The holidays are just right around the corner, so consumers will no doubt be in full force shopping for the best of the best for their loved loves. In the tablet space, we’ve been fortunate to see the arrival of two spectacular offerings very recently – the iPad Air 2 and the Nexus 9. When it comes to performance and usefulness in accomplishing all sorts of tasks, there’s no arguing that these two come racing to the scene with a whole lot of goodies to make us all drool. At the end of the day, though, which of the two proves to be the stronger, more profound selection?


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.



1. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Yay! This should turn into another game of words with friends! Can't wait. I'd like one of each.

42. Furbal unregistered

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: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 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 unregistered

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: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 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 unregistered

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: 95; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Get the surface pro 3. That's a computer in a tabket form.

61. Furbal unregistered

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: 332; Member since: Jul 03, 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: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Another thing Joooooohnnnn V. from 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. +1

15. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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 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: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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: Oct 20, 2013

51. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Thank you. Some of these Apple fans refuse to believe there are other apps store just as robust or frankly more robust. +1

58. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 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. - iOS: - Android: 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: Jan 25, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: May 19, 2012

If you dont love Apple, they show their evil face. such activities like banning from media access.

69. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That's right... But the iFans will always defend their beloved Apple, even when the evil face is out. +1

22. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

2 Things I never do: Take pictures on Tablet. Use a flash on ANY picture.

33. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 332; Member since: Jul 03, 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: 361; Member since: Oct 08, 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: 140; Member since: May 19, 2014

i think you really exaggerate because for me this review is quite fair

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.