Review: Tablet Google HTC Nexus 9

When the Nexus line arrived on tablets, Google had a very clear proposition: to offer cost-effective devices and that, even if they did not have the technical specifications to hit the top of the line, they could quietly run all that Which was available from the Play Store. Best of all, it costs very little.

Time passed and, with the launch of Nexus 9, Google decided to change the rules of the game. The more”simple” version with a 7-inch screen comes out, and the 8.9-inch display, larger and closer to its rival, iPad Air, is now in place. Is another: the Taiwanese ASUS, responsible for the previous models, lost the post for its compatriot archrival, HTC.

However, more than the change in size and manufacturer, the main novelty of the line lies in its configurations. The Google HTC Nexus 9 enters into the fight for the title of best tablet in the market bringing the very strong NVIDIA Tegra K1 chipset as a highlight. The good news is that the final price did not go up that much. The bad thing is that, because HTC is the manufacturer, we will hardly have the official launch of this model in Brazil.

It’s time to check out all the pros and cons of the Google HTC Nexus 9 tablet, released in the month of November in the United States. The version we had access to perform this analysis is the model with 16 GB of storage space and WiFi connectivity. Our impressions on the device are what you now give.

Benchmark tests

To perform this analysis, we submitted the Google HTC Nexus 9 to four benchmark applications. They are:  3D Mark(Ice Storm Unlimited),  AnTuTu Benchmark 5 ,  GFX Bench(T-Rex HD Off Screen and T-Rex HD On Screen) and  Vellamo Mobile Benchmark(HTML 5 and Metal).

3D Mark(Ice Storm Unlimited)

The 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited test is used to make direct comparisons between processors and GPUs. Factors such as display resolution may affect the final result. The higher the score, the better the performance.

AnTuTu Benchmark 5

One of the most highly regarded benchmark applications in its class, AnTuTu Benchmark 5 tests interface, CPU, GPU and RAM. The results are summed and generate a final score. The higher the score, the better the performance.

GFX Bench(Offscreen)

The GFX Bench is aimed at measuring the graphic quality. This includes items such as performance stability, rendering quality, and power consumption. Results are shown on average frames per second(FPS). The higher the score, the better the performance.

Vellamo Mobile Benchmark

Vellamo Mobile Benchmark applies two tests to the device: HTML5 and Metal. The first one evaluates the performance of the tablet in direct access to the internet via browser. In the Metal test, the final number indicates the performance of the processor. The higher the score, the better the performance.

Design

The Nexus 9 is the first tablet in the line to be manufactured by HTC. Because of this, it would be natural to expect some design changes over previous models. In practice they exist, but are subtle to the point of not mischaracterizing the visual identity of the line, in vogue since the launch of the Nexus 5 smartphone.

The sides are constructed of aluminum, which gives the device a more premium finish than the previous models(and also more suitable to the new proposal). On the front, the two speakers are positioned on the top and bottom of the unit. The rear is constructed of plastic, with the same materials as the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7.

The slightly rubbery texture, however, can in the long run the same problem seen in Nexus smartphone 5. In particular the device in white, the tendency to dirt accumulation over time is great, as well as any scratches and scrapes is More noticeable.

On the other hand, the rubberized material guarantees a good adhesion in the handling, either with two hands or with only one of them. Still in the back, the rear camera is located in the right corner, and just below is the flash LED. The device has an aspect of resistance that is quite consistent with the offer in terms of price and configurations.

Screen

For the first time a device of the line Nexus comes to the market with screen of 8,9 inches. This also makes the aspect ratio different, as the IPS LCD display is now 4: 3. In practice, this feature brings it closer to the iPad, distancing the model from that”chocolate bar” format that many were accustomed to.

In terms of resolution, the 2048×1536 pixels(QXGA) result in a pixel density of 281 ppi, number less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet for example, but reasonable for you to play or watch movies and serials without worry With possible pixel effects. The brightness and contrast levels are equally satisfactory.

The Nexus 9 also has an adaptive display, which ensures good screen viewing quality even in bright environments or in bright sunlight. The angle of view also does not show much distortion when the display is viewed from unfavorable angles. In summary: in this respect, the device is much more functional than charming, but still complies well with its proposal.

Interface

The so-called”pure” Android, one of the differentials of the Nexus line, is once again present. And to the delight of consumers, Android 5.0(Lollipop) is”all that,” making the system run smoothly, without any kind of locking in the transition between apps or even in motion animations.

The Google application package is the best it can be. In total there are 34 apps that basically include all the services you will need. The Material Design style of the new interface fits well to the tablet format. There was a noticeable evolution of the company aiming to better adapt Android to the bigger screen formats. Of the 16 GB of storage space, about 12 GB are free to use.

