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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Google Nexus 10 Review and Giveaway

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Tip of the Day: You can find today's giveaway code on our Facebook page here.

Google Nexus 10 Review and Giveaway

by Danny Stieben
Google has recently come out with a number of intriguing products; including the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and multiple different Chromebooks. I've recently reviewed a Samsung Chromebook, and Jackson has taken a look at the Nexus 4 andNexus 7.
Naturally, we have to take a look at the Google Nexus 10 and see how it performs, how useful it is in real life scenarios, and whether it's worth the price. The best part is, you'll have the chance to win this incredible tablet for yourself! Read the review and giveaway details below.

Why A Tablet?

Today's modern tablets have physical advantages that can potentially make them better than other personal computing devices. They're slimmer, lighter, include touchscreen capabilities, and some have relatively large screen sizes. In other words, it's possible that tablets may replace your laptop for everyday work -- something that can't be said for smartphones. Last year, Ryan put forth the idea of using an Android table to complement his desktop computer for work. A few months later, Angela wondered if her Windows RT tablet could replace her laptop. Unconvinced, Christian decided to test the idea out himself with an experiment: going tablet-only for a week, while trying to stay productive.

Introducing the Google Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 is a flagship Android tablet from Google. It's true that it competes with other heavyweights such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (ironically, both the Nexus 10 and Galaxy Tab 2 tablets are made by Samsung). The $349.99 Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is slightly more competitive in terms of pricing but they only offer a 16 GB model, expandable to 48 GB with a microSD card. Other competitors include the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (we reviewed the non-HD version here).
google nexus 10 review
Ultimately, the Nexus 10 leads the Android tablet pack against its main rival, the infamous iPad from Apple.

Specifications

The Nexus 10 packs in a good amount of quality hardware that ensures smooth performance. The list includes:
  • 10.005-inch WQXGA screen at 2560 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9mm
  • 603 grams
  • 32 GB of storage (16 GB option available; no microSD expansion)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Dual-core A15 CPU
  • Quad-core Mali T604 GPU
  • 5 MP back camera; 1.9 MP front camera
  • 9000 mAh battery
  • WiFi and Bluetooth (no built-in carrier connectivity -- look at tethering instead)
  • Dual-side NFC
  • Micro USB
  • Magnetic Pogo pin charging port
  • Micro HDMI
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
The tablet which we're offering in this giveaway is the 32 GB variant, and sells from the Google Play Store at $499. You can also nab the 16 GB version for $399 instead. If this impressive list of specs doesn't mean much to you just yet, I'll be explaining it all below.

Packaging

The packaging was very elegant yet quite simple. The tablet and all related accessories were packaged within a minimal black box, and the box was held together by two sticker-style binders as well as a Nexus 10-branded cover that slides around the box.
google nexus 10 review
Once opened, you'll immediately find the tablet on the very top. Underneath the tablet, you'll find the following:
  • a USB cable
  • a power supply without wall plug (to make the power supply internationally friendly)
  • an appropriate wall plug for the power supply for your region
  • warranty information
Otherwise, there's nothing else in the box, and I wouldn't expect anything else to be included either. Everything else is considered accessories that should be bought separately.

Design

After taking off the protective wrapping from the tablet, I can take my first good look at the device. It feels very good to hold in my hands as it includes a rubberized finish on the backside of the device. I've heard some people say that it makes the device feel a bit cheap, but I have to disagree -- on the contrary, it definitely helps with my grip on the device. And I certainly don't want to drop this $500 monster by accident.
Otherwise, I like the general design of the tablet -- the rounded corners are appealing and prevent it from poking through any bags that I might put it in, and the "Nexus" and "Samsung" branding is kept away from the front and imprinted on the back in the rubber finish.
google nexus 10 review

Build Quality

The tablet feels really nice to use. When pressing a bit harder on any parts of the device, I don't hear any creaking or notice any other signs of poor build quality. The weight distribution is also very nice, so it won't feel awkward to hold the tablet in a number of different ways. Overall, I feel like it was built very sturdy, and with quality components. There are certainly plenty of other tablets where the build quality is far poorer.

