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Google Nexus 9 Review

Google Nexus 9

Posted: , by John V.


Google Nexus 9 Review

Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review
Google Nexus 9 Review

Google’s line of Nexus tablets have always been a delightful bunch, not only for the affordable cost attached to them, but also for the fact that they’re normally the first to offer the most up-to-date version of Android. It all started with the original Nexus 7 back in the summer of 2012, followed subsequently by the release of the Nexus 10, and then the refreshed version of the 2013 Nexus 7. Each tablet, of course, proved that it didn’t require consumers to fork over huge sums of money to pick up and own a high-performing unit. Instead, Google’s line of Nexus tablets ushered in a new era for the segment – one that continues to highly competitive and budding.

Interestingly, Google has commissioned HTC to manufacture its latest tablet model in the Google Nexus 9. This revelation, naturally, is a surprising one considering that HTC hasn’t been active in the tablet space for quite some time. In fact, the last time they released a tablet was back in 2011 – the ill received HTC Jetstream. After the lukewarm response HTC received from its tablets, including the HTC Flyer, the company seemingly hit all the brakes when it came to anything tablet related.

Thankfully, though, the Google Nexus 9 is the company’s chance to become a relevant player in the market once again. Featuring Google’s latest Android update, Lollipop, in conjunction with some spiffy specs and a low price point, the Nexus 9 is already shaping to become something grand for the upcoming holiday season.

The package contains:

  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Product Safety & Warranty Brochure
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable


In keeping with the tradition, the Nexus 9 exudes a humble design that doesn’t try to be too flashy.

Historically speaking, we know that HTC takes great pride when it comes to designing its products – evident by recent memorable devices like the HTC One M8. There’s no kidding that they’re meticulous when it comes to that, even when it comes to inexpensive priced devices. Well, seeing that the Nexus 9 follows in the same tradition of other Nexus tablets, its design favors a more humble quality.

Looking at it for the first time, it’s really tough to distinguish that it’s an HTC design – mainly because its design language treads on a different path from what we see from its smartphones. Going with an all-plastic body, one that has a soft touch matte finish to it, the design is no doubt clean and minimalist. Its design doesn’t break any records in terms of being the skinniest or lightest, but it proves to be relatively easy to hold with one and two hands.

However, there are a couple of distracting things we feel that stands out with its design. First of all, there’s a bit of hollowness to its design, which is made especially known when we tap on the back of the tablet – it just doesn’t have the solid feel of something like the iPad Air 2 or Xperia Z2 Tablet. In addition, the camera lens protrudes out from the rear casing, which causes it to come in contact with whatever surface it’s placed on. To be fair, though, this implementation allows the tablet to rest evenly on a flat surface – so that it doesn’t wobble while typing in landscape.

Along the back, the Nexus name is emblazoned squarely in the middle – while HTC’s logo is ever so discretely positioned towards the bottom (when held in portrait). Taking a peek around the tablet’s trim, it features the assortment of ports and buttons. These include its power button and volume button along the right, microUSB port and microphone on the bottom, and 3.5mm headset jack on the top.

A familiar set up used by many of HTC’s smartphones, the Nexus 9 is outfitted with two front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound – so it’s safe to presume that it’ll carry on HTC’s reputation of offering quality sound. Although it’s tough to make out, especially when it blends in with the black color of the screen’s bezel, there’s actually an LED light placed in the middle-bottom area of the tablet.

Being a budget-conscious tablet has its perks, like in being easy on the pockets, but at the same time, it doesn’t have the same high flying set of arsenal that accompanies some of its rivals. In particular, it doesn’t have a water-resistant construction, there’s no expandable storage, and you can’t use it as a universal remote to change the channel on your TV. Just saying!


Details are nice, but it’s pretty amazing that it’s almost spot-on with its color reproduction. All the qualities are impressive!The Nexus 9 features 8.9-inch 1536 x 2048 IPS LCD display. Visually, its size and resolution gives it a respectable pixel density count of 288 ppi, which is an effective thing to make out miniscule text in the web browser without much squinting. That’s certainly isn’t as striking as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4’s display per se, with its class-leading tally of 359 ppi, but it’s nonetheless pleasant for everyday things.

