Google Nexus 9 vs Apple iPad Air 2
Metal meets plastic
Apple’s design with the iPad Air 2 is a meticulous one, since it employs favorable, premium materials that help to deliver a package that’s sophisticated and elegant in design. Quite simply, its aluminum body feels significantly sturdier than the matte plastic finish of the Nexus 9. Even though the two are relatively easy to handle with comfort and ease, we can’t overlook the engineering marvel of the iPad Air 2’s incredibly thin 0.24-inch profile – it makes the 0.31-inch thinness of the Nexus 9 look thick by comparison!
Neither tablet is outfitted with an extraordinary set of hardware features, as they mostly offer the usual essentials around their trims – like their power buttons, 3.5mm headset jacks, volume controls, and charging ports. However, we will point out the iPad Air 2’s Touch ID finger print sensor, which offers us another option of securing the tablet. Meanwhile, the Nexus 9’s front-firing dual speakers are appreciated, as they project audio towards us, instead of against.
Two gorgeous tablet screens make it difficult to side with just one of them
Having a fully-laminated display, the iPad Air 2’s 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 Retina Display sheds some layers in the process to maintain its impressive thinness – one that’s truly commendable. However, the Nexus 9’s smaller, 8.9-inch 1536 x 2048 IPS LCD display actually holds up equally well in most departments, allowing it to match Apple's proposition.All in all, there aren’t major differences in terms of detail with their display, thanks to their sky-high resolutions. Things are considerably more interesting when we look at their color reproduction, as both exhibit slight inaccuracies and imperfections that makes comparing them kind of fun. Color temperature is around 7000 K with both devices, meaning their blues are slightly more accentuated than their reds, but this kind of deviation is more than tolerable. However, the Nexus 9's white point has a noticeable shift towards the purple hues, which can be easily seen in the display benchmark charts below. Meanwhile, the iPad Air 2 manages to hold on to a more natural-looking white. When all is said and done, neither IPS screen is flawless, but they are both a joy to view.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Google Nexus 9||453
|Apple iPad Air 2||410
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Google Nexus 9||70.6%
|Apple iPad Air 2||78.3%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. KingDingaLing (Posts: 324; Member since: 11 Oct 2013)
Yay! This should turn into another game of words with friends! Can't wait.
I'd like one of each.
42. Furbal (Posts: 882; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
I got the ipad air 2 a few days ago. First ios device since a 3gs. I'm enjoying it so far.
I'll keep Android as my phone though.
44. vincelongman (Posts: 3956; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
That's how it should be
Its stupid to stick with Android/iOS/WP or Windows/Mac/Linux
Just buy whatever you reckon is best for you
50. Furbal (Posts: 882; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
I've been disappointed with all the android tablets I've had (asus tf101, nexus 7 1&2nd gen, note 10.1 2014, lg g pad 8.3, etc etc).
Hopefully the ipad doesn't disappoint.
53. vincelongman (Posts: 3956; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
I hope you like it
I haven't bought any tablet/iPad yet
The iPad Air 2, Nexus 9 and Shield Tablet look great but I still prefer my ultrabook
I'm liking the hybrids more than the tablets, except hybrids cost much more
Maybe if the Android/iOS ecosystems get better with more "desktop class" apps/games I might get one
But still don't think Android/iOS can match Windows/Mac though
I probably wont be upgrading until Intel Cannonlake, the Surface Pro 5 or iPad Pro 2 or some other better hybrid are released
54. Furbal (Posts: 882; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Yeah no way any of these tablets will replace a laptop for anything productive. I have my acer v5 and Asus 750jz for portable productivity/fun time.
Mostly a delve back into ios with how long I've been gone. Figured I should get the best device available for it
60. Dr.Hye (Posts: 93; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
Get the surface pro 3. That's a computer in a tabket form.
61. Furbal (Posts: 882; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Had one for about two weeks. Was not my style. If I'm on Windows I want a real keyboard and mouse.
Good device though
2. LiquidGalaxy (Posts: 327; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
Strange he didn't mention the light bleed issue with the Nexus 9 - If this tab was $100 cheaper i would have picked one up to compliment my Air 2 as i did the Nexus 7. However, at $400, no...just no..
11. Commentator (Posts: 3651; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
...Because there isn't a light bleed "issue?" The only time it's even slightly noticeable is when the table this set to full-brightness on a totally black screen in a completely dark room. How often do you set your screen to full-brightness in a dark room?
12. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Another thing Joooooohnnnn V. from PhoneArena.com missed was that the Nexus 9 has a flash while the iPad Air 2 doesn't, so technically the Nexus 9 has the better camera because it doesn't lack the flash. I mean the flash is extremely important to a camera set-up.
15. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Also all the top apps that are out on iOS are available on Android. So how is it possible that Apple still has a "richer" app ecosystem when Android has all the same apps & is just as productive as Apple's iOS?
It seems like in PhoneArena.com that Android will never be equal to iOS in the app department even though all the top iOS apps are also available on Android. I feel like that is something that must be said to make Apple happy...
37. medicci37 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
Was looking at the article not long ago on here about the best new games on mobile & several weren't available on Android. Nothing wrong with preferring android but your blatant bias & whining are ridiculous
45. donphone (Posts: 64; Member since: 20 Oct 2013)
How about you check your bias:http://www.statista.com/statis
spoiler, android has more.
51. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Thank you. Some of these Apple fans refuse to believe there are other apps store just as robust or frankly more robust.
58. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
You clearly live in your own little world. Even Android users agree that the Play Store is lacking. There was even a thread on ANROID Authority about this same very discussion:
The App Store has much more productive apps than Android, no contest. Even when apps are available on both iOS and Android, the iOS version often works better, has more features, and is updated more often. For example, 2Do is a very popular iPhone/iPad app that at one point had an Android app that was just as good, but they've pretty much completely stopped development for Android entirely since November, 2013.
While many popular games are launched on both iOS and Android (on the same day or months later), many DO NOT make it to Android, you just end up never hearing about them. And when developers start using Metal to improve graphics, you're going to see a lot more iOS exclusives since Metal graphics/APIs (as opposed to the open-sourced OpenGL Apple use to rely completely on) cannot be ported to Android.
70. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Android will be fine, they have lots of apps also not available on iOS. I am fine without those apps & games iOS has... It's really not a big deal. To say iOS has a "richer" app ecosystem is an exaggeration. This is not 2009 or 2010, when such a statement was true. Android is making it's move.
One day you won't be able to say what you say. The tide is already turning Android's favor. Android 5.0 Lollipop is going to change Android forever.
64. medicci37 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
How about you learn to read donphone. I'm not talking about who has the most apps. But there are some really good games that either aren't available or not optimized for Android
49. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Buddy, games are games. I am talking about ACTUAL Productivity apps. As for games sure they may come out first for Apple but eventually the DO come out for Android.
Nice try though...
66. medicci37 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
You are so pathetic! I'm not on a mission to badmouth Android so I'm not trying anything! Not to mention I don't support Apple but I'm not weak minded enough to feel like I can't criticize Android. Was just responding to your lies about Android having all the same apps as Apple... (They do not!) & whining about phone arena being biased towards Apple. You are no different than a Apple fan boy
67. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You call me pathetic, yet you are the one resorting to name calling. lol
Those computer tough guys... Yeah so masculine. lololololololololol
All the top iOS apps that deal with productivity are available on Android. If it's not exactly the same app then they have a comparable alternative. So yes nice try...
You say I lie, prove it. Also try it without the name calling cause it makes you look kinda bad...
Kids these days...
57. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
SuperAndroidEvo, why are you always complaining and bitter? iOS clearly has a superior app ecosystem, you're deluded if you think otherwise. And who the hell wants to be limited to only the top apps anyway?
68. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
How do you know Apple has the "richer" app ecosystem? Doesn't Android have more apps? Also what there are no high quality apps on Android?
Also who wants to be limited to the top apps anyway...? Well that's why I choose the Google Play Store cause they have the most & I am not limited to the top apps...
62. b1acktiger (Posts: 223; Member since: 19 May 2012)
If you dont love Apple, they show their evil face. such activities like banning from media access.
ews/2576225/apple_bans_german_ website_for_posting_iphone_6_p lus_bendgate_video.html
69. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
That's right... But the iFans will always defend their beloved Apple, even when the evil face is out.
22. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
2 Things I never do:
Take pictures on Tablet.
Use a flash on ANY picture.
33. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Was having a whole conversation with my buddy today about that very thing. People must be taking pictures on tablets, because OEMs are starting to put some decent to good cameras on tablets.
It's not something I do on the regular but if I am ever using a tablet & a situation arises, then heck yeah I will snap a pic on the tablet, then resume what I was doing.
