Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels

Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels
UPDATE: Two separate reports say Google itself has called the screen "True RGB Real Stripe PLS", and Samsung also lists PLS in one of its official specs listings, thus the display part has been altered to reflect those specs.

If Google aimed to disturb Microsoft's big Windows Phone 8 launch event yesterday, the hurricane Sandy-induced cancellation of its own Nexus fiesta didn't prevent it from indeed doing so. It dumped the revelations about Android 4.2, Nexus 4, 7 and 10 minutes before the WP8 launch, making us all ADD kids go nuts for a good while where to focus first.

One release stood out, though, and this is Google's Nexus 10 tablet. While we knew everything about the Nexus 4, the mythical Samsung tablet with record resolution was more of a mystery. Apparently a direct reply to what Apple and Microsoft came up with in the tablet space going into the new holiday shopping season, Google saved its best for last - a 10" tablet built by Samsung with class-beating resolution and processor at a 25% discount to the competitors. Let's take a tour of the specs to gauge what can we expect from this tiger.


While nobody expected a metal-clad tablet warrior out of Samsung, the materials and chassis design are certainly not aiming to grab any Red Dot design awards. In fact, Google's Matias Duarte said the design was targeted towards ergonomics and light weight from the get-go. 

He touted the goofy rounded shape that is now a Nexus hallmark, and the plastic construction with brushed metal finish, as the culprits for an extremely comfortable grip regardless of your wrist position, and the 603 grams of weight, which is truly something for a tablet with such monstrous spec sheet. These design decisions made the Nexus 10 thinner and lighter than the aluminum 4th generation iPad, despite the slightly larger display.

Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels
Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels

One design decision users might not be so on board with, however, is the lack of microSD card slot. We know these new Nexus devices are supposed to rely more on Google's cloud solutions now, but a media-consumption darling like what the Nexus 10 is shaping up to be will hardly make do with 16 GB of internal storage, and the 32 GB one is a full $100 more, taking a page from Apple's book. Of course, you can always connect a flash drive to it, but it's a nuisance nonetheless, which prevents the Nexus 10 from being the perfect Android slate.


When we talk about perfect, the mind inevitably focuses on the display of this new Nexus tablet. Samsung has been teasing us with those 10" 2560x1500 panels since last year, and finally we are seeing them in a finished product. The Koreans didn't give us any hints that the Exynos 5250 board connected to a WQXGA panel they demoed for us at CES this year will end up being the poster child of Google's Nexus tablet line. That's probably because even then they didn't know Google will be approaching them to make one. 

Google's chief of partner engineering mentioned in an interview that they look around what hardware partners can offer, find something they like, and go with it - in this case, they liked a 10" screen Samsung had that can surpass the new iPad's "Resolutionary" screen in terms of pixel density, and Sammy also had the hardware to push those pixels for a convenient combo deal.

Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels
Samsung showcased two 10" 2560x1600 panels at the FPD expo last year, one with the PLS-LCD technology plus the IGZO driver elements Apple got so fond of with its Sharp investment, and the other with an RGBW matrix arrangement, which is essentially a PenTile version for LCD screens.

The IGZO screen was still in development then, and Samsung said it didn't have any plans yet what to do with it, whereas the PenTile one was ready to go into mass production this year, but it actually seems that Google wanted the RGB stripe type, as two reports quote its reps calling the Nexus 10 screen "True RGB Real Stripe PLS".

Thus we have a true 300ppi pixel density, with three subpixels per pixel, but there might be minor tradeoffs in the RGB matrix version compared to the PenTile 2560x1500 screen. First off, the specs for the stripe matrix Samsung display quoted at the FPD expo were 300 nits vs 400 nits of brightness, since the PenTile arrangement is RGBW, with one clear (white) pixel that lets more backlight through, thus lowering power consumption to what you normally get with 1280x800 screen. Besides this lower brightness, the RGB type was quoted to have 500:1 contrast, compared to 900:1 for the PenTile version.

Power consumption was quoted only as 26mW without the backlight on, while the PenTile one was listed as 3.4W at its peak, but with backlight on, yet judging from the huge 9,000 mAh battery Samsung has put in the tablet to push all those pixels, versus the about average for an Android tablet 9 hours of video playback listed, we'd assume the PenTile panel has lower power draw as well.

