Google Nexus 10 vs Apple iPad Air 2 Specs Comparison

Written by B Johnson January 22, 2015
Google Nexus 10 vs Apple iPad Air 2 Specs Comparison
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Through Google Nexus 10, Samsung showed it to the world that this company was an expert when it comes to developing display along with its technology around the tablet market.

When it first came out in 2013 (along with Nexus 4 when hurricane Sandy happened), this tablet already made many people especially tech guys really impressed – mostly by its display of course.

(Google Nexus 10 vs Apple iPad Air 2 Specs Comparison)

And that’s because when many rivals (even the iPads) were still struggling to jump to the 1080p bandwagon with their tablets, Samsung surprisingly already jumped far way to the future with the 2.5K resolution display (2560x1600 pixels) with Google Nexus 10 and made it the world’s first tablet shipping with 2.5K display.

Google Nexus 10 vs iPad Air 2 benchmarks and gaming performance

Last year, however, Google didn’t refresh this tablet with the new-gen model.

Instead, Google partnered with HTC to debut the smaller Google Nexus 9, which can be considered a different category tablet than Google Nexus 10 given that this device is more on productivity side (as it comes with official keyboard case), compared to Nexus 10 that is made by Samsung as a pure media-consumption device.

So this is actually the main reason why today i’m really interested to bring up again this Samsung Nexus tablet in my comparison review against other new-gen tablet.

And given its 10.1-inch screen size, i believe the new iPad from Apple – which is iPad Air 2 – probably can be an ideal rival for this Nexus device.

Well, if you're also interested as I am to learn know more about these 2 powerful tablets and see how they go in gaming experience and performance, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 10 and iPad Air 2.


As a new-gen tablet, it doesn’t take a genius to know that iPad Air 2 is just really powerful compared to the old-gen Google Nexus 10, especially on paper.

And that’s actually true because on many sectors, this iPad really blows Google Nexus 10 out of the water instantly, in terms of performance, graphical power, camera, battery life and of course, design and build quality.

But apparently, there is one sector that makes Google Nexus 10 look more superior than iPad Air 2, which is actually weird given its release date that was 3 years before iPad Air 2 came out.

And that is of course its 2.5K display, which has a lot more pixels compared to the “Retina” Display found on the iPad Air 2 (2560x1600 pixels VS 2048x1536 pixels).

So this is why Google Nexus 10 is so impressive for me personally. I mean, i never thought that, for a 2012-released tablet, Google Nexus 10 surprisingly is still on par with even the latest-gen iPad Air 2, especially in terms of display.

Actually, it’s not only on the display department Google Nexus 10 is really superior at against the iPad Air 2, there are some other parts that in my opinion, still put this Nexus device on the same level with the newer iPad.

I mean, it has a powerful set of hardware (CPU, GPU and RAM), good quality cameras, impressive gaming performance and actually, its design looks kind of nice and in fact really comfortable to hold – as told in the reviews of one famous tech YouTuber, Marques Brownlee.

But the questions remain, with all of the high-powerful specs and amazing performance found on both tablets,

Which one between Google Nexus 10 and iPad Air 2 that deserves to take the crown here as the best gaming tablet in this comparison review? Which one that will come out as the best overall tablet in this review? Is it worth to buy any of these devices, especially for playing today’s high-performing games?

If you want to know more about my final conclusion of this comparison review, be sure to start scrolling and reading the rest of this post. :)


Apple has been really consistent with the use of fully aluminum materials on its iPads.

iPad Air 2 of course is no exception. Similar just like the predecessors, this new-gen iPad still inherits the same premium feel and material all over its coating, making it look really expensive and also feel really comfortable to hold.

Not only that, just like what Apple has been doing in every release of iPad, on this iPad Air 2, Apple also tries to shrink its thickness much even further to much thinner than pencil.

So even if you hold it for such long hours while standing at the subway or bus station, it still 't feels really convenient, despite large 4:3 aspect ratio.

Google Nexus 10
Google Nexus 10
iPad Air
iPad Air

There’s also the new addition of Touch ID fingerprint sensor on its home button, allowing you to unlock the screen or validate the payment on iTunes.