What’s most surprising, however, is how the screen bears so many high-quality characteristics. Case in point, its potent brightness of 453 nits, excellent 2.17 gamma, great 6942 K color temperature, and its ability to accurately reproduce colors. With the latter, it impressively hits all of the target marks for each color gradient – easily besting its contemporaries in the iPad Air 2 and Galaxy Tab S 8.4! At the same time, it’s still easy to view outdoors with the sun out.

Benchmarks aside, the screen looks good! From its great detail, to its visibility, and its precise color reproduction, the screen of the Nexus 9 might appear ordinary from a cursory look, but beyond that, it packs all of the rich essentials in giving it some strong visual qualities that we appreciate.

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
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 419
LG G Pad 8.3 345
View all

  • Options

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 05:43 8

1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

One of the greatest tablets alive.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 06:52 4

15. Finalflash (Posts: 3527; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

This is a direct strike against the iPad I think. It has the same form factor and screen size and now even competes hardware and quality wise.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 07:31 2

18. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Same form factor, kind of. Same screen size, no. Google has stated that this tablet is not meant to compete directly against the iPad, but I tend agree with you. Regardless of what they say, this is meant to go up against the iPad.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 13:43 1

61. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 474; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)

Competitively, no, that doesn't make any sense considering the history of the Nexus line.

But if you call this Google's way of saying "look out Apple, we're not as far behind as you'd like to think" I'd agree.

posted on 26 Dec 2014, 08:53

108. Bertelgeus (banned) (Posts: 126; Member since: 15 Oct 2014)

Beauty of Android: cheaters are welcome.

All the CPU benchmark results are garbage because Denver is a cheater project by nature: the ARM instructions aren't native to Denver. It translates them to its native ones via SOFTWARE in runtime. In benchmarks where the same routines get executed over and over, it runs fine, and scores are great. But in real world applications, that translation overhead kills the performance. That's why several reviews are reporting "sluggish performance"

What a crap. nVidia is digging its own grave with Denver.


posted on 03 Nov 2014, 13:57 3

64. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

After reading more reviews on the web, I'm extremely skeptical...

1. Android police talked about sluggish performance.
2. Verge talked about inconsistent performance.
3. Gizmodo did the same

I'm very disappointed if these reviews are true.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:06

68. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

Yeah, Verge pretty much slammed it. At the Nexus 9 price point for $20 more you can have a mini 3 with 64GB so not sure who they are marketing to!! (The die hard Anroid fan?)

posted on 08 Nov 2014, 00:13

95. afraaa (Posts: 138; Member since: 23 Oct 2014)

@emarcade . the verge is apple fan and every one know it .. verge always hd problem with nexus line

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:54 1

73. vincelongman (Posts: 5068; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

All the reviews are with LRX16F
Last night Google/HTC pushed an update (LRX21L)

But I think there will still be some issues until most the apps get updates to fix any issues with the major changes with Lollipop
And devs need to add optimizations to take full advantage of the 64-bit K1
And I'd image Google/HTC will probably still be looking to push more updates as well

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 18:31 3

75. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)

Err GSMarena, engadet, cnet and phinearena said different the only way to find out is to try it yourself. And the writer for gizmodo is an asshat

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 20:08 1

78. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Just got mine. The only time I've noticed sluggishness so far is while the tablet is downloading/updating apps, but Android's always been aweful at that. So far my only concern is the backlight bleeding around the edges, but it's only noticeable on black screens on high brightness.

I don't know if John's unit is preproduction or defective or something, but I have no idea what he means by the hollowness on the back. Mine seems very tightly constructed.

posted on 04 Nov 2014, 06:52

84. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

Actually I thought cnet was pretty much on the same page... Not sure which review you saw, but unless you (or the reviewers) are fanboys, the reviews do not look good from any of them.

posted on 04 Nov 2014, 06:57

85. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

And you consider "over the days I've been testing it, the 9 feels just 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." a good review from Engadget??? The whole review slams the heck out of the 9 and even says the star of the show is Lollipop... which you can put on a Nexus 7 2012 model!!!

