HTC Nexus 9 unveiled

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Nexus 9 (2014)

Google has just unveiled the new Nexus tablet for the year 2014 – HTC Nexus 9.

Is this tablet a good replacement for Nexus 7 (2013)? Let’s check it out..

Hardware difference between HTC Nexus 9 and Nexus 7 (2013)

Scope Nexus 7 (2013) Nexus 9
Manufacturer Asus HTC
CPU 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor 2.3 GHz
GPU Adreno 320 Kepler DX1
Screen size 7" 8.9"
Screen resolution 1200 x 1920 px (~323 ppi) 1536 x 2048 px (~281 ppi)
Camera (rear) 5MP 8MP (with LED flash)
Camera (front) 1.2MP 1.5MP
Battery Li-Ion 3,950 mAh Li-Po 6,700 mAh

As expected, the new Nexus 9 gets a boost in almost all aspects of the hardware.

Chipset
The upgrade on the chipset will definitely boost the tablet performance a lot more especially in gaming. In Nexus 7 (2013), you might have seen a lot of noticeable lags on popular games like Plants vs Zombies or Clash of Clans. All these lags should be gone in Nexus 9. (Note: not saying Qualcomm processor is bad, just that the 400 series used in Nexus 7 is not a top-notch chipset in order to keep the cost low. Qualcomm 800 series chipset is excellent and is in use in many high-end smartphones nowadays)

Battery
Other than the chipset, the battery capacity have increased by more than 1.5 times what you have on Nexus 7 (2013). Note also that Nexus 9 uses a Li-Po battery instead of the Li-Ion type that lives in many smartphones currently in the market. Li-Po battery is lighter and is capable of operating at low/high temperature which again is especially good for intensive gamers.

Screen
The screen size could be a bit oversize, though. Holding a 8.9″ tablet is no much different from holding a 10″ counterpart, you may feel the sores coming through your hands after 30-60 min continuous hold onto the tablet. You may feel better if you think it the other way round – it is actually a down-sized Nexus 10. Screen resolution have increased but the PPI is lower due to it not able to keep up with the increase in physical screen size (7″ to 8.9″). This is not really an issue for most users, though.

Camera
There is a boost in both front and rear camera too, but we are not going to go into details here as camera is always not the main concern for tablet. Still, additional LED flash at the rear camera is definitely a welcome add-on.

Conclusion
Despite the performances boost, all these come at the cost of a surge in the price. For reference, a 16GB Nexus 7 (2013) costs $229 whereas the new Nexus 9 (16GB) costs $399. In other words, you have to spend additional $170 for these hardware boost. The significant boost in the performance (which leads to the significant increase in price) is probably the Google’s way to mark the Nexus series as high-end devices. This is to distinguish it from the recently launched Android One that is specially made for low-end devices.

# HTC Nexus 9 will be running on Android Lollipop (5.0) and is available for pre-order from 17th October.

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