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Customer Review

624 of 653 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal consumption tablet, but bide your time and buy elsewhere!, December 9, 2012
This review is from: Google Nexus 10 (Wi-Fi only, 16 GB) (Personal Computers)
Before beginning this review, here are products that I own that I have used for comparison (most of which I have reviewed on this site): the ASUS Transformer TF300 T-B1-BL 10.1-Inch 32 GB Tablet (Blue) with the matching ASUS Transformer Pad Mobile Dock TF300T (Blue), the Apple iPad MC705LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black) 3rd Generation, the Asus Google Nexus 7 Tablet (8 GB) - Quad-core Tegra 3 Processor, Android 4.1, Windows RT Surface 32 GB Tablet, the HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer, and the venerable Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. I love mobile devices, and have plenty of experience with Android, iOS, Windows RT, and webOS devices. Now for the review.

PROS
+ Dazzlingly sharp screen. If you're looking at the Nexus 10, you've likely seen this specification front and center. The resolution handily beats that of Apple's third and fourth generation iPads, but in practice it's hard to see the improvement. That's not because the Nexus 10's screen isn't an improvement-- if you look, it's there, and reading web pages is truly a joy-- but after a certain point, you really run into diminishing returns.
+ Rich content experience. While you do hit some diminishing returns, the Nexus 10 has quickly become one of my favorite tablets for content consumption, whether that's watching video or reading books. While both the newer iPads and this tablet (and really, a number of other excellent Android options, like the ASUS TF700T-B1-CG 10.1-Inch Tablet (Champagne)) now come with 1080p or better screens, Android tablets tend to have the edge when it comes to YouTube and video content due to their 16:9 aspect ratios (although they all do quite well, really). The Nexus 10's screen helps make web and text reading great, which is important considering many find the 16:9 ratio awkward for such tasks (more below).
+ Sleek, svelte build out of great materials. The backing is soft-touch and ever-so-slightly rubberized, and while not quite as easy to grip as a Nexus 7, the device sticks in the hand. Perhaps more importantly, it has a nice, warm feeling to it-- one complaint I've had about all-metal tablets like the iPads and premium Transformer Pads is that holding cold metal in your hand feels premium, but often uncomfortable. There's zero flex in the chassis anywhere, nothing creaks, and the slim, trim profile looks great. I personally think it looks friendlier than an iPad, but I will note that if you're fond of angular and straight-edged designs, the Nexus 10's pronounced curves may throw you. On the other hand, it's thin and light, and comfortable in the hand.

Oh, and branding is minimal. Most of the required stuff is under a neat little panel that snaps off to let you attach cases and keyboards and such (although said accessories are noticeably missing at this time-- someone dropped the ball on this one).
+ Excellent performance. Performance is really determined by both the hardware and the software, and for now, I'll look at the hardware. Powered by a new chip of the A15 "Eagle" variety, Samsung's Exynos 5250 destroys basically every Android tablet chipset out on the market (note I am not including the Snapdragon S4 Pro, as it's not really available on tablets yet outside of Qualcomm's reference build). Zero lag, zero stutter, fast and snappy graphics playback, and fluid gameplay (but take this last with caution: while every review I've seen has praised its gaming ability, I myself play relatively simple games like Steambirds or Anomaly: HD). Sometimes the tablet will run a little warm, but none of this lap/hand burning people complain about so much these days.
+ Android 4.2 under the hood. Android's come a long, long way in recent years, and even if you're a dedicated Apple user, you should at least look at Google's latest offering with an open mind. Stock Android has morphed from (what I believe! Important caveat!) a gaudy, neo-futuristic mess (Gingerbread) into a sleek, industrial, polished, and smooth system (beginning with Ice Cream Sandwich). In more recent releases, the OS has become far more understated visually, serving only to help you navigate your apps and content and getting out of your way besides. Android 4.2 has released several new features of interest to most buyers, but I'll look at two in particular. The first is multi-user support: now, you can have one tablet service multiple users, with a tap on the lockscreen switching between them. That means a "family" tablet can also hold your personal work e-mail, with no fear of other family members accessing your data. The second is a quick settings toggle. Android OEMs have long built in Wi-Fi/GPS/Bluetooth and other switches into their devices, but until recently you would need an app like Power Toggles to replicate the same on a stock Android device. While Google's implementation of settings toggles leaves a little to be desired, at least the functionality is there (unlike a certain fruit-named brand-- seriously Apple, all I want to do is toggle Wi-Fi. Do I really have to jailbreak for that?!)
+ Great connectivity. You get a micro-HDMI out port and micro-USB, and it's the latter that really opens up the device's capabilities. Buy a cheap USB OTG cable from Amazon (you can get them for south of $2 with free shipping if you look), and hey presto, your Nexus 10 can work with USB keyboards, mice, and with a little tinkering, flash drives. Good way to solve the limited storage issue (see below).
+ Sound sound sound. Taking cues from Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 10.1N designs, the speakers are now on the front panel of the device. The stereo set pushes out quite a good bit of clear, loud, audible sound. For a tablet, the only device I've seen that comes remotely close is the HP Touchpad. But as with all things, keep in mind that the device is ultimately a tablet, so don't expect too much in the way of bass. It's plenty loud though-- I can't fathom why reviewers complain about volume.
+ Dual NFC receivers, one on the front, one on the back. While NFC is just emerging as a technology, if you have another Android device with NFC, you can easily throw links and such between devices (although Chrome sync handles that quite nicely as well), or buy some NFC stickers and play around with an app like NFC Task Launcher for some automation fun.

