The first Nexus tablet was made by ASUS and everyone loved it, while the second slate under the Nexus brand was made by Samsung and it’s dubbed the Nexus 10. Does everyone give this model the same amount of love as the Nexus 7? Well, so and so, but let’s find out more from our full review, available after the break.

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First of all, I’d like to apologize for publishing this review so late, since the tablet was announced in October 2012 and released in November. We had a hard time getting a unit for testing and this device experienced shortages all over the world, as you know. So, we’re dealing with a 10 inch tablet priced at $399, which is a very good price, especially for the tablet with the highest resolution on the market.

It measures 8.9 mm in thickness, weighs 603 grams and uses Gorilla Glass 2 protection. We’ve got a rubberized texture back on this device, that gives you very nice grip. However, keep in mind that the material at the back is not rubber, it just feels like it. At the top of the Nexus 10 we’ve got the On/Off button and volume buttons, while at the bottom there’s the magnetic pogo pin charger. On the left side there’s microUSB port and audio jack, while on the right side there’s the microHDMI.

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Upfront we’ve got a pair of huge speakers and the display, plus the front camera. At the back there’s the 5 megapixel camera with flash and a plastic lid around the cam that has no purpose. This slate is slightly curved and sits nicely in the user’s hand. The plastic soft touch back helps with grip, but it also makes your palms sweaty. The product feels resilient and it’s actually 50 grams lighter than the iPad 4.

We also did a temperature test with the device, by playing 45 minutes of a hardcore 3D game and measuring the temperature on the slate. It reached 45 degrees Celsius in an area that you won’t actually reach with your hands, so it’s OK, although the temperature is kind of big.

On the hardware side, we’ve got a 10.1 inch display with a Super PLS TFT capacitive touchscreeen and True RGB Real Stripe PLS technology. The resolution here is a crazy 2560 x 1600 pixels, that amounts to a density of 299 ppi. Inside we’ve got 16/32 GB of storage, 2 GB of RAM and also the brain of the tablet: a dual core Cortex A15 1.7 GHz processor of the Exynos 5250 kind.

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Nexus 10 also features a quad core Mali T604 GPU and as far as connectivity goes, we get all the options we need: WiFi b/g/n, Mimo, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, MicroUSB. Other specs include an accelerometer, GPS, gyroscope, barometer, compass and DLNA. NFC is available both on the front and back of the device. Now, moving on to the battery, this is a non removable Li-Polymer power source, with a capacity of 9000 mAh, that’s good enough for 500 hours of standby functioning or 7 hours of continuous video playback. The bad thing is that you need about 5 hours to fully charge the battery.

As far as audio playback goes, those huge speakers come in hand and they provide great volume and great bass. There’s excellent clarity and absolutely no distorsion even when you listen to the maximum level of volume. The stock audio player supports MP3 files, FLAC, WAV and WMV and this is one of the best tablets when it comes to acoustic experience.

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Moving further to the video playback, the 10 inch screen gives you excellent color reproduction, great clarity, but frankly it needs more brightness. View angles could also be a bit better, but the text, oh my, the text. The text shown on the tablet is incredibly crisp, both the names of apps shown under icons and the web pages. The 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution is stunning and the UI looks great.

Sadly the blacks are not that deep, especially compared to the AMOLED panels. Overall, the display is below the one on the iPad 3 and iPad 4, if you ask me. Meanwhile, the camera is a pleasant surprise and while it does take noisy indoor shots, the outdoor ones are actually above my expectations. The colors are slightly oversaturated, but that’s it. Pics look crisp and contrast is decent. However, the video tends to lose focus and it’s less impressive.

You’ve got a full photo gallery here and a video sample below:

On the OS side there’s Android 4.2.2 with a bunch of stock apps and Chrome as the web browser. We also used 3D Mark to test the device and the freshly launched benchmark actually wielded great results, pretty close to 8000 points, while the maximum is about 10k or 11k. The other benchmarks don’t quite matter, since they don’t seem totally optimized for Android 4.2.

For example in Quadrant we scored 4600 points, below Galaxy Note 10.1 and its 5000 points, while in AnTuTu we scored a more realistic 13k points beating the ASUS Transformer Infinity Pad for example by 1000 points. On the GPU side, we’ve got 55.5 FPS, below Galaxy Note 10.1 and its 58.9 FPS. Once again, these are irrelevant, because they’re not optimized.

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As far as software is concerned, I was underwhelmed by Android 4.2 experience on a 10 inch display. We’ve got what look like two sliding vertical bars, one for notification and the other for toggles. Frankly, I would have liked a single one or the bottom right corner notification area that was available previously. Improvements brought by Android 4.2 include new Cards in Google Now, Photo Sphere in the Camera area and lockscreen widgets.

And now the verdict! Here are the Pros of the tablet:

  • the price is very good
  • huge resolution
  • excellent speakers
  • good grip
  • surprisingly good camera
  • presence of HDMI port
  • good CPU and GPU

And the Cons:

  • underwhelming viewing angels
  • huge battery charging (5 hours)
  • no microSD
  • Android 4.2 and its 10 inch display UI
  • the back gets dirty easily

We give this device a 9 out of 10 for design, a 9 for hardware and a 9.5 out of 10 for OS and UI, for a total of 9.16 out of 10, which makes it an excellent choice of a tablet nowadays. The price is a huge factor here, since $399 is pretty affordable, especially when compared to the iPads. Also, the crazy resolution and surprising camera are aspects to consider.