Nexus 10 Australian Review: Like A Tablet, Only Weaponised

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.

What's Good?

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.

What's Bad?

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.


    Ever get the feeling that toddH works for a company trying to sell their underpowered and shoddy Nexus wannabes?

    I'm waiting; too ugly, no SD car, too little memory and the extra 16GB is a rip-off, poor, fixed battery. All I hope is this 2560 x 1600 screen res becomes common place in 2013. I'm certainly not getting anything with less than 1920 x 1080.

    Ugly - who cares? I have never seen a tablet user without a case. So it can look like a pile of dung, but as long as it performs and you can get a gazillion cases for it, it doesn't matter.

      I have an Asus Transformer TF101 and god damn is it butt ugly! Totally rocks though :D

        Asus Transformer Prime, that thing is sexy, but so many scratches!!

    Sounds like a beast of a machine, but how is the Android Tablet platform looking now? Main reason I would pick an iPad over an Android tablet is the apps.

      Just how many apps do you really need??
      Both platforms have 100s of thousands of apps - do you need 1000s of apps - if not, why ask such an retarded question?
      Plenty to choose from.
      Now you'll give me 100s examples of what isn't on each platform. :-)

        This! everyone is bitching of lack of apps. theres probably no more than 20 apps that everyone use on regular basis. unless of course you want to iTunes :p

          Can't a guy ask a question about a platform he doesn't know a lot about? I said I'd pick an iPad for the apps. If Android tablet app selection is just as good then perhaps say so

          By assuming that people are bitching you miss people who actually have legit questions.

          Perhaps trolling has made everybody too cynical.

        I didn't say anything about the quantity of apps for Android. I asked about the "Android tablet platform". Perhaps I should have been more specific.

        One of the most common complaints made about Android tablets is that there is a very sparse selection of tablet optimised apps.

        Tech critics and gadget reviewers (myself included) have long complained that there simply aren’t enough good Android tablet apps out there.

        I was asking for some opinions on the situation from actual users. Tablet optimised apps is what made the iPad so popular, and I believe they are critical to the usability of the device.

        Nobody needs 1000s of apps, but tablet users should want a broad selection of well made apps that make use of the larger screen on tablet devices. I was just asking if Android provides that. It was a genuine questions as I don't follow the Android platform as closely as others.

          There are hundreds of tablet-optimized apps for Android tablets at this point. A year ago it was different but ever since the Nexus 7 came out most major developers have come out with tablet optimized versions. The whole 'android doesn't have tablet apps' is a past no longer applies.

        what a retarded response Argus, as of June there were only a few hundred android TABLET apps, the OP wasn't asking about how many phone apps, maybe read the comment before using the R word so frivolously.

      Android has come a long way. These days you won't find many big name apps that aren't available on both platforms (both tablet and phone versions). I realise I've pretty much locked myself into the iOS ecosystem now, but I'd probably also still choose an iPad seeing as I have an iPhone. iCloud keeps everything synced up, plus for paid apps, I wouldn't have to buy them all again if I went with an iPad.

      In saying that though, Android is rapidly growing still, the tablets are becoming a lot more impressive than the iPads (obviously take this Nexus 10 for example) and there is no shortage of apps available.

        Thanks Mitch. That's the sort of information that I was looking for.

        I assumed that Android had to have improved when it came to tablet apps, but I didn't know how things were looking.

        I am pretty much locked in to iOS (exclusive apps, plus I have an iPhone), but it's nice to know the competition is picking up. It keeps everybody working hard.

          There's still plenty of room for improvement (as is with all of the platforms) but it's getting there, and quickly.

          While I'm also locked into iOS, I'd make an exception if I decided to go with a smaller tablet. I'd buy a Nexus 7 over the iPad Mini any day. I'd rather use a third-party solution to sync what I can and buy a couple of apps again if I have to, than pay over $100 extra for an inferior product.

        Not really, I just got my Nexus 10 this morning, there is still no flipboard apps for tablet yet, I got it in my Note 1. Over the last 2 years that I have used android, I have maybe 100 apps download in total but the ones I used everyday is only maybe 10, like facebook, dolphin browser, flipboard, engadget, youtube, mx player. Actually only 6, and the occasional others from time to time.

        Hey Mitch, just one small correction. You don't have to re-buy Android apps if you've already bought them, once you buy them they will automatically download to all your Android devices. You can also install apps through any web browser, and it'll get wirelessly pushed to your device where ever it is :)

          Thanks for that :) Yeah I used to have an Android phone and still have one laying around for a spare, I love how easy it is to get apps to it etc. What I mean though is that I've bought apps for my iPhone, and if I were to get an Android tablet and get those same apps, I'd have to buy them again, whereas if I had an iPad, I could download them again on there because I've already bought those iOS apps. Thanks though!

        iPad version of apps are usually labelled HD so they can make a larger resolution version of it and get more money from the consumer, eg. angry birds, and angry birds HD.

