Mobile Technology

Nexus 10 vs. iPad (4th generation)

How does the Google/Samsung Nexus 10 compare to Apple's 4th-generation iPad?
How does the Google/Samsung Nexus 10 compare to Apple's 4th-generation iPad?
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The iPad's battery looks better on paper
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The iPad's battery looks better on paper
Cameras look pretty close
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Cameras look pretty close
Google and Samsung have taken the iPad's title as highest-resolution mainstream tablet
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Google and Samsung have taken the iPad's title as highest-resolution mainstream tablet
How does the Google/Samsung Nexus 10 compare to Apple's 4th-generation iPad?
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How does the Google/Samsung Nexus 10 compare to Apple's 4th-generation iPad?
The new Jellybean has some new features, but can it make up for the App Store's superior tablet app library?
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The new Jellybean has some new features, but can it make up for the App Store's superior tablet app library?
The Nexus 10 (probably) doubles the iPad's RAM
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The Nexus 10 (probably) doubles the iPad's RAM
Apart from the iPad's 64GB option, we're all even here
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Apart from the iPad's 64GB option, we're all even here
The Nexus 10 is a bit lighter than the iPad 4
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The Nexus 10 is a bit lighter than the iPad 4
For now, the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi only
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For now, the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi only
Like many of the iPad's rivals, Nexus 10 is intended as a landscape tablet
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Like many of the iPad's rivals, Nexus 10 is intended as a landscape tablet
The A6X should be a screamer, but Samsung's Exynos is no slouch either
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The A6X should be a screamer, but Samsung's Exynos is no slouch either

Google is evolving. Though Android is still licensed to countless manufacturers, the company is stepping up production of its flagship Nexus products. The devices, close collaborations with hardware vendors to promote new versions of Android, have been multiplied in number. This year, Google has released (at least) one new Nexus smartphone, and two Nexus tablets.

The higher-end of Google's tablets – the Nexus 10 – was built to go toe-to-toe with the iPad. How does it compare to Apple's market-leading slate? Let's take a look …

Dimensions

Like many of the iPad's rivals, Nexus 10 is intended as a landscape tablet
Like many of the iPad's rivals, Nexus 10 is intended as a landscape tablet

The Nexus 10 is thinner than the iPad, with slightly more oblong dimensions. Google intends Nexus 10 as more of a landscape tablet, while the iPad is primarily seen as a portrait-mode device.

Weight

The Nexus 10 is a bit lighter than the iPad 4
The Nexus 10 is a bit lighter than the iPad 4

The Nexus 10 is a bit lighter than the iPad, despite its slightly larger display.

Display

Google and Samsung have taken the iPad's title as highest-resolution mainstream tablet
Google and Samsung have taken the iPad's title as highest-resolution mainstream tablet

Google and Samsung went for broke with the Nexus 10's display. Its 2560 x 1600 resolution makes it the first major tablet to improve on the iPad's 2048 x 1536 resolution. That gives the Nexus a whopping 299 pixels per inch (PPI), notably sharper than the iPad's 264PPI.

There are other differences, as the Nexus utilizes Super AMOLED technology, next to the iPad's IPS. We look forward to getting these remarkable displays next to each other for some real-world comparisons.

Processor

The A6X should be a screamer, but Samsung's Exynos is no slouch either
The A6X should be a screamer, but Samsung's Exynos is no slouch either

The Nexus 10 packs Samsung's dual core Exynos chip, while the iPad 4 carries the Apple A6X (also manufactured by Samsung). This will also get more interesting with hands-on time, but both tablets should perform well.

RAM

The Nexus 10 (probably) doubles the iPad's RAM
The Nexus 10 (probably) doubles the iPad's RAM

The 4th-generation iPad's 1GB of RAM are the same amount as the 3rd generation iPad, and double the RAM of the iPad 2 and (probably) iPad mini. The Nexus 10, meanwhile, brings a full 2GB of random-access memory.

Storage

Apart from the iPad's 64GB option, we're all even here
Apart from the iPad's 64GB option, we're all even here

Apart from the iPad's pricier 64GB option, storage options are even. The big story here is that the Nexus 10 undercuts the iPad's equivalent models by US$100.

Wireless

For now, the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi only
For now, the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi only

The Nexus 10 launches as a Wi-Fi only affair, but it's possible that Google will later offer a mobile data-equipped version. The iPad is available in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G/LTE models.

Cameras

Cameras look pretty close
Cameras look pretty close

At least on paper, cameras look close. Both sport 5MP rear shooters, with the Nexus 10 having a higher-megapixel front-facing camera.

