Google Nexus 10 review: Google Nexus 10

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding

Average User Rating

4 stars 48 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great high-resolution screen; Excellent performance from a dual-core chip; Latest version of Android; Relatively affordable price.

The Bad Uninspiring design; No microSD card slot.

The Bottom Line The 10-inch Google Nexus 10 squares off against the iPad -- and measures up well. With plenty of power, an eye-popping screen and the latest Android software, it'd be worth a look even if it wasn't so much cheaper than Apple's tablet.

CNET Editors' Choice Nov '12

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With the Nexus 4, Google totally changed the smart phone game, offering top of the line specs for less than half the price of its technical rivals.

The Nexus 10 is the 4's 10-inch tablet sibling, which has been built by Samsung. It offers a stunning high-resolution screen, great performance and the latest version of Android, which is 4.2 Jelly Bean . Like the Nexus 4, it's cheaper than many of its rivals, but it's not beating them by quite the same margin.

You can snag it for £320 with 16GB of internal storage or £390 with 32GB. It's up for pre-order soon on the Google Play store.

Should I buy the Google Nexus 10?

If you're in the market for a 10-inch tablet, the Nexus 10 is definitely a superb option and well worth your consideration. There may be a mind-boggling array of Android slates around, but with a super high-definition screen, powerful components and the latest Android software on board, the Nexus 10 cleanly beats all its Android rivals. Better yet, it costs less than most too.

The other option of course is Apple's ever-popular iPad. It too offers an extremely high-resolution screen -- albeit marginally lower than the 10's -- but with a starting price of £400, it's quite a bit more expensive. Apple's iOS software is arguably better for apps and games for the moment, but Android is closing that gap.

Although at £320, it's far from being a casual purchase, but it offers extremely good features that puts it easily above its Android rivals. It beats the iPad too in many ways and with a lower price tag to boot, it's a very sensible purchase.

Design and build quality

Although the Nexus 10 has been made with Google's firm hand on the tiller, it's still clearly fallen from the same design tree as Samsung's other slates. It's a 10-inch beast with a buttonless, all-glass front.

At the either side of the screen you'll see two slim speaker grilles. These same speakers are present on Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 as well as its Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, so it's easy to see the family resemblance.

Google Nexus 10
The speaker grilles at the edges of the screen strongly hint at the Nexus 10's Samsung heritage.

At 8.9mm thick, it shares almost identical dimensions with the Galaxy Note 10.1 and is slightly slimmer than the Tab 2 10.1. It's also got the edge over Apple's iPad with retina display, which at 9.4mm thick is slightly chubbier. Whether you'd ever notice the 0.5mm difference is debatable. You might notice the weight difference though -- the Nexus 10 weighs in 603g, knocking nearly 50g off the iPad's 652g weight.

Even though it's relatively light, it's still not particularly comfortable to hold up in one hand -- unless you've got super-strong forearms. Instead, a two-handed approach is more suitable, or just keep it in your lap as you browse around all the delights the Internet has to offer.

Build quality is impressive. The back panel has got a pleasant rubberised texture which makes it easier to grip and feels much less plasticky than the Note 10.1. There's little in the way of flex or creaks when squeezed, so you shouldn't have any concerns about breakages when it's bumping around in your bag.

Even so, it doesn't feel as sturdy as the metal casing of the iPad, and the plastic shell feels considerably less expensive. It might cost less than an iPad, but there's not a massive chasm between them and if you want the most luxurious feeling device it might be worth splashing the extra dough.

Around the edges you'll find a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer, a micro-HDMI port, power and volume buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Sadly there's no microSD card slot, so you won't be able to expand the storage. The lower 16GB model will offer enough space for the essentials, but if you're a serial downloader and love having your music and videos stored locally, then you might want to splash the extra £70 for the 32GB option.

Screen

The screen is undoubtedly one of the standout features of the Nexus 10. As the name suggests, it measures 10 inches on the diagonal but more importantly packs an astounding 2,560x1,600-pixel resolution.

We were previously blown away by the pin-sharp display of the new iPad with its 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution. The Nexus 10 casually swans past that, to offer an even more refined viewing experience. At those levels though, you'd be extremely hard-pressed to notice the difference and there's really no need to try. Just be happy that they're both sharp enough to slice the front of your eyes clean off.

Google Nexus 10
The Nexus 10 is blessed with a seriously crisp display.

That stonking resolution makes even the tiniest of text on web pages stunningly crisp. It's particularly noticeable when you look at some of Google's app icons, which are deliciously clear, and reading books for long periods with the Kindle app is much more comfortable than usual too. By comparison, icons like the Spotify logo, which are yet to have their graphics updated to a higher resolution, look rather fuzzy.

I loaded the slate up with some of my super high-resolution snaps from the brilliant Canon EOS 5D Mark III and they all looked every bit as sumptuous as you'd hope.

The screen isn't just crisp though, it's also bright and handles colours very well too. It makes it a great device for watching your movies and TV shows on, through the likes of Netflix or rented through Google Play's Movies service.

Nexus 10
The screen is more than capable of making the most of any films you get from Google Play's Movies service.

It really is an excellent screen and happily trounces the iPad for the best display on the 10-inch circuit. That would be a pretty impressive feat even if they cost the same, but with its cut-down price tag, the Nexus 10 certainly wins in value.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

The Nexus range of devices is designed to showcase the latest version of Google's Android operating system. As such, the Nexus 10 comes preloaded with the shiny Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board. It's not a complete update, so it doesn't bear the Key Lime Pie moniker but it does offer some neat new features.

Nexus 10
Look at that happy little bean. It's 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest, greatest version of Android.

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Where to Buy

Google Nexus 10

Part Number: CNET-Google-Nexus-10
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Connectivity IEEE 802.11g in
  • Weight 21.3 oz
  • Type Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) oz
  • RAM 2 GB GB
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