Google Nexus 10 review

A great value full size tablet with only a few minor shortcomings

Google Nexus 10 review
The definitive Google Nexus 10 review

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The Google Nexus 10 is an incredibly important product for Google. The brand entered the tablet market with the Nexus 7, 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 - at least until the iPad Mini arrived.

The Google Nexus 10 had more to live up to, because it was inevitably compared to the iPad 4 and now the iPad Air, which is one of Apple's most successful products.

In short Google couldn't afford to get this wrong, so it needed to hit the ground running in the larger tablet market. And even then it was going to be an uphill struggle to make much of a dent in the iPad's sales.

Google clearly realised this, because it delivered a then top-end device with a world-class screen and a comparatively modest price tag.

We liked

The display is one of the biggest talking points on the Google Nexus 10. At 300 pixels per inch it was the highest resolution tablet display on the planet when launched, and it still stands up well now.

It's no longer quite as impressive a feat as it once seemed, but it's still enough to make it stand out from the tablet crowd.

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 whatever you throw at it.

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 deal cheaper than the cheapest iPad Air, 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 stakes. It doesn't look cheap as such, but it doesn't look great either.

The biggest problem though 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 even with that 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 Apple's iPad can offer, and in this case the Nexus 10 is found lacking.

For a while I held out hope that Google and Samsung might release an updated version with 3G and possibly also 4G, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen, unfortunately.


The Google Nexus 10 is clearly a brilliant tablet. It has high-end specs at a mid-range price, and 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 I can't quite be as enthusiastic as I'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 colours and contrast ratios.

I don't want to end on a negative note though, since most of the other problems are little more than nitpicking, and it really is an impressive device. If you want a 10.1-inch Android tablet this is still easily one of the best there is, and in this price range it's absolutely the best.

Looking away from Android we come to the biggest question - how does it fare against the iPad? The reality is the iPad Air trumps the Nexus 10 in terms of premium design and fluidity - but it comes at a cost. A really big cost.

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 defence to keep the Android faithful happy.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.