I wasn’t one of the first Apple fans on the iPad bandwagon. I held out for a while, due to the price and not knowing how such a device would fit into my digital routine. However, once I got a first gen iPad a few months after its release, it quickly became my favorite consumer […]
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The Nexus 10 from an iOS user’s perspective

nexus-10-homescreen

I wasn’t one of the first Apple fans on the iPad bandwagon. I held out for a while, due to the price and not knowing how such a device would fit into my digital routine. However, once I got a first gen iPad a few months after its release, it quickly became my favorite consumer electronics device. The portability, ease of use, great battery life, and fast-growing library of tablet-specific apps eventually made it, and its 2nd and 3rd generation counterparts, the centerpiece of my daily digital routine.

Despite the fact that I have never been dissatisfied with my iPad experience, I’ve always been curious about other tablet options that were available. The alternatives were few at first, but I did eventually pick up the original Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which kept me interested for a bit with all of its hacking possibilities. Then there was the HP Touchpad, the original Kindle Fire, Polaroid PMID701i (a cheap, easy to hack, 7″ ICS slate), Barnes & Noble Nook HD+, Lenovo A2109, and Nexus 7. All came, and before too much time passed, all went.

Recently, my desire to tread the grass on the other side returned. While I have been very happy with my switch to the iPad Mini, there are times when I miss the Retina display and extra screen real estate of my iPad 3. Because of this, I decided to take a look at the Nexus 10. While the B&N HD+ I had tried previously had as good or better screen than the Nexus, I found the software and ecosystem to be severely lacking, even after rooting and tweaking it. Then I picked up a Lenovo A2109 at a great price on sale. It had good build quality, and solid specs for $229, but the screen just wasn’t very good at all.

After these washouts, I figured the Nexus 10 was the natural next step. It has a top shelf screen and has the latest and greatest version of Android. While the 10 easily bests my other recent large screen Android tablets, it has still left me with many of the mixed feelings that my departed ones did. Being my first Android device from this manufacturer, it has also been a lesson in Good Samsung, Bad Samsung.

 

The Good

Screen

nexus-10-flipboard

It’s hard to argue with the claims about the screen of the Nexus 10. The color reproduction and clarity are spot on (something I actually found lacking in the Nexus 7), and you would be hard pressed to play find the pixels. It could be a little brighter, but this isn’t a glaring issue. While I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily hands-down better than the Retina display of the newer iPads, it is definitely every bit their equal. That aside, this is definitely where you see the good side of Samsung in the Nexus 10. This isn’t a big surprise to me, because where specs are concerned, they are usually at the top of their game.

The Nexus 10 does feel very different to the eye than an iPad due to its 16:9 resolution. This isn’t as noticeable with the Nexus 7, due to its smaller size, but as with all of the other large screen Android tablets that I have used, it is very apparent with the 10. Whether this is a good or bad thing just depends on what you tend to do with your tablet, and what you are used to, I guess. The 16:9 ratio is designed with landscape orientation in mind, which is pretty obvious looking at the front-facing camera location on just about every 10” Android tablet, the Nexus 10 included.

nexus-10-front-camera

This layout works very well for watching movies, surfing the web, and for gaming, which tend to be common tasks when using a tablet. However, for those of us who prefer the 4:3 layout of the iPad, which is designed to be a bit more balanced between portrait and landscape use, any big screen Android device is going to feel a little off in portrait mode.

Even though I still notice this with the Nexus 10, it feels better than most competing products thanks to its next positive…

 

Size and Weight

nexus-10-right

I’ve never been a big fan of Samsung’s plasticy designs. I know they have gotten better over time and don’t feel as cheap as they used to, but I definitely prefer higher quality materials, and finished product that is a bit more substantial. It’s actually a little frustrating, considering that Samsung’s Wave Bada phones and some of their new Ultrabooks show what they are capable of in terms of design and higher-end materials. All that said, I do think that Samsung did a good job of keeping the weight and thickness of the Nexus 10 in check, which makes it feel much better in the hand than most large Android slates.

