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Gaming on the Nexus 10, the good and the bad Add to Facebook Share on Twitter

So far I am finding that the Nexus 10 is a great piece of kit and a bargain at it’s current price. For prospective buyers who haven’t managed to get one yet or who are holding off for more information I can at least give you the skinny on how the Nexus 10 handles gaming and you’re probably interested in that as you’ve arrived here somehow.

The Screen
The Nexus 10’s screen is not only the highest resolution Android display, it’s also the highest resolution tablet display anywhere. It does look great and I can confirm that with 300dpi you will be wondering “who needs anti-alaising?”. In 3D games objects are sharp and satisfying, the only problem this causes is that those sharp lines really draw more attention to the generally low resolution textures on most Android games.

Here’s a few screenshots I’ve taken with the Nexus 10 and the XOOM 2, the Xoom has what is considered to be the standard 1280×800 display and as you can see from the screenshots below the Nexus 10 is looking really tidy with twice the resolution. In order to illustrate the difference in detail the Nexus 10 shot is original size and the XOOM 2 has been doubled with no processing, this reflects the same difference in DPI you will see with the real devices.




As you can see, the Nexus 10 shots look literally twice as good as the Xoom 2. The surprising thing is that games you would never imagine looking good or taking advantage of the resolution look great too. Angry birds looks super sharp zoomed all the way out. This is thanks to the fact that Android developers already try to make games work in any resolution and this scales perfectly on a detail level.

Compatibility
As mentioned earlier most games take to the new high resolution pretty easily, seamlessly showing incredible detail. However the gaming landscape on the Nexus 10 is not a green verdant field. Some applications do not fair so well on the new tablet. As far as I can tell the problem really lies with the fact that no one has ever even seen a device with such high resolution on Android let alone been able to try out their application on the device. Some games have a few minor glitches and others are almost completely Broken.

First off here’s a shot of Shogun, a very fun bullet hell shooter.




As you can see it has basically zoomed out to a point where you can see past the borders of what is normally seen, those black borders should not be there, the ship will also only move around the top part of the screen and most of the buttons are broken. This makes the game unplayable.
You can see what shogun should look like here.

Next up is the latest Angry birds from Rovio, Angry Birds Star Wars again shows a lot of detail in the game and defintely looks better when playing. However as you can see most of the buttons are way too small and the UI in general is not displaying as intended or as it does on lower resolution devices.



Finally here’s a shot of Splice, which in general does look super sharp on the Nexus but that almost chequerboard effect in the background should not be present. A minor issue but one which totally breaks the aesthetic of the game for me. I’m not sure whether this is a resolution issue or just compatibility with the new GPU in the Nexus 10.



These are not the only issues I have found with games, there are more out there I have seen and probably plenty more I have not. In large though I would say that the majority of games I have tried out on the nexus have played perfectly. It is only a minority which seem to have issues and an even smaller minority which are unplayable.

The problem here does not lie with the developer, nor really with Google. The problem is that no-one had really been expecting a device with such high resolution and no-one has one to test in order to find out how their game will look on this new tablet. What I hope to see is in the coming months as more Nexus 10’s are shipped and as more people report issues with games these will be fixed and what is a minor problem will become almost non existent.

Performance
The Nexus 10 is pretty much the most powerful Android tablet out there at the moment, not least because of it’s GPU. This Mali based monster chews through games with ease. When you look at games like Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Shadowgun which look awesome for a mobile device you don’t even think that this tablet is pushing 4 times as many pixels as most xbox 360 and PS3 games (which if you didn’t know run in 720p or less in a lot of cases). Every game I have thrown at the Nexus 10 has run buttery smooth except for The Dark Knight Rises from Gameloft. TDKR was probably dropping to 25 FPS or lower in some places. I’m not sure why this was pushing it, I suspect that it is a mere optimization issue but maybe due to the fact that TDKR seems to be more geometry heavy than a lot of other games.

Again I must stress that every other game ran flawlessly with more than enough FPS, reassuring for a device with such a high resolution.

Conclusion
I hate wrapping up posts, but here it is. You can come to your own conclusions from the information and screenshots above but I have to say that all round I am impressed if not close to blown away by how well the display looks in games and how powerful that processor behind it is. I should think that in the long run this tablet will last some time. The short term through I can only say that you’re probably going to run into a game or two that is not going to work and a few that have minor issues.

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Posted 19/11/2012 Views 794  

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Posted: Last modified: November 19, 2012 @ 11:36 pm