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Google Nexus 10 - Interface and Usability

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis

Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Google Nexus 10

Summary

Our Score:

9

Google Nexus 10 - Interface and Usability

The Nexus 10 comes with Android Jelly Bean 4.2 preinstalled (which is immediately upgradeable to 4.2.1). There’s lots that’s good about the latest version; multiple user logins, a sleek notifications system and super slick operation. Unfortunately though, Android’s traditional Achilles heel – namely, OS stability – does appear to be something of an issue again. While 99% of the time everything runs super smoothly with no problems at all, we found that our review unit had a tendency to freeze and/or perform random reboots from time to time. The pattern of these reboots appeared to be completely random; sometimes we’d experience several in a single session of use, while at other times the tablet would run absolutely fine for a full day or two.

Google Nexus 10 9

Not the most exciting screen grab we grant you, but one that shows the Android version and more.

The freezes/random reboots are frustrating to say the least, because when Jelly Bean 4.2.1 works it works really well. As a more flexible and open operating system Android offers a number of key advantages over iOS – at least for those tech-savvy users who want to make use of them. This includes (but is certainly not limited to) the ability to ascribe live news feeds, weather forecasts and other similarly helpful ‘widgets’ to your five home screens, which means you can see at a glance what iPad users have to open a specific app for - and here on a large screen widgets really do come into their own. When things go wrong though and your tablet freezes you may well find yourself pining for the reliability of Apple’s simpler, but ultimately more reliable iOS.

With regards to our Nexus 10, initially we thought that perhaps we’d just been unlucky and received a malfunctioning device, however a quick trawl of the internet quickly revealed that we’re far from the only ones to have experienced such issues with a Nexus 10 running Jelly Bean 4.2.1. Indeed, freezes/random reboots appear to be a fairly widely reported problem with the latest Android build. We should, of course, point out that the root of the problem appears to be software related, rather than something that’s caused by any substandard or faulty hardware in the Nexus 10 itself. In this case it’s to be hoped that Google is working on a patch that will sort the problem of random reboots out once and for all.

Google Nexus 10 7

The Quick Menu can be accessed by swiping down from the top right-hand edge of the screen.

The good news in this respect is that, being a vanilla Android device (that is to say, one that’s not skinned with any kind of third-party user interface), the Nexus 10 is able to receive system updates as soon as they become available. While this is undoubtedly a good thing for those eager to keep up with latest Android build, it does mean that purchasers of the Nexus 10 won’t find any extra apps preinstalled on their devices beyond the standard Google spread. That said, it’s not a bad collection of apps, and you’ll find everything you need from email clients, to calendars and calculators to get started with.

As with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) before it you get three dedicated soft buttons – the Back button, the Home-screen button and the Multitasking button. While these three buttons were found on the bottom left-hand-side of the screen in ICS, Jelly Bean relocates them to the middle of the baseline. It certainly looks a bit neater, although any ICS users who’ve grown used to using their left thumb to do the lion’s share of soft button pressing will find that the new layout requires you to take a hand off the tablet to reach any of them.

Google Nexus 10

When it's not misbehaving the Nexus 10 scores quite highly on benchmark tests such as AnTuTu.

In addition to relocating the soft buttons there are a number of practical enhancements that Jelly Bean enjoys over its predecessor. Chief among these is the ability to run multiple user accounts on one tablet. Once you’ve set everything up (via the Users option in the Settings menu) you simply choose your identity from the lock screen, enter your passcode – assuming you’ve applied one – and the tablet will automatically take you to your home screen complete with all your own apps and accounts. If you’re looking for a tablet that all the family can share, then the Nexus 10 ticks all the boxes in this respect.

Another big difference between Jelly Bean and ICS is the application of ‘Project Butter’ – so-called because it aims to make the user experience that much smoother. Putting the aforementioned freezing/rebooting issues to one side for a moment, it’s certainly the case that Jelly Bean 4.2.1 feels just that a little bit slicker and faster than ICS did. For a start, there’s no stuttering or lag when switching between homepages or tasks, or when running multiple applications – with its dual-core 1.7GHz ARM Cortex A15 processor and 2GB of RAM the Nexus 10 makes light work of pretty much anything you care to throw at it. In addition to an overall speed boost, animations and transitions seem a bit smoother too. Like we said already, when Jelly Bean 4.2.1 works it works very well indeed.

Google Nexus 10 3

Likewise, the Epic Citadel benchmark test also gives the Nexus 10 a big thumbs up.

There’s also a new notifications system, which is found on the top left of the screen and activated by swiping down from that point of the screen. This provides live notifications of everything from new emails to pending app updates, and is really useful as it allows you to jump directly to your inbox or to whatever app needs updating. In addition, if you’ve just downloaded something – say, for example an image or an MP3 file – you can use the notifications bar to quickly find it and open it. Over on the top left-hand-side of the screen, meanwhile, you’ll find the pull-down Quick Menu, which is also activated via a vertical swipe. Here you can easily manage a number of regular settings, from screen brightness to Wi-Fi settings via Bluetooth and the screen rotation-lock.