A good example of a tablet that struggles with this balance was the Lenovo A2109 that I briefly owned. It was a substantial device, to say the least. It certainly didn’t feel cheap (although the screen definitely looked cheap), but it felt heavy, and the ergonomics of the tablet didn’t help matters. There is a balance there between quality materials and weight, which I think Apple, Nokia, and HTC are all pretty good at hitting. Others, however, often seem to struggle with this balance.

Materials aside, Samsung does deserve credit for making a good decision on trade-offs. This is supposed to be a flagship tablet at a discounted price of $399, so Samsung (possibly at Google’s request, since this is a Nexus device) made a better decision than Lenovo on what to focus on. They put the emphasis on the screen, and in using a lighter weight plastic body, kept the 10 from feeling as bulky as most of its competition. One place where you notice this is actually in a spot I complained about a moment ago. While holding and using the Nexus 10 in portrait orientation still doesn’t feel as natural to me as my iPad does, it is a big improvement over other Android devices I’ve tried, thanks to the thinness and light weight.

 

Speakers

nexus-10-speaker

Another aspect of the Nexus 10’s design that I think is really well thought out is the speaker placement. There are two front facing speakers, one on either side of the screen. This gives the user much better stereo separation than you can get with them placed on the back of the tablet. The bottom mounted speaker of the iPad is acceptable (especially the Mini, which has stereo speakers), but the Nexus 10 also has Apple’s number in this category.

This speaker position directs the sound right at you while you are gaming, watching a movie or listening to music. They could be a little louder, but they are good enough for times when you can’t or don’t want to use headphones or external speaker. I know that I am much more likely to use the speakers on a tablet, rather than headphones, so I appreciate this design choice.

 

Software (OS)

I’m not going to get too deep into this part…yet. However, as someone who has tried several Android tablets at different OS levels and with different UIs, and has at least rooted, if not loaded custom ROMs on all of them, I appreciate how much Google has done to clean up stock Android and make it faster and more organized. It is far better than it used to be. The OS itself is fast and smooth. I also have to mention the new user profiles feature of Android 4.2, which is a really good idea for a “family tablet” scenario. Photo Sphere is more of a tech demo than a useful feature, but it does work well and is fun to play with. This is more Good Google than Good Samsung, but the result is the same.

More on software in just a bit.

 

The Rest

By nature, there isn’t much fluff to a Nexus device. (Maybe this is a good thing, considering the glut of software “features” that Samsung packs their branded devices with.) They have the latest and greatest OS and software from Google and great specs, but not much else. As such, there isn’t a whole lot to cover here beyond what’s already been discussed. I guess it bears mentioning that the processor and memory are quite sufficient for anything that I have done with the device. The cameras also work well, even though I rarely use them. Also, I guess I managed to miss out on some of the early bugs that were reported to cause device crashes. Google has been quick with updates that seem to have put those problems to bed. That’s one of the main points of buying a Nexus device, so good on them for taking care of it.

I guess I should report that I haven’t done very much outside of the stock experience. The only thing I did try was to root the Nexus 10 and load the last version of Flash, which is possible if you need it for some reason. I wanted to get Amazon Instant Video working, since Amazon won’t release an Android version of this app (note- there is an iOS version, which I use quite often on my iPad).

nexus-10-flash-amazon-instant-video

While it works, I wouldn’t recommend this if you have another alternative. For the time I spent messing with it, the experience is poor, unreliable, and kills the battery.

 

The “Meh”

Software (OS)

As I mentioned before, I have used several Android tablets with different OS versions and setups, but none of them has held my attention very long. I’ve tested, rooted, and hacked around a bit, got bored, and then either taken the devices back or sold them. Even with all of the improvements in Jelly Bean, Android still just doesn’t grab me. Don’t misunderstand me, now. I’m not saying it sucks. If I thought that, I wouldn’t keep shelling out good money to try Android. I know that it works very well for a lot of people. This isn’t Bad Google. It’s simply a personal preference issue.

