If you're looking for volume, turn to the Nexus 10. Thanks to two large speakers located on its front side to the left and right of its display, the Nexus 10 has a very high peak volume. Many times, while watching movies and listening to songs, I found myself wanting to turn the volume down because it was just so strong.
But though the Nexus 10 packs power, the iPad's speaker has a bit more quality. Songs sound richer coming out of the iPad than the Nexus 10, albeit not by much. It also hurts the iPad that it can't go as loud as the Nexus 10 can.
The Surface was once again a clear-cut third place. It has two tiny little speakers to its left and right that were a lot more softer than its rivals'.
If you're looking at a tablet for gaming, go with the iPad. It offers access to all the basics -- such as "Angry Birds" and "Temple Run" -- while also offering more hardcore games, such as "Asphalt 7: Heat." The Nexus 10 is starting to get more of these games, but when you compare them side by side, the games look better on the iPad because they have more details than what you get on the Nexus 10.
However, the Nexus 10 seems to be getting more games. If that trend continues, the Nexus 10 may end up being the better machine for gaming. That's because it's lighter and thinner than the iPad, and its curved designed and grip-able back cover make it perfectly suited for gaming.
With the Surface, you'll get access to some of the basics, such as "Cut the Rope," but a good number are still missing. And if you're a true gamer, then just forget about it. I couldn't even find a hard-core game to test this machine with.
Video: iPad and Nexus 10
The iPad and Nexus 10 tie when it comes to video quality, and that's because they both offer a lot but neither is perfect.
I think the iPad offers the sharpest video of any of the tablets, providing the most detail and the boldest colors. But because of its 9.7-inch screen size, every widescreen video leaves large black bars above and below. That's a lot of wasted real estate.
The Nexus 10, on the other hand, is closer to widescreen and makes better use of its screen space than the iPad. The images aren't as sharp, but that's not by much. YouTube videos also looked best on the Nexus 10, which probably has something to do with Google owning both the video service and the tablet.
But if you want to use every last bit of your tablet's screen, then the Surface could be what you want. Colors aren't as sharp and the image sometimes looks washed out, but the Surface provides a perfect 21:9 widescreen aspect ratio. That means that when you watch a movie or video, it will fill up the entirety of your display.
Conclusion: iPad is still the best, but the Nexus 10 is a close second
If you're looking for the best all-around tablet, the iPad still holds that title. But the Nexus 10 also performs admirably, and its starting price -- $399 for the 16 GB model -- is $100 less than the iPad's and the Surface's. So if you're looking for a great tablet experience but want to save some money, the Nexus 10 is a great choice.