Ports

The Nexus 10 doesn't include a whole lot of ports, but honestly it doesn't really need to -- besides maybe a few more microUSB ports. There's a single microUSB port on the left side of the device to data connectivity and charging.
google nexus 10 review
Along the bottom side of the Nexus 10, you'll find a port to plug in a Pogo magnetic charging cable. The advantage of the Pogo cable is that it can easily come off if someone trips over it without taking the tablet with it, but charging speeds are only marginally faster compared to microUSB. There is no Pogo chaging cable included with the tablet and must be bought separately.
google nexus 10 review
On the right side, you'll find the micro HDMI port which you can use (with the appropriate cable) to connect to a monitor, TV, or projector. Android doesn't offer any display settings for the HDMI connectivity, so it'll simply mirror what's shown on the tablet by default. Finally, at the top you'll find the power button as well as the volume rocker.
google nexus 10 review

Screen

The biggest selling point of the tablet is its large high resolution screen. And while it looks nice even when the device is off, you really get to appreciate the screen in all its glory once it's turned on. I have to admit, the high pixel per inch (300 ppi) makes the screen absolutely stunning. Everything on the tablet looks crisp and clean, especially on user interface elements. Of course, when it comes to media you'll need to have images and videos that has at least the same resolution if not more. Therefore, even YouTube videos in HD quality will not appear entirely crisp. However, the fact that the screen is of a good size makes that small detail less of an issue for the overall experience. The only thing that I have to note is that I noticed a warm color tint on the Nexus 10"s screen. I have to admit that I'm a bit spoiled by my laptop's 95% NTSC color gamut display, but it looks warmer even when compared to my Nexus 4. This doesn't really change the experience, but it's something I've discovered when comparing them.
google nexus 10 review

Battery Life

The Nexus 10"s battery life is also superb thanks to the 9000 mAh battery that it holds. Under relatively heavy use, the battery drops about 10-15% per hour, so you can easily expect the tablet to last 7 to 10 hours. Of course, if you're out and about during the day, you won't be using it the entire time, so the tablet should last you all day long for whatever you need to do.

Additional Notes

I think that the Nexus 10 is fantastic to use. In addition to its physical convenience, it's quite responsive, and the touchscreen is accurate. Using it isn't any different than using an Android smartphone -- it's simply a lot bigger. In fact, I only see two major differences. First, you can't put a SIM card into the device to receive carrier-provided Internet, so you'll need to be around WiFi whenever you want to use the Internet on it or look into tethering options. Also, some apps aren't tablet optimized, so some may look strange as they're made for the much smaller screens. An example would be the Facebook app on Android, where the top two bars are simply stretched across the screen, and all posts are stretched across the screen as well, with only pictures scaling to fill up all that space. This can be remedied however, as some apps (such as the Adobe Photoshop Touch apps) have tablet and phone versions, where you'll only be able to install the respective app on the correct device. The Gmail app on the Nexus 10, for example, looks great and is incredible to use.

Conclusion

Overall, is the Nexus 10 worth your money? It honestly depends on if you really need it. It's an impressive device no matter how you look at it -- easily one of the best Android tablets yet, in fact. However, I already have a Nexus 4 and powerful laptop. There aren't any tasks that the Nexus 10 is capable of that I'm not already doing on my smartphone and laptop. I don't do any artsy work where a touchscreen would be ideal, and taking notes is actually simplified with a physical keyboard. Yes, you can get a Bluetooth keyboard for the tablet, but I'd rather just use my laptop and save the money. Otherwise, the Nexus 10 is still a very convenient device to bring along for the entire day or to use for entertainment purposes.
google nexus 10 review
When determining whether the Nexus 10 is better than the iPad, you can't just look at the specifications -- you won't find much difference. Instead, it's really a matter of in which ecosystem you have the most data stored, or which ecosystem you prefer the most. If you are invested in the Apple ecosystem, then an iPad is better for you. If you are invested in Google's ecosystem or are looking at getting started with smart devices, then the Nexus 10 is best.
MakeUseOf Recommends: Buy, for its convenience and/or entertainment value.

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