However, for someone like me who doesn’t want to (or in my case now, have time to) play around with home screens and set up a bunch of stuff to build up an experience, the stock OS just leaves me flat. I guess it comes down to this- Android is designed for those who want to really customize everything about their device, and have access to an endless supply of tweaks and widgets. I just have absolutely zero interest in messing with any of that anymore. I left that desire behind with Windows Mobile in 2005. Too much work for not enough return.

A personal example where Android falls flat for me is with widgets. I always thought that I would like using widgets, coming from the plain, widgetless interface of iOS. I used to jailbreak and use some lockscreen hacks to display notifications and additional information in older versions of iOS, so I figured that this feature would have some draw for me.

However, I still find them very frustrating to use in practice. Trying to squeeze what you want onto a given screen, where you want it, can be a real pain. It feels like there is a ton of wasted space and that the widgets aren’t configurable enough. I remember hearing that automatic sizing and adjustment were supposed to be improved in Jelly Bean, but I have still been disappointed in the results. I usually end up with a janky looking screen with either odd gaps or app icons stuck in weird locations because of widgets that don’t adjust and won’t line up the way I want them to.

nexus-10-home-real-estate

This screen is a good example, as the Box widget takes up far more space than it needs, and won’t align at the top. I know this is nitpicky, but widgets are a core feature of Android that just don’t work the way that I want them to out of the box. (Note: Since someone has already commented about how poorly this screen is laid out, I will clarify. I didn’t design this screen for personal use. It is laid out to illustrate how poorly some widgets work -ie. the Box widget, and the differing designs and appearances of most 3rd party widgets).

Beyond how they work, there is also the look of widgets. As with the speed of Android, the look and feel of it is also better than it used to be. However, many of the widgets I would be interested in using take that nicer, more uniform experience and throw it out the window. The widgets that 3rd party developers produce rarely look anything alike, or bear any resemblance to those that are part of the core OS. I end up with what looks like a community bulletin board at Starbucks on my homescreens.

You can see the diversity of look and feel in the previous screenshots. In the one below, you can see how much cleaner and less obtrusive Google’s own newer widgets are.

nexus-10-google-widgets

I’m sure someone will point out that there are developers who specialize in making packages of coordinated widgets, or launchers with their own widgets included. Yes, I am aware of them, and I have even tried some of them. Sure, this fixes part of the problem of a clean look and some uniformity, but unfortunately, the main attraction of widgets is getting glanceable information out of apps. A widget maker isn’t going to be to do that for the majority of 3rd party apps. You’re basically stuck with what the dev puts out.

Maybe this aspect of Android will improve over time, since the OS itself is becoming more clean and cohesive. Maybe if devs get on board with Google’s recent design guidelines, 3rd party products will take on a more uniform look and feel. Until then, one of the biggest selling points of Android is pretty much lost on me. Again, this is a personal preference issue, but it has impacted my experience with all of my Android tablets, the Nexus 10 included. One user’s platform advantage can be another user’s major headache.

I bring this up here, even though it isn’t a problem exclusive to the Nexus 10, because I have been asked the question, “How could you prefer a platform that doesn’t offer as many options or customizations as Android?” before. Just remember that this review is from the perspective of someone who is an iOS user, and is happier with that experience. Even though I am a tech professional by trade, have been interested in mobile technology for close to 20 years, and have owned at least one device running just about every major mobile OS ever produced, that doesn’t mean that I am automatically required to run Linux via a command line and carry a 6” phablet running the latest version of Cyanogen to keep my geek status card certified and stamped. Believe it or not, some of us tech enthusiasts actually PREFER simplicity and a clean look and feel. If forced to choose between the customization of Android and the ease of use of iOS across my entire family, the hardware quality and design of Apple devices, and the extensive software and accessory ecosystem, then I will choose Apple all day, every day. But, again, that’s just me.