On the other hand with iPad Air that is prominent with its premium metal aluminum chassis, Google Nexus 10 looks more humble with the usual plastic polycarbonate materials all over its rear-case.

The great thing is, according to one famous tech reviewer on YouTube (MKBHD), this Google-branded tablet surprisingly feels really good and comfortable to hold.

It may not have the same premium level of iPad Air 2, but i think it’s still really impressive to see how well the overall design of this tablet.

As a matter of fact, thanks to Google’s involvements on the design of this device, Google Nexus 10 actually looks quite nice and unique with its all-round rectangular looking design.

It has the “fun” aspect but it still looks really elegant as a media-consumption device.

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Google Nexus 10 (Samsung)Apple iPad Air 2
10.1 inch Super PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
2560 x 1600 pixels (~299 ppi pixel density)
OS Android OS,
v4.2 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)
a Dual-core Exynos 5250 1.7 GHz Cortex-A15
Mali-T604 GPU
5 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash
1.9 MP front-facing camera
No MicroSD card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
No Radio
No Java
Infrared, Bluetooth, NFC
Non-removable Li-Po 9000 mAh battery

    LTE (Nano-SIM/Apple SIM)
    Released October 2014
    * Fingerprint sensor (Touch ID)
    9.7 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1536 x 2048 pixels (~264 ppi pixel density)
    capacitive touchscreen, 16M colorsScratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating
    iOS 8.1, upgradable to iOS 8.1.2
    Triple-core 1.5 GHz Apple A8X
    No microSD card slot
    16/64/128 GB Internal storage
    2 GB RAM
    8 MP rear-facing camera (1080p@30fps video recording) HDR
    1.2 MP front-facing camera (720p@30fps video recording)
    Safari Browser HTML5
    No Java
    Non-removable Li-Po battery (27.3 Wh)

    Both of these tablets are released in 2 different generations – iPad Air 2 got launched just a couple of months ago in 2014, while Google Nexus 10 made its debut really long time ago in late 2012.

    So it’s no-brainer that the hardware specs found inside these 2 tablets will not be on par one to another, especially in terms of processor and GPU.

    But interestingly, despite being the device with older-gen hardware, there are actually some parts of Google Nexus 10 that weirdly put this device on top of the iPad Air 2.

    Two of them are its display and battery capacity. So Google Nexus 10 comes with 10.1-inch display sporting the 2.5K display (2560x1600 pixels) and a huge 9000mAh battery – as opposed to the “Retina” display of iPad (2048x1536 pixels).

    Meanwhile, iPad Air 2 is more prominent with its latest-gen Apple A8X triple-core processor, 2GB of RAM and new-gen PowerVR GPU.

    The great things found on this iPad are of course its much improved 8MP iSight camera, iOS 8 and its Touch ID sensor found on home button.

    Not to mention, its thinner design and solid build quality are also the other best selling points of this tablet, especially compared to Google Nexus 10.


    As mentioned above, despite being an older-gen tablet, there are actually some sectors that interestingly put Google Nexus 10 on the batter higher position than the latest-gen iPad Air 2.

    And one of them is definitely its display.

    So this Google-branded Nexus tablet is sporting 2.5K resolution on its 10.1-inch display, compared to the lower-resolution found on “Retina” display of iPad Air 2 (2560x1600 pixels VS 2048x1536 pixels).

    When it comes to sharpness, of course Google Nexus 10 is more superior than the iPad Air 2. But it’s actually not just on the sharpness, but also in entire quality as well.

    And this is not so surprising because Samsung has been known for its expertise and experience in developing its own display for its devices (especially with Super AMOLED technology).

    This Google Nexus 10 may not yet have the Super AMOLED display – known for its outstanding color saturation -. However, according to some reviews on YouTube, the display of this Google’s tablet still looks really gorgeous besides sharp.

    The colors look popping out and the viewing angle is also great - according to one tech YouTuber named Chris from oode.

    The same applies to iPad Air 2 actually. Even though its “Retina” display sport lower resolution than on Google Nexus 10, the display of this iPad still looks insanely sharp and gorgeous overall.

    So even if you pick up either iPad Air 2 or Google Nexus 10, you won’t be left disappointed with their displays because they both are really impressive on that department.

