HTC Nexus 9 review: Game on

The Google Nexus 9 will be curiously gazed upon by both Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners, as HTC gets back on the roster to take over from Asus and Samsung. The 8.9″ beauty is a return for HTC to both the Nexus family and the tablet realm in general. Almost five-years passed since HTC made the Google Nexus One, while its last tablet dates back to 2011.


Google Nexus 9 by HTC official photos

The HTC Nexus 9, like the Motorola Nexus 6, also marks a major shift in product strategy for Google. Unlike past Nexus tablets, which cut a few corners in order to keep the price super attractive, the latest iteration makes no compromises. The Nexus 9 is a bona fide powerhouse with highly capable hardware, premium build, and a brand new Android version to boot.

Key features

  • Optional quad-band GSM, CDMA, penta-band HSPA, 4G LTE
  • 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset; 2.3GHz dual-core Denver CPU; Kepler DX1 GPU
  • 8.9″ QXGA (2048×1536 pixels) IPS display with 4:3 aspect ratio; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with material design; brand new ART runtime for improved performance and responsiveness
  • 8MP f/2.4 camera with auto-focus and single LED flash; 1080p @30fps video capture
  • 1.6MP f/2.4 front-facing unit with 720p video capture
  • 16/32GB of built-in memory
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX; NFC; A-GPS; GLONASS; microUSB 2.0
  • BoomSound front-facing stereo speakers; dual microphones
  • 6,700mAh Li-Po battery
  • Premium design and build; three available color options

Main disadvantages

  • No memory card slot , doubling the built-in memory is Apple-like expensive , no 64GB memory option
  • 3GB of RAM would have fitted the chipset better
  • Some might find the new display ratio a tad awkward

Hardware-wise, the Nexus 9 leaves nothing to chance. Its Tegra K1 chipset is the most powerful silicon available for Android tablets. The 8.9″ 4:3 QXGA display isn’t too shabby either – its brand new ratio puts it squarely against the Apple iPad family, although the choice of size make sure it gets some room to breathe.

Design and build quality have been taken up a notch as well. The Nexus 9 looks and feels as premium as its specs suggest. Its three available colors, like the 4:3 display, are another subtle swing at Cupertino.

However, powerful hardware and premium design are only one part of the picture. The brand new Android 5.0 Lollipop is arguably the biggest piece of news about the Nexus 9. The latest OS build from the search giant brings fresh design, coupled with brand new ART runtime, which promises improved performance and responsiveness.

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HTC Nexus 9 live photos

As always, we will kick the review off with unboxing of the Nexus 9, followed by design and build quality inspection. Flip to the next page for a closer look at the tablet.

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