I guess I should also go ahead and state for the record that, if Apple changes iOS to allow for more glanceable information (which they definitely need to do in iOS 7), I hope they move more in the direction of Windows 8/Windows Mobile’s Modern UI than Android. I would like more information on my home screen. I just want it in a more seamless and uniform style, without much intervention on my part. While Microsoft’s implementation still needs a lot of work, I much prefer their more cohesive and integrated design aesthetic to Android. They have taken the out of the box ease of use of iOS and put an updated spin on it that allows for a lot more glanceable information to be displayed, and more flexibility.

 

nexus-10-google-now

The other big “meh” for me in the Android department is the tech community’s new darling- Google Now. Maybe it’s that I’ve just used it on tablets (it seems like a better fit for use on phones), but even though I have tweaked settings and tried to prod it to do more for me, it just falls flat.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I live in a mid-sized city, and work either there or in the rural areas surrounding it. As such, I find that the traffic information provided by Google (and Apple, as well, for that matter) to be either lacking, or flat out inaccurate. This means that Google Now’s reminders to leave for appointments and meetings aren’t nearly as useful as they should be. Thanks to the way that they use individual reports and data, as well as aggregated data, I find that Waze is FAR more representative of what is really happening on the road where I live, so that is what I depend on for solid, real-time traffic information every day.

Considering that the Nexus 10 has a built-in GPS chip (an advantage that you don’t get with the WiFi only iPad and iPad Mini models), I was also very disappointed that Google Now had absolutely no idea where I was for long stretches of time when I tried to use it. This happened twice while I was travelling home from working out of town. Google Now was giving me travel times to my house from my company’s office in Memphis, when I had been working in Nashville all week, and was driving home from there. Big difference. 3 hours worth of difference. And yes, the Nexus 10 did have a persistent Internet connection, either at the office in Nashville via WiFi, or in my car through my iPhone 5’s Personal Hotspot. Even when it finally registered that I wasn’t in Memphis (by updating the Nearby Attractions tab when I was about halfway home), it still never updated my arrival time for the hour and a half left of my trip.

As for other information, it just doesn’t do very much for me beyond what I get from other sources. It gives me Memphis Grizzlies game notifications and scores, but ESPN actually does this just as well, works cross-platform, and also gives me College Sports notifications that I am also very interested in, which Google Now curiously does not include. I also get the weather, but even iOS’ Notification Center has that. I can get that at a glance from any number of apps or services.

That’s about it. The only other thing Google Now has shown me are Nearby Attractions and Events, and occasionally package tracking info from Gmail. However, even that has been disappointing. It has only caught 2 out of the last 10 packages that have come through my Gmail, and none of these cards are there for more than a day. I am more interested in seeing this information as the package is about to arrive, making this feature useless for me, so far.

Google Now may end up being the best thing since sliced bread. I’m sure it works better on a phone, and probably has a lot more usefulness in a major metro area that has public transportation options and where Google has many more data points to more accurately track traffic. It just doesn’t add any value whatsoever for me, especially on the Nexus 10. I guess part of the issue for me is also that, if you don’t use Google search for EVERYTHING, all the time, then it doesn’t have enough information on you to go off of. I use Google Search often for research at work and for writing, but I don’t need to use it to pull up information that I already know where to find and how to get, and I don’t feel the need to change my habits just to make this tool work a little better. So, it may never work that well for me.

I realize that I just spent a lot of time ranting about software in a hardware review, but since this is a Nexus device, the software is supposed to be one of the big stars of the show. The only hardware feature of the Nexus 10 that truly stands out is the screen, so if the software isn’t compelling to the user in question, the value of the device takes a big hit.

