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

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The Google Nexus 10 has a 5MP rear camera, along with a secondary 1.9MP front facing snapper. As ever I'm really not sure how useful having a camera on a tablet is.

The front facing camera makes some sense as it could be used for Skype and other webcam things, but I have trouble envisaging anyone taking their tablet out to snap pictures on. If anything the front camera should maybe get a boost in quality, even if it meant dropping the megapixel count on the rear camera.

Using the Nexus 10 has done nothing to change my mind about the usefulness of a camera on a tablet. It managed to capture some reasonable quality snaps but nothing particularly eye catching.

Google Nexus 10 review

In fact it can't even match the camera performance of most high end smartphones, which really makes it a bit pointless, since a smartphone is both more portable and by extension more likely to be with you when you're out and about. Plus taking pictures on a tablet inevitably leaves you looking ridiculous.

The camera app itself leaves a lot to be desired too, even after the KitKat update. The odd black bar down the left-hand side of the interface remains when used in landscape orientation and finding where the options lurk isn't particularly intuitive either.

Google Nexus 10 review

Many times when using the snapper I found myself tapping the black nav bar at the bottom of the app and inadvertently exiting the thing.

Unfortunately for Nexus 10 owners, the camera fixes that KitKat 4.4.2 brought to the Nexus 5 - more accurate focussing, less shutter lag, more accurate exposure and less motion blur - are exclusive to that device.

That said though, general responsiveness seems to have improved here so incidences of 'have I actually pressed the shutter button or not' moments are significantly decreased.

Google Nexus 10 review

Still, if you really insist on using your Nexus 10 as a camera there are at least a few different settings to play with. You can turn flash on or off and pick between a handful of scene modes, such as 'action' and 'night'. There's also a panorama mode and the big new feature - 'Photo Sphere'.

Photo Sphere extends the panorama idea by letting you take full 360 degree photos, which can then be viewed in a similar way to Google's 'Street View' service - letting you look up, down and around. In practice - like panorama shots, it's a series of connected photos.

Google Nexus 10 review

Unlike panorama it doesn't always look particularly seamless with odd distortions often appearing in the image where someone has moved or photos have overlapped. Still it's a neat concept and a decent way of bringing a scene to life for those times when video is just too 2011.

Google Nexus 10 Outside 1 sample

The camera produces natural colours and a decent amount of detail- but never threaten 'proper' phones or cameras.

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Indoor Flash Sample

The camera continues to perform well when used indoors with flash

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Indoors No-Flash Sample

Without flash even quite well lit interiors appear dark.

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Traffic

Even when using action mode 30mph traffic comes out blurred.

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Night

Without night mode the camera struggles to pick out anything in the dark but does flood with orange light.

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Panorama

Panorama mode works well with quite pleasing results, although takes 20 seconds to process.

Click here for the full resolution image

Google Nexus 10 Photo Sphere

Click here for the full resolution image

We're not sure whether Photo Sphere is much more than a novelty, but we reckon there will be occasions where it's of some use. Taking a Photo Sphere image takes a lot longer than a single photo or even a panorama - so if time is of the essence then you're best off resisting.

One bugbear that simply has to be mentioned though is with the post-shot editing options.

KitKat brings with it a new photo app in the form of Google Photos, which is essentially a shortcut to the photos section of the Google+ app.

This can open pictures taken with the Nexus 10's camera (that are stored locally on the device), presents you with a load of editing options including white balance adjustments, filters and all the rest of it, and you can also set wallpapers from here.

'What's the problem then'? you might ask. Well, the problem is that the Gallery app is also still here and offers almost exactly the same feature set minus the actual camera functionality. KitKat essentially removes the option to go straight into the Gallery app to tinker with snaps from the camera, instead directing you to the Google Photos app.

A minor gripe it may be to many, but it's one too many digital hoops to jump through if you ask me, especially when you consider that the Gallery has one of two editing options not present in Google Photos.


The Google Nexus 10 can shoot video in Full HD 1080p, but as with the camera I struggle to muster much enthusiasm for it, as I can't think of many occasions when I'd find ourselves reaching for our tablet to film on rather than my phone.

Again, the one real exception is the front facing camera, as I could see that getting some use for Skype and the like, but the main video camera, not so much. Still, with just about every other tablet on the planet packing photo and video capabilities Google and Samsung would be foolish to omit it from this.

Google Nexus 10 review

The video camera's performance roughly matches photos when used indoors. It captures solid quality footage and doesn't take long to refocus when panning.

The video camera manages a reasonable amount of detail in outdoor scenes, though some of that is lost on objects in the background. Fast moving vehicles appear slightly blurred but don't come out too bad.

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.