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Samsung Nexus 10 Review

Here it is, the official Nexus 10 review from yours truly. After having bought a Nexus 7, I have been quite content with the 7″ size and what it offers in terms of being an Android tablet. Although, I know many people out there in our community have had their fingers crossed that Google would make something bigger, and indeed, people’s prayers have been answered in the Nexus 10.

The Nexus lineup of devices creates a wonderful blend of elegant hardware and exceptional software that brings the ultimate Android experience to your hands. The Nexus 10 is no different and offers up a great deal of features that anyone would be happy to harness for a pretty competitive price. If you have had your eye on one, let’s go over why it isn’t a question of if you should consider this tablet, but why on Earth wouldn’t you. 

The Good:

  • Specs:  On paper, Google’s Nexus 10 features some of today’s most notable specs for a tablet. Under the hood, it is running a dual-core A15 Exynos 5 processor, 2GB of RAM, which powers Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean.” In addition, the tablet features a remarkable 10″ WQXGA 2560 x 1600 display with 300ppi, a powerful 5MP camera coupled with 4.2’s camera software, a 9,000 mAh battery, NFC, Android Beam, and comes in two storage options; 16GB or 32GB. For the price, the Nexus 10 runs laps around the competition.
  • Display:  This display is killer. In terms of specs, it’s a 10.055″ WQXGA display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and 300ppi. As for the competition, the newest iPad rocks a 2048×1536 display with 264ppi. Not being someone who bases their opinion solely on a spec shootout, I have enjoyed every second I’ve had to look at this device. Watching YouTube videos, a movie, and playing games is a real joy when everything looks crystal clear. When outside, text is still clear and viewable, yet manages to be exceptionally brilliant on its lowest brightness setting while laying in bed at night and watching a show. Overall, the display will definitely be the device’s power point.

  • Feel:  When you get your hands on the Nexus 10, it just feels good. The backside is smooth (giggidy), with just the right amount of “stick” to make you feel assured that it won’t go slipping out of your hand. I’ve been doing a sort of “twist test” when I get my hands on tablets, by giving the device a very light twist with both hands. For example, some of the ASUS and Archos tablets give off a plastic cracking sound, which for me, is no good. I want to make sure I can at least be able to drop my tablet once or twice and it won’t completely fall apart on me. With the Nexus 10, it feels light, sturdy, and durable. As I mentioned, it just feels really good in hand.
  • Android 4.2:  Buying a new Nexus device has its benefits. One of the big ones is knowing you’re going to be running the newest version of Android out there, and Android 4.2 kicks major butt. With some enhancements being placed into the camera application, slight UI changes, ability to add multiple users (tablets only), and lockscreen widgets, it’s easily my favorite version of Android yet. Knowing that the Nexus 10 will receive updates straight from Google as soon as they are announced is a major plus for anyone wanting no bloatware and no unnecessary skin on top of this beautiful OS.

  • Back-facing Camera:  The fact that the Nexus 10 comes with a camera is an automatic plus. It doesn’t even need to be insanely good. The fact that they used the space and made it happen is great thinking on Samsung and Google’s part. It’s a 5MP camera that actually delivers some decent images. It won’t be replacing your point and shoot anytime soon, but for when you need it, it’s there and will deliver.

(Warning: Full Resolution Images)


  • Front-facing Speakers:  When listening to videos and playing games, the front-facing speakers deliver. They’re loud, sound clear, and maintain at high volumes. We have seen speakers on the back of tablets, which force you into having to do a type of cupping motion so you can hear the sound, something that is just silly. Having them in this position is great and I’ve been extremely impressed with the audio quality.
  • Battery:  The Nexus 10 battery is a tank. It just won’t die. I’ve had it in my possession for about five days now and I’ve only charged it once. You can easily get through some Netflix and plenty of Internet browsing. I really can’t see you running into any type of issues when it comes to battery life. If you were concerned about battery, don’t be.

