Skip to main content
Google Nexus 10 review
The definitive Google Nexus 10 review

When you turn the Google Nexus 10 on you're greeted with the standard Jelly Bean lock screen. It displays wallpaper, which can be changed to anything of your choosing.

At the top the time is written in big white writing. Below that there's the day and date in smaller writing and lower still a padlock icon, which you can slide left to launch the camera, right to unlock the tablet or up to launch Google Now.

Read more: Google Home Hub

Google Nexus 10 lockscreen

We've seen Google Now before on the first version of Android 4.1: Jelly Bean; it shows 'cards' with useful information determined based on the time, day and your location, along with any custom parameters you've put in place. So for example it might display a card with the local weather every morning, along with one showing traffic details for the route you take to work.

Throughout the day it will update with upcoming calendar events and interesting nearby places. It's a great idea, a sort of visual virtual assistant, but it felt a bit too limited as it only had a handful of cards on offer.

Google Nexus 10 Google Now

Android 4.2 has seen it get a bit of an overhaul with loads more cards added. These include things like flight information, event, hotel and restaurant booking confirmations, movie times at local theaters, interesting photo spots in the local area and more besides. All in all it makes Google Now a lot more full featured and a lot closer to fulfilling its potential.

Google Nexus 10 Google Now Search

As before, Google Now can be launched from any screen by dragging the home button upwards, and for anything that isn't covered by your cards you can initiate a voice search, which will either give a spoken answer like Siri or perform a web search and display relevant results.

It can also be used to perform simple actions such as launching apps and it does a pretty good job of understanding what you're asking.

Google Now is a great feature and it's now even more useful; however, it's better suited to phones than tablets, as you're more likely to have your phone on and with you throughout the day. Not to mention the fact that it requires a data connection and right now the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi only, so you won't be able to use Google Now all that much when out and about.

Google Nexus 10 homescreen

Once on the homescreen it's standard, familiar Android through and through. There's a search bar at the top which can be used to search both Google and the tablet's contents through text or voice.

The voice search is the same as the one used in Google Now, so you can get spoken answers and launch apps with it.

At the bottom of the screen you'll find the standard Android dock, which initially has icons for the app drawer, the Chrome browser, Gmail, Play Books, Play Movies, Play Music, YouTube, and Google Play in it, along with a folder full of other Google apps such as Google Plus, Maps, People and Currents. Of course, other than the app drawer these can all be removed from the dock or swapped for other apps and shortcuts.

Google Nexus 10 homescreen 2

There are five home screens available for you to fill with whatever apps, folders and widgets you want and you just swipe across the screen to flip between them. The screen is incredibly smooth and responsive as you'd expect from a high end tablet.

There's no sign of stutter or slow down, just silky smooth transitions, which is impressive as even the quad core Google Nexus 7 has the occasional hiccup, but in our time with the Nexus 10 it performed almost flawlessly.

Google Nexus 10 multitask

A black bar at the bottom of the screen contains the back button, which cycles back to the previous screen you were on. To the right of it there's the menu button which takes you back to your homescreens; alternatively, if you swipe upwards from it Google Now will open.

Finally, to the right of that there's the multi-task button. Tapping that brings up thumbnails of all your open apps and windows; tapping on one will switch to it while swiping across it will close it. It's worth re-iterating that none of these are physical buttons, they're software ones.

Google Nexus 10 notifications

At the very top of each screen there's another thin black bar showing the time, the battery level and any active connections, such as Wi-Fi. Swiping down across the black bar brings down the notifications bar and this is a bit different to what we're used to. Previously there was just one notifications bar, but with Android 4.2 you get two.

Slide down across the left side of the screen and you get the familiar one with the time and date at the top and any uncleared notifications listed. These include things like emails, calendar events and social network updates. It shows you the sender (where applicable) along with the first couple of lines of text to give you a preview of the contents, while tapping on it will open the full message or details. An icon at the top right of the notifications screen will let you clear it.

Google Nexus 10 notifications 2

So far, so familiar, but if you slide down from the top right of the tablet screen you'll get a different notifications bar altogether, or rather, a settings bar. It's a thin black strip that takes up roughly half the width of the screen and is overlaid on top of whatever screen you were on, much like the standard notifications screen.

However, rather than notifications it has options to adjust the brightness, turn airplane mode on or off, toggle Wi-Fi and more. You can also get to the main settings screen from here.

Despite the fact that they would both fit on the screen (in landscape orientation at any rate), you can't bring both of these bars down at once, as trying to bring a second one down will close the first.

Google Nexus 10 app drawer

Tapping on the app drawer at the bottom of your home screen brings up a list of all your apps. You can swipe between pages, much like you swipe between homescreens. Tapping on an app will open it while long pressing it will let you add it to one of your homescreens, delete it or view information on it (such as the size).

Google Nexus 10 widgets

There's also a widgets tab in the app drawer, which lets you see a preview of how any widgets would look, while long pressing one lets you place it on the homescreen. When placing a widget or app, anything else on the homescreen will move around to accommodate it. You can also create folders to keep things organised.