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Google Nexus 10: Dazzling Display, Great For Work & Play

Dec 06, 2012 (08:12 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=240143969


Google Nexus 10 front and back

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At first glance, Google's new tablet, the Nexus 10 has an impressive bright, crisp 2560x1600 (300ppi) IPS display, which Google touts as "the world's highest resolution tablet display." In contrast, the iPad 3's 9.7-inch "retina" display has 2048x1536, 264ppi resolution.

Exinos 5250 SoC
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Physically, the Nexus 10 stays well within the 0.4-inch thickness and 22-ounce weight typical of well-designed 10-inch tablets. The Nexus 10 has an elegant appearance, with gently rounded corners and a hint of ovalness. Its rubbery back surface makes it more comfortable to hold than Apple's more ridged iPads.

The Nexus 10 sports a Samsung Exinos 5250 system-on-chip (SoC) application processor, which integrates dual ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores, clocked at 1.7GHz, plus a rich set of system controllers (see the block diagram at right). Memory resources include 2GB of high-speed DDR3 SDRAM, 16 or 32 GB of flash, and a quad-core Mali T604 GPU (graphics processing unit) turbocharges the tablet's 2D and 3D graphics performance.

Just 0.4-inch thick, despite its beefy 9,000 mAh battery

How Samsung, who builds the Nexus 10 for Google, managed to squish so much computing muscle along with a 9000mAh power pack into such a svelte body is a mystery. The body also has Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which enables the use of up to 20 percent thinner glass while maintaining "industry-leading" damage resistance, toughness, and scratch-resistance, according to Corning.


How the Nexus 10 compares to the Nexus 7

The devices were designed with two different hardware partners. Samsung manufactured the Nexus 10 and Asus made the Nexus 7. To find out how the two tablets compare, I summarize their key features and specs in the table below.

Comparison of Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 features and specs

Nexus 7 Nexus 10
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core 1.7GHz dual-core
RAM 1GB 2GB
Internal flash 16GB or 32GB 16GB or 32GB
microSD expansion no no
Display resolution 1280x800 2560x1600
Display size 5.95 x 3.7 8.55 x 5.35
Display area 22 sq-in 46 sq-in
Display density 216ppi 300ppi
Front camera 1.2MP 1.9MP
Rear camera no 5MP
Video output no micro-HDMI
WiFi yes yes
Bluetooth v3.0 v3.0
GPS yes yes
Cellular data option yes no
Battery 4325 mAh 9000 mAh
Size (in.) 7.8 x 4.7 x 0.4 10.4 x 7.0 x 0.4
Weight 12 oz 21 oz
Price (WiFi-only models) $200 (16GB)
$250 (32GB)
$400 (16GB)
$500 (32GB)

On top of all that, both tablets have NFC short-range wireless, which implements an Android Beam function, and both have built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer sensors. Unique to the Nexus 10 are a magnetic "Pogo pin" port on the bottom, for docking and charging, and a barometric sensor, which can be used in altimeter applications.

Also, the Nexus 10 implements MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) WiFi. The use of multiple receive/transmit antennas enables boosting WiFi performance by up to 400 percent, according to Google.

Next Page: Nexus 10 out-of-box tour




Nexus 10 out-of-box tour

Here's an inside look at Nexus 10's default home screens, apps, and widgets. Notice how the Nexus 10's default, out-of-box homescreen is refreshingly free of flashy wallpaper-and-widget eye candy, unlike the usual vendor-branded tablet.

Default home screens


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Below, the 29 Android apps that come preinstalled on the Nexus 10. The screenshot shows the contents of the tablet's App Drawer screen.

Default Apps

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The screenshots in the group below demonstrate Android 4.2's default homescreen folder function. To create folders, simply drag one app launcher onto another, just like on an iPad. Android's default folder function accommodates up to 40 app-launchers and 1x1 widgets per folder. The only option is to name the folder. There are no appearance or style settings — so what you see below is what you get. Later, I'll demonstrate a much more flexible and configurable, Android folder app.

Default Homescreen Folder Function

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Customizing the Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 is based on Android, so its appearance and functionality can be reconfigured without rooting the device. I set my homescreen wallpaper to my favorite nebula image.

