- Bulky design
- Weak camera
- 4:3 display ratio
- Weak battery
- No microSD card support
Google’s Nexus phones and tablets offer access to the pure Android experience and have effectively pushed favorites into a competitive market for years. With the Nexus 9, Google looks to tackle the large-format premium tablet market with an innovative design and serious performance. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s check out some reviews.
Like many other popular devices by HTC, the Nexus 9 features a plastic and aluminum case with soft touch rear coating. Every review noted how sturdy and solid the chassis of the tablet feels. However, that sturdy design does come with a little additional weight, with the Nexus 9 coming in at just under a pound.
With a squarish 4:3 design, as opposed to the now-typical 16:9, the device takes aim at providing more productivity uses than many Android tablets currently offer. Opinions of this design varied between reviews. Engadget said it was “a little too dense, too large to grasp with a single hand for long periods of time, while full-on two-hand typing on that screen can be a little precarious.” BGR praised the design, calling it “quite comfortable to hold.”
Housed in the body of the tablet is a 2048-by-1536 pixel IPS LCD display with a diagonal measurement of 8.9 inches. Reviews noted that the IPS display provided great viewing angles for sharing videos or games with friends. However, most noted that the screen was simply adequate overall with Engadget saying it is “a really a good screen, just not an outstanding one.” With many of its competitors boasting higher resolutions or proprietary enhancements, this could be an issue for some.
Tablet photography isn’t exactly a priority for many. The Nexus 9 is unlikely to change that trend with a standard 8MP rear facing camera, 1.3MP front facing camera. Gizmodo tested the cameras and found them “adequate for catching pictures of the cat or the dog or the kids doing something cute when your phone is in the other room.” Ultimately, if you’re looking to take great photos, your camera or even your phone will outperform the tablet.
One area in which Google and HTC chose to compromise to reduce size and weight was the battery. At 6,700mAh, the battery offers lower capacity than many of its competitors. While the lower resolution and Tegra processor managed to squeeze a full day’s use for most reviews, nearly all noted needing to charge nightly.
One area in which the device clearly stands out is performance. Powered by a Tegra K1 64-bit dual-core processor, the Nexus 9 is the first Android phone or tablet to feature both a 64-bit operating system and processor. Every review applauded the performance of the device noting that multitasking, gaming and more were smooth and flawless. PC World called it “a tablet you can confidently use for entertainment and productivity” while Engadget proclaimed it “stunningly smooth.” To help you movies and games really pop, HTC’s BoomSound speakers are included as well.
Overall, reviews were bittersweet on the device. With all the hype, and the track record of Nexus devices, what was delivered seemed merely adequate to many reviewers. While it’s perfectly acceptable for nearly any use and includes the latest Android 5.0 updates, it failed to capture any one thing that reviewers could shout from the rooftops. Engadget summed up this feeling well, concluding that the Nexus 9 is “a tablet that's stunning in some ways and seemingly average in others.”