As you probably know, the HTC Nexus 9 tablet has been selling for a few days now and big gadget sites have got a hold of the device for testing purposes. Impressions are mixed and some reviewers have rushed to call this model disappointing or mediocre, but there are also compliments in the reviews. Now let’s see what each of these sites had to say:
Chris Velazco from Engadget took the HTC Nexus 9 for a spin and he had some hardware critique for it. He praises Android 5.0 Lollipop and the way it runs, as well as the Material Design, plus the powerful Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, in the 64 bit version. He calls the screen only solid and less impressive than the one of a Galaxy Tab S or iPad. The BoomSound speakers were deemed less impressive than expected and the lack of expandable memory was also on the cons list.
The design also got some heat, while the display is being called just pleasant, but not jaw dropping. It doesn’t push the envelope, being happy with delivering bright colors and good viewing angles. The cameras are also called basic, in spite of the crisp and well saturated shots of the back camera. Quality is pretty poor when light lacks, though. Overall, the Nexus 9 may not be for everyone.
Darrell Etherington took on the task of reviewing the HTC made Nexus tablet and calls its design familiar. It comes with a rubberized matte back and it’s compared to a larger Nexus 5. This model is not by any means the slimmest or best looking of all tablets out there, being only adequate in the design field. Performance is described as top notch, while gaming isn’t very praised, considering there’s an Nvidia Shield tablet out there. The battery life gives you between 8 and 9 hours of active engagement.
The screen has “mostly even” backlighting, but the reviewer met with a slight halo effect, that doesn’t sit well on a premium device. The Nexus 9 also brings the 4:3 aspect ratio used by the iPads, opposed to the 16:9 approach of previous Nexus slates and that’s not exactly ideal for TV show watching.
Eric Limer was quite harsh when it came to reviewing the HTC Nexus 9, calling it nothing special in the title of the article and criticizing its laggy auto rotate and experience. The reviewer also mentions the Nexus 9 is great to hold and the soft touch offers great grip. The screen is good, but not stellar and it suffers from glare. Performance hitches are mentioned and the game Dead Trigger 2 had a pretty low frame rate apparently. The 8 MP back camera is also considering inadequate, unless you want Facebook pictures of kids and cats.
In the end, Eric says you probably shouldn’t buy this tablet, considering you can get the iPad Air 1 for the same price. He did say that most of the glitches the Nexus 9 encountered were caused by the Tegra CPU and that a software patch solved some of them, but in the end it’s just not enough.
Dan Seifert had a similar opinion to the one above, giving the Nexus 9 a 7.8 out of 10. He mentions the high resolution 4:3 display as a positive, as well as the good battery life and great speakers, while the build quality issues and sluggish performance are big no-no-s. The lack of tablet optimized apps also makes the cut in the negative section. The $399 price tag is also called too much for this model, seeing how you can buy an iPad Air with it.
The power button and volume rockers feel poor and mushy, also being too flush with the body. The plastic build is poor compared to the iPad’s finishing, but at least the front speakers sound great and they’re very loud. The speakers did get covered with the hands in landscape mode, which is not OK. The camera was also said to have a very slow focus.
CNET calls the Nexus 9 design minimalistic, but it also says it doesn’t quite stand out. Its buttons are quite hard to find without looking, but the device is comfortable to hold. The editors claim they had over 20 apps running and played games without a hitch. Games are said to look great here and WiFi browsing is lightning fast. The Nexus 9 also beat the iPad Air 2 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, by the way.
There were still some problems, with unresponsive screen, crashes, restarts and unexplainged lag out of the blue. The maximum brightness of the screen was unimpressive and the sunlight behaviour got its share of criticism. Overall, the screen lags behind competition,b ut the speakers are loud and clear, although not on the same level with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.
So, there you have it, 5 reviews from 5 big websites and not very positive conclusions. For every word of praise, there’s 2 flaws pointed out by editors. No one seems genuinely happy with the whole package that HTC provides here and strangely even the software got criticized, in spite of being pure Google. Is this a rushed product, could that be the problem?