Google Nexus 10
Let’s just say it: the screen on the Google Nexus 10 is phenomenal. It’s every bit as stunning as the Retina Display on the third and fourth generation iPads. It really has to be seen to believed: it’s like a printed sticker on of the glass, and makes reading a delight. After using it for a while, you’ll never want to go back.
Android 4.2 meanwhile is fantastic, particularly on a tablet of this size. It’s come along away from the early days of 3.0 “Honeycomb”. It’s fast, stunningly easy to use and beautiful: Chrome absolutely flies on the dual-core Exynos processor. Voice search and dictation is faster than Siri on iOS, and really comes into its own on a device you’re likely to be using on the sofa in your lap.
And the new additions in 4.2 work really well here. There’s a new keyboard, which lets you type by dragging your finger across the keyboard, is perfect for writing emails on a big screen which you need to hold with one hand. You can add widgets to the lock screen, so you can see your emails at a glance. And at long last, you can now have multiple accounts so different family members can all use the same device: they can even add their own Google account. It’s incredibly useful, and something we suspect Apple won’t be far behind in bringing to iOS.
We could complain about the Google Nexus 10’s build quality: its plastic back is a little creaky, and lacks the cool, beautiful look of a metal-backed iPad. But starting at a very tempting £319, it’s also £80 cheaper than the entry level Retina iPad, so we suppose it goes with the territory - it's not chunky, anyway, at a pleasant 8.9mm deep, and easy to grip.
More of a problem is one that Google needs to address with Android tablets as whole: the screen ratio. The wide 16:9 display is great for movies, but is so long, that it all but forces you to use the Google Nexus 10 in landscape mode. It’s less of an issue on the smaller Nexus 7, but on a big slate, it makes browsing the web in portrait mode almost impossible, as it’s so narrow and top heavy.
Apple’s right on this one: the iPad’s more squat 4:3 aspect ratio is much better suited to everyday use, not least because it’s easier to type. We’d really like to see the next Nexus slate follow suit.
There’s also the issue of apps: as fantastic as Android is on mobiles, it still doesn’t have all the apps and games designed specifically for a larger resolution display. That’s changing, but if you want to do things like edit movies on the go with iMovie, or compose tracks with GarageBand, good luck with that.
Lastly, you also might struggle to pick one of these up in time for Christmas: it’s sold out right now on the Google Play store, and you won’t find it in the high street.