    Lack style may as well own an oblong piece of wood

      I would love an oblong piece of wood that was a tablet.

    Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. I think somehow a lot of people have come to figure that a beautiful tablet is defined as something that looks like an iPad. I have a Nexus 10, ordered the day of release. It's fabulous AND beautiful.

    Just got my Nexus 10 16GB this morning, pretty happy with it, not need 32 GB based on my past usage with 16GB Galaxy Tab 8.9 (which is still stuck with 3.2). Screen is responsive with no lagging at all, it is VERY sharp, surely a retina like Ipad 4.

    I am also wondering how the android tablet OS is going now days.. I find the phones to be just to buggy for me but is it the same experience on the tablets?
    I am looking at a windows phone just for a change but still think that I would not mind giving a android tab a go. For the record I have a 1st gen iPad that my old company gave me and it is rock solid though it shits me to tears. I would like a tablet that just runs the apps without crashing. I would stick with my current iPad but too much already doesn't run on the thing as its too old..

      ignore, double post sorry

      Last edited 26/11/12 4:33 pm

      Android used to be buggier os back in the early days, since ICS things have pretty much smoothened out. Check out Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2. It's blazing fast and very quick.

        I only have a SGS left as I keep braking them and I don't think that will run on it.

        Might give this tablet a go though...

    Any news on when it will be available in stores rather than only through Google. I asked in JB and they think before Christmas. Anyone know for sure when it may be though?

    It’s nothing more than a standard, black, boring, rubber rectangle.

    Didn't you know Apple owns the patent on good looking rectangles?

      Still not as good as the improved iPad 4. The Google device is much slower in rendering graphics or games. Apple has 275,000 apps for the iPad. The software just runs better and smoother than Google. Apple's product is better made and will have a higher resale value. The Google product looks cheep and junky compared to the Apple iPad 4.

        Who gives a shit about resale value? This is consumer electronics, dude. Once you're done using it it's basically worthless.

        Last I heard you buy a device to actually use it, not to have it sit in cotton wool its whole life do you can sell it.

          "Once you're done using it it's basically worthless."
          Not if it has a high resale value.

          Though I think the Nexus 10 will do fine in that regard also. Official Google products always have buyers.

        and to pedro double yawn and then fall down dead of boredom

    I have that same background in an animated version on my PS3. he he.

    Beast tablet for that price.

    Really wish I liked Android. I'd be on that thing in a second.

    For those who are moaning at a lack of expandable storage, two questions:

    1) Do you really need 16gb of stuff on there ALL the time?
    2) Do you realise that you can add USB storage to this? Buy a USB OTG cable and plug it in with your USB stick (if this doesn't have a full sized USB port like my Acer Iconia A500 does). A number of video players (as well as the native gallery app) can play stuff via USB

    Of course I could be wrong -- I had to root my Galaxy Nexus to get USB mass storage to work (using StickMount) but things may have changed.

      1) I have 13 gig of music on my iPhone , so a tablet has to have a minimum of 32gig, even then 32gig is barely enough for my iPhone.

      2) Dont want to have to reply on USB OTG (if it even supports it, i read some review lately that was suggesting the device (i cant remember what it was) didn't have the hardware to support OTG even with an adapter.

      I have the feeling that the Nexi devices will never have sdcard because then they may have trouble getting people to make them, as the SDCard would be a selling point of their models.

        I've currently got 10gb of music on mine, but I'm culling it down because I find that I don't listen to all of it. Most are just albums I've bulk copied across, and I skip over them more often than not. I've moved my less-frequently listened to music and audio books onto a USB stick for the times when I want to listen to a book. I just plug it in with my OTG cable and off I go.

        OTG is software from recollection. My old Galaxy S1 didn't support it until I upgraded to 4.0 (via Cyanogenmod)

        But like anything, to each their own.

        er, my nexus one has an SD card slot...

      Yep, Nexus 10 supports usb otg with the Nexus Media Importer app. Or root the device, install one of the custom roms (already a couple available) & have access to usb otg via the file system. In my case the typical usage pattern is: copy several GB of media files from my pc to a usb3 stick (takes a few minutes) - then consume media on tablet at will. Or stream media from nas.

    I am also wondering how the android tablet OS is going now days.. I find the phones to be just to buggy for me but is it the same experience on the tablets?
    The problem with android phones is that manufacturers keep putting their own flavor on the OS, after playing with my S2 and my wifes HTC it started annoying me how different they were but they claimed to run the same version of android. i started to yearn for stock android.. then the nexus 7 was released. I thought to myself, finally! now make that in a 10 inch and you've sold me.
    my prayers have been answered, a 10 inch stock android tablet that just happens to kick ass on top.
    thank you Google.