    User Interface

    iOS 8 on iPad Air 2 surely brings a lot of huge improvements and tweaks here and there all over the place. However, it basically still works and looks the same especially with the previous installment iOS 7.

    It still comes with the same icon-grid UI with rounded icons, there’s bottom navigation for setting window and the drop-down window is also still there on the top.

    But of course, there are some new goodies found on this latest-gen software, like much improved drop-down notification window (which now has widget element) and some other more.

    The same applies to Google Nexus 10. As a Nexus-branded tablet, of course Samsung must be willing to let Google ‘mess up’ with its TouchWiz UI and replace it with the stock Android UI based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.

    But basically, there’s not much to write home about on its UI especially if you’re already familiar with the standard Android UI on other tablets. So there are widgets, homescreen, drop-down notification and setting windows, app drawer and many more.

    The good news is, this tablet apparently can be upgraded to the newer build Android 4.4.2 KitKat, so it’s good to hear that this old-gen device still gets attention from Google, which is the maker of this device.

    I actually kind of have hopes that Lollipop will as well arrive in the near future for this tablet.

    Not only does this new build software bring entirely new design, but it also comes with a lot of improvements especially on battery life.

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    Thanks to its triple-core A8X processor plus the new-gen PowerVR GPU (if i’m not mistaken it is GX6650 GPU, as opposed to the PowerVR G6430 GPU on predecessor), not to mention, huge support from all game developers with their well-optimized apps/games specifically for this latest-gen iPad, there’s no single doubt that this iPad Air 2 is more than great as a gaming machine.

    It’s capable to play all the latest and most graphically demanding games on App Store – and one console-ported game, Bioshock – and these games can all be executed perfectly even in full highest graphics.

    So in simple words, this iPad Air 2 is definitely the best iPad for playing iOS games.

    However, there are probably some issues that hold back this device from being the perfect gaming iPad. And one of them is software updates from developers.

    So even if this iPad is insanely powerful in terms of graphical performance, there are probably some games that haven’t been well-optimized yet for this device. That's why there are some laggy issues on some of these games, especially the most graphics intense titles.

    But i believe, in the near future, this issue will be addressed soon through software updates from developers to iTunes because we all know that App Store is really profitable for developers so most of them will always put priority on iOS instead of Android - especially in well-optimizing their games.

    Meanwhile, Google Nexus 10 is actually not too shabby at all especially when it comes to gaming performance. Okay, this device may not be as powerful as the iPad Air 2, however, there are still many latest games that will run perfectly and smoothly even in full highest graphics – like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger, Need for Speed Most Wanted or NOVA 3.

    All thanks to its Samsung Exynos quad-core 5250 processor plus Mali-T604, not to mention 2GB of RAM that are a great hardware package especially for gaming.

    However, for the latest heavy game like GTA San Andreas, i’m not sure if this game would run smoothly in full highest graphics, but you can always play it in medium graphics setting if you don’t want to experience any lag in the gameplay.

    Bottom line is, both devices are really great for playing games. But of course, iPad Air 2 is definitely the clear winner here against Google Nexus 10, especially in gaming performance and gaming experience as a whole.

    In fact, iPad Air 2 is far more powerful than Google Nexus 10 as a gaming tablet.


    For taking photos and recording videos, you can actually count on any of these tablets because both are the flagship models from Samsung and Apple. iPad Air 2 comes with a much improved 8MP iSight rear-facing camera with LED flash plus 1.2MP shooter to do selfies, while Google Nexus 10 looks more humble – or mediocre, if you would - with its 5MP and 1.9MP cameras back also with LED flash.

    But basically, despite having different mega-pixel count, both Google Nexus 10 and iPad Air 2 are still reliable with their cameras.

    But of course, as a new-gen device, iPad Air 2 with its 8MP iSight camera is definitely more superior than the 5MP rear camera found on Google Nexus 10, especially in terms of sharpness.

    But even so, either you pick any of these tablets, you will still feel satisfied overall with the quality of their cameras.

    In fact, in my opinion, taking photos or recording videos is probably a lot more fun to do on Google Nexus 10 because the photos and videos will look much even sharper and more gorgeous on its 2.5K display, compared to the slightly low-resolution display on iPad Air 2, although it’s not going to be that significant.