CONS
- No microSD slot. Personally, I don't find this an issue whatsoever, but if you're a big fan of local content then I can see how this might bite you. Google has long refused to put microSD on its Nexus devices, citing a number of technical and usability challenges (both sides of which I happen to agree with, but I won't go into detail here). If you're really out of space for the road, see my above section on USB OTG cables and use a cheap flash drive to expand your storage. It looks a little silly, yes, but for movie watching on the go, it'll do quite nicely. Google's on-demand download for its streaming services (Play Music, Play Movies, etc.) has so far let me keep what I want on my device.
- New layout. Again, not a huge issue for me, but if you've used Android tablets before, you will have to relearn a few things. Navigation softkeys have been moved to the center, and notifications moved to a notification bar at the top. This change has grown on me with time, since it preserves muscle memory between my phone and tablet, but some of Google's justifications just don't sell me. For one, center navigation softkeys leave a huge amount of wasted space floating around the bottom of the screen, and I liked having those keys and notifications in the bottom corners so I could hit them with my thumbs. Good thing that screen is so magnificent, aye?
- Aspect ratio. Android tablets are notorious for being landscape-only beasts, and although this device is quite tolerable in portrait, everything about it screams to be used in landscape. While this is usually fine, when reading scrolling content (such as books, web pages, and so on), sometimes Apple's 4:3 ratio is far more pleasant on the eyes, especially as such content is usually vertical, not horizontal.
- Cameras. Pass please. Tablets do not make good shooters, and while this one has an LED flash, it's thoroughly unremarkable.
- Somewhat understated buttons makes for some frustration. Power, volume up, volume down-- three buttons with distinguishable functions. So Google/Samsung, why put them all right next to each other with such low profiles? Sometimes I sleep the device instead of turning down the volume, which is just silly.
- Battery life. Please read this one with care-- the Nexus 10 does have a great battery and it lasts quite a long time. Rigorous tests have shown it lasts just as long as its competitors (the iPad included) in usage scenarios. But I have always (subjectively) found my iPad lasts longer in standby than any of my other Android tablets. Take what you will from that, but again, ultimately it does its job quite well.
- App ecosystem for tablets is a bit underwhelming. Again, please read this one carefully-- this is often leveled as a make-or-break charge on Android tablets. While I agree that the market is a little underwhelming, let's be real-- we don't ever have hundreds of apps on our tablets, and Google Play now has more than enough to cover most of my needs. In addition, the Nexus 7's enormously successful launch saw a huge wave of new, 7"-optimized apps. I expect to see increased interest in the 10.1" form factor with the Nexus 10. I've found the apps to do everything I want to do, and with some digging, I believe anyone could.
- Consumption, not production. While you certainly can use this device for production (particularly with a Bluetooth or USB keyboard), and Android gives you real filesystem access, you can't really escape that the Nexus 10 is a content consumption device. So are the iPads. In fact, the only two tablets I've seen and used that took productivity seriously were the Transformer Pad series and the Microsoft Surface RT. The Transformers destroy most Android tablets when it comes to productivity, and (I believe) are in turn destroyed by the Surface when it comes to serious Office-work and overall versatility. Obviously this is a point for debate and contention, but this is my stance based on my experiences with these devices. Feel free to comment if you disagree!

