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?
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.