Google Nexus 10 vs. Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 Android Tablet Comparison
The Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 is the newest Android tablet on the block. The Google Nexus 10 is still fresh and is one of the hottest Android tablets on the market. Both are top name brand 10.1" tablets with compelling specs, but the MeMO Pad Smart 10 costs $100 less. So what you do you get for that extra $100 when you buy the Nexus 10?
The Nexus 10 is made by Samsung for Google. It's available with 16 or 32 gigs of storage for $399 and $499. It has a superb 2560 x 1600 PLS display, Samsung's new A15 Exynos 5 dual core CPU with MALI T604 graphics and 2 gigs of RAM. It has a front 1.9MP camera and a rear 5MP camera with LED flash that match the same hardware in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The tablet has dual band WiFi with MIMO, Bluetooth, NFC and a GPS. The Nexus 10 has an unusual back that looks and feels like black rubber. It's distinctive, super-grippy and durable. Is it attractive? That's a matter of taste. Under the grippy stuff, it's plastic.
Asus is good at bringing well appointed and attractive products to market at low prices. Their Transformer line offered top specs for the time at a price that was aggressive. As a "budget" product that sells for $299 for the 16 gig model (that's the only available storage capacity), the specs look mighty good. You get a 1280 x 800 IPS display, NVidia Tegra 3 quad core CPU with GeForce graphics, 1 gig of RAM, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS. There's a front 1.2MP camera and a rear 5MP camera. Unlike the metal-clad Asus Transformer Infinity TF700, this one dresses in plastic, much like the Transformer TF300. There's no texture on the back, and it's a simple and clean look. It's available in dark blue, pink and white.
Easy one, you know that class leading Google Nexus 10 is going to win this one. It has massively higher resolution than the MeMO Pad 10, so text is keenly sharp. Beyond that, it's noticeably brighter than the Asus, though colors are pleasing on both.
Winner: Nexus 10
Performance and Horsepower
Until Tegra 4 models start shipping, you'll never hear me complain about having a Tegra 3 inside. The Asus MeMO Pad 10 has a fast quad core Tegra CPU that runs at 1.2GHz with multiple cores active and up to 1.4GHz with a single core active. Gamers will see the Tegra as an advantage because you'll be able to run Tegra Zone enhanced games: the THD versions that have added water effects and sometimes more details like the banners that appear on the walls in Shadowgun. You'll have to forego these special effects on the non-Tegra Nexus 10.
But don't lose heart: the 1.7GHz Exynos 5 dual core with Mali-T604 quad core graphics offers a new ARM-A15 architecture that's wickedly fast and has graphics that benchmark even faster than the GeForce graphics in the Tegra 3 package. The Nexus 10 benchmarks faster overall and feels faster too.
Honestly, for the average non-enthusiast user, these are both fast tablets with more speed than many folks need.
Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10: 3309 Nexus 10: 4959
GLBench 2.5 (Egypt Classic test):
Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10: 53 fps (34 fps offscreen) Nexus 10: 50 fps (89 fps offscreen)
Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10: 12,421 Nexus 10: 13,658
And there's storage speed, the bane of Asus' existence. Asus Transformer Android tablets have notoriously slow internal storage. We'd hoped that Asus had improved this, since they generally respond quickly to customer feedback. In fact, the MeMO's storage is 2x faster than the Asus Transformer TF300. But the MeMO Pad Smart 10 benchmarks at less than half the speed of the Google Nexus 10 in the AndroBench benchmark that measures storage performance. We no longer see the "wait or force close" dialogs as we did with prior Asus Transformer tablets, but apps like Real Racing 3 that load a significant amount of data from internal storage do take noticeably longer to load.
Winner: Google Nexus 10, Asus MeMO Pad 10 gets the nod for Tegra Zone gaming enhancements.
OS: Friendly Enhancements vs. Pure Android and Quick OS Updates
Unlike some Android device manufacturers, Asus is quick to offer OS updates for their tablets. If you buy an Asus tablet, you'll likely be among the first to see whatever shiny new Android version Google lets loose. But with a Nexus device, you will be the very first, bar none. If getting the latest OS versions makes your fingers dance and your lips twitch into a grin, get the Nexus 10. That said, you may sometimes feel like a beta tester because some recent incremental OS 4.x Jelly Bean updates have been a little quirky.
For those of you who want to root your tablet and install custom ROMs, a Nexus device is your top choice. Nothing stands in the way of you and an unlocked bootloader and rooting is a breeze. If you have no idea what I just said, then don't worry, it simply means you're not the type to load different ROMs or operating systems like Ubuntu onto your beloved tablet.
With the Asus tablet, you get some thoughtful UI customizations and genuinely useful apps rather than bare naked Android. For average consumers, this is often a plus since the tablet has UI tweaks to get things done quicker (for example Asus' customization of the settings menu puts many settings just a tap away). And you get a starter set of apps like Asus' excellent SuperNote, their ePUB ebook reader and an app that can backup all your apps. There's also an app locker to keep kids and friends from snooping where they shouldn't, and a decent file manger. Granted, you can download free or paid apps that do the same thing on the Nexus 10, but for newbies, it's nice to have apps to get you started.
Winner: Tie. This depends on your needs; techie types will gravitate toward the Nexus while everyday consumers will see a lot of value in Asus' customizations and apps.
Miscellany: USB Host and Charging Times
Both tablets have USB host that works with their micro USB port (both tablets also use the micro USB port for charging, so you can't charge when you use USB). Google was supposed to offer a pogo charger that would free up the micro USB port and speed up that dreaded 6 hour charging time, but it's still not out (there is a third party pogo cable available, which we'll be testing). The Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 charges in 3 to 4 hours, but it has a smaller battery. Our Nexus 10 lasts somewhat longer on a charge than the Asus: 8 to 8.5 hours vs. 7 to 7.5 hours.
There's a catch with USB host on the Google Nexus 10: it works fine with HID USB peripherals (mice, keyboards and game controllers) but it doesn't support mass storage devices like flash drives and hard drives. The Asus MeMO Pad does support these. With the Nexus 10, you'll have to buy Nexus Media Importer for $2.99 on the Google Play Store to use mass storage devices (you can view content, copy content but you can't write to USB drives).
The Asus has a microSD card slot while the Nexus 10 doesn't since Google abhors removable storage.
Winner: Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 for full USB host, the microSD card slot and quicker charging times, though it doesn't run as long on a charge as the Nexus 10.
Here's our Google Nexus 10 vs. Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 Comparison Smackdown video: