Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10 comparison review

Nexus tablets

Let us be the first to say it: the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are two completely different tablets, and a comparison between the two is a little bizarre. But it's worth pointing out the differences between these incredibly good-value tablets, especially for those who believe that starts and ends with the screen size and price. After all, the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are arguably the best and most popular Android tablets on the market right now, so which do you choose? See also What's the best tablet PC?

See also: new Nexus 7 (2013) review: the best Android tablet.

Truth be told, these tablets have very little in common. They're both handheld mobile devices, they're both sold by Google, and they both offer great value. Currently, they are also the only tablets on the market running the latest version of Android Jelly Bean, 4.2. That's about it - and not surprisingly so, given they are made by two different companies: the Nexus 10 by Samsung and the Nexus 7 by Asus.

Arguably, this means you could make a case not for choosing between the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, but owning both. The 10in screen of the Nexus 10 is useful for a homebound tablet, on which you can enjoy HD movies and games, while the smaller and lighter Nexus 7 is perhaps a better candidate as a travel companion, particularly given that a version is available with cellular connectivity.

If you've already decided you want a 7in tablet, but aren't sure which to buy, also check out our Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD vs Barnes & Noble Nook HD review. Alternatively, if it's a 10in-screen slate you need, we've compared the best each mobile platform has to offer in our Nexus 10 vs iPad 4 vs Surface RT review. You can also read our individual reviews of the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, or scroll down the page for video reviews of these groundbreaking tablets.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Price

Google set a new standard for tablets when it launched the Nexus 7. Costing just £159 in its most basic form, it made available to the masses a truly decent tablet computer with an affordable price tag. (Like all its Nexus devices, Google subsidises the initial cost of the Nexus 7 to encourage uptake of the Android platform and content sales at Google Play.) Even today, along with the iPad mini the Nexus 7 is the most powerful 7in tablet available, and it offers the best value at £159 with 16GB of storage. You can also buy a 32GB version for £199, or a 32GB Nexus 7 with 3G connectivity for £239.

The Nexus 10, meanwhile, is available with 16- or 32GB of internal storage, and costs £319 and £389 respectively. In the eyes of many tech spectators it, too, sets the benchmark in its respective market, with a higher-resolution screen, faster performance, and a price tag some £80 lower than the equivalent iPad 4.

The Nexus 10 is an altogether rarer beast than the Nexus 7, and if you wish to buy one you'll need to patiently watch Google Play for stock to become available. Check out our articles on the best place to buy the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 for advice.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Dimensions

Unsurprisingly, given the 3in difference in screen size, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 have very different dimensions. The Nexus 7 is 120mm wide, 199mm tall, and a rather slim 10.6mm thick. It weighs a pocketable 336g.

The larger Nexus 10 tips the scales almost twice as far, at 603g, but is actually thinner than the Nexus 7 at 8.9mm. This tablet is some 264mm wide and 178mm tall, designed to be used predominantly in a landscape orientation. Although both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 work in portrait and landscape modes, the Nexus 7 is better suited to vertical viewing such as e-reading (it works well in landscape mode when viewing movies).

It goes without saying that the Nexus 7 is also better suited than the Nexus 10 to throwing into a bag or oversized pocket as a travel companion, although both tablets are easily portable.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Build

Given that the Nexus 7 is built by Asus, and the Nexus 10 by Samsung, in design the Nexus 7 is not simply a smaller version of the Nexus 10. In fact, the Nexus 10 has a design not too far removed from that of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

The Nexus 10 is a premium tablet with excellent build quality. It has a Gorilla Glass protective front and a plastic casing, and a soft and grippy feel. Physical power and volume buttons are found on the top of the tablet, while ports are located on either side.

The Nexus 7, meanwhile, is a well-made slate that feels far more expensive than its low price tag would suggest. The front takes the form of a single sheet of glass, surrounded by a silver metal frame. On the rear is a dark brown textured cover with a rubbery feel, which aids grip and feels nice to the touch. Buttons and ports are kept to a minimum.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Screen

Let's start by stating the obvious: the Nexus 7 has a 7in screen, and the Nexus 10 not a 10in panel, but a 10.1in display. The Nexus 10 trumps the Nexus 7 with an incredible screen resolution of 2560x1600 pixels, which equates to 300 pixels per inch (ppi). This is higher even than the iPad's 'Retina'-quality 264ppi panel, within which individual pixels are indistinguishable to the human eye. The Nexus 7, by comparison, has a 1280x800 screen resolution, which works out at 216ppi. It offers very good detail levels, but is no match for the Nexus 10.

Both tablets use in-plane switching (IPS) panels, which offer excellent viewing angles, contrast and brightness. Either tablet is ideal for watching movies and playing games, but the Nexus 10 more so, given its larger and super-detailed screen.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Processor & performance

The differences between Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are more pronounced in terms of processor and performance. For starters, the Nexus 7 is a quad-core tablet, with a 1.3GHz nVidia Tegra 3 chip hiding inside, while the Nexus 10 is a dual-core slate, with a 1.7GHz Exynos 5 (based on the ARM Cortex-A15). Notably, the Nexus 7 packs 'just' 1GB of RAM, which the Nexus 10 doubles to 2GB. But it also has quad-core ULP GeForce graphics, whereas the Nexus 10 packs a dual-core Mali-T604 chip.

