Talk about timing. As Apple’s latest tablet, the 4th generation iPad, officially goes on sale today, Google has lifted its embargo, giving early Nexus 10 holders the green light to post their reviews.

Google announced the 10-inch slate on Monday, and with its 2,560×1,600 display, 1.7GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM, it’s said to be a serious iPad contender. But what did reviewers think?

For a little background, the device is manufactured by Samsung, and is the first full-sized tablet to bear Google’s flagship Nexus brand. It’s $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, and $100 more for 32GB.

Engadget seems to be really impressed with the display:

“We’ll type it again just because it’s kind of neat: 2,560 x 1,600. That’s an awful, awful lot of pixels in just a 10.1-inch PLS LCD panel — way more than a 1080p HDTV contains. That it’s in something that comfortably can be carried around, and that can be acquired for under $400, is quite a marvelous feat. It’s good to live in the future.

And, indeed, things look fantastically sharp here. Text is rendered incredibly crisply and the UI looks better than ever. The first-party icons are all crisp and clean, though many third-party app icons do look like they could use a new, higher-resolution rendering. Thankfully, the apps themselves overwhelmingly look fine.

CNET calls it Android’s most promising tablet, but says it’s still no iPad-killer:

“The Nexus isn’t an iPad-killer. At least not in its current state. There are still a few performance issues that Google needs to iron out, and until we get more information on the pogo charger’s pricing and availability, the slow charging issue will remain a particular sticking point. I’m also, eagerly awaiting how the apps situation pans out leading up to release. There are a few apps that look great on the tablet, but I want to see more than a handful.”

The Verge agrees:

“The Nexus 10 feels like Google’s open letter to developers. “Look how great Android tablets can be,” the company seems to be saying, “if only you’d make great apps!” The Nexus 10’s display is every bit the Retina’s equal, the build quality is excellent, and it even has a half-decent set of speakers. Android 4.2 is more stable than ever, and Android does a lot of great things iOS simply doesn’t. But you take it out of the box, say it’s beautiful and fast… then what? Apple’s tablet has 250,000-plus other apps that look and work great on a huge, high-res screen, and Android’s ecosystem is leagues behind. The Nexus 10 is a great way to watch movies, but there’s absolutely no way it’s going to replace your laptop the way the iPad could.”

And here’s SlashGear’s take:

“There’s no denying that Samsung and Google have put together an impressively specified tablet in the Nexus 10. The incredibly high-resolution display is wrapped up with a very capable processor, and while the Nexus 7 feels like it makes some compromises in order to hit its price point, there’s less of a sense that the 10-inch version was built to a budget.

That, and Jelly Bean 4.2′s software improvements, only serve to highlight the lingering drawback to Android tablets: the shortage of good applications. Android phone users have a significant number of titles to choose from, but too many expect tablet users to make do with magnified versions of the same on their bigger screens. When you’re talking about a panel as pixel-dense as the Nexus 10, that’s a travesty.”

And TechCrunch:

“Apple has an advantage, but Google is right there on the cusp of something amazing. Maybe you don’t agree with my statement that Android has a leg up for the tablet experience, but it’s worth thinking about. Perhaps Mr. Brin can stop playing with glasses for a few months and help design a killer tablet. I’ll buy it, as long as it’s running Jelly Bean 4.2 OS or beyond.

It really is that good, and I’ll probably switch between it and the Nexus 7 when I’m not “wired in.”

The consensus on the Nexus 10 seems to be that the display is gorgeous, though despite the resolution difference, it’s not real discernible from the iPad’s Retina screen. The plastic body is easy to hold and grip. And the processor is fast enough to handle pretty much anything you throw at it.

But the main issue with the tablet, mentioned in every review, is the Android app ecosystem. There’s only a handful of  tablet-specific apps in Google’s Play Store, and even fewer that look good on the Nexus 10’s high resolution display. This is where the whole fragmentation issue comes into play.

The Verge gave the tablet a score of an 8.3, a full point lower than its fourth gen iPad score, for this very reason, saying that “there’s absolutely no way it’s going to replace your laptop the way the iPad could.”

It sounds like if you just have to have an iPad-alternative, this is a decent choice. But overall, in the tablet world, Apple still remains king. The Nexus 10 goes on sale starting November 13.


  • i don’t like it 😛

  • abujafer

    I feel sorry for Google here. They made, quite literally, the best tablet out there right now, and yet it ISN’T the best, for reasons outside their control. Google has tried to give developers incentive to develop for Android, but they’re just not coming up with the apps Google needs for a compelling tablet ecosystem.

    However, I completely disagree with the Verge’s statement on Android’s inability to replace a laptop. The fact that Android tablets support not just USB devices (mice, keyboards, storage, etc.), but the ability to actually download files off of the internet, make it an even better “work device” than the iPad is. I know a roommate of mine had his Thinkpad tablet be his main device (he had no laptop or smartphone, now he has a Thinkpad laptop and an iPhone 5 :D) for almost 2 months, and he got all his work done, whenever he wanted it. Eventually, when we hit programming, he had to sell it and get a laptop, but up until that point it was a full-laptop replacement. That’s something I have yet to see the iPad do, and no number of apps can replace that versatility Android tablets enjoy.