    Battery Life

    When it comes to battery life, i believe both iPad Air 2 and Google Nexus 10 are really well-prepared for that matter.

    Google Nexus 10 – as you know – is powered by a really huge 9000mAh battery inside, while iPad Air 2 comes with 27.3Wh battery (which is smaller than the battery found inside Google’s tablet).

    However, despite having a smaller battery than Nexus 10, the battery life of iPad Air 2 is actually quite good and in fact could survive in more than 1 day, even in heavy use.

    According to GSMarena, iPad Air 2 with its 27.3Wh battery is capable to deliver around 10 hours of talk time (multimedia). I believe the overall battery life of this device is still similar with the predecessor – which is great and long lasting.

    As i’ve already heard from some reviews on YouTube (including MKBHD), the battery life of iPad Air 1 is so powerful it’s even unkillable in heavy use.

    So i think the same thing could happen as well on the second-gen iPad Air 2, especially with much improved and well-optimized plus more efficient iOS 8.

    Meanwhile, as a tablet with a huge 9000mAh battery, of course Google Nexus 10 really excels in terms of battery life. And that’s true actually.

    With the stock vanilla Android UI that is free from manufacture’s customizations, plus a more efficient processor, this tablet is more than happier to accommodate you in full solid day, of course on a full charge.

    However, when used for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen – like watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row -, its battery could drop drastically to probably just around 5 to 7 hours, maybe less maybe more, depending on some factors as well – like screen brightness, sound level, user’ use cycle, existing apps that are running in the background and many more.

    But overall, the battery life of either iPad Air 2 or Google Nexus 10 is still good, in fact, great for today’s standards.

    My Personal Opinions

    So the final conclusion of this comparison review is, i think both of these tablets are really great equally, especially as media-consumption devices or even gaming tablets.

    They both run smoothly in many occasions and they are also capable to execute many latest graphics intense games perfectly, even in full highest graphics.

    But of course, as a new-gen tablet with latest-gen hardware (especially processor and GPU), it’s no brainer that iPad Air 2 is far more superior as a gaming tablet than Google Nexus 10.

    The other things that put iPad Air 2 on entirely higher level than Google Nexus 10 are its design, build quality, camera and of course, the Touch ID sensor on its home button.

    But even so, Google Nexus 10 is actually not mediocre compared to this latest-gen iPad.

    In fact, there are some sectors that interestingly make this Google Nexus 10 a better offering than iPad Air 2. And they are the 2.5K display plus a huge 9000mAh battery inside this Google’s tablet.

    So i think, this really makes it pretty hard to determine which one of these tablets that is better in the whole aspect.

    I mean, iPad Air 2 may have the premium aluminum design, TouchID sensor, sharper cameras and more powerful gaming performance than Nexus 10.

    However, this Google’s tablet is actually still more superior than iPad Air 2 in terms of display especially.

    Not to mention, its fully-featured Android UI is probably the other thing that makes it more versatile as a tablet, compared to the simplified-UI of iOS 8.

    Besides, in terms of camera, design and gaming performance, Google Nexus 10 is actually still really great .

    However, despite all of these arguments in this comparison review, i still think that iPad Air 2 is a much better choice than Google Nexus 10.

    And it’s simply because it comes with the latest-gen hardware, especially processor and GPU, that delivers more powerful graphical performance than Google Nexus 10.

    Not to mention, its TouchID sensor can also be quite handy especially mobile payment becomes viral in the near future when all across the world.

    But at the end of the day, just like in my previous comparison reviews, the final decision to buy any of these tablets will come down to your personal preference, needs and budget as well.

    So if you’re looking for a decent and powerful tablet with sharp camera, great gaming performance and premium design, plus good battery life – and you also happen to have big budget in your pocket -, then iPad Air 2 is no doubt your best shot here.

    On the other hand, if you’re looking for a great and also powerful media-consumption tablet with an insanely sharper display than iPad Air 2 – which also has good quality cameras, great gaming performance and good battery life, plus comfortable-to-hold design and materials -, then Google Nexus 10 can also be a great choice for you.

    Both of these devices are really worth to buy.

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