Both tablets offer very good performance within their respective markets, but the Nexus 10 is the better performer. We measured performance using Geekbench, GLBenchmark and SunSpider, and the Nexus 10 came out on top in each.

In the Geekbench speed benchmark the Nexus 7 managed 1,452 points, while in this test the Nexus 10 remains the fastest tablet to date, with 2,505 points. The larger tablet kept the lead in the GLBenchmark Egypt HD graphics test, where we recorded 27fps against the Nexus 7's 20fps, and in the SunSpider web-browsing test, where the two tablets scored 1,329- and 1,665ms respectively (lower is better in the latter test).

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Storage

Both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are available in 16- and 32GB capacities, with no memory-card slot for storage expansion. However, Google actively pushes the practice of using the cloud for storage and streaming, with services including Google Play Movies & TV, Google Books, Google Music, Google Magazines and more.

You can also invest in a Wi-Fi-enabled hard drive for additional storage, or take advantage of the many cloud-storage apps available in Google Play - or anywhere else on the web, for that matter, since Android isn't locked-down in the same way as rival mobile operating systems.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Cameras

We wouldn't imagine either tablet being the ideal device on which to take digital photos, but you would look marginally less stupid holding up the 7in Nexus 7 than the 10in Nexus 10 to capture snaps. Unfortunately, the Nexus 7 doesn't have a rear-facing camera, so you'll have to make do with the Nexus 10 and its 5Mp model.

This is combined with an LED flash, and can take good-quality images; there are also some tweakable settings within the camera app, such as exposure and white balance, and you can go to town afterward. A Photo Sphere mode, new to Jelly Bean 4.2, lets you capture 360-degree panoramas.

More useful, perhaps, is the front-facing camera, which can be used with video-chat services such as Skype, or simply to check your hair and make-up is in place. In this regard the Nexus 10 packs a 1.9Mp snapper, which is capable of 720p video; the Nexus 7 has a lower-resolution 1.2Mp webcam, also suitable for 720p video.

NEXT PAGE: Click here for Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10 connectivity, software, battery and verdict >>

We continue our Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 comparison review with a look at connectivity, software and battery life.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Connectivity

The Nexus 7 is what you need if you want to be able to connect online on the move and aren't always in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot: a 3G version with 32GB of storage is available for £239. However, if a cellular connection isn't important, the Nexus 10 adds connectivity options in the form of a Micro-HDMI port, enabling you to hook it up to a larger screen, and a Magnetic Pogo pin charger, which we suspect will be used with some sort of dock that's yet to become available.

Both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 support near-field communication (NFC) through Android Beam, Bluetooth, GPS and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi - the Nexus 10 with Mimo antennae and support for Wi-Fi Direct. You'll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a universal Micro-USB port for charging on both tablets.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Software

Along with the Nexus 4 smartphone, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets are the only devices on the market to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean - for now, at least. Each comes with the 'Nexus promise' that Google will push to the device operating system updates as soon as they become available. A major criticism of Android is that it's left to hardware manufacturers to decide whether to update existing devices, so this is a feather in the cap for the Nexus line-up.

Jelly Bean is a slick and intuitive tablet OS, and version 4.2 adds some useful new features, available on both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. These are the only tablets you can buy that are preinstalled with a vanilla copy of Jelly Bean 4.2, without the junk apps tablet manufacturers so often preinstall on their devices, and show Jelly Bean exactly as Google intended it.

We particularly like the ability to turn the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 into a true family PC by setting up multiple user accounts, or a digital photo frame with Daydream.

What we don't like about Android Jelly Bean is the removal of support for Adobe Flash, which is still necessary for a lot of online video, including YouTube (when not accessed through the mobile app) and catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer, plus some casual online games. It is possible to add Flash support to Jelly Bean with a few simple tweaks, but you do so at your own risk. Read our tutorial on adding Flash to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

Google Play offers literally thousands of apps and, due to its semi-open nature, you can also download those from the wider web - if you dare. Rest assured, mobile malware is still in its infancy, and if you install a decent security app you have little to fear. Whatever you want to do, you'll find an app for use on the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Battery

The Nexus 10 packs a 33.3Wh battery, and the Nexus 7 a smaller-capacity 16Wh cell. This doesn't mean the Nexus 10 will last longer away from the mains - don't forget that super-high-resolution screen and powerful performance. Google says the Nexus 7 will last seven hours with active use, and touts up to nine hours of continuous video playback for the Nexus 10.

It's impossible for us to give a realistic estimate of real-world usage, given that everyone uses their tablets in different ways, but both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will go a few days between charges with what we'd refer to as 'normal' usage.

Google Nexus 7 vs Nexus 10: Which is the best tablet?

Given that the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 appeal to two different markets, it's impossible to say which is the best tablet - we'd happily own both. However, while the Nexus 10 offers exactly what you'd expect from a premium tablet - a fantastic screen, unsurpassed performance, great connectivity and useful runtime - the Nexus 7 is priced to appeal to the masses and, with 3G connectivity, slim dimensions and low weight, is highly portable to boot.

If you want a cheap or small tablet, buy the Nexus 7; if you want the best performance, get the Nexus 10. And if both are too big for your needs, buy the Nexus 4: Google owns the Android mobile market right now.

OUR VERDICT

If you want a cheap or small tablet, buy the Nexus 7; if you want the best performance, get the Nexus 10. And if both are too big for your needs, buy the Nexus 4 smartphone: Google owns the Android mobile market right now.

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