Google Nexus 10 review: Perfect ten

GSMArena team, 12 December 2012.
Pages: 123456789101112

Google Now knows what you need before you do

Google Now was first introduced back in Jelly Bean 4.1 and is definitely one of the most interesting additions to the OS. Simply put, it's Google's version of a personal assistant. Google Now is in the same neck of the woods as Apple's Siri, but it learns over time from your daily routines.

It's accessed by swiping up from the three navigation buttons at the bottom and gives you a short overview of information it believes is relevant to you right now. Going to work in the morning? Google Now knows this and lets you know there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office, so it offers you a re-route.

It can interpret a lot of things from your search history as well. If you've been searching for, say, your favorite football team, Google Now will prepare a card showing you the next match the team is playing and will provide you score updates once the game begins.

Samsung Google Nexus 10 P8110 Samsung Google Nexus 10 P8110
Google Now is getting better

In Jelly Bean 4.2, Google Now has become even smarter and, if you allow it, can scan your email for upcoming flights, deliveries or restaurant reservations and let you know when they are due. There are also numerous kinds of cards like birthdays (yours and contacts') and what distance you've walked in a particular month. The last one could definitely feel creepy for some users, but it's easily turned off from the Google Now settings menu.

Google has also integrated Voice Actions. They can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

One big advantage of Google's Jelly Bean is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an Internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making dictation available offline also made it faster. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost anything in terms of accuracy.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Google Nexus 10 is the first tablet to use a pair of Cortex-A15 CPU cores and only the second mobile device, after the new Samsung Chromebook. The chipset that powers both devices is the Exynos 5250 - it packs tow A15 cores at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM and a Mali-604 GPU.

With a next-gen CPU and GPU architectures (not to mention the latest Android), we expected the Nexus 10 to be a benchmark champion, but while it did score pretty well, it didn't really dominate. Perhaps it's the fact that two cores even of a new architecture can't quite four A9/Kraits, or it could be an issue that the benchmarks themselves have with the relatively young Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but the Nexus 10 didn't do much better than the Nexus 4 we tested last week here.

Benchmark Pi is a single-threaded benchmark, so core count doesn't matter. The HTC One X+ with its Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.7GHz managed to post the best time here, while the Nexus 10 ended up trailing even phones with lower clockspeeds (though it did beat its Nexus 4 sibling).

Moving to the multi-threaded Linpack test, the Nexus 10 still had trouble beating the competition that uses the older Cortex-A9 and Krait CPUs. It did worse than the quad-core Krait CPU in the Nexus 4 too. We've removed the 600+ score of the LG Optimus G as we believe it was caused by a bug.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • Google Nexus 10
    350
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Google Nexus 4
    431

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Google Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • Google Nexus 10
    172.1
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Then there's AnTuTu, which tests the whole system (RAM, storage, etc.) and the Nexus 10 tablet again come in the middle of the pack. It came at the bottom in the Quadrant ranking.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Google Nexus 4
    15146
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    13562
  • HTC One X+
    13519
  • Google Nexus 10
    12695
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    12288
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    11820
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    11633
  • LG Optimus G
    11226

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    4814
  • Google Nexus 4
    4567
  • Google Nexus 10
    4385

We tested the new GPU with GLBenchmark 2.5 - both on and off-screen. The difference between the two modes is that off-screen tests at a fixed 1080p resolution. While the powerful GPU in the iPad 4 remains out of reach, the Nexus 10 hits a playable 35fps framerate at this resolution.

When we move to on-screen mode (that renders graphics at the screen resolution), the framerate drops significantly. There were moments when the framerate was limited by VSync (60fps software limit), but most of the time it was lower. The average framerate was a choppy 23fps. Keep in mind that the Nexus 10 screen has a higher resolution than even the iPad 4.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPad 4
    51.8
  • Google Nexus 10
    35
  • LG Optimus G
    29
  • Apple iPhone 5
    27
  • Google Nexus 4
    26
  • Apple iPad 3
    25.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • Apple iPad mini
    14.5
  • Apple iPad 2
    14.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    13
  • Google Nexus 7
    9.1
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    9

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt on-screen

Higher is better

  • Apple iPad 4
    41.5
  • Apple iPhone 5
    39.4
  • LG Optimus G
    33.6
  • Apple iPad mini
    24.3
  • Apple iPad 2
    23.2
  • Google Nexus 10
    23
  • Apple iPad 3
    21.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17.3
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    14.1
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    14.1
  • Google Nexus 7
    13.6

Browser benchmark scores usually improve with every new version of Android. Both the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 4 are running Android 4.2 with Chrome as the default browser and they both failed to impress, and traded blows in SunSpider and BrowserMark 2. The Vellamo score was good, but again not the best.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Apple iPad 4
    880.1
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1304
  • Google Nexus 10
    1308
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • Apple iPad mini
    1432
  • Apple iPad 3
    1436.9
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    1468
  • Google Nexus 7
    1703
  • Apple iPad 2
    1773

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Google Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Google Nexus 10
    1773
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    1760
  • Samsung Omnia W
    1632
  • Samsung Galaxy S III (JB)
    1247

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Google Nexus 10
    1806
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Google Nexus 4
    1310
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