I consider myself to be a techie and love new gadgets and shiny objects that improve productivity and fit into my hectic lifestyle. At the office, my co-workers are always commenting on all the tech stuff that they see me using. I always carry around my smartphone, tablet, wireless headset, and portable charger. (Yes, I do have a BIG purse.)
I was thrilled to receive Google’s new HTC Nexus 9 tablet to use and review. I have been using it for a little over a week now and here are my impressions and thoughts about it.
The model that I received is the white, 32Gb, Wi-Fi version. I work full time, but also spend a lot of my ‘free’ time on social, blogging, working with the community groups that I am involved with, reading, watching videos (TEDtalks, YouTube and other educational stuff), listening to podcasts, taking part in twitter chats and general web surfing. This review is based on my typical day. I am not a gamer, therefor I will not be providing my experience using this tablet for playing games.
My first impressions when I received the tablet was that it is well designed, seems to be durable and the size is great. It has a metallic frame and rubberized back. It is easy to grip and comfortable to hold. My previous tablet before this one was the Nexus 7 and I do like the bigger. 8.9” size of the Nexus 9. It still fits in my purse and feels light and portable. I find the screen to be sharp, bright and very responsive. The Nexus 9 has a 2048 x 1536 QHD LCD display and a 4:3 ratio with 228 ppi. ( I have read other reviews where people experienced some light bleeding around the edges but I have not experienced that myself.) The 4:3 aspect ratio is great for business use as it is easier to read and respond to emails, and to view and edit spreadsheets and documents.
The Nexus 9 runs Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop. I love it! It is super-fast for my daily usage. (The speed is also due to the powerful K1 chipset). It did not take me long to update the Nexus 9 with my favorite apps, books, videos and content. I like how I can still see my notifications on the locked screen and to wake the tablet, you just need to give the screen a quick double tap. The priority notifications, which can be toggled from the notification shade, helps me stay productive without getting distracted but the tons of twitter updates that I receive daily. Another feature that I love (and so does my family) is the “OK Google” command which lets me ask questions and perform tasks without picking up the Nexus. It even works when the screen is off.
The Android navigation bar at the bottom of the screen has changed slightly. The square on the far right, which was known as the recent apps key, is now known as the Overview menu. When tapped, it opens a large stack of cards that looks like the screen you left the app on.
I use my tablet throughout the day and have found the battery life to be more than adequate. The Nexus 9 has a battery saving mode and also lets you know how much battery life you have left. When charging, it will tell you the time remaining until it is fully charged. The battery saving mode automatically kicks in when your device drops to 15% battery life, and this should give you an extra 90 minutes of usage.
The camera is good for a tablet. (Below are some photos that I took with it.) Overall I would most likely grab my smartphone to take photos instead of holding up a tablet. The camera is straightforward to use. Point and tap the rectangular shutter button. Swiping from left to right lets you change from shooting standard photos to Photo Spheres, panoramas and videos. You can even change manual exposure in the settings.
The speakers on the Nexus 9 are great for my needs. It has front facing speakers and uses HTC’s BoomSound technology. I like that they are front facing, which means that whether I have the tablet in portrait or landscape, the sound is still facing me.
I did find a couple of cons while using the Nexus 9. First is does not have a micro SD slot which means the largest capacity you can have is the 32GB model -time to start utilizing cloud storage more. The other con is that notifications cannot be turned off completely. The sound can be turned off but the tablet will vibrate with every notification that you receive. This can be annoying if you have the tablet beside you on a table or desk, while in a meeting or while trying to have a conversation. I really hope that Google addresses this in future OS updates. Please note that that is not a limitation of the hardware.
Overall for everyday business use and people that are on the go I think this tablet is a great option! It is definitely one of the best Android tablets out there and approximately $100 cheaper than the iPad Air 2.
Stayed tuned for more about Android 5.0 Lollipop and some of my recommended apps.
Nexus 9 Specs:
Size: 228.25 x 153.68 x 7.95 mm
CPU Speed: 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver @ 2.3GHz
Sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetometer
Camera: Main Camera: 8MP, auto-focus, BSI sensor, f/2.4, 1080p video recording Front Camera: 1.6MP, BSI sensor, f/2.4, 720p video recording
Weight: 436 g
Platform Android: Android™ 5.0 Lollipop
Total storage: 16GB, available capacity varies RAM: 2GB
Battery Capacity: 6700 mAh
Embedded rechargeable Li-polymer battery Video playback: Up to 9.5 hours Internet usage: Up to 9.5 hours for WiFi/8.5 hours for LTE Standby time: Up to 30 days for Wi-Fi & LTE
Display: 8.9 inch IPS LCD, 4:3 aspect ratio, QXGA (1536 x2048), Gorilla Glass 3, Double tap to wake
Sound: Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound™, Dual Microphones
I received a reviewer model of the Nexus 9 for this post. Good or bad, my reviews are honest with my readers best interest in mind.
Photo credits: First image courtesy of Google, all other images are my own