Google Nexus 10 5

The Nexus 10 has built-in GPS, which allows the Navigation app to guide you to your destination.

Last but by no means least is the addition of Google Now. This can be accessed directly by swiping up from the task bar at the bottom of the screen and, once activated, works on a couple of levels. On the one hand, you can set it to provide live updates and notifications of things that are important to you, be it the state of the traffic on your daily commute or the next match of your favourite football team. These are presented as ‘cards’ on the screen, with all the relevant information succinctly presented within.

Google Nexus 10

Google Now employs some excellent voice recognition technology and has all sorts of handy uses.

In addition to the cards function, Google Now also offers a text and spoken-word search facility, along with a Siri-like voice command function that gives you a degree of control over the tablet itself. Much like it’s Apple rival this latter feature can be used to open core apps, set alarms, make adjustments to your calendar and even operate the calculator – you’ll have to spend some time talking to your Nexus 10 in order to find out exactly what Google Now is and isn’t capable of doing, but overall it’s undoubtedly pretty smart. The voice recognition technology is particularly impressive, and even when asking deliberately quirky questions we found the supplied results to be consistently accurate.

PheasantPlucker

November 5, 2012, 6:23 pm

What's the point of this me-too "preview"?
You've just re-hashed a press release.

"Trusted Reviews" not "Trusted we read the press release too".

Lazy.

DrMaustus

November 5, 2012, 7:37 pm

"It won't cause Apple fans to abandon ship. . ."

I think this isn't quite true. I'm sure there are *some* Apple fans that might consider switching considering the higher resolution, lower price, and added flexibility provided by the Nexus 10. However, if you said something like "It won't cause those Apple fans that are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem to abandon ship", I think that'd be more accurate.

I used to own a first generation iPad. I sold it and switched to the Nexus 7. I'm never going back to an Apple tablet.

ElectricSheep

November 6, 2012, 4:45 pm

@PheasantPlucker Agreed. The recent gluttony of re-worked press releases aren't exactly bathing this reviews site in glory. How many frivolous Apple 'news' stories recently?! Especially when they have to them stick them in the 'Reviews' section. The 'back-end limitations' line is too long in the tooth now. As is the inability to log in with FF. Grrrrr TR, please sort these niggles out.

aeonturnip

November 6, 2012, 9:16 pm

@PheasantPlucker, @ElectricSheep. I may be in the minority with this opinion, but I'll share it anyway - I use sites like TrustedReviews to give me information on tech/gadget news, not just reviews, so I have no problem with previews. Okay, this isn't a review, it's a distillation of the press release with some opinion thrown in - but it does openly state it's a preview, so surely that's okay? IMHO, I still think TR is the best tech/gadget site out there, despite it's foibles.

Martin Daler

November 7, 2012, 3:32 pm

@aeonturnip
Maybe they should not call it a Preview, when it is, as you say, essentially a re-hashed press release. The 'News' section would be a better home for this kind of stuff - that is where I would expect to find press releases - assuming they are at least newsworthy. Like you, I like to be kept informed, therefore I look for a clear demarkation between value-added editorial and simple news reporting, or even PR/advertorial.

When you are called TrustedReviews it does you no good to dilute your reviews proper with this sort of nonsense.

As to logging in using Firefox, I can log in no problem, but it is very irritating that TR does not allow you to remain logged in beyond the browsing session, or even allow the browser to remember the login details. It's not like they are a bank.

hgil

November 7, 2012, 5:58 pm

Any news about a cellular 3G/4G version?
Next year ?

Actionable Steps

February 6, 2013, 1:07 am

I love how youre giving it a 'con' about connectivity. Are you joking? the iPad can only connect Apple hardware so by comparison this thing is a godsend!

Polly Ripley

February 6, 2013, 3:47 am

I'd guess it's a case of apples and oranges - they're comparing it to other Android devices rather than the iPad in this regard. Although I must say as much as a micro sd slot would have been welcome, the fact that for a small additioal cost you can access media from a USB stick makes this a huge step up from the very limited Nexus 7. So I was pleased to read that.

suhaib

February 6, 2013, 12:09 pm

You can access media from a usb stick from the Nexus 7 too using an app from the play store.

suhaib

February 6, 2013, 12:15 pm

sorry its actually the same app Nexus Media Importer - been using it for 6 months - Makes the N7 very un-limited in my view...

Polly Ripley

February 6, 2013, 11:21 pm

It's the first I've heard of it - no reviewer has mentioned it so far. Thanks for the heads up. Being able to access a larger song library from a USB stick is very helpful (although not as convenient as a micro SD slot). That still doesn't address the lack of HDMI output though. Is there any way to connect it to a TV that you know of?