Battery

The iPad's battery looks better on paper
The iPad's battery looks better on paper

The only meaningful battery life comparison will come with hands-on use, but, on paper, the iPad's battery hardware looks better. As the Nexus 10's display also packs a ludicrous amount of pixels, it will be interesting to see if its uptimes are on par with the iPad's.

Intangibles

The new Jellybean has some new features, but can it make up for the App Store's superior tablet app library?
The new Jellybean has some new features, but can it make up for the App Store's superior tablet app library?

The Nexus 10 ships with the updated version of Jellybean, Android 4.2. It's a relatively minor update, but it adds some new features like Photo Sphere (a 360 degree panorama photo tool), updated Google Now, and multiple user accounts. It also adds a Swype-like trace keyboard, built right into stock Android.

The biggest weakness of Android tablets, though, is still their native tablet app selection. This is where the iOS App Store excels, with its 275,000+ library of tablet-specific applications. If the Nexus 10 – along with its little brother, the Nexus 7 – is popular enough, that gap could soon shrink. It already has, to some degree. For now, however, too many Android tablet apps are still stretched-out smartphone apps.

For many shoppers, the most important category will be price. Here the Nexus 10 has a big advantage. Google and Samsung wisely undercut the iPad, selling the 16GB model for US$400. A tablet is a big purchase, and it will be interesting to see how many holiday shoppers opt for the cheaper – yet arguably more powerful – Nexus 10.

Summing up

When rumors recently surfaced about the Nexus 10, we didn't think we'd see the device until 2013. Google and Samsung, however, are getting it into customers' hands on Nov. 13. This could make for an epic holiday showdown with the iPad.

Many full-sized Android tablets have fallen at the iPad's feet. Is the Nexus 10's top-notch hardware, aggressive pricing, and trusted branding enough to give the iPad a serious run for its money? It won't likely outsell the iPad anytime soon, but it could position itself as a long-term threat. Stay tuned.

13 comments
Max Kennedy
Needs additional storage such as a SD card slot!
Derek Howe
@ Max - It seems more and more common to not add any expandable storage option. :( That said, this has some impressive specs...I might just buy it on Black Friday...if it's priced right.
Australian
I agree with Max. SD card access is a brilliant differentiator. I am gobsmacked that Google did not see fit to add it. Had they, it would have been game over for Ipad. "Oh look - for an extra $100 I have access to Itunes". Really?....................
Booleanboy
Agree entirely about the lack of SD Storage. This is purely to allow manufacturers to charge a substantial premium for modest amounts of additional memory. I won't buy into it - the reason I ended a long run of buying HTC phones when they handicapped the HTC One-X by omitting additional storage. Fortunately Samsung didn't try the same trick with the S3 but I wonder whether they'll follow their clients Google with future models?
JeffHaring
The author's comment, "For many shoppers, the most important category will be price." is not true. If that were true then all of the millions of iPad, iPhone, iPod buyers would have bought the cheaper knockoffs. The fact remains that Apple has done such a great job of integrating their products together with superior IOS and services as a package deal that is difficult for the others to compete. There's always going to be somebody cheaper or bigger or faster - but when combined - the iPad/iPhone/iPod is simply the best.
Koos Tonteldoos
There's really nothing to compare here. One is overpriced with average spec's, the other is under priced with better spec's. Now which one did I want to buy again???...
Richard Chesher
I agree, not having an SD card or mini-USB is a deal breaker for both Ipad and Nexus. What about GPS? It would have been interesting to include Windows8 Surface with this review.
Dawar Saify
I was reading the article with enthusiasm when I read that it's available upto 32 gb. Maybe they will release the 64 gb version later. Still for anyone who have used the ipad and it's quality apps, I think the ipad will still remain in a league of its own, unlike the iphone. I am a regular HTC android fan. No this won't touch the ipad yet unless Apple makes a serious mistake like they did with the iphone.
Billy Bonkers
Apple devices software just works, no antivirus is needed, companies need to work on the software rather than the hardware, a human is a vegetable without software.
John Kang
Wow, I mean why is everyone so obsessed with microSD? For me, the nexus 10's 300dpi AMOLED screen is worth more than anything I've seen. Also, Exynos 5 which supposedly have destroyed many A9 based chips-A6X no exception- is definitly an amzing accomplishment. If you want additional storage, grab an OTG cable, a decent 256gb flash drive only the size of you thumb, and you have all the storage you possibly need! Not to mention free 50gb storage in GDrive. "Apple devices just works" Well, newsflash for you, Android works too. I don't know why someone like you clearly never used an Android is making a comment like that. Also, iOS is not virus free, anymore. Any OS is susceptible to virus, ANY! The reason that there is more virus for PC and Linux is because they have larger user base.