30+ Reasons You Should Buy a Nexus 10 Tablet
November 2, 2012 65 Comments
Last update: March 4, 2013
It only took two days for every single model of the Nexus 10 to sell out worldwide. The 32GB model sold out just two hours after sales began.
Update: 1/20/13 – Since November, additional shipments have come and gone, at this time both models are in stock in the U.S., but the Nexus 10 is still sold out in some countries.
The last two articles I wrote about tablets were my most popular ever, so I’ve decided to write another one about the new iPad 4 and its top competitor. Since some people complained my last article was unfair because I compared the iPad mini to several different tablets, this time I’ll compare the iPad 4 to a single tablet.
Don’t get me wrong, the iPad 4 certainly has some great qualities, but it’s no longer leading the way. Its Retina-display was the gold-standard for resolution, but those days are over. There’s a new tablet king and it’s called the Nexus 10. Here are over thirty good reasons why you’d be crazy to buy an iPad 4 over a Nexus 10.
- It costs less and gives you more – A 16GB Nexus 10 costs $100 less than a 16GB iPad 4. That 20% less, for a product with much better specs as you’ll see below.
- It has a better, higher-resolution display – Apple’s Retina displays used to be second to none, but those days are over. The Nexus 10 has a higher-resolution display than the iPad 4. It’s the world’s first tablet with a WQXGA 2560×1600-pixel display. But that’s not all, the Nexus 10 beats the iPad 4 in two other important areas as well: number of pixels and pixels-per-inch.
- The Nexus 10 has almost a million more pixels than the iPad 4′s Retina display (4,096,000 vs. 3,145,728)
- The Nexus 10 has more pixels-per-inch than the iPad 4 (300ppi vs. 264ppi). That may not sound like a lot, but you can see the difference on very small text. Like the iPad 4, text on the Nexus 10 looks very sharp.
- It has a faster next-generation processor – The Nexus 10 has a processor clock speed that is over 30% faster than the iPad 4 (1.7GHz vs. 1.3GHz). The Nexus 10 is the first tablet with an ARM Cortex-A15 processor that beats the iPad 4 badly on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768). This processor is 40% faster than previous generation ARM chips. The A15 is expected to be used in the iPad 5, which won’t be released until mid-2013.
- It’s considerably lighter than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 is noticeably lighter than the iPad 4 (603g vs. 652g). This is a big deal when you use your tablet for hours at a time. I used to be able to hold the original iPad in the air with my left hand, but my new iPad with its leather case is so heavy that I have to put my elbow on the table or bed.
- It’s thinner than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 is thinner than the iPad 4 (8.9mm vs. 9.4mm). This is surprising, because thinness is one area Apple normally dominates in. The Nexus 10 also does not have sharp corners which dig into your palm when you hold it with one hand.
- It has twice the memory and twice the storage as the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 has 2GB of RAM, while he iPad 4 has only 1GB of RAM. More memory allows you to run more apps at once without slowing down. A $499 Nexus 10 also has twice as much internal storage than an iPad 4 (32GB vs. 16GB). This is important because it’s not hard to fill up a 16GB iPad when you have a large media collection or lots of apps.
- It has touch-to-share capabilities – Android tablets like the Nexus 10 can share media by simply touching another device with NFC support. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts, Web pages — as well as information between apps. You can see Android Beam in action here.
- It has faster Wi-Fi than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 has dual-band Wi-Fi and MIMO support. Amazon claims that MIMO results in better range and 40% faster Wi-Fi data speeds. Google says accelerated page loading and MIMO gives you web browsing speeds up to 4x faster than normal WiFi. Of course these are theoretical gains, we’ll have to see what the real-world numbers are.
- It has a brighter display with wider viewing angles – The Nexus 10 has a Super PLS display, which has several advantages over IPS displays like the one Apple uses. Super PLS displays have wider viewing angles, and are supposed to be 10 percent brighter.
- It includes front-facing stereo speakers – The Nexus 10 has two large speakers on the left and right sides of its screen. These speakers shoot forward so the sound doesn’t get muffled by your hands (like it does on the iPad whose speaker faces down). The Nexus’ dual speakers also sound better than Apple’s single mono speaker. I was hoping the potential space savings that resulted from the switch to a Lightning connector the iPad 4 would allow Apple to add bigger, better-sounding speakers, but that did not happen.
