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Google Nexus 10 Review: Is 2560x1600 High-Def Enough?

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

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.

  • joytech22
    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.
    Reply
  • killabanks
    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
    Reply
  • bit_user
    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.
    Reply
  • neon neophyte
    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.
    Reply
  • killerclick
    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
    Reply
  • bit_user
    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.
    Reply
  • neon neophyte
    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.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    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.
    Reply
  • senshu
    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.
    Reply
  • And if compared with Ipad 4 gen CPU & GPU? :)
    Reply