    1) I have 13 gig of music on my iPhone , so a tablet has to have a minimum of 32gig, even then 32gig is barely enough for my iPhone.

    Well seeing as most 10 inch tablets dont leave the home. with a file explorer app you just stream everything across your network. I run a 8tb server at home for my htpc's and my S2 can watch and play it all seamlessly. who needs 32gig of onboard.

    Last edited 26/11/12 4:32 pm

    Honest review of this tablet after owning it for just over 4 days.
    Previously I've owned an iPad 2 as my main tablet I would use it mainly to watch you tube videos ' web browse and ABC iview to put me to sleep. I decided to get the nexus 10 because I don't like how boring the user interface of the iPad was.

    *design : I really love the look and feel of this tablet when I hold it ' it feels soft gripy and warm my old iPad would after 10min cut into my han the nexus 10 just sits nice and snug no problems ' but it does get warm near the camera area . also love th rounded design its so unique.

    * screen : the screen is great for hi re images and text on web pages and books but for web images this res is just to much , the images on the gizmodo website look like Lego blocks they need to be up sized for this res and iPad 4 also. The colors look great also .

    * web browsing : web browsing sucks on the chrome browser, do your self a favoue and download dolphin browser much smother but still skips and jumps every now and then. Also no flash support but I did side load flash and download boat browser and got it to work but it is very choppy.

    *youtube : the native youtube app looks great but the video quality is soft due to the upsizing from 720 or 1080 to the nexus 10 screen size. This is disapointing but something that was half expected.

    * movie watching : i had alot of trouble finding a high res movie that would look great on this screen and play smothlly. All im saying is the screen is not fully used to its pottential when watching 720p most of the time. You may also want to download dice player because the stock video player app has limited codec support.

    * performance : it runs most apps fine with aome skipped frames now and then the smothest apps are gmail, and some google apps' but overall its usable.

    *the good- i love how customizable it is, the screen for text is stunning , its very sexy and feel comfortable, images looks so nice on this device, stock android 4.2 is really good.

    *the bad- websites not using high res images makes the screen look bad, not enough apps developed for the tab and this screen res' battery could last longer.

    This tablet is for someone what knows android that understands how to troubleshoot and can see the potential for the future and the open possibilities .

      How do you sideload flash? Also I don't know why people says it is ugly, to be, it is bloody beautiful piece of gadget.

        You need to download the all from xda forums version 11.1 from your nexus tab then get a file manager app like astro and tap on the file should be in your downloads and instal it .

      Yep, the Nexus 10's soft touch plastic is great to hold. The tablet seems lighter than it is. The overall design language is bland (ok: ugly) but the attention to detail & usability is refined. It's a bit like if htc would have brought the design language of the htc one xl to a tablet (htc should seriously do this with a mid-size tablet).

      The os is fluid, it's night & day compared to the tegra2 android tablets. Ditch Chrome & web browsing performance is stunning, e.g. give the AOSP browser a go. Sunspider is 776ms and there's no sign of Chrome's occasional lag/jitteriness could afford to spend some extra effort improving Chrome for Android.

    No mention of the ridiculous price increase for Australia? I=Just that fact alone turns me off.

      That's expected, it's Australia, we are an extremely expensive country. It sucks I know.

    Great article Luke, one small missing word, since I assume the speakers are on the front?

    The rubber finish of the Nexus 10 isn’t exactly attractive, but it’s nice to hold, and the speakers on the _front_ of the device rather than on the back or down the bottom means you get incredibly loud speaker performance.

    All this is f**king great, but i can't buy the 32GB as it's been sold out for the last two weeks. Frustrating, as is google's with holding of stock from retailers. I know it's standard, but it's a pain.

      I'm also getting a bit peeved
      It's not a weaponised tablet if I can't get one dammit

    "the speakers on the of the device "
    speakers on the edge of the device?

    Anyone know when the Nexus 10 32GB WiFi will be back in stock in Oz? Also, does anyone know if it will be possible too move / copy my ITunes music/songs over to it? Does a micros SD slot take anything to attach to my pc and transfer stuff? I plan on getting a tablet and like the sound of Nexus 10 but don't want one that won't take a storage device or whatever.

    I'm also waiting for this to come back in stock! From the dates on the above comments, it's been out of stock for at least a fortnight on Play.

    Can anyone comment on how bad the battery life is? How much use between charges on average?

    a nexus has the battery life of up to 9 hours, im comparing it with the ipad 2 and i'm fighting for the ipad, only because its more in trend, will this pick up in popularity?

    Is there something I can buy that takes a usb stick. I have a vodophone dongle that I plug into my computer to access the internet. I dont have wifi and most of the tablets etc dont have the facility to plug in a stick

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