When Google silently announced the Android 5.0 Lollipop and the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 also tagged along. The Nexus 9 is a 8.9″ tablet that runs the latest Android 5.0 and it is powered by very powerful hardware. There is basically no compromise on specifications and the price is still very attractive.
The Google Tablet
As usual, the Nexus 9 will be the “reference” tablet from Google for all customers and OEMs. This year, Google has decided against letting ASUS to produce the new Nexus tablet and the mantle was passed to HTC instead. While the Nexus 7 is just more than one year old, the Nexus 10 was launched back in 2012 and a lot of people has been waiting for an updated version. Being a 8.9″ tablet, I see it as the successor for both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
The Nexus 9
HTC is certainly good at designing devices as appearance is one of the prettiest tablet on the market. The Nexus 9 comes in 3 colour options, namely Indigo Black, Lunar White and Sand. All of them have a black front and brushed metal framing the sides of the tablet. In my opinion, I find 3 of them very appealing and I would have a hard time to decide which colour to pick if I am going to get one.
The good thing here is that the good look is not the only strength that the Nexus 9 has. The Nexus 9 is powered by a 64 bit NVDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. As Android 5.0 Lollipop can run on 64 bits, it means that the software is able to take full use of the powerful hardware. The tablet also comes with a 192-core Kepler GPU and 2GB of RAM. There should not be any applications that can give trouble to this tablet for its beastly specifications.
The tablet has a 8.9″ IPS display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and the pixel density of the display (281ppi) is great enough for a tablet. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. One thing to be noted here is that the display has a 4:3 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio is used by iPads and there are very, very few Android tablets which have it. Most of the Android tablet is using a 16:9 display.
Personally, I do prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio for this screen size because the display can show enough content on both landscape and portrait mode. However, I have a concern over the weird aspect ratio in the Android ecosystem. I have no idea how many applications are optimised for a 4:3 display and there is a high chance that we will see black bars around the applications which will waste the display size. But the good thing is that the Nexus tablets are quite popular and the developers will be willing to update their code to solve it over sometime.
The Nexus 9 also has a 6700mAh battery, which is quite large and battery life should be sufficient for most people. It has an 8MP rear camera and an 1.6MP front facing camera. HTC also added in its own technology into this tablet. It has dual front-facing stereo HTC BoomSound speakers and it can support double tap to wake like the HTC One M8.
There are 2 connectivity options for the Nexus 9, the WiFi only model and the LTE enabled model. For storage, the WiFi-only models are available in 16GB and 32GB and the LTE-enabled model will only come with 32GB of storage. However, there is no way to expand the storage. There is also an optional keyboard case which can be attached to the Nexus 9 magnetically. It can offer protection, adjustable support angles and improve your productivity on typing.
Pricing & Availability
The pre-order for Nexus 9 has been opened and it will be delivered on early November. The 16GB WiFi only model will cost USD399 (around RM1310) and the 32GB model will cost USD479 (around RM1570). For LTE-enabled models, the 32GB model is priced at USD599 (around RM1970). The prices are higher if compared to the Nexus 7 2013 but given that the tablet is bigger and it has much better specifications this time, the increase in price is still reasonable albeit unwelcome. There is no word on availability and pricing of the Nexus 9 in Malaysia but given the past record, the Nexus 9 will come to Malaysia. The question is only soon or later.
While the launching of Android 5.0 Lollipop and Nexus 6 is grabbing the headlines, the Nexus 9 is not getting as much attention. However, I feel that the Nexus 9 is much more appealing than Nexus 6. I understand that the comparison might be inadequate as they belongs to two different classes of products. But out of the two, I am more interested in the Nexus 9 and it is the one that I would give some consideration for buying it with my own cash.
The Nexus 9 has checked almost every important area. Great design? Checked. Powerful hardware? Checked. Smooth and clean software? Checked. The only complaint I have is about the lack of MicroSD card support, which is important as applications and media content are getting larger and larger in size. With that reasonable price, I find that the Nexus 9 is a very complete package and the tablet should be able to serve most people for a long, long time. If I am getting an Android tablet right now, the Nexus 9 will be my first choice without any doubt.