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Nexus 10: We Want To Love It, But Don't

Google Nexus 10 Review: Is 2560x1600 High-Def Enough?
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Really, there's a lot to like about Google's Nexus 10. Just having a 2560x1600 screen is enough to get the hardware geek in each of us excited. Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual is clearly a fast SoC backed by a capable graphics engine and copious memory bandwidth. Best of all, Google combines those parts into a platform that delivers reasonable battery life, and then asks $100 less than an iPad for it. Overall, then, the Nexus 10 is a good alternative for folks who like the Nexus 7's value, but want the larger form factor. 

Unfortunately, it's hard to look at the Nexus 10 only as the 7's big brother. The 10 is clearly a shot across Apple's bow as Google tries to take the tablet back to its roots, so the third- and fourth-gen iPads are its most natural enemies. Both Apple devices offer stellar screens, and it's really easy to see how much better they look in a side-by-side comparison. The trade-offs are that you end up paying more to go with an iPad, and of course, you're in the App Store ecosystem rather than Google's Play.

We like that the Nexus 10 boasts a higher resolution than any iPad you can buy, but that doesn't hand it a win. We like that it costs less than the iPad, but that's not a reason for a victory dance, either. Had this thing served up more decisive advantages and matched the iPad's display, it would have curried far more favor. As it stands today, though, if you're already surrounded by Apple hardware, the Nexus 10 isn't going to convince you to defect. If you're staunchly anti-Apple, the Nexus 10's shortcomings won't deter you. And so we're faced with perhaps the closest attempt at what makes the iPad as popular as it is, only for the Android space. For that, Google deserves props. The Nexus 10 doesn't get a recommendation, though.

At least with the Nexus 7, we were able to embrace what it can and can't do. It's a seven-inch tablet. You're not going to use it for writing school papers or editing images. It works for the consumption-oriented tasks that tablets do so well, though. Hence, the only award we've ever given to any tablet in The Nexus 7 Review: Google's First Tablet Gets Benchmarked. It starts at $199, too? Heck yeah. Love it.

There still is no tablet out there that does everything we want well, though. We're used to making compromises. We accepted that input on a tablet is challenging, until Microsoft's Surface came along. Then we had to live with the fact that Windows RT limits your potential to access the software you need. We looked to Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T running Windows 8 as a solution, and were saddened by its overall form factor.

Hopefully Google is able to nail down its hardware niggles in the Nexus 10's successor. A so-so display, modest battery life, long charging times, no extended display support, and graphics performance that merely catches the third-gen iPad all weigh on us this time around. When quad-core Atoms start showing up toward the end of this year, combining the flexibility of x86 with the energy efficiency enabled by advanced manufacturing, I predict it'll be increasingly difficult to compete in the 10" tablet space.

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  • 34 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 4:10 AM
    i disagree completely about the screen analysis. it is most obvious on the picture of the blue flower. with the nexus 10 i can see all the detail in the pedals, the ipad is over saturated and has lost its detail.
  • 33 Hide
    bit_user , February 5, 2013 4:08 AM
    Why does the Color Temperature graph say "Higher is Better"? That's just wrong. The standard for accurate video reproduction is 6500 Kelvin.

    Values higher than that will result in the image having a blue bias. Values lower than that will result is the image appearing reddish. Of course, this also depends on the ambient light, which will influence how the image is perceived. But 6.5k Kelvin was supposedly chosen to match natural daylight.
  • 29 Hide
    killerclick , February 5, 2013 4:17 AM
    There was an article a while ago that showcased Tom's Hardware writers and various devices they use. Almost all of them had an iPad or a Macbook or both.

    Just sayin'...

    Link is http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/605-toms-hardware-editors.html
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    joytech22 , February 5, 2013 3:36 AM
    The Nexus 10 is one of the most powerful Android devices available, but why?

    A T604 can be configured up to what - 8 cores? The Nexus 10 has ONE and it performs just under a PVR 543MP4

    The CPU is absolutely monstrous, as is RAM Bandwidth, resolution etc..

    I often think to myself - Why aren't other manufacturers sticking specs like these into their own systems? Stick a T604MP4 in there and you've got performance numbers (mind you, numbers likely not real-world) close to 2.5x that of the fastest iPad in every single way (except battery.. Lol).

    As for CPU, Stick a 1.7GHz S4 Pro in there with 2GB of RAM and combine it with the same screen.
    The company that does that has my next purchase guaranteed.
  • -7 Hide
    killabanks , February 5, 2013 3:41 AM
    as much as i love this tablet it needs a beefier gpu to handle that res just look what apple crammed in the ipad 4th gen
  • 33 Hide
    bit_user , February 5, 2013 4:08 AM
    Why does the Color Temperature graph say "Higher is Better"? That's just wrong. The standard for accurate video reproduction is 6500 Kelvin.