- It has an extremely fast GPU – Engadget says the Nexus 10 has the “most detailed and smoothest graphics we’ve seen.” Early benchmarks are mixed. Some favor the Nexus 10, while others favor the iPad 4.
- It’s much easier to repair – According to iFixit, the iPad 4 is much more difficult to repair than all other tablets. iFixit gives the iPad 4 a repairability score of 2 out of 10, which is horrible. The battery is glued to the rear case which is unfortunate because it makes it very difficult to replace. iFixit goes on to say, “Just like in the iPad 2 & 3, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, greatly increasing the chances of cracking the glass when trying to remove it. Gobs of adhesive hold everything in place, including the battery. The LCD has foam sticky tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing chances of it being shattered during disassembly.” I’m still waiting for a repairability score on the Nexus 10 from iFixit, but another source rates it “extremely repairable.”
- The Nexus 10 comes with lots of free content – Content varies by region. U.S. users get the following three free magazines: Conde Nast Traveler, Entrepreneur and House Beautiful. There are also five great books you are provided with including: “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Like music? The Nexus also comes with ten songs from The Rolling Stones, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Lumineers, Bob Mould, Eskmo and more. And last, but not least, the Nexus 10 also comes with an HD copy of the full-length movie “Ice Age” and the BBC TV show “Planet Earth.”
- It has multi-user support – The iPad 4 is a single-user device tied to a single iTunes account. The Nexus 10 is the first tablet to allow multiple users to log-in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps and widgets. Things like game-progress and high-scores remain separate. This feature will be very important for families.
- It has GPS support – The Wi-Fi only model of iPad 4 does not have a built-in GPS. That means you can’t use it to check-in or load maps of your area like you can using the Nexus 10.
- It includes digital wallet support – The Nexus 10 has Google Wallet preinstalled. It allows you to purchase things without a walled in places like Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Einstein Bros Bagels, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and many more places. In fact, there are over 300,00 PayPass-enabled cash registers today. You can learn more about NFC here. The iPad 4 has something called Passbook, but it only works at Starbucks (and the Apple Store).
- It plays Flash videos – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around, and the iPad 4 can’t play any of them. The Nexus 10 can play all Flash videos as long as you side-load Flash by following these easy instructions and use a browser like Firefox which supports Flash.
- Android beats iOS 6 in many areas – This will surprise some, but Android 4.2 has many advantages over iOS 6. You can read about those advantages here.
- File transfers are much easier – It’s a major hassle to get anything (but photos) on or off of an iPad 4. Android devices don’t need iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable and your device will appear on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any file (or folder) onto it.
- It has a better on-screen keyboard – The Nexus 10 has a much better on-screen keyboard than the iPad 4. In addition to all of the standard Apple keyboard features like a spell checker, auto-capitalization and auto-correction, the Nexus 10 also has the ability to add words to a personal dictionary, show correction suggestions, perform gesture typing (where you swipe from key to key), Provide next-word suggestions and the ability to change your keyboard to one that is more PC-like and includes all numbers and extra keys.
- You can easily load custom ROMs – Nexus devices do not come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and fully tailor your device however you wish.
- It has a better rear-facing camera – According to reviews, photos taken with the Nexus 10′s rear camera have better color accuracy, definition and less noise than the iPad 4′s camera. The iPad 4′s iSight camera lacks Panorama, Photo Sphere and other camera features present in Android tablets.
- It has a better front-facing camera for video calls – Apple upgraded the front-facing camera on the iPad from 0.3MP to 1.2MP, but it still doesn’t match the 1.9MP front-facing camera found on the Nexus 10. The iPad 4′s front camera records noisy 720p videos at a only 24fps in low light.
- It has an LED flash – Every camera needs a flash in order to take good photos in low light conditions. The Nexus 10 has one. The iPad 4 does not.
- It has a standard micro-USB jack – The Nexus 10 has a standard micro-USB jack, so you can easily connect your tablet to a keyboard or charger without purchasing an expensive cable. The iPad 4 has a new proprietary Lightning connector that is not backwardly compatible. This was done so Apple can sell you overpriced cables that cost $20 to $50. If you want an extra charging cable for an iPad 4, it will cost $19 and is hard to find. You can buy an Android power cord almost anywhere for as little as $2.
- It has a dedicated HDMI port – The Nexus 10 has a built-in HDMI port which ensures it can output video to all HDMI-equipped TVs, projectors and monitors. That’s not always the case when MHL over USB is used for video output. Another benefit is that any mini-HDMI cable will work and a special adapter cable is not needed.