 

Battery Life

I wouldn’t say that the battery life of the Nexus 10 is terrible. It will get you through most days. However, it doesn’t stand up to the Retina iPad, especially when it comes to standby time. I have gotten in the habit of just turning mine off when I don’t use it for a while, because if I don’t, it will be dead or close to it when I get back to it. This is with only a handful of widgets in use. Maybe it’s the dynamic app updates, or something else entirely, but Samsung could have done a better job here. A screen this big demands a better battery, even if that pushed the weight up a bit.

An even bigger negative is that the charger included with the Nexus 10 is not adequate. It will recharge the tablet overnight, but if you try to charge while using the tablet, your experience will be much different. If you are just surfing or reading, you might gain a few percent over the course of an hour or two, but if you are watching a movie, you will be lucky to hold your current charge level. If you are playing a game, you will actually continue to lose charge while plugged in.

Considering that the battery life of the Nexus 10 isn’t spectacular, and that the main purpose of such a tablet is to take advantage of the beautiful display, which drains said battery quickly when pushed, Samsung absolutely should have included a better charger in the box. Apple’s iPad 3 charger already worked better than the Nexus 10, and they still packed an even better one in with the iPad 4, to enable faster recharging. Come on Samsung. If you know you’re skimping on battery for the sake of size and weight, you should have nailed this.

 

The Bad

The Back

nexus-10-back

Ok, just so I don’t confuse anyone, yes, I did give Samsung credit for making the Nexus 10 slim and light. However, that doesn’t give them a pass for the cheap as hell material and feel of the back of the device. The plastic shell bends and flexes with ease, especially in the middle, and the soft-touch back just feels cheap and more tacky than soft.

nexus-10-flexible-back

It is also a big time fingerprint magnet. I’ve used $100 tablets that felt more substantial than this. It’s pathetically bad for a device in this price range, especially one with a Nexus label on it.

Before anyone jumps in and tries to say that Samsung’s material choices here are the reason the tablet is thin and light, save some bytes on the Internet and don’t bother. Look no further than Asus’ design of the Nexus 7 for a model of how a tablet can be made inexpensive and kept relatively thin and light, without being made to feel dirt cheap. This is the bad old Samsung of the Captivate and Fascinate and their cheap plastic crap rearing its ugly head again. This poor design decision lessens the experience of holding the device. Google should never allow that on a Nexus device, especially one with a best-of-breed screen, so shame on them for giving this a pass, as well.

Since I have a strong opinion on this topic, I thought it would be a good idea to get some alternate opinions. I gave the Nexus 10 to eight other people to hold and try out to see what they thought of it. Six were iOS users, while the other two use Android. They were aware of the device, but had never seen one. Out of this group, no one had positive comments about the back of the Nexus 10. Six of the ten made negative comments about the back of the device, including both of the Android users. One of them (A GSIII owner, in fact) actually asked if it was defective because of how flexible the back was. Mine also makes a slight clicking noise when you push the center in at the Nexus label.

 

Third-Party Software

Or rather the extreme lack thereof. I can already see the Android fans in the audience raising their hands with protests on this matter, which is understandable. Hearing about this over and over has to get old, especially since the pure numbers are moving in Google’s favor. But unfortunately, numbers don’t equal quality, so the issue is still very, very real. They also don’t equal tablet-friendly versions of apps, which is also unfortunate. Not only does the Nexus 10 fail to improve this situation, it actually underlines it with a red marker and then highlights it with bright flashing neon. What’s the point of this screen, if there are so few apps available that show it off?

To backtrack for a second, I had a Nexus 7 for a few months that I sold just before Christmas. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the app situation on it either, but it was certainly far better than what I am seeing now. That’s because, with it’s smaller screen, it did a much better job of presenting apps that don’t have a tablet-specific interface or an HD version. The 7 is also much more comfortable to hold and use in portrait orientation because of its smaller size, so it isn’t as much of an issue when you use an app that doesn’t work in landscape.

