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Thinking of Buying A Nexus 10? Here’s A Real Life Review

wired

Nexus 10: Google’s flagship tablet device was plagued by a myriad of both logistical and software problems at launch.

But, now that the devices are actually shipping and the bug fixing 4.2.2 release of Android has gone out, has got any better?

The Box

The device comes packaged in a way which should be familiar to previous Nexus buyers: the tablet at the top of the box, with accessories below it.

The tablet comes with the usual set of accessories:

  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Manuals

Just like with other devices in the Nexus series, headphones are not included.

The Hardware

What stands out about the display …is the beyond-high-definition 2560×1600 display. It looks gorgeous.

The tablet is, as the name suggests, 10 inches across. What stands out about the display however is the beyond high definition, 2560×1600 display. It looks gorgeous. At 300ppi, this is quite a bit above the latest ‘Retina’ iPad, which clocks on at 264ppi. Even just admiring the display is a pleasure. Apart from the high density, the display is quite legible even at low brightness, but it can get quite bright. Its also got excellent viewing angles.

Another thing which differentiates the Nexus 10 from the rest are its’ front facing speakers, something very rarely found on mobile devices. While they sound just the tiniest bit flat when listening to music, they sound much clearer than back facing speakers on any mobile device, which is always a nice feature for those of us who are a bit hard of hearing. This makes them great for listening to YouTube videos and the like.

Apart from the above, the front of the tablet also features a multicolour notification light on the centre bottom and a light sensor and a 1.9MP/720p camera for video chatting. The light sensor is indeed quite sensitive, and in my opinion the displays brightness tends to change quite steeply even though there isn’t much change in light around the tablet, so I usually keep the brightness set to around 10-15%.

The front facing camera is great. It records a sufficient amount of detail for video chatting, that’s for sure. However, there are some funny software quirks with Hangouts on Android. For example, when setting up a test call, the person who I was calling wasn’t receiving my calls. There’s also the confusion with two chat apps: Google+ Messenger and Google Talk. The large screen also tends to have some hit on the battery life during video calls, but more on that later.

Around the sides you’ll find:

  • Headphone jack
  • Micro USB port
  • Mini HDMI port
  • Power button

All are positioned conveniently so as to be easy to access and not interfere with your usage. At the bottom there’s also a Pogo plug for easier docking.

The back is pretty simple. At the top-centre there’s a 5MP camera with a flash, which is sadly quite disappointing. The pictures are grainy and the colours are a little bit off, and unless you hold the tablet perfectly still they smudge.

But then again, why would you be taking pictures with a tablet?

nexus-10-back

The tablet also has some NFC capabilities, which do a good job at communicating with other NFC enabled devices. Android Beam allows you to send pictures, contacts, webpages as well as app content for NFC enabled apps. So far, there’s no support for sending files*[unless using an app, none of which I could get to work reliably]. You can also communicate with smart phones other than Android, although to a lesser extent.

The tablet itself has a glass front, with a soft touch plastic covering the sides and the back. Even though it feels nice to hold, it is a problem. Unless you’re leaning it on something, you will find that the tablet slips down your hands pretty quickly. However, applying a case fixes this problem, and its probably something you’d want to do anyway considering the tablet has no kickstand of any kind, which is really essential when using a tablet. I recommend the Poetic SLIMLINE Portfolio Case.

I find the battery life to be reliable…

I’ve found the battery life to be reliable. It gets me through the week, when I use it for email, Twitter, YouTube etc. During the weekend when I use it to play 3D games, the battery still lasts the day. While I haven’t personally done extensive battery testing, tests done by various technology websites around the web indicate that the battery length of the tablet is below average, falling with the likes of cheaper tablet manufacturers like Archos. However, this is understandable considering the high resolution display and it’s the main trade off you’ll have to make if you want a really nice display.

You want my advice? If you’re only going to be taking your tablet on a rare trip out, and most of the time you’re going to be using it around the house, you can quit worrying about the battery life. It’s good enough.

Battery life

Battery life

Software

As far as the software goes, this is a solid product, but software is where it really gets interesting.