- Its AV adapter supports 1080p – Although it’s hard to believe, Apple’s Digital AV adapter (which connects to the HDMI jack on your TV) doesn’t support 1080p today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back 1080p support for now.
- It has a Gorilla Glass 2 screen – I know Apple uses Gorilla Glass 2 on the iPhone 5, but as far as I can tell they do not use it on the iPad 4. If they are using it, they are keeping it a secret — which doesn’t make sense because it’s a benefit.
- It has a larger display – The Nexus 10 has a 10.055” Super PLS display, while the iPad 4 has a 9.7” IPS display.
- It has a 16:10 screen – Tablets are great for watching movies, but all movies are formatted to fit on a 16:9 display. Because the iPad 4 has a 4:3 aspect ratio, all 16:9 movies need to be letter-boxed so they fit on the screen. This makes movies appear smaller. The Nexus is much closer to 16:9 than the iPad 4.
- It has dual NFC sensors – The Nexus 10 is the only mobile device with dual NFC sensors: one in the front, and one in the back. These have been added so you don’t have to turn the tablet around to beam things.
- It gives you quick access to settings from the notification bar – On the Nexus 10, settings can be quickly by accessed by pulling down on the top right portion of the screen. On the iPad 4, all app settings are grouped together in a Settings app making them harder to access.
- It has haptic feedback – Like most Android devices, the Nexus 10 supports haptic feedback. This gives you a little vibration when you type, long press, or touch the navigation buttons. This makes it clear your touch was acknowledged, so you don’t have to tap twice. Haptic feedback makes games much more enjoyable because of the tactile feedback.
- It has a built-in barometer – The Nexus 10 has a built-in barometer, which improves GPS accuracy. I didn’t believe this would make a difference until I compared the GPS in a Galaxy Nexus (which also has a barometer) to the GPS in an iPad and Galaxy S III which do not.
- Works with a USB mouse – One advantage of having a micro-USB jack is that it makes it easy to plug-in peripherals like a USB mouse. Even if you could figure a way to attach a USB cable to the iPad 4, it still will not work, because iOS 6 doesn’t support mice. You can also attach USB keyboards or memory sticks to the Nexus 10 after purchasing an adapter for a few dollars.
- It has multicolor LED alert – The Nexus 10 has a small LED indicator at the bottom of the screen (when held in landscape mode,) which alerts you to new messages or other system events. As with other Android devices, you can customize exactly how this LED works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPad 4 does not support any type of LED alerts.
- It’s stock photo viewer has more advanced photo editing – There are some good photo editing apps available for the iPad, but the best are not free. The stock Android Gallery app has much more advanced photo editing than you’ll find in than Apple’s Photos app.
- It has dedicated back button – All Android devices include a dedicated back button. In addition, most apps have a menu button proves fast access to settings and other app-related commands like Share. The back button makes it easy to go back to where you were before. This is one of the features I miss the most when I jump between Android and iOS.
- Gizmodo said: It feels extremely solid and well-built. The back panel is a hard plastic that has been rubberized in a really interesting way. It’s very smooth, but very grippy at the same time.
- Ars Technica said: “I do find that I actually prefer the textured plastic back of the Nexus 10 to the aluminum back used by the iPads—the latter gets pretty cold to the touch in November in New Jersey, and the tablet is only too happy to transfer that coldness straight to your hands. The Nexus 10 is a bit more hospitable when pulling it out of a bag that’s been outside.”
- CNET said; “It is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet to hold in your hand its light weight and smoothly rounded corners the tablet never digs into your palms when held with two hands. The back is a soft, grippy, almost rubbery plastic that not only feels great to hold, but doubles as protection for the tablet. The aforementioned rounded corners have that same rubbery plastic around them. The whole outer shell feels almost like an exoskeleton accessory, specifically designed to protect the delicate tablet organs.”
- Ubergizmo said: “To put it simply, the design of the Google Nexus 10 is beautiful. The front of the tablet is made of a pristine black glass surface from edge to edge. I really like the soft touch treatment which gives a solid grip when holding the tablet. This is an issue that I have regularly with the iPad. Overall, I find the industrial design to be excellent and high-quality. Unless you are adamant to feel metal when you touch the tablet, I expect most people to be pleased with the quality of this device.”