The RGB stripe display 2560x1600 display of Samsung covered 70% or higher of the standard NTSC color gamut when it was first shown at FPD last year, and we will have to wait for some professional measurements when the Nexus 10 hits to see if this has moved closer to the ideal 100% mark. In short, in terms of resolution and pixel density, this is indeed the most advanced tablet display to date.


Exynos 5250 board to WQXGA screen

Exynos 5250 board to WQXGA screen

The Nexus 10 is the first tablet to appear with a Cortex-A15 processor, which is the next generation of the ARM-based architecture that we have in current phones and tablets. Apple's A6 and Snapdragon's Krait cores might use some instruction sets from Cortex-A15, but the Samsung Exynos 5250 is the real deal, and its leaked benchmarks come to prove it.

We were pretty excited when Samsung wanted to show us its development board with the processor hooked up to a screen like the Nexus 10 one at CES, and now we have it in a retail device that sells for $399, not bad at all. It is still made with the 32nm production process like the Cortex-A9 Exynos 4412 in the Galaxy S III and Note II, so we can't expect it to be much more frugal than it, but what performance can we expect?

Google Nexus 10 specs review: $400 to push 4 million pixels
For starters, the Exynos 5250 in the Nexus 10 is paired with the Mali-T604 graphics processor, which is up to 4x faster than Mali-400 we have in current Samsung flagships, and renders 2.1 gigapixels per second with 12.8 GBps memory bandwidth, which you can imagine means flawless 3D games rendering and then some.

The Cortex-A15 cores themselves are at 2 GHz up to 2x faster than comparable Cortex-A9 ones. The Nexus 10 processor is clocked at 1.7 GHz, so the difference might not be that big, but this will affect positively the battery life available from the huge 9,000 mAh unit in the tablet. Thus you can imagine that processor-intensive tasks like accelerated browsing with Chrome, or photo and video editing, might surpass anything we've seen so far on a mobile device.

When we add the other niceties, like 2 GB of RAM and the fast MIMO Wi-Fi, we might be willing to forget about the lack of memory card slot. Both Google and Samsung needed a fighter in the 10-inch tablet arena that is dominated by Apple's iPad, and where all the Windows 8/RT slates are primed to make inroads. Do you think they delivered a compelling argument now with the Nexus 10?

Related phones

Nexus 10
  • Display 10.1" 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Dual, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 9000 mAh



1. paulyyd

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 08, 2011

Lol iPad 4 > nexus 10

4. wendygarett unregistered

Reason? ?????????

9. MeoCao unregistered

iPad 4 is heavier and more expensive and more eye strain obviously LOL.

37. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

it means you LOL at the iPad more than the Nexus 10..

7. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Why is that?

12. Ohrules

Posts: 327; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

"lol iPad 4" just sayin'

15. Nimpuz

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

As much as I prefer any android phones over iphone or WPs, Android ecosystem for tablet is still not as neat as the iPad. And IMO costumization is a lot more fun on smaller screens!

18. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

What if I told you , the RGB matrix in the Nexus 10 kills your iPad 3.5

19. SleepingOz unregistered

You mean Nexus 10 > iPad 4, right?

20. leftheodo

Posts: 108; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

ahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! I own an iPad 3 (or the old new iPad) and your comment is still hilarious.

25. thunder18

Posts: 154; Member since: Aug 06, 2009

Trolling much? "These design decisions made the Nexus 10 thinner and lighter than the aluminum 4th generation iPad, despite the slightly larger display." "The Nexus 10 is the first tablet to appear with a Cortex-A15 processor, which is the next generation of the ARM-based architecture that we have in current phones and tablets. Apple's A6 and Snapdragon's Krait cores might use some instruction sets from Cortex-A15, but the Samsung Exynos 5250 is the real deal, and its leaked benchmarks come to prove it." "...10" screen Samsung had that can surpass the new iPad's "Resolutionary" screen in terms of pixel density..." The only way the iPad4 wins is in terms of ecosystem, I will give it that.

