Build quality of Nexus 9 apparently refined, improved button action, back panel firmer

The Google Nexus 9 is an excellent Android powered tablet, but like some new products to hit the scene, there were a number of reports over concerns about how shallow the power/lock and volume buttons felt when pressed.

We also noted in our review that the tablet had a bit of a hollow feeling to its build quality, evident by bit of dimpling that could be felt on the back panel of the tablet.

It looks as those these issues were prevalent enough to have HTC dial-in its manufacturing and quality control measures a bit. A Google customer posted a photo on Reddit comparing the disposition of the power/lock and volume buttons on his old Nexus 9, and a replacement tablet he had sent to him. The new buttons are said to be much easier to press, and he cannot see any flexing on the back of the Nexus 9 at all.

The user said the screen quality on his replacement tablet is better too, though neither our review unit, nor another Nexus 9 in our possession, displayed any problems with light bleed this customer apparently had with his first device.

If any of these details were making you hold off on picking up a Nexus 9, it looks like the fresh supplies are improved a bit, and if you are in the US, and pick up a Nexus 9 before December 1st, you can get a $50 Google Play credit to sweeten the deal.

sources: Reddit via GSMArena and Android Police



27. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

This is typical HTC. I wonder why people are singling out the Nexus 9 and not every single other device they made since the Sensation? Out of my GS2, GS3, G Alpha, IPhone 4s - 6. All perfect first batch. 2x Xperia S, Xperia Z3 compact, 2x Xperia Z3 - both Xperia S had yellow tinting on the screen. And one Xperia Z3 had a dead pixel. 2x HTC One X, 2x HTC One M7, 2 Windows phone 8x, and one HTC M8 - they all had screen lift, huge gaps, poor finishing at the USB ports, dust under the scree, dead pixels, and loose/rattling buttons, capacitive buttons that didn't work until an update that came 3 months later etc. The HTC M8 I didn't bother to return because I knew the second one wasn't going to be any better so a rattling power button was tolerable after the newness effect wore off. But still. HTC for the loss! And people wonder why they stick with Samsung or Apple. The above is why. They are the only two that do quality control checks and have proper tolerance levels. Any tiny thing they see they don't ship it.

25. mike2959

Posts: 700; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Lol.. Google is A PROFIT COMPANY. That means they wanna make money guys, jeez! The other reason Google is using carrier's is because.. THESE NEXUS PHONE'S DO NOT SELL!! They sell to us, cell phone enthusiasts. Comparison to the other recent flagship's, its not even close.

20. YourNickname

Posts: 127; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Hey PhoneArena, You should make an article about how Google has the Nexus 6 FOR SALE by allowing a $50 credit at google play store, 6months of GPM, and i think it lasts till christmas... TOO BAD NOBODY CAN EVEN CLICK THE BUY BUTTON. Supply not meeting demand, lets have a sale! fml i need this phone. It's on the Nexus 6 page.

23. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

+100 Google giving all the Nexus phones to the carriers was completely f**king braindead. One big reason people get a Nexus phone is to escape the carrier. If Google doesn't want to operate a functional store, they should have had Amazon sell the phones for them.

19. simpleas

Posts: 196; Member since: Apr 30, 2014

This is why I prefer Samsung.

15. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

You bastards!!! Ehhh, figures, HTC tried to make it on the cheap and this is what you get. I cannot love this tablet, I love my xperia tablet S but it is beautiful! Aluminum and glass, with the useful windowed small apps that enhanced its capabilities (not all skins are bad folks) I'll keep this early Nexus 9, but I'll be getting HTC's real tablet next year, or maybe a MOTO if they're offering anything. I will not be getting another Nexus device, Im a big android fan (huge actually ) but the nexus devices I have used have always been cheap pieces of crap.

30. Bjray

Posts: 199; Member since: May 29, 2014

Nexus 6 is the exception :)

9. avyfa

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

Buy any kind of electronics right after release - worst decision ever.

14. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Got a Galaxy Note 2, 3, and 4 at launch and they've never had defects. Saying that buying any kind of electronics at launch is the worst decision ever is kinda stupid.