Unfortunately, the Nexus 10’s bigger screen isn’t nearly as versatile. When an app serves up an interface designed for a screen half its size or less, it’s hard not to notice. When an app won’t rotate into landscape, it’s even worse. This completely kills the experience.

nexus-10-direc-tv

Coming from the Nexus 7, it is very irritating. Coming from an iPad, where I haven’t had to use a pixel-doubled iPhone app in over two years (and I have more than 150 apps installed), it makes me want to smash the 10 against a wall.

To underline my point, here is a list of apps that I have used that offer up inferior experiences on the Nexus 10 in one way or another.

nexus-10-fifa-12

 

Smartphone Interface Only

ESPN ScoreCenter- Locked to Portrait
WatchESPN- Interface Locked to Portrait
DirecTV- Locked to Portrait
Spotify- Locked to Portrait
Olive Tree Bible Study- Blown up UI. Fuzzed Icons, Crashes

 

Inferior Experience to iPad Equivalent

NBA Game Time- No Radio Feature available
Weather Channel- Inferior graphics
AirStash- No Internet Passthrough
Pocket Informant- Crashes, Poor Sync Performance, Missing Features
DocsToGo- Locked to Google Docs. No other cloud options
Real Racing 2- Not available on Nexus 10. Poor version compared to iOS, even on the Nexus 7.
FIFA 12- Not available on Nexus 10. FIFA 13 not available on Android, at all
NBA Jam- Not Available on Nexus 10
NBA2k13- Buggy. Lots of graphic issues ie- floating headbands
PES 2012- No longer available for sale in Play Store. No update available. Crashes.

nexus-10-fifa-12

Bear in mind that this is just from the sampling of apps that I have loaded on the Nexus 10 since I got it. I’m sure there are plenty of other apps that either won’t run on the 10, have a poor interface, or just don’t work. This is the biggest frustration with and shortcoming of this tablet. Two of the apps that I use everyday on my iPad Mini, Pocket Informant and DocsToGo, are practically unusable on the Nexus 10, which really limits what I can use it for on its own. The 10 won’t function as my daily driver without these, and a handful of other apps that either aren’t available, or aren’t as good as their iOS counterparts.

This screen just begs to be used for games and media apps that will take advantage of it, but there are just so few that work well. If you look at my list above, you’ll see that DirecTV, and ESPN’s apps are just blown up phone versions. The interfaces are locked to portrait orientation, which is irritating. Then, when you get to the point of watching video in landscape, it is low resolution and just looks terrible.

nexus-10-real-racing-3

I do know that Flipboard looks amazing, and there are a few top notch games, such as N.O.V.A and Real Racing 3, that really show off what it is capable of, but that isn’t enough. The bottom line is this. Out of the apps I have tried, I can count on one hand the ones that really show off the Nexus 10’s awesome screen. This just isn’t the case with the iPad, as there is no shortage of apps that show off the Retina displays of the iPad 3 and 4. This would be more understandable if 10” Android tablets were something new, but they have been around for over two years now. The Nexus 7 has been very successful in part because it very skillfully sidesteps this issue. However, unless Google can somehow spur the development of apps that are more tablet friendly, the larger screen devices from their OEMs will continue to struggle head-to-head with the iPad.

 

Conclusion

For me, the meh and the bad of the Nexus 10 definitely outweigh the good. This is frustrating, because it definitely has some things going for it. The screen is first rate, and the thinness and weight are attractive, as well. Also, the $399 price tag is very compelling, considering the specs of the device.

However, even though I could have overlooked my personal gripes with certain aspects of the OS as well as the construction and materials used on the back of the device, the app situation is what really kills the Nexus 10 for me. Unfortunately, the amazing 10” screen just underlines that point. This tablet just isn’t the right form factor for what Android currently offers. The Nexus 7 remains a vastly superior choice for now. It is a far more comfortable fit with the current Google Play catalog, and is a much better value with its lower price.

