The Google Nexus 10 is an incredibly important product for Google. With the Nexus 7 it entered the tablet market, but was only really competing with other Android tablets - it was friendly competition and it was against devices that, by and large, had struggled to achieve much market share anyway.

With the Nexus 10 it's inevitably going to be compared to its biggest rival and one of its most successful products: the iPad. In short, it can't afford to get this wrong, so it needs to hit the ground running in the larger tablet market and even then it's going to be an uphill struggle to make much of a dent in the iPad's sales.

Google clearly realised this, because it has delivered a top-end device with a world beating screen (at least in resolution terms) and a modest-enough price tag; but is it enough to topple the iPad and take its place at the top of the heap?

We liked

The display is one of the biggest talking points on the Google Nexus 10. At 300 pixels per inch it's the highest resolution tablet display on the planet. This is a huge coup for Google and Samsung, since the Retina display on the iPad has always been one of its big selling points.

Thanks to having such a great screen it's also superb for watching movies, web browsing and playing games on, delivering a hard-to-match performance for all three. Since media is such a big part of the tablet experience that's a really big deal.

It's a great performer too. Other than taking a while to process panoramic photos we never felt like it was struggling to keep up. It's fast and smooth no matter you throw at it.

Android 4.2 isn't a huge change from Android 4.1, but it brings with it a few nice additions such as Photo Sphere and gesture typing. Being a pure Google device it will also be among the first devices to get subsequent versions of Android, so it's moderately future-proofed in that sense.

Then there's the price tag, it might not be quite as rock bottom as the Google Nexus 7, but it's still a good $100 cheaper than the cheapest iPad 4, which makes it substantially friendlier on the wallet.

We disliked

Let's not beat around the bush - the Google Nexus 10 isn't the most attractive device out. It's shown up by the Nexus 7 and blown away by the iPad in the appearance department. It doesn't look cheap, but it doesn't look great either.

Though the biggest problem is arguably its lack of storage. There's no micro SD card slot and the biggest version you can buy is only 32GB.

If you want to load it up with movies, music and games then you'll find that you quickly run out of space. Free cloud storage for music helps a little, but doesn't eradicate the problem.

Ultimately, unless most of your media is streamed you're likely to run out of space and the cheaper 16GB version will feel even more limited.

The lack of a 3G or 4G version of the Nexus 10 is also disappointing. If Google wants to be able to compete with the iPad it needs to be able to match what it can offer, and in this case the Nexus 10 is found lacking.

We fully expect a 3G (and probably 4G) version will be made available at some point- maybe even quite soon, but we can only work with what we've got and right now we've got a tablet that can't connect to the internet in a substantial amount of places.

Verdict

The Google Nexus 10 is clearly a brilliant tablet. It's got top-end specs at a mid-range price; that alone makes it deserving of attention. Add to that a generally stunning screen and near faultless performance and it really does start to look like an iPad beater.

But after spending some time with it we can't quite be as enthusiastic as we'd like. The lack of expandable storage combined with the fairly limited internal storage really hampers its media capabilities. Since tablets are, for most people, a media-centric device, that's a real issue and the single biggest problem with the Google Nexus 10, along with the screen offering slightly muted colors and contrast ratios.

We don't want to end on a negative note as most of the other problems are little more than nitpicking and it really is an impressive device. If you want a 10-inch Android tablet this is easily one of the best there is, and in this price range it's absolutely the best. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity arguably beats it, but it also costs a lot more.

Looking away from Android we come to the biggest question - how does it fare against the iPad? The reality is that there's not that much to it.

The iPad no longer boasts the highest resolution screen around and is left looking overpriced, while iOS 6 is starting to seem a bit old hat compared to Android 4.2. But it still tops the Nexus 10's display for depth of color; it's got a much more premium build and is available with more storage and 3G connectivity.

Ultimately, other than the price, there's little reason for Apple fans to jump ship to the Nexus 10, equally the Nexus 10 puts up enough of a defense to keep the Android faithful happy.

If Google and Samsung were to retool it with a micro SD card slot and 3G and 4G connectivity then we might have a new king on our hands. But for now, if we have to pick a winner, we'd say that the iPad takes the victory - but just barely.