Changing the homescreen launcher

Next, I installed Nova, an alternate homescreen launcher, which offers many more configuration options than the tablet's default homescreen launcher. Among its many settings options, Nova lets you enable/disable the Dock, and configure how many cells there are for app-launchers and widgets on the homescreens by specifying the number of rows and columns.

The screenshots below show two versions of my Nexus 10's primary homescreen, in both landscape and portrait orientation. The left pair shows the tablet's default Android homescreen launcher, with 40 cells in the main area and eight in the Dock; those on the right show the revised Nova-based primary homescreen, with 56 cells and the Dock disabled.

Two Homescreen Launchers:
Standard (left) and Nova (right)

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Changing the folder function

The next step in my tablet tweaking process was to install an alternative folder function. Folder Organizer offers significantly more flexibility than the default Android folder function. With Folder Organizer, I was able to configure a Nova-based Nexus 10 homescreen with 14 folders, 32 app-launchers, and three widgets (two 4-cell, one 2-cell), as shown below.


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The screenshots below show the contents of my homescreen's 14 Folder Organizer-based folders.

Alternate Homescreen Folder Function

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Keyboard alternatives

Although the standard Android onscreen keyboard keeps getting better, I prefer the Hacker's Keyboard, a free download from the Google Play market. The set of screenshots below demonstrates some of the differences between these two virtual keyboards, and also makes a case for Google Voice Typing, which can save you lots of time and keystrokes in many situations.

Standard keyboard, Hacker's Keyboard, and Voice Typing



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Although onscreen typing is certainly easier on 10-inch tablets than on 7-inch models, I find that a Bluetooth keyboard greatly increases my typing speed and accuracy, so I like to use one whenever I'm working at a desk. The photos below show two Bluetooth keyboards that work well with the Nexus 10: the Logitech Android keyboard and the Zagg ZaggKeys Flex.

Using the Nexus 10 with Bluetooth keyboards from Logitech (left) and Zagg (right)

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Next Page: One tablet for work and play




One tablet for work and play

To find out what the Nexus 10 could do, I loaded it up with more than 200 Android apps for device management, communications, productivity, news, weather, e-books, multimedia steaming, games, and more. The screenshots below show 32 different apps running on the tablet. You can find an extensive tour of my 50 favorite Android tablet apps on my blog.

Wide Range of Apps Running on the Nexus 10

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The bottom line


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At $400, the Nexus 10 strikes a good balance of features, performance, and cost. You can save money by going with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 or Lenovo IdeaTab S2110, but you'll miss out on the Nexus 10's super-hi-res 2560x1600 screen and its substantially-higher performance.



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The other option would be Samsung's high-end Galaxy Note 10.1, which edges out the Nexus 10 in some respects performance-wise, but lacks the Nexus 10's glorious display. I've used both tablets simultaneously for several weeks, and though I like the Note 10.1 a lot, the Nexus 10 has won me over with its more pleasing look and feel and more up-to-date OS. Also, I'm not particularly interested in Samsung's innovative handwriting input and multi-windowing apps. Call me old fashioned, but on my tablets I'd rather type and talk, than scribble and scrawl!



Name: Nexus 10


Google's new Nexus 10 Android tablet pushes the 10-inch tablet market envelope in numerous ways, not least of which are its dazzling 2560x1600 (300ppi) IPS display and its slim/light/comfortable design. It's a great choice for both work and play.

Price: $400 16GB, WiFi-only; $500 32GB, WiFi-only.

Pro:

  • Dual-core ARM Cortex A15 + quad-core Mali GPU
  • 2560x1600 (300ppi) IPS display
  • Nonslip rear surface
  • 9000mAh battery pack
  • Micro-HDMI video out
  • Wireless extras: NFC; WiFi direct; WiFi MIMO
  • Magnetic Pogo pin charging dock
  • Multiple user accounts

Con:

  • Bluetooth ought to be v4.0
  • No microSD port
  • No cellular data option (currently)
  • Adobe Flash player no longer officially supported
  • Lacks app-independent A/V beaming