8. scarface21173

Posts: 702; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

At least they have fixed the problem instead of denying it, like apple did with there bendgate problem.

11. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Apple never released a public statement, neither did Google, and both quietly fixed the issue. However I will say that bendgate was a more embarrassing issue than this. Apple should have been more careful with such a thin design.

12. bendgate unregistered

"However I will say that bendgate was a more embarrassing issue than this." I'm sad.

17. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

It's okay :)

26. tedkord

Posts: 17517; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yes, Apple did release a public statement. The claimed that only 9 people had complained about a bent phone, and that it was extremely difficult to bend an iPhone 6/6+.

3. RareCandy

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

still not convince me enough tho, no thanks :)

2. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

yea this is really bad

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Middle finger to early adopters. Why is it so hard to just perfect it before release....

4. bendgate unregistered

They shouldn't have launched it imperfect. Goes for all OEMs.

5. RareCandy

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

glad to be early adapter as ipad air 2 owner :)

6. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

No problems with my Z2 either. Though maybe all those delays were because they noticed something to fix lol

7. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2282; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

What voltage do you operate at?

28. gehrig

Posts: 423; Member since: Apr 17, 2014


10. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

If you're an early adopter you should expect problems. As nice as it is to think a product will be perfected upon release it's not a common occurrence.

13. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

No. When I buy a product I expect it to work exactly as advertised. Same thing is happening to gaming. Loom at some big titles like Assassins Creed Unity, Watchdogs, Destiny, Driveclub. They were all super hyped and everyone expected them to be like D`FANTASTIC and all. But then they got released and they were broken and full of bugs. Then the developers release updates and patches to fix the problems. In the past the games just worked out of the box. That should be the situation nowadays too. We pay for a finalized product not an early beta/alpha model...

18. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

I'm not saying that's wrong, but it's a rather unreasonable expectation. All of these products require large amounts of collaboration to launch, a minor issue or two is acceptable considering the scope of such projects. There's a FINE line between the Nexus 9's issues and say, Assassin's Creed Unity. The Nexus 9 had minor design issues that if left unfixed would not detract significantly from the product. Assassin's Creed Unity? A huge failure at launch, if I remember correctly it ran horrendously on some of the best GPUs available (AMD GPUs I believe?) along with a slew of other bugs. TL;DR: It's realistic to expect products to be functional, but not perfect at launch.

22. DaveElliott

Posts: 151; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

The expectation should always be that both parties (manufacturer/consumer) adhere to the good faith clause of the transaction as it would with any agreement. When we give passes on violations then it is easier the next time and so on until all transactions are "buyer beware" or result in frivolous complaints. Is this a manufacturing defect or simple opportunity for design improvement? And, then what is the behavior of those involved in the transaction?

29. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I'm sorry, not expecting problems when paying $700 and upwards for a device. If you need time, take it, don't make us your beta testers.

16. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2564; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While I agree with you, I've learned over the years that you should never buy a first year product. That includes vehicles, televisions, and even the first houses built in a neighborhood. There seems to always be problems with a first year product, some of them are just due to negligence by the manufacturer while others are problems that were thought to be fixed by the time of production and were overlooked. That's why you always see vehicles that have gone through a model refresh will most likely have a mid-cycle refresh (or even a one/two year refresh) to fix the problems with the vehicle. Just be aware that the next time you want to purchase a device before anyone else that while you may get the bragging rights and the satisfaction of having it first, there is bound to be problems. Do we need to revisit the iPhone 6 Plus issue and how that was secretly resolved behind closed doors? It happens more than we think. Good rule of thumb: wait 6 months for smartphones/tablets because by then most of the problems will have been discovered and fixed by the manufacturer.

21. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

The problem with these products is that theres an entirely new product every year. By the time they finish with a "working" bug free product, the product has already completed its lifetime for support. Im a car fanatic and I could tell you that the first year always has its recalls and issues, but a car models lifecycle is usually about 4 years+. So, its resonable to get fixed within the first year. Were talking products that are beyond broken that are being sold to consumers. This is unacceptable and these companies should be held accountable for their (*sh** products). False advertisement and promoting unfinished products should be penalized with class action lawsuits.

24. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

It's simple -- just don't be an early adopter...

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