Even though Android is an excellent operating system on smartphones, and Google have done an excellent job of up scaling the interface while keeping it consistent across screen sizes, it still retains the one feature that is persistent across all smartphones: you only do one thing at a time.

Unlike the the recently announced Ubuntu Tablet OS you can’t pull in a smaller window from the side, never mind having a full desktop environment like on Windows RT. This severely lessens its usefulness as a productive device. It’s great at one thing at a time. While I was never counting on it to become a replacement for my laptop, it’s still quite disappointing how limited its productive capabilities are.

Strangely, I’ve come to appreciate this to some extent. Focusing on one thing at a time rather than having multiple windows open with an overload of information on them is actually quite relaxing. The built-in Google Drive office suite is powerful enough for editing documents on the go, and if you need something more powerful than that, there’s also a variety of apps on Google Play that you can choose from, like the excellent Catch note taking app or Kingston office suite.

On the entertainment side, things are looking much brighter. As previously described in the review, the hardware is great for entertainment, and the apps only add to that. The Google Play framework is excellent at keeping content synchronised across all of your devices, and the Nexus 10 makes a great job of displaying your content. Books, magazines and films all look crisp and vivid.

There isn’t a shortage of games either. While not all are optimised for the Nexus 10, Google specifically selects those apps and games that looks great on tablets, so finding the right apps isn’t a problem. There are definitely more tablet optimised apps across all categories than people seem to think. Most phone apps also look fair on the 10 inch screen. They tend to turn the tablet portrait, but that’s still a better method than the iPad’s silly scaling of apps.

However, it’s important to say that most phone apps only expect to display pictures up to around 720p, so like in the screenshot of the Etsy app below, that can cause some problems.

Performance

The performance is another strong point of this device. It flies through the interface and multitasking applications, as well as high quality games like Cordy 2, Minecraft and Dead Trigger. Once again, the high resolution display makes the content look great. Updating the apps takes mere seconds. There is seriously very little I can complain about when it comes to the performance of this tablet. The only issue I’ve found is with Google Earth, which tends to lag heavily when displaying high quality images, which pretty much defeats the purpose of this tablet. However, it seems to be more software related than hardware related. Despite not having a Tegra 4 processor, which enables extra details in select games, its performance is still up there with the flagship phones, coming 7th on the global list of devices as measured by the popular AnTuTu Benchmark.

At the beginning of the review I mentioned that the 4.2.2 update to Android was meant to fix all sorts of little bugs. Well, has it? Not exactly. My tablet still tends to reboot randomly, however much less often than it did before the update. Even though this is a pretty serious problem, it’s the only one I have experienced repeatedly. Otherwise the software experience on this tablet is flawless, just like on other Nexus devices. It’s clear that Google is putting a great deal of effort into making devices that will be great for the customers, not just the company bank accounts.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great entertainment tablet. Music, videos, books, games: you name it, they’ve got it. It’s a joy to use, and it’s definitely one of the best tablets out there. However, it’s much less efficient when it comes to productivity. Even though Android is constantly improving in this area, until features like side by side windows get brought over from PC’s, no tablet is going to be a great productivity device. They are just too simple.

What’s interesting is how handy a bigger phone-like device comes in around the house. Its simplicity is also a good thing. It’s very convenient for showing documents and videos to your family, displaying recipes on it in the kitchen or using it as another screen next to my laptop.

Even though it might not be the perfect device, it’s still pretty awesome to have around.

Image Credits from top: Wired, ArsTechnica, OMG! Chrome!
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1658495863 Curtis Alan Mitchell

    I’m curious as to how people feel the 10 stacks up against the 7. I find my 7 indispensable but if it were less portable or cost more, both issues with the 10, I’d be less inclined to use it. How is the weight on the 10? Does it get uncomfortable to carry around?

    • http://tomslominski.net/ Tom Slominski

      I haven’t carried it around far yet, but I don’t see how it could be that heavy. Fair enough, it’s a bit heavier to hold and it hurts more if you drop it on your face, but it’s manageable. Ultimately, I chose the Nexus 10 rather than the Nexus 7 because I have a 4.65 inch phone and a 15.4 inch laptop, so it was more in the middle. I didn’t feel like the Nexus 7 would differ enough from my phone to justify getting it.