- The Guardian said: “The Nexus 10 is a sleek, smooth tablet that feels solid, and sits nicely in the hands with its rounded corners – more rounded than the iPad.”
- Venture Beat said: “The tablet’s curved design makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold, and the soft back case material feels simply luxurious. The Nexus 10 is so well designed that you’ll be tempted to fondle it even when it’s turned off.”
- Android Community said: “It’s extremely well made, very durable, feels great and is indeed a polished and beautiful product inside and out.”
- Android Police said: “Amazing build quality. I tried really hard to find a flaw in the build of this tablet. But I couldn’t. It’s top-notch – everything is super-solid… The back is the real standout feature of the device’s physical design, as it’s coated in a very soft rubbery-plastic that feels almost like leather. It definitely adds a feeling of quality, and is absolutely fantastic in the hands. It’s not cold and slippery like aluminum, nor does it feel cheap and flimsy like typical plastic. It’s slightly grippy, which allows you to hold the unit with less “force,” leading to less wrist fatigue. It also makes it easier to hold the device in your hand palette-style without fear of dropping it.”
- Tech Radar said: “The rear plastic chassis has a soft-touch feel, with the rubberised effect providing additional grip in the hand, and wrapping round to the front of the tablet for a smooth, seamless finish.”
- Wired said: “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.”
Why You’ll Still Buy an iPad 4
If you’re an Apple fan, you don’t comparison shop, you don’t care that Apple products cost more and do less. You’ll find a way to convince yourself that all of the above reasons somehow don’t apply to you, and you’ll buy an iPad 4 anyway. And in six months, when Apple comes out with an iPad 5, which is twice as fast and has a better Retina display, you’ll buy that one too – and thank Apple. This may sound harsh, but it applies to millions of people. So go ahead and buy one — you know you want it.
The Tide is Turning
Apple has dominated tablet sales since the original iPad launched back in 2010. But those days are coming to an end. For the first time, Apple is losing tablet market share. According to Strategy Analytics, shipments of Android tablets surged to new highs in the third quarter of 2012, accounting for 41% of all tablets shipped. In the same period, shipments of Apple’s iPads shrank to only 57% of the market. IDC paints an even gloomier picture for Apple and says they now have only 50% of the tablet market. That may sound like a lot, but it wasn’t long ago that Apple had 90% of the tablet market. Apple’s drop in market share started before the Nexus 10 and Kindle Fire HD tablets were available, and will likely accelerate now. Apple’s still an important player in the tablet space, but they need to lower their prices significantly or improve their products to justify their price premium. Apple image has taken a big hit as well. As TechCrunch said, “the fourth-generation iPad doesn’t seem to be nearly as big as the leap from the first to second generation, or from the second to third generation.” Sure, most Americans will continue to buy Apple exclusively no matter what, but it’s a big world, and buyers from other countries are much more discriminating and price-sensitive.
Update 1 – The Nexus 10 went on sale on 11/13 and the 32GB model sold out within two hours in the U.S. The 16GB Nexus 10 sold out in the U.S. in the first two days. However, since then, additional supply has become available, and the 16GB model is now available for purchase again (11/18)
For the Apple Fanboys
1. This is an opinion piece - I think the title makes that very clear. Don’t read this if you can’t handle an opposing view point.
2. This article is focused on the Nexus’ advantages – I’m aware there are good reasons to buy Apple products. Since every other reviewer focuses on those, I saw value in showing another point of view.
4. I don’t hate all Apple products – I think most of the new products Apple announced are good or great — just not the new iPad 4 or iPad mini. I own two iPhones, an iPad, an iPad 3 and an Apple TV. I buy Apple products when I believe they outperform other products and are not outlandishly priced.
5. I want this to be factually correct – Believe it or not, I really do try to keep my articles factually accurate. If think one of these points is incorrect, let me know and I will edit or delete it, but you’re not going to change my beliefs, just like I’m not going to changes yours, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
What About Build Quality?
Since most comments about this article mention the so-called “crappy build quality of all Android tablets” I thought I would address this issue. When I first wrote this article, I mentioned the build-quality of the Nexus 10 was good, but not great, but after reading close to twenty reviews I removed that comment. Read on to see why:
These are just a few of the positive comments about the Nexus 10′s build quality. There are many more online. I’m not saying the build quality of the Nexus is better than the iPad 4. I’m just saying most reviewers like it.
Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.
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