Even though I am an avid iOS user, and wouldn’t trade my iPad for any of the Android devices that I have tried to this point, I am also a tech enthusiast and feel that competition is necessary to drive the industry forward. I had high hopes that both the Nexus 10 and Microsoft Surface RT would sell well and push Apple to bring their A game for the upcoming refreshes of their iPad line. However, that hasn’t happened. The Nexus 10 doesn’t seem to be having a major impact in the broader consumer market, or even in its own Google Play ecosystem, and the Surface has been a huge flop in terms of sales.

Ultimately, it is up to Google to take the reigns of this issue if they really want to make progress with larger form factors. Apple set the tone for developers with the iWork suite at the release of the iPad, and then pressed further with Garage Band and iMovie a year later. Apple also made sure to seed hardware and updated SDKs to key developers so that their apps could be showcased in hardware and software keynotes, and be ready for release at or close to launch.

Apple’s apps were some of the best tablet apps available at the time of their release. While they have been surpassed by third party apps in many ways at this point, they effectively served their purpose. They set the tone for what users would expect from tablet apps, and for what developers should expect to deliver if they wanted to charge a premium price. Apple knew that pixel-doubled iPhone apps wouldn’t sell their new device before they launched it, so they took the initiative to show the way. For the iPad to have a major impact, it needed apps that were tailored to the larger screen to keep it from becoming the big iPod Touch many pundits predicted that it would be. They helped to kickstart the process of tablet development that would make the iPad ecosystem the advantage that it STILL is today.

I realize that what I am suggesting is against the grain for Google. They tend to be somewhat hands-off with their 3rd party app developers. They do release a lot of software themselves, but it is typically centered around their core Google Experience apps. These are well thought out and look really good, thanks to Google’s new company-wide emphasis on design. However, none of them show off the capabilities of the Nexus 10 in grand fashion. If Google is really serious about competing against the full-sized iPad and future Microsoft and Windows 8 products, then they need to bring the sizzle that sells the steak.

Ultimately, the Nexus 10 feels like a device that’s desperately searching for a reason to exist. Few apps take advantage of its primary strength, so it doesn’t present the same value that the Nexus 7 does. Even if you have to have a bigger screen and can’t stand Apple, I’m not sure this is even the best 10” tablet option in the Android lineup. That’s the big failure here. This is a Nexus device. There should be absolutely no doubt that it is the best device in its class for showing off Google’s OS, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

So, as an iOS user, the Nexus 10 doesn’t present a compelling case for ownership. For me, the OS still isn’t a good fit, so I can’t see it being my primary platform. Despite that, however, the Nexus 7 was a very solid secondary device that was perfect for keeping up with “the other side.” But with a lack of apps that make the Nexus 10 indispensable, I don’t see any reason to keep it as a secondary device. I really expected more because of the Nexus name, but the 10 just failed to deliver the goods. Considering that the screen quality and price of the Nexus 10 seemed to be aimed right across Apple’s bow, I see this device as a failure, because it isn’t going to attract legions of existing iPad users to move to Android.

If you are an iOS user who wants to check out Android right now, then you should avoid the 10 and take a good look at the Nexus 7. It’s cheaper and is a much better fit with the current Google Play landscape. If you are interested in a larger screen tablet, I would honestly suggest that you hang onto your money and wait for the next round of big tablet announcements that will probably come between Summer and Fall. That’s likely what I will be doing.

As a value conscious individual, it feels wasteful and redundant to own both an iPad Mini and an Retina iPad. However, if I find myself interested in a large screen tablet in the near term, especially if Apple does a Spring refresh of the 4, that is the direction I will be heading in. The extra $100 over the Nexus 10’s starting price is nothing to sneeze at, but the iPad 4 is absolutely worth every penny more, thanks to the better built quality, expansive software and accessory ecosystem, and superior battery life. The iPad 5 should only improve on that.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to let me know either way in the comments below, in our forums, or hit me up on Twitter @jhrogersii or on Google+.

 

The 16GB Nexus 10 can be purchased from the Google Play Store for $399, and the 32GB for $499.

The Nexus 10 in this review was independently purchased by the post author in the App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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