17. LiquidGalaxy (Posts: 327; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
It's an issue because it's there, and it's worse on some Nexus 9's than others. I don't want any light bleeding on a $400 tablet. And yes, the App Store is richer, it has more apps, has more apps built specifically for tablets, and new releases of the bigger titles from the big name devs usually (not always) release on iOS first.
3. Hyperreal (Posts: 221; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)
John v. Go home you pathetic apple fanboy. I am sick of your apple oriented reviews. You are the worst tech reviewer ever.
16. slh163 (Posts: 138; Member since: 19 May 2014)
i think you really exaggerate because for me this review is quite fair
43. Hyperreal (Posts: 221; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)
Maybe this not. But i speak generally. When i read john v name instantly i recon this review as sh*t.
36. Sauce2 (banned) (Posts: 199; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)
Coming from a fanboy. Oh the irony.
73. decypher (Posts: 7; Member since: 15 Nov 2014)
Right, in your f**ked up world Android is better by default. Pathetic fanboy.
30. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 165; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)
From a completely unbiased view, the iPad Air 2 is a better product. I even prefer Android over iOS, but the iPad Air 2 has so many things going for it.
It is pretty much a complete package. Great battery life, best mobile tablet performance, excellent and attractive build, high quality display, and most apps.
While the Nexus 9 is a great tablet, you can't help but notice some of the clear issues surrounding it.
1. Flex on the back ... f**king unacceptable for a 400 dollar tablet
2. Performance seems to be a hit and miss. Many reviews say it can become unusually slow or sluggish (thanks to that tegra chip).
3. Screen Bleed
4. Resale value
Coming from someone heavily invested in android and iOS, I can say that iPad Air 2 is the most impressive showing. Am I saying it is the best tablet for you? No.
However, if the question were asked, I'd say the iPad Air 2 wins in a heartbeat.
35. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1506; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
It´s probably just you.
1 The ipad Air 2 also flexes due to how thin it is, there is even a video of a guy bending it with just his hands.
2 Performance seems one of the best chips for Android, if not the best. Just a bit short of the iPad Air 2.
3. Where did you read that? Links please.
4. That is the only valid point, but if you don´t plan on reselling quite a weak one. Ah! and Nexus devices are among the ones with a higher reselling value on Android, just a bit short of Apple devices.
As you see you points are moot depends how you look at it. Unless you are insensitive to the price the Nexus is the way to go.
So if the question were asked, I´d say the Nexus is better, expecially if you compare it with the equally prices iPad Mini 3.
39. magnanimus (Posts: 516; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
I'll have to disagree with you on this one. I love android and the new update and the nexus line up but this will not sway me from looking at both tablets objectively.
1. I think the design on the iPad Air 2 is better since its really thin and made of aluminium. The bending issue isn't really a problem since no one will be putting one into their pockets anytime soon.
2. I think the iPad Air 2 wins in the ecosystem department as it blends with other Apple devices easily using Handoff and continuity (Google has been leading in the category for a while. Dunno why they didnt think of it first). There are also more top quality apps that debut first on the iPad.
3. The camera on the air wins even tho it doesn't have a flash. The front camera is also one of the best I've seen on any tablet as I tend to video call a lot.
4. The speakers on the Nexus 9 seem to be better (even tho I havent heard them).
5. The price for the Nexus 9 seems more favourable.
6. Performance seems to be better on the Air 2 (judging from benchmarks)
7. IPads generally have a better resale value.
I'm not a Apple fanboy (as I use a note 10.1 2014 edition) but I think Google could have had the upper hand by making a specific lollipop update for tablets (multiwindow, mini apps, more tablet specific elements that dont look blown up like the task switcher). But from the looks the iPad is looking like the favorable option.
38. medicci37 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
Anyone who can't understand why many reviewers & people in general prefer the ipad has something wrong with them! Definitely a better overall user experience
46. donphone (Posts: 64; Member since: 20 Oct 2013)
This coming from the guy who was criticizing supposed bias in post 37? Go back under the bridge troll.
77. medicci37 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
Not to mention that (so far) I prefer Android overall... But not blindly & without question like some people donphone
5. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Ipads are awesome...paying more for less is always fun..
31. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 165; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)
No, you actually are paying more for more. Come on guys, yes we all feel that android rocks, but we can admit that the iPad Air 2 is an excellent product.
6. vuyonc (Posts: 982; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)
" if you’re looking for an excellent all-around tablet that has a stunning design to match its prowess, then stick with the iPad Air 2".
