The HTC Nexus 9 sports the latest Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset (Kepler DX1 GPU, Dual-core 2.3 GHz CPU), and ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop. As expected, it runs superbly. Android is smooth and stable, and the tablet can handle taxing 3D games like Riptide GP2 without any hiccups or stutters.
As with any new chipset and OS, there is still room for improvement and efficiencies. The Nexus 9 takes way too long to start up for instance, averaging about 44 seconds from button push to lock screen. That’s about 34 seconds too slow. It powers down quickly though, and through a new feature in Android 5.0, users can quickly resume whatever it was they were doing following a power cycle.
Benchmarks sometimes don’t translate into real-world performance, but they do provide some insights for comparison. So, take it with a grain of salt when we claim that the Nexus 9 beats the Android competition in the Geekbench multicore benchmark with its score of 3,111. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 (both considered top Android tablets) each score about 2,780. The new iPad Air 2 trounces the competition however, with a score of 4,516.
The Nexus 9 comes preloaded with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage. Android and the preloaded apps take up about 7 GB right out of the box. It’s a shame this tablet doesn’t have removable storage, because what’s leftover, particularly with the 16 GB model, is just not enough.
There are many good things once can say about Google Android 5.0 Lollipop. In fact, we did. In our review, we called it “an excellent update to an already strong operating system.” We added, “It looks great and adds some very useful features, particularly with notifications and guest account management.” Then we closed with, “Tablet buyers should consider Android 5.0 support when making a purchase decision.”
Yes, it’s that good. It ultimately makes Android a more cohesive operating system like iOS rather than a sandbox of apps and widgets.
Being a Nexus device, the Nexus 9 is thankfully free of any bloatware or custom skins. This is pure Google, and the tablet is all the better for it. There are still some redundant apps inherit with Android, but there’s nothing preloaded and permanent to annoy you. No NFL Mobile, no useless security apps, no third-party mobile wallets, nothing beyond basic apps and Google’s typically excellent services.
Which isn’t to say the tablet is lacking in software. Google bundles a suite of useful applications with Android so this tablet is useful right out of the box. And there is much more available on Google Play, which is what the company calls the official store for third-party Android software.
The HTC Nexus 9 has a non-removable, 6700 mAh battery. We managed to squeeze 6 hours and 50 minutes out of it in a torture test: streaming video over Wi-Fi with the display set at maximum brightness and both location services and battery saver turned off. In other words, the Nexus 9 performed quite well even under unrealistically bad conditions. One can expect to get a full day of heavy to moderate usage out the Nexus 9 under normal conditions, provided Android 5.0’s battery saver feature is on and the display is fairly dim.
Price and Availability
Don’t stop now: Page 3 sums up our final thoughts on the HTC Nexus 9.