Performance

If the tablet NVIDIA Shield had already surprised us because of the excellent performance of the Tegra K1 processor, the Nexus 9 managed to go beyond. In the benchmark tests that we performed, the optimization of the system caused that in a software like AnTuTu, for example, the device reached the mark of the 57 thousand points – greater number already obtained by a device tested in the writing of TecMundo.

In practice, the set, which also includes Kepler DX1 GPU and 2 GB of RAM, was able to withstand very quietly heavy games like Asphalt 8 or Marvel Contest of Champions. In our tests there were small(almost imperceptible) frame falls throughout the game, but nothing that in any way will detract from its performance.

What disappointed us in running applications that required greater graphical potential was the temperature of the device. In our tests, the Nexus 9 warmed up a bit more than it should have, reaching 47.5 degrees Celsius on some occasions. Just by comparison, it is rare to see a smartphone pass 45 degrees Celsius. Again, this caveat is not harmful, but can be seen as a warning sign.

On tasks that are less demanding, but equally stressful in terms of processing, such as the use of multitasking features, performance is perfect, with no delay in response time or bottlenecks due to the exacerbated use of RAM. In fact, it is possible to state that the Tegra K1 today is the most powerful chipset among those already launched in the market, even being ahead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805.

Drums

With a battery of 6,700 mAh capacity, the Nexus 9 does not disappoint in this question. In our tests, it took more than 8 hours of video running continuously for the load to drain completely. Already in moderate use, charging the device every two or even three days, depending on your user profile, will be more than enough.

The numbers put the tablet of Google within a medium level compared to its competitors. It is not above average in this regard, but offers a consistent result and should not displease the consumer. There is no quick power recharge mode, so you will have to leave it in the socket for a good amount of time – about 3 hours – so that the charge is complete.

Camera

It’s always important to note: a camera on a tablet is not as essential an item as a smartphone. In other words, you will hardly see a tablet as good a camera as a cell phone. This is not the proposal of the apparatus, and this is not the idea of ​​the manufacturers. However, this does not mean that it should be disregarded altogether.

On Nexus 9, fortunately, Google and HTC gave the device due attention. The rear camera has 8-megapixel resolution and lets you capture good casual shots. It’s no beauty, but they do not look ugly at all. More detailed users will notice the granulation rate in the images, even with favorable lighting conditions.

The auxiliary LED flash also gives good help to pictures captured in low-light locations. Among the cameras available in the tablet category, the HTC Nexus 9 is among the best. But keep in mind that the focus here is casual use, and because of that, any top-of-the-line cell phone should be able to produce better results.

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One of the characteristics that always stands out in HTC smartphones is the audio quality. Fortunately, on Nexus 9 the story repeats itself. The unit is not accompanied by headphones, but there are two front speakers, located in the center of the device, in the lower and upper parts.

The positioning of the speakers is quite adequate, since in both the horizontal and vertical footprint it is practically impossible to cover the audio outputs with the hands. This prevents muffled sounds and gives a good space for sound propagation. Even with the volume at higher levels, the distortion index is low.

Although the final quality is not the best we’ve seen in a device, surely the audio spread of the Nexus 9 is among the best in the category tablets, good news for anyone considering the device especially for games.

Cost-effective: buying abroad

HTC has not officially marketed its products in Brazil for more than a year, and there are no plans for the company to come back here any time soon. Historically, in the case of the Nexus line, it is generally the manufacturers that are responsible for the distribution of the product in Brazil(at least that was the case with LG and ASUS). Because of this, we have little hope that the Nexus 9 will officially launch here.

The best solution for the moment, for those who want to buy the product, is to buy it directly in the United States. The simplest model, with 16 GB of storage and WiFi connectivity, costs $ 349(the equivalent of $ 923, without taxes). The model with 32 GB of storage and WiFi and 4G connectivity leaves for $ 429(the equivalent of $ 1,125, without taxes).

If we compare the dollar value with the final price of its main competitors – Apple iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Tab S and NVIDIA Shield – we see that Google’s product is within the average price because the simpler models of each Manufacturers also cost between $ 349 and $ 399.

If on one hand going to the United States and buying the tablet may be a good idea, on the other hand importing it may end up making things a little less interesting. In a simulation on the Amazon site, for example, that delivers the Nexus 9 in Brazil, the $ 349 turns into $ 701.16, including all taxes and delivery fees. That is, the value in reais goes from R $ 923 to R $ 1,837.

Even so, incredible as it may seem, this figure is compatible with the official launch price in Brazil, such as the Galaxy Tab S and Apple iPad Air. In this way, we can say that investing your money in a Nexus 9 is an excellent deal , In case you have the opportunity to buy it abroad. Already via import, the cost-benefit ratio decreases, but good product quality still pays off the money that will be spent.

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