Matt Green

February 7, 2013, 4:02 pm

Yes, it has a micro HDMI port

DarthDave

February 7, 2013, 5:49 pm

She's talking about the Nexus 7 in that instance - which doesn't have HDMI or MHL. That's something Google need to address the next time they refresh the N7. It's the only reason anyone would consider a Kindle over a Google 7 inch tablet.

wibbling

February 15, 2013, 9:25 am

This just doesn't look like £300-400 worth of product. It looks like a thick lump of inelegant plastic.Whatever others may say, Android really is a miss-mash of competing styles and layouts that don't seem to gel together well.

I'm sure, at a technical level this is the superior device to an iPad, but when you compare the two it's a no brainer. Most people are going to buy the iPad.

Michael Parkes

February 26, 2013, 6:26 pm

My only problem with this unit is it's made by Samsung. Besides myself I know 3 people who have purchased Samsung products only to have them die shorty after warranty deadline. My 30 inch monitor died 3 times, twice under warranty. If they had stuck with Asus it would be a no brainer, for me at least.

worlduno

March 12, 2013, 5:51 pm

I am one of those that has abandoned the Apple empire for the freedom of the Android world.

Nick Jones

March 16, 2013, 4:08 pm

My Nexus 10 is brilliant & there is no problem with the software after the latest automatic update. I'm an ABA fan, "Anything but Apple"!

id ,

March 22, 2013, 6:30 am

get out of here , you keep complaining . in fact , you're not the one who invented any of these . go get a life !

rashmimaharjan14

April 20, 2013, 5:37 am

It's the first I've heard of it - no reviewer has mentioned it so far.
Thanks for the heads up. Being able to access a larger song library from
a USB stick is very helpful (although not as convenient as a micro SD
slot). That still doesn't address the lack of HDMI output though. Is
there any way to connect it to a TV that you know of?

HE_OFFICER

April 21, 2013, 3:29 am

I'm browsing from an iPad 1 that is now constantly crashing and next to useless unless just casually browsing or checking email. It's a perfectly good piece of hardware that's been rendered obsolete so they can make more money. I'm switching to android and not looking back. GFYS apple.

Guest

April 22, 2013, 7:29 pm

Here is my review on Nexus 10 by Google.

Battery.
Poor battery life. Takes day to charge. If you use it and charge at the same time it won't. Or will do, but very, very slow.

Screen / Color.
This high PPI (300) doesn't make any difference you can see.
Totally agree with CNET pro reviewer: Where the iPad beats the Nexus 10 is in black level, contrast, and color accuracy. The Nexus 10's blacks just aren't as deep nor its whites as bright as they should be, and its colors aren't as full.
Colors are poor, not contrast.

Apps.
No so many apps to install.

Return.
You will be surprised but Google will charge 15%

Customer Service.
Awful experience. Tried to reach them for an half an hour, then lost another 30 min in transfers to hear Dean a poor informed, without any customer service skills Google representative. Then I spoke to his manager Matt K. who is more unprofessional than Dean. I guess this is how you get the carrier in Google Customer Service department.
Well this dude even could not tell me where it says in my receipt about 15% restocking fee. Before he said he's "pretty sure". I can say they pretty crooks.

The restocking fee is just another way to rob you on selling bad product to resell this product again!

Google do the good product and change your Customer Service bots to the new ones.

Bottom line: check it first, compare to other devices. Remember you won't be able to return it and get the full refund, if you just opened the box.

Guest

June 25, 2013, 9:08 pm

That seems awfully ignorant. You're going to swear off of Samsung (largest tech company in the world, mind you, and for good reason) because they eat different food than you?

There has to be more to the story. My family has owned a tremendous variety of Samsung products over the last 3-5 decades and I can't come up with any issues with any of them, from an early 80's TV that STILL WORKS to my Galaxy S4 to my sister's Refrigerator. The Koreans have learned from the Japanese in recent years and have started pumping out a lot of quality products (and cars).

Leland

July 19, 2013, 12:54 am

Nexus 10 has serious battery flaw. When the power is fully used, which can happen extremely fast on the huge screen, we average less than 4 hours, the tablet can crash internally and is unusable until ...... 14 hour charge and google support has instructed me to insert the power cord at the exact moment pressing the power button for 30 seconds. This caused my Nexuxs 10 to reboot, but without battery power it can still not start. Waiting now 14 hours of charging to try again. Meanwhile, Google is allowing me to buy another unit and pay for shipping back their defective device. I am Developer who has purchased 7 google devices, but I am treated like all other customers BADLY. This product is defective. The simple fact that you can not restart from a power cord makes it unusable in emergency situation. Other 10" tablets have the same flaw, but it is no excuse for BAD ENGINEERING - BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE - BAD DEVELOPER SUPPORT. Google does not have a telephone number for Developers and when emailing responds with a message "We are too busy to Answer" Google is become one the most arrogant companies in the computer Industry, after Microsoft, and Apple.

Paul Yew

July 21, 2013, 6:13 pm

The Google Nexus 10 has a micro HDMI port on its right side... you can definitely connect it to a monitor or TV screen.

samantha

August 9, 2013, 1:34 pm

Hey, I do have the similar issues and experiences I am little lucky than you victim of one Piece.

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