On the whole, do I recommend the Nexus 10? Wholeheartedly. Absolutely. With one little problem. The price. The Nexus 10 is excellently priced at $399 on Google Play for the 16GB Wi-Fi variant. So why is it being sold at $549 and above here on Amazon? It's quite simple-- third-party sellers routinely exaggerate the list price so that they can comply with Amazon's "list price or lower" rule, while still turning a profit on flipping an in-demand device. You can argue it's supply and demand-- I think it's dishonest marketing. Buy from Google Play if you can, or see if you can wait just a bit for the vultures to be brought down by more legitimate resellers.

Either way, I hope this helps, and just comment if you have questions!
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Showing 1-10 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2012 3:37:26 PM PST
Excellent and detailed review!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 3:38:10 PM PST
Thanks!

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 9:42:45 PM PST
Rocketman says:
Wonderfully done review, however, one point of correction. The Nexus 10 16GB Wi-Fi is selling for $399 from Google. The Nexus 10 32GB version is $499. I have ordered the Nexus 10 32GB from Google and I am hoping it will ship 12/11/12.

Posted on Dec 11, 2012 1:55:34 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 11, 2012 1:56:38 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 6:11:08 AM PST
Best of luck with your Nexus-hunting! Thanks much for the correction; I too bought a 16GB tablet, so I have no idea what happened there!

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 10:55:25 PM PST
THE MTL says:
$150 dollar price mark up??? Save your money folks.

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 10:47:29 AM PST
sub says:
why nexus10 better than samsung 10.1? if it, how so?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 5:00:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012 4:20:40 PM PST
The Tab 10.1, or the Tab 2 10.1"? Either way, it basically boils down to the same things.

Build quality: Bigger issue for the Tab 2, which is much more creaky, but the Nexus 10 has a great soft-touch finish on the back and is more tightly built than the Tab 2 for certain. The original and the Nexus 10 are both great to hold.

Speed: Tegra 2 and the TI OMAP in the Tab 2 can't hold a candle to the Exynos 5250, which destroys both handily without using much more power or really costing anything more.

Display: Both Tab 10.1"s use 1280x800 displays, which get crushed by the Nexus 10's display. The difference is pretty stark when it comes to text or web browsing (games and video look fine on both, at least in my opinion).

Software support: Handily goes to a Nexus device every time. Fast updates straight from Google and great software unencumbered by slow OEM customizations.

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 5:01:32 AM PST
Aramon C says:
I'm looking forward to buying one in a week or so. One thing though, I heard that there was a light bleeding issue and I was wondering if you noticed anything about yours when brightness is set to high? (Also with your Nexus 7 - no light bleed ?)

Another question, basing on your experience: which comes as a close second to this - the Nexus 7, the ASUS TF300, or the Samsung 10.1?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2013 3:50:14 PM PST
Yikes, I didn't see this. Gmail's started to spam-filter Amazon comment notifications. Sorry about that, hopefully this reply doesn't come too late!

I haven't noticed light bleeding, and I do use full screen brightness when I'm viewing certain images. Same story with my Nexus 7, although it's a little harder for me to say there because I used a DIY solution to stop my screen lifting (namely, hot air on the affected bezel; didn't work too well for about a week, but now the screen's perfectly flush and I'm happy).

I'm really going to have to say the Nexus 7, but that's because using owning an iPad 3 and the Nexus 10 have really made me a bit of a spoiled brat when it comes to screen resolution on 10" class tablets. The Surface's 1366x768 is a bit of a stretch for me, but ClearType text rendering makes it acceptable. 1280x800 just looks awful once you see either of the aforementioned tablets for text viewing (I will maintain more or less to the end of my days that for image and video content, it's pretty hard to see much of a difference on this size of screen). The Nexus 7 has a pretty powerful chipset, has the benefit of being a Nexus device with good software support, is very portable and comfortable to use, and has a higher PPI because of its reduced size.

Not to ding the TF300T at all, I still love it. But I use it the least of my tablets (well, I use it more than my Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is now stuck to my wall as a HUD of sorts and my HP TouchPad, which is stuck by my door) because of screen resolution. The dock makes it a handy tool though, and ASUS is pretty good on software support.

Samsung's software support is what keeps me from recommending any Samsung hardware right now. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 actually feels nice in the hand, which is a good start (the TF300T is comfortable with a nice heft, but the raised spiral back can feel a little weird after a while), and almost as good as the Nexus 10; but it's nowhere near as powerful, doesn't look as good, can't really compete on price, and the stock software is awful.

Sorry again that this was late, hope it helps!
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