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12/6/2012
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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?

Google Nexus 10 front and back

(click images to enlarge)

At first glance, Google's new tablet, the Nexus 10 has an impressive bright, crisp 2560x1600 (300ppi) IPS display, which Google touts as "the world's highest resolution tablet display." In contrast, the iPad 3's 9.7-inch "retina" display has 2048x1536, 264ppi resolution.

Exinos 5250 SoC
(click to enlarge)
Physically, the Nexus 10 stays well within the 0.4-inch thickness and 22-ounce weight typical of well-designed 10-inch tablets. The Nexus 10 has an elegant appearance, with gently rounded corners and a hint of ovalness. Its rubbery back surface makes it more comfortable to hold than Apple's more ridged iPads.

The Nexus 10 sports a Samsung Exinos 5250 system-on-chip (SoC) application processor, which integrates dual ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores, clocked at 1.7GHz, plus a rich set of system controllers (see the block diagram at right). Memory resources include 2GB of high-speed DDR3 SDRAM, 16 or 32 GB of flash, and a quad-core Mali T604 GPU (graphics processing unit) turbocharges the tablet's 2D and 3D graphics performance.

Just 0.4-inch thick, despite its beefy 9,000 mAh battery

How Samsung, who builds the Nexus 10 for Google, managed to squish so much computing muscle along with a 9000mAh power pack into such a svelte body is a mystery. The body also has Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which enables the use of up to 20 percent thinner glass while maintaining "industry-leading" damage resistance, toughness, and scratch-resistance, according to Corning.


How the Nexus 10 compares to the Nexus 7

The devices were designed with two different hardware partners. Samsung manufactured the Nexus 10 and Asus made the Nexus 7. To find out how the two tablets compare, I summarize their key features and specs in the table below.

Comparison of Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 features and specs

Nexus 7 Nexus 10
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core 1.7GHz dual-core
RAM 1GB 2GB
Internal flash 16GB or 32GB 16GB or 32GB
microSD expansion no no
Display resolution 1280x800 2560x1600
Display size 5.95 x 3.7 8.55 x 5.35
Display area 22 sq-in 46 sq-in
Display density 216ppi 300ppi
Front camera 1.2MP 1.9MP
Rear camera no 5MP
Video output no micro-HDMI
WiFi yes yes
Bluetooth v3.0 v3.0
GPS yes yes
Cellular data option yes no
Battery 4325 mAh 9000 mAh
Size (in.) 7.8 x 4.7 x 0.4 10.4 x 7.0 x 0.4
Weight 12 oz 21 oz
Price (WiFi-only models) $200 (16GB)
$250 (32GB)
$400 (16GB)
$500 (32GB)

On top of all that, both tablets have NFC short-range wireless, which implements an Android Beam function, and both have built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer sensors. Unique to the Nexus 10 are a magnetic "Pogo pin" port on the bottom, for docking and charging, and a barometric sensor, which can be used in altimeter applications.

Also, the Nexus 10 implements MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) WiFi. The use of multiple receive/transmit antennas enables boosting WiFi performance by up to 400 percent, according to Google.

Next Page: Nexus 10 out-of-box tour

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