News by Luke Jones on Wednesday October 15, 2014.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Google had a busy day today as it rolled out a new smartphone, tablet, operating system, and even a streaming box. The Nexus tablet range got an update in the form of a new form factor and a new manufacturing partner with Mountain View announcing the HTC built Nexus 9 slate. Like the new smartphone Nexus, the tablet shakes Google's product brand on its heads and in a way changes what we now expect from a Nexus device.Before exploring the Nexus 9 in depth, I should probably explain what I mean. The earlier Nexus devices often came with quality specs and an affordable price tag, making them something of an underdog. Those products made compromises (such as design and camera) to achieve their market goal, but the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are different. These are premium devices with slick designs, top specs, high price tags, and no compromise. When discussing the older devices one could dismiss any issues by saying the price point was worth the compromise. However, Nexus now wants to sit at the big table, so we should really judge it as such. So, on to the Nexus 9. Google drafted in HTC to build its new tablet and it goes without saying that the Taiwanese company knows a thing or two about making a sleek product. The Nexus 9 is good looking, especially when placed next to the old Nexus 7, although it is not a paradigm shift next to other aesthetically pleasing slates like the iPad, Galaxy Tab S, or LG G Pad. Front on the 9 looks similar to an iPad Mini, but with only so many tablet designs possible it is an accusation we could level at a bunch of rivals. It has a very familiar Nexus matte finished rear and features brushed metal sides, but comparisons aside it looks like a premium tablet. It is also looking to compete with the very best in terms of specs too. Under the hood there is a 2.3GHz NVIDIA K1, which of course offers 64-bit support and is among the best mobile chips on the market. Surprisingly Google and HTC opted for just 2GB of RAM when most rumors pointed to 3GB, a far cry from the early reports this year (albeit false) that suggested 5GB of RAM. Elsewhere it has an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, BSI and f/2.4 aperture; a 1.6MP selfie camera; dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; and a 6,700mAh battery. Of course, this is the first device alongside the Nexus 6 to get Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the bag, making it unique in terms of OS for the time being. The Nexus 9 is available for pre-order this Friday and will land stores on November 9th, starting at $399 for the base 16GB Wi-Fi model; $479 for the 32GB Wi-Fi; and $599 for a 32GB LTE variant that comes packed with penta-band HSPA+, quad-band GSM/EDGE and CDMA. So, perhaps the Nexus 9 is not a definitive response to the high end options out there, but it is certainly good enough to keep pace with them.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.