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11:43 AM

Google Nexus 10: Dazzling Display, Great For Work & Play

I praised Google's first Nexus-branded Android tablet, the 7-inch Nexus 7 as the "best bang for the buck of any tablet available" in my last review. Last month, Google began shipping its first 10-inch Nexus, so I wondered, does it follow in the footsteps of its smaller sibling?

Nexus 10 out-of-box tour

Here's an inside look at Nexus 10's default home screens, apps, and widgets. Notice how the Nexus 10's default, out-of-box homescreen is refreshingly free of flashy wallpaper-and-widget eye candy, unlike the usual vendor-branded tablet.

Default home screens

(click images to enlarge)

Below, the 29 Android apps that come preinstalled on the Nexus 10. The screenshot shows the contents of the tablet's App Drawer screen.

Default Apps

(click image to enlarge)

The screenshots in the group below demonstrate Android 4.2's default homescreen folder function. To create folders, simply drag one app launcher onto another, just like on an iPad. Android's default folder function accommodates up to 40 app-launchers and 1x1 widgets per folder. The only option is to name the folder. There are no appearance or style settings — so what you see below is what you get. Later, I'll demonstrate a much more flexible and configurable, Android folder app.

Default Homescreen Folder Function

(click images to enlarge)

Customizing the Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 is based on Android, so its appearance and functionality can be reconfigured without rooting the device. I set my homescreen wallpaper to my favorite nebula image.

Changing the homescreen launcher

Next, I installed Nova, an alternate homescreen launcher, which offers many more configuration options than the tablet's default homescreen launcher. Among its many settings options, Nova lets you enable/disable the Dock, and configure how many cells there are for app-launchers and widgets on the homescreens by specifying the number of rows and columns.

The screenshots below show two versions of my Nexus 10's primary homescreen, in both landscape and portrait orientation. The left pair shows the tablet's default Android homescreen launcher, with 40 cells in the main area and eight in the Dock; those on the right show the revised Nova-based primary homescreen, with 56 cells and the Dock disabled.

Two Homescreen Launchers:
Standard (left) and Nova (right)

(click images to enlarge)

Changing the folder function

The next step in my tablet tweaking process was to install an alternative folder function. Folder Organizer offers significantly more flexibility than the default Android folder function. With Folder Organizer, I was able to configure a Nova-based Nexus 10 homescreen with 14 folders, 32 app-launchers, and three widgets (two 4-cell, one 2-cell), as shown below.

(click image to enlarge)

The screenshots below show the contents of my homescreen's 14 Folder Organizer-based folders.

Alternate Homescreen Folder Function

(click images to enlarge)

Keyboard alternatives

Although the standard Android onscreen keyboard keeps getting better, I prefer the Hacker's Keyboard, a free download from the Google Play market. The set of screenshots below demonstrates some of the differences between these two virtual keyboards, and also makes a case for Google Voice Typing, which can save you lots of time and keystrokes in many situations.

Standard keyboard, Hacker's Keyboard, and Voice Typing

(click images to enlarge)

Although onscreen typing is certainly easier on 10-inch tablets than on 7-inch models, I find that a Bluetooth keyboard greatly increases my typing speed and accuracy, so I like to use one whenever I'm working at a desk. The photos below show two Bluetooth keyboards that work well with the Nexus 10: the Logitech Android keyboard and the Zagg ZaggKeys Flex.

Using the Nexus 10 with Bluetooth keyboards from Logitech (left) and Zagg (right)

(click images to enlarge)

Next Page: One tablet for work and play

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