    • Andrew Sendall

      We have both a Nexus 7 and 10. If both are on the coffee table I guarantee the first one to be picked up is the 10. The only complaint I have about the Nexus 10 is the lack of a Sky Go app.

  • Chariblaze

    Yeah, the ambient light sensor was like that in the Cr-48, too.

  • Felix Goodwin

    I just picked one up, was a little concerned given all the talk of stuff being released in the next few months.

    So far I love it, the lack of SD card is a bit annoying, and the poor support for Accessories. It has a port on the bottom perfect for a keyboard dock, yet no one takes advantage of it yet. No dock and already they talk of the next version? A little disappointing.

    It is defiantly faster, and better quality display than the Nexus 7. Some people like the smaller tablets, but I like a big one since I dislike watching movies on a tiny screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stella.degas Stella Degas

    Here is my review on Nexus 10 by Google.

    Bettery.

    Poor bettery life. Takes day to charge. If you use it and charge at the same time it won’t. Or will do, but very, very slow.

    Screen / Color.

    This high PPI (300) doesn’t make any difference you can see.

    Totally agree with CNET pro reviewer: Where the iPad beats the Nexus 10 is in black level, contrast, and color accuracy. The Nexus 10′s blacks just aren’t as deep nor its whites as bright as they should be, and its colors aren’t as full.

    Colors are poor, not contrast.

    Apps.

    No so many apps to install.

    Return.

    You will be suprised but Google will charge 15%

    Customer Service.

    Auwful experience. Tried to reach them for an half an hour, then lost another 30 min in transfers to hear Dean a poor informed, without any customer service skills Google representative. Then I spoke to his manager Matt K. how is more unprofessional than Dean. I guess this is how you get the carrier in Gogoel Custoemr Service department.

    Well this dude even could not tell me where it says in my recipt about 15% restocking fee. Before he said he’s “pretty sure”. I can say they pretty croocks.

    The restocking fee is just another way to rob you on selling bad product to resell this product again!

    Google do the good product and change your Customer Service bots to the new ones.

    • Lenny Jones

      Shut up troll, with your comment! cnet is totally bias towards Samsung period! They said the same thing about the Galaxy note 10.1. So get loss rotten apple core lover!

      • http://www.facebook.com/itsonlyandy Andrew Gratton

        Biased towards Samsung? You realise Samsung make the Nexus 10?

        • Glarb

          He meant biased against, everyone knows CNET loves them some apple, and it’s “certain something” which they can never quite qualify

      • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

        Lenny is 12.

        • Lenny Jones

          And you I bet you are a child molester who enjoys fondling little boys too!

    • Stefan

      Not so many apps to install?! Why? I had heaps I could install on my TF201.. why is the Nexus 10 any different?

    • Richard Lloyd

      Battery charging is fine on the Nexus 10 – use a 2A charger and you’ll fully charge in less than 3 hours. Tip: power off the N10 when charging, otherwise you’ll add to the charging time.

      Screen isn’t saturated like some phones and tablets I’ve seen and I like it that way (ditto with the 2012 Nexus 7). People claim they’re “washed out”, but they’re actually closer to the real colours!

      Er, there’s now over 1 million apps to install in the Google Play store and the “non-tablet” ones that the press harp on about scale to larger screens in a far better manner than iOS, so as far as I’m concerned, the Play store is now *ahead* of iOS when it comes to usable apps on tablets.

      My first Nexus 10 had a disastrous internal flash storage fault right out of the box. Google sent me a second one, I posted back the first one (at Google’s expense – they even gave me a courier sleeve and instructions) and was *not* charged any restocking fee.

      If you want to criticise Google about the Nexus 10, the lack of marketing and the unavailability offline (and no free delivery online!) were the major factors as to why the Nexus 10 didn’t sell in the numbers that the 2012 Nexus 7 did.

  • tabletfinder

    I want to use a table mostly to take notes, and use a stylus, how good are the nexus (7 or 10) to do that? This report is very biased and doesn’t offer real criticism, its trying to change the cons into pros…
    Anyone has tried to use a stylus with a nexus that can offer a feedback?

