Google Nexus 10 Tablet Review

We are a huge fan of our Google Nexus 7 tablet and decided to buy a Nexus 10 for our son as a Christmas present. His requirements are different and a 10" tablet made a lot more sense. In fact, we were so impressed with it, that we bought one for our daughter too!

Purchasing

The Nexus 10 sold out almost immediately when launched. It only came back on sale a few days before we decided to buy one. We purchased the 16GB version through the Google Play store.

We thought long and hard about whether to buy the 16GB or 32GB version, deciding on the 16GB version in the end. The extra 16GB of storage cost another £80, which seems a bit excessive in our view. The amount of storage required is very much down to how you intend to use it. As this is a Wi-Fi only device (no SIM) we envisage a lot of the content being accessed from cloud services and from network attached storage (NAS) devices in our home.

In The Box

In the box you get the tablet, a two piece UK mains power charger (5Vdc, 2A), USB lead for charging & connecting to a PC and the warranty and 'quick start' guide. There is no headset for the 3.5mm jack socket.

Set Up

Set up involved selecting your country/language, then connecting the device to your WiFi. Once this was done, it seemed to know who we were and just ask for our Google password. As this is a present, we went down the alternative route of setting up a new Google account for our son. After a few more simple steps it was ready to go. This was a very quick and painless process.

Within a few minutes we were informed of an operating system update (Android V4.2), whcih we installed. Android 4.2 brings some rather nice improvements to the Nexus 10, such as multiple user account support.

Initial Thoughts

  • It makes the Nexus 7 look dated and boring. The Nexus 10 is very sleek and beautiful.
  • The Nexus 10 is obviously designed primarily for landscape mode use. This positions the two speakers to give nice clear stereo audio and places the front camera at the top of the device.
  • The screen is incredible! Razor sharp but, not as contrast rich as a the new iPad.
  • The build quality is significantly better than the Nexus 7, whilst feeling a lot lighter than it looks. Despite weighing 603g, initial impressions were that it was not much heavier than the Nexus 7 (320g).

Unlike the Nexus 7, the Nexus 10 has a smooth back. There is a section along the top that can be peeled off and replaced with one integrated into a protective cover.

Features & Specification

Display

The stunning 10" display uses Gorilla Glass 2 and provides a resolution of 2560 × 1600 pixels. This equates to 300 pixels per inch, more than the iPad 264ppi Retina display.

Processor

The Nexus 10 features a Dual-core A15 CPU and a Quad-core Mali T604 GPU. It comes with 2GB RAM and with either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The actual useable storage is less than these quoted figures, as is always the case. It is not a huge difference though.

Connectivity

The Nexus 10 does very well in terms of connectivity:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC (Android Beam) and dual side NFC
  • Micro USB
  • Magnetic Pogo pin charger
  • Micro HDMI - this is a useful inclusion over the Nexus 7
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

The notable exception to this list is an micro-SD or SD card slot but, our experience with the Nexus 7 has shown the Nexus Media Importer app meets our needs well enough.

Battery

The Nexus 10 has 9000 mAh Lithium polymer battery.

Other Features

  • Accelerometer
  • GPS
  • Gyroscope
  • Barometer - This is used to determining altitude, by measuring the atmospheric pressure. The Nexus 10 has assisted Global Positioning System (aGPS). An aGPS device gets a rough estimate of the latitude, longitude, altitude and time coordinates through the cellular-tower network as the time required to achieve GPS lock-on is much lower with aGPS. To further help the aGPS in achieving a faster lock-on, the barometer helps in calculating the altitude.
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Compass

Android 4.2

We have to say a few words about Android 4.2. It's fair to say there are a few bugs but it brings with it some new features that make perfect sense on a tablet. The multiple accounts support is a huge improvement and puts distance between Android and iOS in this area.

Apps

We have already covered the essential Android tablet apps in our Nexus 7 review.

Cases & Covers

case
We have bought some G-HUB cases. These come with a 'smart' cover (magnets put the tablet into sleep mode) and also works as a stand.

Chargers

Like many Android devices, the Nexus 10 needs a high power charger with a low resistance across the data pins. The supplied charger will charge the device quite quickly.

Docks

We are not planning to use the Nexus 10 with any docks.

Apple Integration

May sound a bit odd talking about Apple integration in an Android device review but, we have a lot of Apple devices in our home and we plan to llook at just how far the Nexus 10 can go in integrating and working with these devices.

Music

Music and podcasts downloaded from iTunes are compatible with Android devices. Music purchased from iTunes is in the AAC format, which Android plays. All of the music in our home is purchased in MP3 format though, which is playable on every device we own.

Video

All films and TV shows rented or purchased from iTunes have digital rights management restrictions. Because Android doesn't support Apple's iTunes DRM, video content purchased via iTunes (the Apple Store) won't work on Android devices. Other kinds of video stored in an iTunes library (such as that shot on an iPhone) are compatible.

iTunes & Synchronisation

While iTunes won't sync media and other files to Android devices by default there are apps that can sync iTunes and Android, such as AirSync and TuneSync.

We have a number of AirPlay enabled devices in our home including an Apple TV and our Denon AVR-1912 home cinema amplifier. Android devices can't natively stream media via AirPlay but there are some apps that support the protocol:

Remote for iTunes

Remote for iTunes looked pretty good and gets good reviews, so we bought it to try out. There is a free trial version but we went for the full version [£3.99]. Once installed you are given a 4-digit PIN to enter in iTunes, to enable the device to do remote control. This pairing is done once. The user interface is clear and intuitive, more so than the 'iPod'/'Music' app on the iPhone itself. It also displays all the album art.

The one plus with apps like these are that they provide access to the full set of music in your iTunes library and not just the tracks synchronised to the iPhone. The volume control has tick boxes for our Apple TV and Denon AVR-1912. It is also possible to select multiple output sources. Overall, it's pretty impressive! The only downside of this approach is that your computer/laptop needs to be on. It's fair to say that Apple no longer has sole control of the eco-system it has created and AirPlay is a well supported capability of Android devices now. We like this.

Summary

There is no such thing as 'the best tablet' in our view, just the best tablet for you. If you are after a large screen tablet though, the Nexus 10 has to be an option.

Our plan was to buy the smaller and more portable Google Nexus 7 tablet for our daughter but, having seen and used the Nexus 10, we decided to get her one for Christmas as well.

Further Reading

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