Nexus 9 Review: What Is It Like To Live With?

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This post was published 6 years, 7 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some material it contains may no longer be applicable.

 

The Nexus 9 is one of the hottest Android tablets on the market and it’s easy to see why. After owning mine for a few months I thought I would share my opinions and feelings about this device covering both software and hardware. Let’s get started shall we?

Feel

The Nexus 9 feels very good for the most part. The materials used are top-notch and they feel really good in the hand. Some of the units from the first few batches had some issues with backlight bleed, mushy power buttons and a popping back panel.

These problems have mostly been addressed over time so you should be okay now. My unit is affected only by the popping back, which I hope to have DSC_0017[1]rectified soon. I will follow this post up with an update to my experience in dealing with this issue.

Other than this fairly small issue, my Nexus 9 feels really nice to use. The size is perfect, especially for reading books which is something I do quite often. It is also very well-balanced. The weight is evenly distributed making it a pleasant experience to hold in any position.

Screen

The screen is an 8.9 inch IPS display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution and pixel density of 281ppi. As soon as you switch the N9 on and see the screen for the first time you can tell it’s a nice display. The colours pop without being over saturated and everything is super sharp. I do a lot of reading on my devices and so far this has provided the best experience for doing so.

For the last few years I’ve resisted the move to eBooks, but after being forced to read Divergent on the N9 due to the mother commandeering my physical copy, I don’t think I want to go back. The screen is so well-balanced and clear that reading is a real joy.

Even if reading isn’t really your thing, the screen still won’t fail to impress. Text in menus and on web pages is also nice and sharp and while the 4:3 aspect ratio makes video watching slightly awkward when compared to many other Android tablets, once you’ve used it for a few days the letter boxing isn’t so noticeable. The brightness and sharpness more than make up for it. Media consumption really is something to be enjoyed with the N9.

Speakers

The speakers were clearly one of the main focuses with the Nexus 9 and as soon as you play a song through them you can really tell. HTC know what they’re doing when it comes to sound as they demonstrated with their One series and that has been transferred to this tablet.

These speakers manage to be loud without distorting the sound. Not only are they greatDSC_0027[1] for music, but gaming is absolutely epic thanks to good stereo separation. I’ll cover the graphics performance in a moment, but the sound immersion is unreal.

Only two weeks after I bought my N9 they released Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic to Android tablets. The cut scenes, lightsaber duels and cantina brawls sounded fabulous. They’re great for things like Netflix too, really bringing every moment to life. If you’re an audiophile this is the tablet for you.

Gaming Performance

We know the Tegra K1 is a good chip for gaming, the Nvidia Shield proved that, but this takes things even further. Unlike the Shield, The Nexus uses the more powerful 64-bit version of the K1 chipset. This means the Nexus can play games at a higher resolution and sometimes with almost twice the frame rate of the Shield.

As mentioned before I’ve played KOTOR on here and it’s so smooth. It might be an old game, but it was still made for a PC. This tablet version, save for some UI changes to the menus and controls, is a direct port. Despite this, the Nexus plays it smoother than my computer ever did. Frame drops are rare and everything looks very, very good.

Day-to-day Performance

Android lollipop is without a doubt the most advanced mobile operating system available now. It looks absolutely stunning on any device, but the 9 shows it off particularly well. The Tegra K1 keeps things running smoothly all the time.

The animations are buttery slick and apps open as soon as you press the icon. The 2GB of RAM also is plenty to keep multitasking going at a good pace, so you can quickly flick between open apps from the recent apps overview

Web browsing is nice and fast too. Scrolling and zooming are free of any stuttering and web pages load in an instant. Whether you’re a power user or someone who just uses their devices for light browsing and the occasional round of Candy Crush, the Nexus 9 will always offer the performance you need.

Battery life is exceptional too. Currently I have 20% left after 12 hours with over 4 hours of screen on time. That’s not bad, especially when you consider that an hour and a half of that was watching Fast And Furious. This has, without a doubt, the best battery life of any device I own.

Summary

The Nexus 9 is definitely one of the most talked about Android tablets and you can see why. I don’t regret buying this tablet in any way, in fact, I love this thing more and more each day. The screen, speakers and performance are top-notch and it never lets me down.

I’ve owned a few of tablets over the years but none of them have ever truly blown me away quite like this one has. If you’re in the market for a tablet and wondering if the Nexus 9 is worth your consideration, the answer is yes. Without a doubt.

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