The Nexus 10 is Google's first 10 inch tablet, and it's a winner. Made by Samsung, the tablet showcases Samsung's ability to make a very slim and appealing tablet with a blockbuster screen, minus the super-slippery gloss plastics found on Samsung brand tablets. The Nexus 10 has a 10.1" WQXFGA 2560 x 1600 PLS display that's incredibly sharp, bright and has balanced colors. It's every bit as good as the iPad with Retina Display when it comes to display quality. At 300 ppi, even tiny text is clear and easy to read and photos and videos look superb. Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and a bonded display make for a durable and good looking display.
This is the first Android product with the Exynos 5 Dual CPU, and it's fast. Yes, it's only a dual core vs. the quad core Exynos 4 found in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II, but it not only benchmarks as well, but it feels supremely fast. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Project Butter speed optimizations no doubt help, but it makes our Nexus 7 running the same OS feel a tad sluggish. The tablet has 2 gigs of RAM and your choice of 16 or 32 gigs of storage. The bad news? There's no microSD card slot and no USB host for external flash drives and hard drives.
While the Nexus 7 goes after the budget segment, the Nexus 10 isn't bargain-priced vs. competing Android tablets. The 16 gig is $399 and the 32 gig is $499. But you get top notch features for the price (other than the lack of external storage, which Google abhors). There's dual band WiFi with MIMO, Bluetooth,, NFC with dual side NFC, a GPS and micro HDMI out. The tablet has a sharp 1.9MP front camera and a decent 5MP rear camera with LED flash that can shoot 1080p video and still captures simultaneously. The Nexus 10 has haptic feedback, an ambient light sensor, digital compass, gyro and an ample 9,000 mAh battery.
Front an aesthetic standpoint we're conflicted. On the one hand the tablet feels solid and strong and we adore the rubbery soft touch finish on the back. It's thin at 0.35 inches and reasonably light at 1.39 pounds. But the rounded sizes look a little like a kid's tablet, the bezel is fairly large (though that does allow for plenty of space to grip the tablet) and it's neither pretty nor sexy. Well made with no flex and a good feel? Yes? A head-turner? Not so much.
Stability and speed have been top notch after a rocky start when installing apps in groups of 10 has the tablet crash twice. Since then it's been silky smooth and responsive and stable. The stock Chrome web browser is more prone to crashing than other apps, but so far it's been well behaved. Jelly Bean and Chrome support HTML5 video but not Adobe Flash Player. We did install the free Boat browser and side-load Flash Player from Adobe's website and had success with Flash and sites like Amazon Instant Video.
Since this is a Google reference device, you get vanilla Android with no manufacturer UI add ons like TouchWiz or HTC Sense. Advanced users and Android purists will love this, and the tablet is easy to root and loading custom ROMs is straightforward. Average non-techie consumers might feel a little lost since there's no extra software bundle to get you going with Office docs, alternative video players or third party utilities. You can download these from the Google Play Store, but newbies may have no idea what apps to look for.