    • madhav

      I have a nexus 7 and use an app called handynote where i can take notes in handwriting. I am still waiting for a good stylus like the samsung S Pen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/irfanpak11 Muhammad Irfan

    best

  • Sam

    Thanks for the review. I really don’t know what tablet to get. My partner has an ipad 3 and loves it. But the lack of flash player us annoying. I like the asus transformer tf700 but have seen mixed reviews about asus build quality.

    • Richard Kaylie

      Asus has had its issues that’s for sure even I had to return and exchange my 1st TF300T but that’s the thing about Asus compared to any other company I’ve dealt with Asus was more than accommodating they replaced my tablet and I got a $30 discount as they were going on sale that week also I know others who have had repairs done due to their own fault for free….so I can’t say anything bad about Asus plus they’re the first to get firmware updates for their customers.

    • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

      I never have issues with flash on an iPad and haven’t for years. it’s a non-story especially since Adobe gave up on Flash for tablets because it works so poorly.

      • JoeWhoKnows

        Sorry – but not having flash support or the capability of flash support is annoying. It isn’t as much of a “non-story” as you would like to think – with HTML5 support severely lacking and so inconsistent across mobile platforms – it’s a nightmare that relegates our mobile browsing experience to simple web designs. That’s probably appropriate for a smartphone – but I want a whole lot more with a tablet. Also Adobe now supports a mobile Flash Player for the Windows Surface tablet. I have tried it and have to say that it’s a game changer. So much more content and capability – its a completely different web experience. Everything is available across all web-sites. I am hoping their is support for Flash through the Chrome browser on the Nexus 10. Anyone know?

    • Stefan

      Asus build quality is RUBBISH. Their devices are awesomely designed, but I’ve just taken my 4th TF201 back for a refund due to issues with the keyboard dock damaging the screen. Was such a shame as the device was so nice to use.. smooth and fast, light and had great battery life. Now looking at the Nexus 10 as a replacement. Performance figures put the Nexus 10 ahead of any Tegra 3 based device

  • abrbabr

    when you make omgandroid site?

  • Richard Kaylie

    I own a Asus TF300T and my wife purchased a Nexus10 I took it for a test drive and was impressed at how smooth, zippy, lagless and all around performance of this tablet. Our friend who owns one of the top Android tablets Asus Infinity TF700 was just as equally impressed so if anyone is looking to purchase an Android tablet and is debating whether the Nexus 10 is up to the task well no need to wonder because its right up there beside the top contenders…..it’ll be $$$ well spent.

  • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

    The human eye cannot tell the difference between the two ppi levels and the Nexus 10 screen looks washed out next to the iPad screen. This is most likely because Samsung does not calibrate their displays which is pretty pathetic. The Nexus 10 has had way too many bugs and also feels and looks cheap comapred to an iPad. This is why so many Android smartphone users still use an iPad for a tabelt. Plus app selection is not even close. iPad blows away high res Anrdroid tablets in app selection and quality.

    • Jimbo

      I ditched my iPad 3 for a Nexus 10 and couldn’t be happier. sure if you hold them side by side the iPad screen is more vibrant. but i also found that using it made my eyes feel really ‘dry’ and irritated after a while. still happens on the nexus but not as bad.

      I haven’t found Android to have any serious bugs that would be problematic, in fact, i’d take a few bugs with such a progressive operating system over iOS which just looks/feels so dated now in comparison. the Nexus devices all have a really nice quality feel too them. I think you might be a little biased in your opinion.

    • V.A.N.

      Apparently, you haven’t heard….iPad’s display is made by Samsung.

    • trotwom

      who needs tens of thousands of apps? 99% of them are aimed at Chavs and Pond Life.

    • Arindam Pal

      The single fact that I can expand my Nexus 10 storage by at least 64GB using a removable micro SD connected with an OTG and play MKV HD 1080p files natively is the biggest advantage to me. I sold my iPad 3 for the Nexus 10 and never going back. Plug and play is cool and so much better than iTunes sync

    • Japneet Dhaliwal

      You know, iPad displays are completely oversaturated to make up for their inferior backlighting right? and since Samsung makes them(They make them like that because of Apple’s specifications by the way). Samsung does it’s best to make the iPad display not as terrible by upping saturation.