28. RushFan2112

Posts: 26; Member since: Jun 16, 2011

Who really cares about "ecosystem"? All of the apps I use on my Nexus 7 work very well. And I would, ANY DAY, rather turn on my Android tablet and see a bunch of widgets giving me the information that I want rather than a bunch of do-nothing icons that I need to click on to get any info at all. Widgets FTW!

32. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

the only thing iPad have over Nexus 10 is apps for iPad and the battery, Screen is for nexus 10, speed and processor for nexus 10, OS of course android Nexus 10, EVERY THING NEXUS 10 !

46. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

Go f**k a brick, paulyyd!!!!

2. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

They delivered more than a compelling arguement, they delivered a punchline...with a lot of PUNCH! And be it pentile or not, at 300 ppi its not goona even matter what sub pixel arrangement it uses as the screen is gonna be awesome...period!

13. MeoCao unregistered

You took the words from my mouth dude The more I look at Nexus 10 the more I like it, stunning design. This this is for comfortable holding and warm and not cold aluminum as some other tablets.

29. AppleHateBoy unregistered

9,000 mAH battery and no claims of battery life. Something fishy is going on here. Rumor has it that Cortex A15s were built for servers and they are power-inefficient. That's why ARM pushed for big.LITTLE configurations. So, I suspect them. This would also explain why they are only clocked at 1.7 GHz as Cortex A15s are supposed to reach upto 2.5 GHz. Another power-inefficient component could be the Super AMOLED screen. But considering the Tab 7.7's battery life, I assume the screen is not an issue.

35. AWiseGuy

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

"Another power-inefficient component could be the Super AMOLED screen." Well, I'd say that depends on how you use it. As I understand, AMOLED is as efficient as you could ask for when it's displaying lots of colors or blacks. However, turn on white and it becomes a power hog, right? I guess that people who browse a lot will notice a hit to the battery life, considering most websites have white backgrounds, but those who use this tablet for media consumption (movies, games, etc) will not see such drains because those tend towards darker and more colorful displays.

39. Twisted247

Posts: 282; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

Another reason they are probably clocking it at 1.7Ghz when it's capable of 2.5Ghz(from what you said) is so they can use the same cpu for the next 3-5 releases and slowly turn it up and maybe add some RAM in the future. None of these companies will spill out 100% of what they are capable with right out of the gate. Then if a competitor happens to release something better they will be rushing in R&D and pushing a early release with a host of issues. They always have to keep s**t on the back burner that is tried true and tested. So at any moment they can drop a bomb on the competition. Not to mention the whole other reason for money, they can slowly upgrade it over time and make 10x the cash on the same cpu + gpu combo slowly bumping it up rather then jump dumping it on full bore.

31. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2293; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I don't believe PA is right on the Pentile screen. Both Engadget and TheVerge reported it having the PLS-LCD display.

3. Fayeznoor

Posts: 74; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Google in video for said it is True RGB Real Stripe PLS Display. Not sure what it is :p

5. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

the 4.2 really looks like the mobile version of android or webOS in behind! which is good!!! finally google make something to make it very unified!! but this just remind me of iOS on iPad and iPhone with same UI on both of them!!! anyways looking good... but wish nexus 10 isnt plastic!!! i dont care about being lighter but as longas i cold get a premium looking device, i'll go for it!

6. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

Every body will kneel in front of the Microsoft Surface with windows 8 Pro.....

11. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010


27. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

@ noim1 & you will kneel in front of Tim cook. But lets get back to talking about the Nexus 10.

8. Kronic

Posts: 321; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Lol there goes your ultra hi res display, pentile lol and we have superior RGB display which have better detail. What else can you expect from a Samsun display?

22. leftheodo

Posts: 108; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Samsung? You mean the best display manufacturer in the world?

24. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Kronic you do realise that the new ipad display is also made by Samsung,right?

34. Kronic

Posts: 321; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

No sharp made it, idiotandro

36. Obie-Wan

Posts: 108; Member since: May 24, 2012

If i'm not mistaken, The New iPad indeed use PLS display which made by Samsung. The iPad Mini, use Sharp's IGZO display. Correct me if i'm wrong.

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