Wow, you are easy to please. ;-)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 05:44 6

2. ABDULGHAFOOR (Posts: 104; Member since: 04 May 2012)

A Perfect Tablet

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 07:01 3

16. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

A tablet cannot be perfect :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 10:02

40. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

I've been so happy with the progression of tablets in recent years.

While none are perfect, my iPad Air 2 has been phenomenal and rivals my laptop in terms of performance.

I'm sure the nexus 9 is unbelievable as well. I just might get one.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 10:22 3

42. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

You have a laptop from early 2000's? :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 12:31

47. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

Nope, 2013 :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 12:49 4

51. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Ok then you're lying :) Unless it's a 400 euros cheapo model :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 13:48

63. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

Acer S7.

And no, I am not lying :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:03 3

67. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Ok you're lying so hard a tablet cannot match the performance of that :) Now good night :)

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:07 1

69. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

When the tablet is running a mobile OS, sure it can.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:15

70. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Berzerk000 is right. You're comparing apples & oranges here. A tablet isn't trying to do nearly as much as a laptop. Pound for pound an iPad Air 2 can easily match a laptop. It just depends on what part of the performance you're comparing.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 07:57 2

23. aayupanday (Posts: 580; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

There should've been a 64GB version IMO. Or best of all a MicroSD Slot.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 08:53

29. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Why don't people actually look at WiFi storage devices. Most people think they are too huge or its another thing to carry. Well with things like the Sandisk Connect, they are so small that you can carry them and use them attached to you key chain. You can even swap out different micro SD cards. Well worth the investment. It supports Android iOS, Mac, Windows. Even phonearena reviewed one. Not to mention there are others on the market now.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 13:59 1

65. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

Try using a WiFi device on a plane.... Oh yeah, you can't!! Or you could attach an amazing OTG dongle which will get broken off the first time your kid bumps it wrong!

When movies are pushing 3 and 4GB not having a larger storage option is pathetic.

posted on 03 Nov 2014, 14:25

71. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

A lot of planes have WiFi that the passengers are allowed to use. A data connection is available almost everywhere, and almost everything can be put in the cloud or be streamed. Expandable storage is becoming more and more unnecessary.

posted on 04 Nov 2014, 06:50

83. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

Sure at a cost of like $15!! No thanks!! And sure if you hang out in a big city and never go anywhere it seems like WiFi is everywhere, but in reality it's not. Oh, and ever try to stream a 4GB movie on to your Nexus via a data plan.... so much for that 4 GB a month plan!!!

And if you are happy with someone else controlling your personal movies, music, pictures etc, go ahead and use cloud. I would rather own and store it myself so I control my purchases.

posted on 04 Nov 2014, 14:17

89. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Most flights are $250+ for a round trip ticket, an extra $15 won't kill you. And yes, WiFi really is almost everywhere. I live in a small town and everywhere I go has WiFi, except for places like the grocery store. School, libraries, coffee shops, restaurants (which you should really be using your device in anyways), gyms, etc. all have WiFi.

No one "controls" my personal media content in the cloud, they just store it for me.

posted on 06 Nov 2014, 10:26

93. emarcade (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Nov 2014)

NO, it's not everywhere!(Guess you don't travel much)

And in places it is available, MANY times they charge you to use it. So $8 in the airport to connect, $15 on the plane, $12 at the hotel... You can rack up a huge bill chasing WiFi. You should have just bought a better device with more storage!!! A fool and his money are soon parted, so glad you acknowledge that.

I guess you have missed all the stories of people storing their purchases in the cloud only to have them removed because they were "no longer avaialble". Just like Disney puts Cinderella in the "vault" and then take it out every 10 years or so to sell again, if you buy it digitally, they can do that to you.

I have had items I purchased from Amazon ripped out of my account and they even say on their site you should download a copy to prevent this from happening.... So why in the HECK would you trust someone else to keep your stuff!!

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Google Nexus 9

Google Nexus 9

OS: Android 7.1 7.0 5.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display8.9 inches, 1536 x 2048 pixels (288 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
NVIDIA Tegra K1, Dual-core, 2300 MHz, Denver processor
Size8.99 x 6.05 x 0.31 inches
(228.25 x 153.68 x 7.95 mm)
15.38 oz  (436 g)

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