  • gg
  • Christy

    I purchased a Nexus 10 back in March and I have had nothing but trouble with it!!!! It freezes or shuts down all the time. Takes forever to charge the battery, that is IF I can even get it to start charging, I have to have it plugged in just right – then I better not move it until its done. Called customer service today to try to help with it – Ha, what a joke for customer service. I was transferred 4 times, each time having to tell what was wrong with it. Each customer representative was very unprofessional. They would interrupt me or just talk over me and not answer my questions, I was so frustrated by the time I got off the phone with them! I would not recommend the Nexus 10, wished I would have not purchased mine!!!!!

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      Don’t know where you get yours from because most of them work perfectly fine.

    • nexus10batterylife

      same for mine the battery life is really short now. and it takes ages to charge. 8 hours to charge for 2 hours of usage maybe? I need to calculate exactly

  • RVeee

    I bought a Nexus 10 for my wife, it’s really excellent at doing stuff according to the web. Unfortunately it can almost never get a connection to the modem in the same room or drops out of connection after 2 minutes – then asks for password again. It’s the biggest POS on this earth, I will never ever ever get anything like it again.

    • zmeulzmeilor

      In 6 months of extensive usage at my house, work, and other places, i never got disconected from the network, asking formpassword was never an issue due to not getiing disconected. I suggest u should try to check your modem , cause in my opinion thentablet is not the problem.

      • Jonathan

        Yep, it’s either a bad device or something else. Never had this problem on my N10.

  • Fletchy

    more cons…. incompatable with Adobe flashplayer. can’t view mov files commonly used. I have tried all free apps I could find to view mov files without success. Not prepared to pay $50 to download app that may also not work. How about it Google!

    • Nexuslover

      Flash for Ice Cream Sandwich should work to remedy your problem for free. Google how to install flash to your nexus 7. Here is the link: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1763805

    • Jonathan

      Chrome is incompatible with Flash, not the Nexus 10. You can use a browser like Firefox after having installed the Flash APK to view Flash video.

  • GaryWideSpread

    Bought 5 Nexus 10s and returned them all due to excessive/severe light bleeding in the bottom corners. Not “normal” light bleeding for an IPS display, more like huge smudges that all looked like the burns on old LCDs or the huge purple blobs that would show up on dying CRTs. Huge dissappoinment for a $500 tablet.

    • N10

      Your story seem far-fetched. Who did you buy these tablets from? If you returned tablet 1 for 2 then 2 for 3……. then you didn’t spend no more than $500 for the 32gb tablet. If you bought directly from Google Store and had as many returns they would have found or addressed your issue possibly comped you expenses where they would have sent you Nexus 10 accessories for free or money off your tablet.

  • Ronald Moscatello

    The Samsung Galaxy 10.1 adds the dual screen multi-tasking in many apps, but the screen does not have this machines resolution. So they are getting there.

  • http://mostly-tech.com/ Rick Schwartz

    Some good tips and tricks for the Nexus 10. http://mostly-tech.com/2012/11/17/nexus-10-tips-and-tricks/

    - Rick

  • shalini chaudhuri

    does it have simple calling facility?

    • Babs Oyed

      Install groove IP and connect it to your Google Voice account. That’s all you need to make free calls

  • H Johnson

    For 6 months I have been attempting to install video chat on yahoo messenger and skype with not success. I can use both items in text format and no luck on getting the video to work. Any suggestions?

    • thesaltyone

      Yes try TANGO

  • kywildcat

    Google Earth is unusable

  • Boothy

    Anyone think Mr. NO FACE is just here to bad mouth the N10. Lot of moaning effort going on…….

  • Louie Guertin

    Nothing has been said about browser screentt freezes. That is curious

  • Latest News

    The new Nexus 10 could appear any day now, according to a new rumor

    http://nexustablet10.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-new-nexus-10-could-appear-any-day.html

  • kathy

    No help, I live in a shelter and wonder how I can my meds. Is there any way to send the same email to each of my family member?

  • Richard Veytia

    The only complaint I have. Attachments on my email don’t display