    That’s just one side of it though; for people who don’t do much work (if any) on their tablets, the iPad is a much better tablet than any Android one out there, no matter what the resolution. The app ratio is absolutely massive, and it’ll take a lot for Android to catch up. It all depends on what you think a tablet can be used for, and that’s pretty much the only reason tablets like the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 exist, despite the iPad being bigger, better, and with a lot more apps.

    • haridsv

      The problem is iOS apps are strictly made to the target screen resolution, which means they look awful when scaled up to a bigger screen or one with higher resolution. On the other hand Android apps are built from ground up to adapt to different resolutions, due to the inherent diversity in the ecosystem. Because of this, when an app is not made to take advantage of the “bigger” screens, those apps don’t look awful, which reduces the incentive for the developer to improve it. It is unfortunate that the “low tech” layout technology that iOS employs is helping them gain more tablet optimized apps.

    • Kenny

      That’s one way to look at it. But another way is it doesn’t matter about the versatility of the tablet, but what you can actually do with it. I’ve recently started to use android, I think it’s an amazing operating system. But with my iPad I can do all the functions a computer an do needed for work or school, but android most of the time can’t. So from another point of view the Verge’s statement if quite true. Your right that versatility can’t fix hardware versatility, but that’s not what replacing a laptop means. Ultimately, software is the fate behind any operating system or device.

  • why of all reviewers CNET is always the most biased when it come to apple

    • travist6983

      Kinda surprised that Tech Crunch wasn’t Apple biased but it must not have been MG writing

  • IOS is still a closed operating system which is why Android has the uppehand. This is also a reason why most homes run Windows computers instead of Apple. I think people (me for example) want an open internet experience. Yes I will get viruses and malware with the type of downloading I do, but thats my right as soon as I purchase the product. I loved IOS for many years and I wanted an ipad mini really bad but after owning a Galaxy S3 I cant wait to get my hands on an Android tablet

    • Kurt

      ios is an ok OS, but it’s not as good as android or win 8. i love windows 8. and since windows is in most homes, apps will flourish. when i see an iphone i think 2007. when i see an ipad 4 i think of the ipad 1. it just doesnt change. maybe its cause im not a follower? so i need change and want innovation. win 8 is so innovative. so is android, though im not familiar with the os. apple is the least innovative. thats why i won’t ever buy another iphone. i cant wait to change from iphone 4s to another phone. perhaps nokia.

  • only thing that kills android tablets is the severe lack of proper tablet apps.

    • Yujin

      Exactly, the cheap suckers that will buy this are nerds that get exited over phone apps enlarged to fit a screen. While it is a great piece of hardware…design sucks looks like a webos tablet and the software is its biggest problem.., apple has the apps, the hardware and the deign with support and ease of used…you can’t beat that.

  • Yeah I’m afraid I’m going to have to go with iPad on this one, I mean the iPad has a gr… wait a minute… Is that a teeny tiny picture of a topless Mila Kunis on that Nexus 10? Nexus 10 FTW!

  • Yujin

    The hardware is impressive, wrap it in metal and you will have a well design ipad contender…BUT their ecosystem sucks…cheap tablet but cheap enlarged apps. If I have a top display, then I want apps made for that screen while google has the best specs for a screen. I’m sure the graphic processor of the ipad 4 will kick its ass..

  • on 9to5 they have a vid of the nexus 10 being reviewed and the lag that thing has is appalling and would drive me crazy. it won’t take anything away from the iPad. the upscaled phone apps are an eyesore. it’s good Android sticks around to keep competition going so my iPad keeps getting better and better.

  • Just got done reading all the comments. While i own an iphone 4s , i absolutely see no reason for me to own another IOS device simply because i’m going to get the same IOS experience be it an iphone 5 , or ipad 4 or ipad mini.

    That being said , im extremly happy for google and their headway into a new tablet and phone. I wish for more competitors in the future and i’m happy that people aren’t only looking at the Ipad. Yes while i agree ipad is king , there are alot of other tablets which can or could do the same job

    When there is competition there is no monoply :). I have a windows 7 laptop , An apple phone ,and my next gadget which i would like to own should have a android platform. That way i get to try the best of everything.

    PS: Cnet always seems to be biased towards Apple in all their reviews .

    • U hit it right on. IOS is the same across all devices. If you want a different experience you will have to get a different platform

  • Stephen Theriault

    For everyone who says the apps available aren’t good enough, you may be right, but that wont last. How is it you expect apps to be available in a resolution only available on an unreleased deceive? The apps will come, Android is growing in market share and as it does the developer community will be further incentivized to develop on the platform.