Two years ago, I bought my first tablet computer. Costing the thick end of £320, the Google Nexus 10 definitely wasn’t cheap. But it was definitely worth it – the reviews said so. It was the best of the best, the finest Android device, superior to the iPad (maybe) and cheaper (slightly) to boot. But wait. I had a laptop, a smartphone – what business did I have with a tablet?
Fair question. Not long before, I’d eyed the tablet trend with an amused detachment. Look at these sheep, I thought, clutching the latest consumer trophy: an oversized phone and underpowered laptop rolled into one. Loud was my laughter when I saw how much one cost. I should add in explanation: those were the days when Apple’s iPad ruled the tablet world. And I have little time for Apple.
Give the choice, I’m a Google man. If Apple are cool to the core, there remains a whiff of the geeky about Google. Their massive and meteoric success derives from an an algorithm, for geekness’ sake! And just as spectacle-wearing was becoming socially acceptable, they had to inflict us with Google Glass. If Apple are style, Google are substance: beige, boring, uncool – effective. When they introduced the Nexus 10, this tablet refusenik began to soften his stance.
Here was the state of play when the ’10 landed. There were, at a venture, fifteen zillion tablets on the market – a superabundance of consumer choice. Most were piloted by Android, Google’s mobile operating system. And surely, I reasoned, there could be no better Android tablet than that developed by Google themselves. (That the Nexus 10 was actually co-developed with Samsung, who built the hardware, mattered not, because it was a case of two conglomerates synergising their respective talents.)
Reader, I bought one. And here, a week or so later, was the postman, delivering it to me. I unboxed my prize with beating heart. The screen, a black mirror, reflected a face that was a mask of bug-eyed excitement. I turned it over in tremulous hands. I noted with approval the soft curves and the front-facing speakers. I switched my focus to the back: it read, with a pleasing air of business, ‘Nexus’. Running a finger along the top left I found – how intuitive! – the on-off switch. Accordingly I performed every technophile’s favourite first ritual. I turned it on.
A beep, a buzz. It was then I saw that screen for the first time. Boasting 2560 x 1600 bright pixels, the Nexus 10’s screen is undoubtedly its MVP. It’s a show-stopper, a standard-setter, a screen to swoon over, whether you’re watching YouTube or tapping in your billing address. Before long I was making merry with the Google Play store, installing more apps than you can swipe a finger at. And let it never be said that the ’10 lacks processing grunt – a 1.7 GHz Dual-core Cortex-A15 purrs powerfully under its bonnet.
So began my Nexus 10 user experience. So began two years of YouTube video-watching and Google Chrome web-browsing and Netflix series-binging. So began a precipitous decline in productivity and a sudden upswing in procrastination (because, for pure time-wasting, there is nothing like a tablet computer – nothing). And, despite its two hard years’ service, my device remains in rude health. It’s kept its factory finish thanks to a stout protective cover, and not two months ago it obligingly upgraded to the latest version of Android, Lollipop. Sweet.
Of course, as a tablet the Nexus 10 is old. It’s past it. What once was new flirts with obsolescence. Tablets, like all consumer electronics, age in dog years, many times faster. Already Google have superseded the ’10 with the ‘9 (smaller, nippier and better). If tablets were ubiquitous in 2012, they’re inescapable in 2015. And don’t get me started on that mongrel mishmash, the ‘phablet’. No, I’ll be sticking with my trusty and untrendy Nexus 10. Who’s to say I won’t get another two good years’ procrastination out of it?