The fated day has indeed arrived and Google has unleashed a flood of Android announcements that proves to the world that it is still at the top of its game. Leaked and speculated on time and again, Google is indeed finally giving Android lovers a newer tablet to desire. And indeed it is made by HTC, the manufacturer’s first tablet in a very long time. And indeed, as well, the Nexus 9 has turned out to be quite everything we have dreamed the next reference Android tablet would be.
If you loved HTC’s latest high-end products and design, then you will most likely love the Nexus 9. Front-facing speakers with BoomSound audio, a tinge of metal on the edges, and an overall premium quality build. If you’re in the market for an Android tablet, this would be it. Especially if you are sick of the often times obnoxious customizations that OEMs and carrier impose on their customers. The back of the tablet has that signature soft plastic Nexus texture that makes it easier to grip without resorting to cheap (faux leather) tricks.
If the outward appearance of the Nexus 9 seem a bit lackluster to some, under the hood you will find a raging beast. Well, even on its face you already see its power, with an 8.9-inch display that bears a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels. The tablet is powered an NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver running at 2.3 GHz. Not only is this the most powerful mobile chip around, at least based on benchmarks, it is also one of the few 64-bit mobile CPUs in the consumer market today. RAM is at 2 GB, though we had hoped that Google and HTC would have provided just a bit more. Battery is a large 6,700 mAh, which is noted to last 30 days on WiFi and LTE standby, though only 8.5 to 9.5 hours of continuous usage. One area where the Nexus 9 might fall short of is in digital photography, with only an 8 megapixel f/2.4 AF rear camera with LED flash and a 1.6 megapixel f/2.4 on the front. Then again, rarely do tablets get used for serious photography anyway.
Of course, that is only the raw hardware and only half the Nexus experience. The other half comes from the software, which in this case is the fresh, new, and still sweet Android 5.0, now revealed to be Lollipop. Though that deserves a treatment of its own, one of the new features of this latest Android version is support for 64-bit devices, which goes hand in hand with the Nexus 9’s Tegra K1 CPU. You’ve also got a cornucopia of features like Material Design, Android Runtime (ART) by default, better battery management, and so much more.
The HTC Nexus 9 will come in three back color options of black, white and gold, and two storage options of 16 GB and 32 GB. Sadly, no mention of the rumored microSD card expansion. The tablet will also have a folio keyboard cover as rumored, sold separately and revealed to magnetically latch on to the tablet. All that is left now is to wait for the October 17th start of pre-orders and, of course, the price tag that will go along with it.
• Display: 8.9-inch QXGA 2048×1536 4:3 ratio
• Processor: 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver @ 2.3 GHz
• RAM: 2 GB
• Storage: 16 or 32 GB
• Camera: 8 MP f/2.4 AF LED flash / 1.6 MP f/2.4
• Audio: Dual front-facing HTC BoomSound speakers, Dual microphones, 3.5 mm audio jack
• Battery: 6,700 mAh
• Connectivity: Quad-band GSM, CDMA, Penta-band HSPA, LTE, WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 (MiMO), NFC, Bluetooth, Micros USB 2.0
• Sensors: GPS, Ambient, Gyro, Accelerometer, Magnetometer