The big bragging point Google is pushing with its new Nexus 10 tablet is its iPad-besting display: more than 4 million pixels, 300 per inch, spread across a 10.055-inch display. The 2,560 x 1,600 resolution is the highest on any tablet ever to hit the consumer market. Everything looks good. Books, magazines, films, apps, photos. Everything.
The Google’s Vision for Nexus-10 is crystal clear that -Anything less would have been a failure on Google’s part.
Apple’s iPads (third or fourth generation) and their 2,048 x 1,536 pixel displays are still gorgeous. When you sit a Retina-display-equipped iPad side-by-side with a Nexus 10, the difference really comes down to personal preference. They’re both gorgeous, both nearly as good as the printed page. They’re so dense that distinguishing between pixels with the naked eye is nearly impossible. Hell, Samsung, the company that actually produces the Nexus 10 (which it designed in collaboration with Google) makes a lot of the Retina displays used in the Apple’s iPads. On top of all that, we’ve seen Android tablets with Retina-quality displays before — let’s not forget the beautiful Asus Transformer Pad Infinity while we’re talking big, beautiful tablets here.
But while it’s the display that will get the most attention here, the Nexus 10 really is about much more. I’ve spent limited time with the Nexus 10 and what I’ve been most surprised by is how much more satisfying it is to use than any of Samsung’s previous tablets. There are currently 15 Android Tablets listed on Samsung’s website — a 7-inch Galaxy Tab here, a Galaxy Note 10.1 there. These are some of the best tablets on the market, but none of them feel terribly important or special. The Nexus 10 does.
First, because it’s a Nexus device, this tablet runs a pure version of Google’s Android operating system — specifically the awesome new Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Free of any UI tweaks, skins, or overlays, this is easily the best Android experience out there. And it’s made even more so because of the Nexus 10’s horesepower, including 2GB of RAM and Samsung’s 1.7GHz Exynos 5 dual-core CPU. Everything feels fluid and quick, and that’s important, because Android tablets tend to stutter in even their most fundamental of functions, such as simple swipes between home screens or when multitasking.
As we first saw on the Nexus 7, Google is focusing the Nexus 10 on the content you have purchased (or at least the stuff Google hopes you will purchase) from the Google Play digital storefront. Turn on the Nexus 10, set it up, and you’ll be greeted by a large My Library widget on the main home screen. The My Library displays the books, magazines, music, TV shows and movies you’ve recently read, watched or listened to.
If you haven’t bought anything from Google Play yet, you’ll still see stuff pop up — a copy of Ice Age to stream, downloads of Treasure Island and the Three Musketeers or the latest issue of Esquire (all of which come free to Nexus 10 owners). Tap on any item in the widget and you’ll be taken into Google’s Music, Books, Magazines or Movies apps, which take you back out to Google Play when you want to buy something.
The message is clear — Google wants to make the Nexus 10 a device for fun. The design of the tablet reinforces this. The back panel is a grippy plastic that makes the Nexus 10 much better than previous Samsung tablets and even the iPad for one-handed use. The front-facing speakers sound as good as can be expected of this sort of tiny built-ins. (Connecting a nice set of headphones or a bluetooth speaker is always a better way to go.) The tablet also has rounded corners and a nice wedge shape, slimming down to its bottom edge, that makes it a bit friendlier to hold for longer stretches of time.