Beneath the deceptively sedate looks of the new Nexus 10 lies the cold precision of a superweapon. We put Google's-own new tablet contender through its paces, to see if it's a serious player.
What Is It?
The Nexus 10 sits at the top of Google's new device tree above the Nexus 4 smartphone, made by LG, and the amazing Nexus 7 tablet, made by Asus. The Nexus 10 is a Samsung creation, and it's packing a 10.1-inch screen with a whopping 2560x1600 resolution with 299 ppi, a dual-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of RAM.
The Nexus 10 is undeniably powerful. It's insane. The dual-core 1.7GHz processor combined with the 2GB of RAM makes this device the most powerful Android tablet on the market.
Let that sink in for a second.
It beats the pants off anything that has come before it by racking up a Geekbench 2 score of 2533. To put that in perspective, if the Nexus 10 were just a few more points richer, it'd take down the 2006 MacBook Pro (Intel Core Duo T2600). With all that power, you'd think a second mortgage might be in order to afford it. Incorrect.
The Nexus 10 will only set you back $469. $469! That price will nab you 16GB worth of internal storage, while $569 will get you 32GB. It doesn't, by anyone's maths, cost $100 for 16GB worth of additional storage, that's just Google and Samsung trying to make a little money back. No matter which one you go with, though, it's still a top deal. Especially when you consider that similarly-priced iPad or Android tablets look laughably weak in comparison.
This is the best thing about the Nexus program: the perfect combination of spec and price with a great user experience thrown in. It's how Android should be, every, single, time.
The good doesn't stop there, either. The Nexus 10 has an incredible screen. That 2560x1600 resolution doesn't go begging in this device. Everything is incredibly bright, and super-crisp. Games look great, 1080p video looks beautiful and the pixels are damn-near invisible.
The rubber finish of the Nexus 10 isn't exactly attractive, but it's nice to hold, and the speakers on the of the device rather than on the back or down the bottom means you get incredibly loud speaker performance. Put that on top of a device that's strangely light for a 10-inch tablet and you're onto a winner that feels great in the hand.
It's packing Android 4.2 Jelly Bean which is silky smooth to the touch and a pleasure to use. Especially seeing as how you don't have to deal with the TouchWiz UI.
You're not exactly going to be turning heads with this design. I backspaced a few sentences here because there's just no other way of saying it: the Nexus 10 is ugly. It's nothing more than a standard, black, boring, rubber rectangle.
It's not ugly on purpose, instead it's what I'll call functionally ugly. That is, Google took more time figuring out what should go inside the Nexus 10 than it did deciding what would look best on the outside.
The battery also leaves a little bit to be desired against the competition, but with the specs that it has under the hood, it's easy to see where that power goes. Thank God this thing doesn't have 4G or else it'd be dead in an hour.
This Is Weird...
The specs on the Nexus 10 are curious, because usually what Google does with Nexus devices is choose one they really like that's already on the market — or about to reach the market — and rebrand it as their own. The Nexus 10 is far too powerful to be anything Samsung already had on the market, so we have to wonder: was this the Galaxy Tab 3? I guess we'll never know.
Should You Buy It?
If raw power is the only thing on your mind when you buy a tablet, then the Nexus 10 is a no-brainer. Buy it right now. You'll make some concessions when it comes to design, but you could end up saddled with something stupid and plastic-looking like the Galaxy Note 10.1, after all, so count your blessings.
The Nexus 10 is now the new yardstick for tablet development. Take note, manufacturers: if you can't best these specs with your next tablet while bringing it in at this price point, take them back to the drawing board.
Google's got your number now.