The Nexus 10's back is a single piece of hard plastic, save for an inch-and-a-half-tall panel of removable material surrounding the camera at the top. The removable panel is another very Samsung-like touch; it's thin, flimsy, and feels like it'd be all too easy to snap in half. I was actually worried I was going to break it when I first peeled it off my device (thankfully, I did not).
Why would you even peel the panel off in the first place, you might be wondering? Unlike many Samsung-made phones, the panel doesn't give you access to the device's battery or other interiors. It does, however, serve as a placeholder for an optional cover accessory; Google sent me a bright red cover to try out.
Once attached, the cover flips around the top of the device to protect the screen. It also serves as an easy on-off switch: With the help of a hidden magnet, the cover automatically activates the Nexus 10's display when you lift it up and puts it to sleep when you place it back down. It's a nice touch that -- particularly with the way it integrates naturally into the tablet's form -- makes the product feel more complete.
(Google says the covers will be sold directly through its Google Play Store but has yet to release any info about their pricing or when they'll be available.)
Under the hood
Google's Nexus 10 is powered by a 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 dual-core processor along with 2GB of RAM. It's easy to get caught up in specs like the number of cores when talking about tablets (quad-core is quickly becoming par for the course these days), but it's important to remember that those numbers alone don't determine a device's performance.
The experience of using the Nexus 10, in fact, is more consistently smooth and snappy than what I've experienced with most other 10-in. Android tablets -- including those with quad-core chips. Navigating through the home screens is fast and fluid, apps load instantly and multitasking feels effortless. Web browsing is a breeze, too, even with numerous tabs open in the Chrome browser. There's nothing to complain about in terms of performance here; the Nexus 10 absolutely delivers.
The Nexus 10 packs a 9000mAh battery that promises nine hours of nonstop video streaming, seven hours of continuous Web browsing and 500 hours of standby time. I found the tablet's stamina to be top-notch; even with moderate to heavy use, I was often able to go a solid few days between charges.