I'm pretty sure an all-rounded tablet has a MicroSD slot, front-facing speakers, better battery life than demonstrated by the iPad, reasonable pricing compared to competitors and all-rounded connectivity. Like Bluetooth and NFC that works everywhere, USB OTG and cellular capability. The iPad is a great tablet but it is not "all-rounded".
7. ggudino (Posts: 12; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
They are both equally impressive, but get the iPad is what I got from this article. Yea OK!
Why pay more for the same thing. If they are both equally impressive then it comes down to preference. You shouldn't tell people to swing one way because it's your preference. It shows that you are biased and take away credibility.
23. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
The problem is that they aren't equal if on the Nexus 9 there is light bleeding from the panel, and the plastic back is hollow and can be pressed in.
The software experience is great on both.
The iPad has a much better build quality and hardware.
+1 for iPad.
That's why he recommends the iPad?
32. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 165; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)
They are not equally impressive.
8. sraj49 (Posts: 13; Member since: 12 Sep 2014)
Technical comparison in this article clearly shows that both tablets are neck to neck in terms of overall performance but still the author chooses to recommend strongly Apple. The choice is based on user requirements viz...gaming, media etc. Overall conclusion is biased based on performance to price ratio. Appreciate more objective conlcuion based os different segment of users. Thanks
13. Commentator (Posts: 3651; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Yeah, conclusions in VS articles have ALWAYS been EXTREMELY weak, often amounting to no more than a few seconds. It's like going on a nice, romantic date with someone and then, when the night is over, throwing them out of the car and peeling out.
Phone Arena: WHY NOT compile a list at the end (possibly Pro/Con-style, a la your actual reviews) that goes something like:
Reasons to Prefer the iPad Air 2:
-Solid metal construction
-More tablet-specific apps
-If you are invested in the iOS ecosystem
Reasons to Prefer the Nexus 9
-If you are invested in the Android ecosystem
-And the rest
(Hopefully there would be more reasons, but I'm not the reviewer.)
I really like versus articles, but in practice they always seem to fall flat because the author either seems to be hesitant to declare a complete victor (which, to be honest, should never really be the case, given most comparisons pit phones with their own unque strengths and weaknesses against each other), or he doesn't provide compelling enough reasons for why certain people should choose one over the other.
52. Furbal (Posts: 882; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
This is why i generally like GSMarena reviews, they do lists like this.
55. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
BTW, the Nexus 9 is now a 3 star product on Amazon. This basically means that it is a complete pile of crap.
If anything, the PA review really was far too kind to the Nexus 9. The only reason you want a Nexus 9 is if you have some super important Android L 64-bit development job. Otherwise, just skip this POS.
9. DBounce (Posts: 144; Member since: 26 Apr 2014)
Had the air 2 top of the line model, ditched it for the nexus. The 9 feels modern, does stuff the iPad can only hope to do one day. Nuff said.
34. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4793; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You realize he is talking about the OS. Android 5.0 Lollipop can do things iOS 8 has yet to copy. So indeed he has a point.
10. TimCook (banned) (Posts: 450; Member since: 23 Oct 2014)
I think the nexus 9 is the best android tablet yet, but still the $400 price tag for a mediocre in my opinion tablet is too much..
Even Phonearena, that gave to the nexus 9 the highest rating compared to other tech sites can clearly see the power of the Air 2 is simply unmatchable by any other tablet out there.
I believe however, if you consider the money you pay the original IPad Air is the best tablet in the market right now and i believe a comparison of the original Air with the nexus 9 would be more interesting.
I also believe Apple will introduce the IPad Pro next year and the toughest fight will be against the Surface Pro 4.
27. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
IMO the $299 Mini 2 is the better deal.
Higher PPI, but smaller and less vibrant screen (Wash)
Same A7 Chip (Wash)
Same stellar battery life (Wash)
$100 Cheaper (iPad Mini 2)
14. fzacek (Posts: 2486; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)
The Nexus 9 has quite an advantage when it comes to battery life...
28. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Only on PA. Everywhere else, the Air 2 has the better battery life.
Some review sites are reporting 4 1/2 hours on screen. An iPad can get 10 hours no problem.
18. Commentator (Posts: 3651; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
I wonder how many people who criticize the Nexus 9 have even used one for five minutes, much less owned one, or are they just repeating The Verge's review as if it's their own opinion...?