    Values higher than that will result in the image having a blue bias. Values lower than that will result is the image appearing reddish. Of course, this also depends on the ambient light, which will influence how the image is perceived. But 6.5k Kelvin was supposedly chosen to match natural daylight.
  • 34 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 4:10 AM
    i disagree completely about the screen analysis. it is most obvious on the picture of the blue flower. with the nexus 10 i can see all the detail in the pedals, the ipad is over saturated and has lost its detail.
  • 29 Hide
    killerclick , February 5, 2013 4:17 AM
    There was an article a while ago that showcased Tom's Hardware writers and various devices they use. Almost all of them had an iPad or a Macbook or both.

    Just sayin'...

    Link is http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/605-toms-hardware-editors.html
  • 15 Hide
    bit_user , February 5, 2013 4:22 AM
    neon neophytei disagree completely about the screen analysis. it is most obvious on the picture of the blue flower. with the nexus 10 i can see all the detail in the pedals, the ipad is over saturated and has lost its detail.
    Well, as they didn't say what camera they used or how it was configured, you have to assume they didn't disable AWB and that they used autofocus (which can have unpredictable results, when photographing a screen). Even if they avoided those two pitfalls, we don't know anything about the camera's spectral response function. Alone, that would be enough to disqualify any such comparison. Add to that the effects of your display device (I'll bet it's never been calibrated), and you should see that you really can't trust how these images show the respective screens.

    They also used images that are so vivid and almost artificial that it's sometimes hard to tell which display is reproducing the images more faithfully.
  • 25 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 4:24 AM
    eh, they said in the article that we could see the difference in the pictures. then they went on to say those pictures reflected that the ipad was better.

    i disagree completely.
  • 14 Hide
    bit_user , February 5, 2013 4:51 AM
    neon neophyteeh, they said in the article that we could see the difference in the pictures. then they went on to say those pictures reflected that the ipad was better.i disagree completely.
    I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just pointing out that their methodology seems badly flawed.

    If they want to learn how to write better video reviews, Tom's could do worse than to check out David Katzmaier's reviews, on CNet.
  • 16 Hide
    senshu , February 5, 2013 4:56 AM
    neon neophyteeh, they said in the article that we could see the difference in the pictures. then they went on to say those pictures reflected that the ipad was better.i disagree completely.

    You're nowhere close to alone on this.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2013 5:02 AM
    And if compared with Ipad 4 gen CPU & GPU? :) 
  • 3 Hide
    Marcus52 , February 5, 2013 5:17 AM
    I don't think the pictures we are seeing in this review reflect clearly on either screen.

    That being said, I do see what both sides are talking about. The yellows are clearly better on the iPad, but it does appear to have some over-saturation (btw over-saturation means the colors bleed into each other, not that they are brighter or more vivid than natural) that you can see in a couple of flower photos. My question would be though - is what I'm seeing color bleed or a poorly set contrast/brightness, or related to the cameras?

    The pictures of the barn look better on the iPad to me. The pictures of the adjacent butterfly look better on the iPad in detail and color. The Nexus - well, I don't know what those butterflies look like in real life, but the yellow flowers are atrociously colored. They are practically orange. Same with the yellow flowers on down the page, though they are the worst in the butterfly picture.

    Blues seem to be the other way around in some of these pictures, but not in terms of color, in terms of detail. I'm thinking the blues may actually be over-saturated in the true sense of the word, but I have to wonder about the other contributions to the picture unrelated to screen quality - were they adjusted right? What about the camera? What about the reproduction process that puts them in the article?

    Is my screen going to see these images differently than someone else's?

    I don't think we as readers can really tell what's going on here. I will say one thing, yellow color on screens is one of my "pet peeves" so I know which screen I like better, and that's the iPad. I'm sick of orang-ish yellows, I tell you! Sick of them! :D 
  • -4 Hide
    JJ1217 , February 5, 2013 5:25 AM
    Damn, didn't read the article (didn't have time), but 2560 x 1600 on a 10 inch screen will have a huge PPI.
  • 20 Hide
    RealityClash , February 5, 2013 5:30 AM
    I really don't understand what they have against this tablet?
    Decent battery life, powerful processor, $100 cheaper than an iPad, great display (colour difference between this and the iPad would be unnoticeable in most cases unless they were be readily compared next to each other). Are you guys at Tom's all just Apple fanboys or something?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2013 5:58 AM
    i don't know about you, but i'm not sure where the difference and superiority of the iPad screen over the Nexus one is painfully obvious in their samples

    if anything, the bleeding and saturation (i hate to call that "rich and vivid") of the colors and lost details in that last picture of the ipad screen is rather harsh
  • 6 Hide
    pacomac , February 5, 2013 6:01 AM
    Why was the 4th generation iPad not included in these tests since its light years ahead of the iPad 3rd generation. We all know that the Nexus 10 beats out other tablets on Geekbench due to CPU performance but struggles to run the display with its under par GPU. OpenGL benchmarks are a true indication of speed not Geekbench when it comes to extreme resolutions.
  • 8 Hide
    acku , February 5, 2013 6:28 AM
    Quote:
    Well, as they didn't say what camera they used or how it was configured, you have to assume they didn't disable AWB and that they used autofocus (which can have unpredictable results, when photographing a screen). Even if they avoided those two pitfalls, we don't know anything about the camera's spectral response function. Alone, that would be enough to disqualify any such comparison. Add to that the effects of your display device (I'll bet it's never been calibrated), and you should see that you really can't trust how these images show the respective screens.

