Google HTC Nexus 9 (32GB LTE) review: An impressive Android tablet and Lollipop makes it a sweeter deal

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New Delhi | Updated: January 19, 2015 4:37 PM

The Nexus 9 is an impressive Android tablet for regular usage and Lollipop makes it a sweeter deal.

Google Nexus 9 Android Lollipop tablet, Google Nexus 9 reviewThe Nexus 9 is an impressive Android tablet for regular usage and Lollipop makes it a sweeter deal.

Google Nexus 9 made by HTC is at present the only tablet in India which runs Android Lollipop OS. The Nexus 9 was recently released in 16GB (WiFi only) and 32GB (LTE) versions. But only the 16GB (WiFi only) model is available on Amazon.in at Rs 28,900, while the 32GB model is marked as “coming soon” on Google Play at Rs 44,900. Before the tablet becomes easily available in India, we tell you whether you should consider buying the 32GB (LTE) variant.

Specs: 8.9-inch IPS LCD, 4:3 aspect ratio, QXGA (2048×1536), Gorilla Glass 3 | Android 5.0 Lollipop OS| 2.3GHz dual-core 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver | 192-core Kepler GPU | 2GB RAM | 25GB user memory (not expandable) | 8MP rear camera and 1.6MP front camera | nano SIM card slot for mobile data only | 4G, 3G, 2G | NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi | 6,700 mAh battery

Price: Rs 44,900 (as on Google Play)

Google Nexus 9 Android Lollipop tablet, Google Nexus 9 reviewDesign: The Nexus 9 sports a very minimalistic look. The front is totally covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 while the rear has a rubberised plastic finish which ensures good grip. The device is slim and light. You will need to use two hands to use this device. The build quality is good and users shouldn’t have any complains apart from the power/wake and volume rocker buttons which are a bit difficult to use as they are not that raised.

Display: The Nexus 9 sports an 8.9-inch QXGA IPS LCD offering a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels at 320 ppi and 4:3 aspect ratio. The display quality is sharp and clear. However, the screen is best at full brightness. In medium brightness, it appears surprisingly dull. The little backlight bleeding (excess light) around the top edge of the screen can be ignored. Outdoor visibility is decent at full brightness. HTC could have included an anti-reflective coating, given the price. The 4:3 aspect ratio of the screen wastes a lot of real estate while watching movies. Still, the display will satisfy most users.

Google Nexus 9 Android Lollipop tablet, Google Nexus 9 reviewPerformance: The tablet is powered by a 2.3GHz dual-core 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Denver CPU with 2GB RAM. It scored a good 35375 on AnTuTu Benchmark (v5.5). Overall, the device is smooth and offers decent multi-tasking capabilities. I don’t prefer playing games on tablets, but it is well equipped to handle heavy ones.

Stock Android Lollipop offers a refreshing new look. Android 5.0 doesn’t have a Gallery drawer. So, everything is cluttered under Photos. The new Android OS has totally been redesigned and it’s great.

On the multimedia front, the dual front speakers powered by HTC BoomSound do a good job. The overall experience was good. Performance wise, the Nexus 9 will impress you.

Camera: The Nexus 9 comes with an 8MP rear camera with flash and a 1.6MP front camera. The quality of the front camera is good enough to make video calls. The quality of the rear camera is great in daylight. However, in low lighting situation, the images are grainy. Overall, the camera is satisfying as tablets are not primarily meant to take great images.

Storage: The 32GB variant offers around 25GB of usable storage. Of course, there is no memory card slot. USB OTG is not supported in the Nexus 9. You will have to rely on cloud storage- Google Drive, Dropbox, etc for extra memory or invest in a wireless flash reader.

Connectivity: The 32GB LTE version comes with a nano SIM card slot. However, the SIM card can be used only for mobile data- 4G, 3G and 2G. You cannot make calls on the Nexus 9. Other connectivity options include NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth, micro-USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio port.

Battery: The tablet is powered by a 6,700mAh battery. On heavy usage with WiFi at 80 per cent brightness, the device lasts an entire day. On standby, the device lasts for three days.

Verdict: The Nexus 9 is an impressive Android tablet for regular usage and Lollipop makes it a sweeter deal. However, should you actually invest more money in buying the 32GB version? To me, spending Rs 16,000 more (initial price of Rs 44,900) for around 14GB extra usable storage and a SIM card slot for only data makes little sense. At this price, the iPad Air 2 64GB WiFi only model is a better deal at Rs 40,900 thanks to a bigger and better 9.7-inch display. And as far as the SIM card slot is concerned, if you cannot make calls, you can live without it. You can always connect via your mobile hotspot or WiFi. If the pricing remains the same when it is available in India, then buying the Nexus 9 16GB makes more sense – that is, if you want an Android Lollipop tablet. Else, opt for an iPad.

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