000 less than 5% are actually looked at, most people only have time to quickly look for what they want or try something they have seen a friend use ,if you search all apps get a job then get a life .i am a photographer an i can say with some knowledge there is more noise with the i-pad and to much contrast with ipad you pay more for less and other pads feel different not because they are less well made but so apple dont sue them PC Pro get some objective reporters that do not suck up to any manufacterors

By wildonion on 27 Nov 2012

Wow

Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
http://goo.gl/ZdVsH

By PaulKenedy on 28 Nov 2012

Where is the Nook HD reviews?

The makes of the best Android tablet for years have a new one out that we in the UK can buy.

Where are the reviews?

I for one think the big problem with this tablet is the lack of card slot.

The screen on the Nook HD+ is supposed to be better than both the A list devices for a start.

If it hackable, I buying the 32gb one. It ticks all the boxes.

Might have missed it but nice to see one of the other ways it better than a IPad was missed off. The Nexus usb charges.

By Pairofsai on 28 Nov 2012

Where is the Nook HD reviews?

The makes of the best Android tablet for years have a new one out that we in the UK can buy.

Where are the reviews?

I for one think the big problem with this tablet is the lack of card slot.

The screen on the Nook HD+ is supposed to be better than both the A list devices for a start.

If it hackable, I buying the 32gb one. It ticks all the boxes.

Might have missed it but nice to see one of the other ways it better than a IPad was missed off. The Nexus usb charges.

By Pairofsai on 28 Nov 2012

Lack of SD slot is now a standard feature.

There are comments here and on other forums mourning the lack of an SD slot, not only on this tablet, but on most of the smaller 7" tablets too.
If you've read Google's view on this you will know that they do not want SD slots on tablets running their Android OS.
They have said publicly SD slots will not be included on any Nexus tablets and are actively discouraging other manufacturers from fitting them on new devices.

By GoneWithTheWind on 2 Dec 2012

Wrong, "most" of the smaller 7" tablets do have SD slots.

The Nexus7 and iPad Mini, with their lack of SD slots, are actually exceptions.

@GoneWithTheWind
Perhaps you should also post the technical reasons why Google is reluctant to build SD slots into their Nexus devices? After all, someone less informed might read your post and assume that they are simply doing a cashgrab, like some other manufacturers, and trying to sell us increased storage models (although, the 32gb Nexus7 seems quite fairly priced).

(hint: I've posted a couple of their stated issues in response to a very similar SD card comment from yourself in the past)

By TheHonestTruth on 3 Dec 2012

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