    They also used images that are so vivid and almost artificial that it's sometimes hard to tell which display is reproducing the images more faithfully.


    We actually did disable autofocus and awb, all this was noted in our ipad mini review. All pictures were taken at a fixed f/stop and iso setting at the same distance. Second, you can't really calibrate tablet screens. This means we are testing out of box gamut performance.

    As for not being able to see the difference, Cambridge Color has some great information on color chemistry if you're not too familar.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/color-space-conversion.htm
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/soft-proofing.htm
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/sRGB-AdobeRGB1998.htm

    A camera's spectral response, (we're talking point-and-shoot, slrs, dslrs circa 2007) and later all have a gamut response larger than that of monitors, even high performance gamut monitors. On the low end of the hierarchy, printers have a smaller gamut response.

    This means the inablity to see a difference is tied directly to the monitor you own. If you own a TN-based display, you're very likely going to see less of a difference in these pictures than someone rocking a wide-gamut IPS. That's simply the way the tech is. That's why professional photographs are so picky about the monitors they use. The compression of the picture's gamut clips out highlights, midtones, and shadows on a lower-end LCD.

    The difference is definitely there. Your ability to see them is going to be dictated by your hardware.
  • 9 Hide
    acku , February 5, 2013 6:37 AM
    Quote:
    There was an article a while ago that showcased Tom's Hardware writers and various devices they use. Almost all of them had an iPad or a Macbook or both.

    Just sayin'...

    Link is http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/605-toms-hardware-editors.html


    I'm camera shy and wasn't featured in that article. Second, those that owned an Apple product generally were my overseas colleagues and news team. Nothing wrong with that, just say'in. :) 

    Finally, I don't know why there's this perception that we're being harsh on Google. To the contrary, we gave the Nexus 7 an Editor's Choice award. It was the first time we that award to a tablet - ANY tablet. We've seen tons of tablets, but that was the first one that really impressed us.

    Simply put, the Nexus 10" is not the 10" equivalent to the Nexus 7. The latter was simply amazing. It was powerful. It was light. It had a beautiful display. Better yet it was cheap. In the past, anything at the $200 price point had some sort of shortcoming. Not so with the Nexus 7. That's what made it a game changer. Considering that the Nexus 7 came out first, we expected the larger 10" brother to deliver similar performance, right? I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation. I'm not sayin that it's a terrible tablet, but it's clearly not as "game changing" "wow that's awesome" as the Nexus 7 was.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware

  • 4 Hide
    acku , February 5, 2013 6:40 AM
    Quote:
    Why does the Color Temperature graph say "Higher is Better"? That's just wrong. The standard for accurate video reproduction is 6500 Kelvin.

    Values higher than that will result in the image having a blue bias. Values lower than that will result is the image appearing reddish. Of course, this also depends on the ambient light, which will influence how the image is perceived. But 6.5k Kelvin was supposedly chosen to match natural daylight.


    This was a typo that occurred during the transition to our new charting system.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ativ-smart-pc-500t-windows-8-atom,3360-10.html

    We have to sort the values simply for ease of reading. When we created the new chart format, the legend was incorrectly labeled. Fix'ed.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware
  • -4 Hide
    sanilmahambre , February 5, 2013 6:48 AM
    Got three words for you fella

    Bigger!

    Slimmer!

    Better!
  • 7 Hide
    PreferLinux , February 5, 2013 6:54 AM
    ackuWe actually did disable autofocus and awb, all this was noted in our ipad mini review. All pictures were taken at a fixed f/stop and iso setting at the same distance. Second, you can't really calibrate tablet screens. This means we are testing out of box gamut performance. As for not being able to see the difference, Cambridge Color has some great information on color chemistry if you're not too familar.http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/t [...] ersion.htmhttp://www.cambridgeincolour.com/t [...] oofing.htmhttp://www.cambridgeincolour.com/t [...] GB1998.htmA camera's spectral response, (we're talking point-and-shoot, slrs, dslrs circa 2007) and later all have a gamut response larger than that of monitors, even high performance gamut monitors. On the low end of the hierarchy, printers have a smaller gamut response. This means the inablity to see a difference is tied directly to the monitor you own. If you own a TN-based display, you're very likely going to see less of a difference in these pictures than someone rocking a wide-gamut IPS. That's simply the way the tech is. That's why professional photographs are so picky about the monitors they use. The compression of the picture's gamut clips out highlights, midtones, and shadows on a lower-end LCD. The difference is definitely there. Your ability to see them is going to be dictated by your hardware.

    What I would like to see is the pictures that were displayed on the tablets also in the article so you can see the picture on your own screen for comparison purposes. Because simply comparing the two doesn't say much – what we should be looking for is how it compares to the real thing, not how they compare to each other. How they compare to each other is irrelevant. What is actually wanted is how the comparison to the real compares with each other.
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