  • Multiple Users Feature:  One of the features that tablet users will benefit from with the upgrade to Android 4.2, is the ability to have multiple user accounts on one device. Each account can have separate settings that make the tablet custom to each user. You can have different apps, different looks, and different content, which is great for families and other environments where multiple people will be sharing a single device. Smooth move, Google.
  • Price:  At $399 (16GB) and $499 (32GB), the Nexus 10 is one of the more reasonably priced tablets on the market. No other tablet has this good of a display, no other tablet has this new Exynos 5 processor, and no other tablet (aside from the Nexus 7) is supported directly by Google. As previously mentioned, even the new retina iPad cannot can’t match the display on the Nexus 10, nor can it match the price.
  • Gaming:  Last but certainly not least, I wanted to touch on gaming with the Nexus 10. When playing, the device utilizes three key aspects of its hardware to make it a very enjoyable experience – the display, the speakers, and the processor. When playing a heavy game like Shadowgun:DeadZone or watching my nephew play Angry Birds Star Wars, it was awesome. Zero lag, no sputtering, and it looked absolutely fantastic. Not much else to say here except gaming on this is pure win. If the Nexus 7 is just too small, then the Nexus 10 is where it’s at in this department.

The Not-so-Good:

  • Backside aka “Fingerprint Magnet”:  As you may have already heard us discuss here and there, the backside of the Nexus 10 feels great, but it is impossible to clean and keep safe from your greasy fingers. After handling this thing for a bit, you will see the grime begin to accumulate on the back, where you will then need to locate a damp cloth to clean it with. No, a dry paper towel or napkin will not suffice. This thing needs to be seriously buffered in order to become clean. We like the feel of it a lot, but it’s just a downer to clean.
  • Little Quirks of Android 4.2:  Now, what I mean by little quirks in Android 4.2 are just little things that we may not like right now, but could find ourselves becoming comfortable with down the road. The main example I will use is the notification pulldowns on the homescreen. Since the beginning, there has only been just one. Now, with Android 4.2, there are two. This is frustrating at times. It has become muscle memory to just pulldown the notification bar and clear your notifications and access Settings menus, but now, it’s divided. The pulldown on the left is strictly for notifications, while the other is for system settings. Why they decided to split it and not just do the reversible configuration like they did on the phones is beyond me. Like I said, this could be something that I grow fond of down the road (doubt it), but it’s definitely not a make or break situation.

  • Lack of Expandable Memory:  I will only briefly touch on this, since I myself do not find it to be an issue, but I know some do. The Nexus 10 does not have expandable memory, which could be a deal breaker for some. It comes in 16GB and 32GB models, and if that’s simply not enough, or you need access to additional storage that you can easily swap, this won’t be the tablet for you. There are plenty of other options out there that feature lots of ports and storage options.
  • No 4G LTE:  The Nexus 10 is a WiFi-only tablet, so if you were hoping to add this to your shiny new Family Share plan and soak up the 4G LTE speeds of Verizon or AT&T, you will be disappointed. Not having LTE is not a big deal if you know going in that it’s a WiFi-only tablet. And truthfully, there is nothing wrong with a tablet that is WiFi-only. We all love a low, low price, something that wouldn’t have been easily accomplished if it had an LTE chip inside.

Revolves Around Google Play Content:

Much like its little brother, the Nexus 10 revolves around the idea that as an owner of a Nexus 10, you are investing yourself into Google’s Android ecosystem. You’re downloading apps, renting movies, buying music, and reading books all from Google Play. To me, the question is simply, “Is this the device I want to spend my hard earned money on to deliver the goods?” Upon first boot, Google makes sure you know about their presence throughout the device, and how simple it is to get the content you want right from the Play store.

It isn’t overdone and it’s quite tasteful in terms of advertising, which I appreciate. Many who are reading this probably already own an Android device, but whenever I talk to someone who is debating between iOS and Android, I always refer to the ecosystem and community. With the Nexus 10, this is a great device to either upgrade to or start off with down the road to living with Android.

Device Gallery:

[nggallery id=24]

Device Overview:

Android 4.2 Overview:

Conclusion:

When Google launched its Nexus 7 tablet at Google I/O, I quickly found that a 7″ device was the perfect size for me. But with so many people on this planet, it’s only natural that someone out there will disagree. In fact, I saw so many comments from people who wanted a bigger tablet that I quickly assured myself that Google would inevitably create a device that suited other’s needs. But, would it meet the buyer’s expectations that Google set so high with the success and pricing of the Nexus 7?

To sum it all up, I think Google has accomplished what they set out to do – create a 10″ tablet for those that want it and expect it to be an absolute dream device at the same time. Sure, the back is a fingerprint magnet, but that is really the only negative I can come up with. The display is gorgeous, the device is extremely fast and responsive, and it will receive updates for a long time to come. As an Android fan, that is literally all we can ask for.

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