[Review] Google Nexus 10 Android Tablet (P8110)

Recently, I went back and skimmed a few of my previous reviews and some of them waffle on a bit. When I’m reading reviews, I want minimum fluff – just the required facts and as straightforward as possible. I’ll try to do just that, keep it quick and easy to digest, but informative. After around a month of Nexus 10 usage, here are my thoughts.

unnamed Specifications:

  • Model: Google Nexus 10 Tablet [P8110]
  • Manufactured by: Samsung
  • Physical: 263.9mm x 177.6mm x 8.9mm / 603gm
  • Screen: 10.1″ 2560 x 1600 (299 ppi) Super PLS / Gorilla Glass 2
  • CPU: Samsung Exynos 5250 (Dual-core 1.7ghz ARM Cortex-A15)
  • GPU: ARM Mali-T604
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3 @ 800mhz
  • Camera: 5MP w/Flash, 1.9MP front
  • Battery: 9000mAh, non-replaceable
  • Ports: MicroUSB / MicroHDMI / Stereo / Magnetic Pogo
  • Speakers: Dual, forward facing
  • Other: GPS w/GLONASS, usual sensors, NFC, barometer, multi-coloured indicator light

Benchmark Results (All results have been standardised, for raw results, see appendix). Click to enlarge. nexus10 Reasons to like it: * The screen – at 2560 x 1600 @ 299 ppi, there is no higher density tablet display panel available at this time. Even close up, text and high resolution images are razor sharp – reading is a joy. True RGB stripe to boot, no [Pentile] to be found. I found sunlight performance and contrast ratio to be better than average, as was multi-touch responsiveness. Initial color calibration looks slightly off.

* The processor – The [Exynos 5250] is a 32nm [Cortex-A15] SoC. The A15 brings a host of improvements over the widely used A9, and will be deployed in the upcoming Tegra 4 (ie. NVidia Shield) and Exynos 5 Octa (ie. [Galaxy S4]) devices. I found performance adequate at 1.7ghz, with very responsive actions (running Android 4.2.2). Though with more than 4 million pixels to push around at a time, the [T604 GPU] will likely choke first. My unit clocked to 2ghz without any issue.

* Development – Being a [Nexus device], it comes with an unmolested version of Android, and you get it first. There are also plenty of third-party ROMs and kernels to jump between. The device is only 5 months old at this stage, so expect at least another 6-12 months of development to come. There are no hoops to jump through to unlock the device.

* You can’t stand Apple’s ecosystem – It’s thinner and lighter than the iPad 4 and it doesn’t come with a set of handcuffs. * You read heavily, but you want something more capable than a Nexus 7 – [I had the Nexus 7] and I read alot on it, but for full page comics, magazines, spreadsheets and heavy websites, the Nexus 10 has it beat hands down. Between a 5.5″ phablet and a 10″ tablet, my reading list is efficiently dispatched. * You watch a lot of video – The 16:10 aspect ratio serves media duty perfectly, though for PDF reading in portrait, 4:3 would have been preferable. The two forward-firing speakers are well designed. * It works well as a complete package – The Gorilla Glass 2 screen is durable enough that I go without a screen protector, the rubbery back is grippy, the chunky battery has plenty to give and lasts for weeks on standby. There’s nothing missing that you expect to be there. In my month of use, I’ve found the hardware just disappears, and I can just get things done. This is important. n10-hangouts Reasons not to like it: * You’re a demanding gamer – If you’re a big game player, the Nexus 10 isn’t the best device for you. For one, the device’s 2GB of RAM has a big chunk allocated for shared video memory – leaving you with less than 1.3GB of usable memory. Update: A 3DMark score of 7664 places it in the middle of the pack or slightly above – looks about right. * It heats up – You’re playing a high-end game and after about 10 minutes, the SoC temperature rises above 80c or so, it begins to throttle the speed back to cool off. Result: No damage, but you’ll see a few dropped frames – if you have a Nexus 4 you’ve probably experienced this as well. Most third-party kernels implement measures to counteract this to good effect. * Rounded shape – You’ll notice it’s not a perfectly geometric rectangle. This may annoy you if you have OCD.

* Third-party accessories – There are a few high-quality cases I’d recommend from [Moko], [Poetic] and the like, which handle magnetic wake, as well as the usual assortment of universal Bluetooth keyboards, but they are dwarfed by the sheer amount of iPad accessories available.

* Long charging times – From dead flat to 100%, it takes just under six hours to charge one of these puppies up. That’s a long time, but par for the course. The iPad with it’s 11600mAh capacity also has a long charge time. Do not attempt to charge this over a computer’s USB port, you will be there forever.

Conclusion: If I had to sum up the Nexus 10 in one word, I’d say – Solid. Physically, functionally and ideologically – it’s the premium end of tablets. In some ways it’s exceptional, like the screen, in others it’s merely acceptable, like the GPU performance. The bad news is that there isn’t a viable alternative in 10″ Android tablets – bar the Transformer Infinity, which lives under a cloud of issues. There’s also unlikely to be a successor to the Nexus 10 anytime in the next 6 months, unless you look further down the ladder at the Tab and Note 10.1. The good news is  there doesn’t really need to be: right now the Nexus 10 is THE go to device and it handles the responsibility with aplomb. For an upcoming article, I’ll be exploring using the Nexus 10 as an all-in-one laptop  replacement. OTG / HDMI options, bluetooth keyboards, cloud everything, desktop replacement apps and the like. Is it possible? Stay tuned! Raw Benchmark Results: scores

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