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Report: Nexus 9 hardware revision fixes button issues, potentially other problems

One Reddit user claims to have received a Nexus 9 manufactured last week with substantial hardware changes: better buttons, less light bleed, and no bounce.

Published onNovember 29, 2014

Nexus 9-19

For those of us with the Nexus 9, several problem plague the product: key travel, backlight bleed, and a rather squishy backside. My own unit has the total trio, and the power and volume buttons are so bad that I personally felt the need to vent about it on Google Plus.

When first using the tablet, the offending pieces are extremely rigid and difficult to use, and even after several weeks they only softened up to the point of being slightly bad. As for the large amount of backlight bleeding (my unit has four different areas around the display perimeter) and somewhat concave back side? Those permanent problems will persist.

It seems someone in places that matter have taken notice. Reddit user Sebianoti reports that he received a device from Taiwan manufactured last week, and it has different buttons. Judging by the picture they appear to be either thicker or set further out from the chassis. Submitted for your approval:

Top: Newer Nexus 9, Bottom: Newer Nexus 9
Sebianoti Top: Newer Nexus 9, Bottom: Newer Nexus 9

Sebianoti also mentions that the new device has noticeably less light bleeding and, in his own words, “no flexing whatsoever” with the back cover. Unfortunately these two points cannot be confirmed as actual changes given that there have been varying reports of the degree /severity of bleed and trampolining from users, thus it’s possible s/he simply received one with less trouble. It is also important to note that Sebianoti has the white color variant.

Seeing as how the Nexus 9 is virtually a brand new product, it is debatable as to how quickly a manufacturing change could be implemented. Still, if things are truly changed, this wouldn’t be the first time a Nexus product has been modified after release: the Nexus 4 saw the addition of little nubs to the back side to prevent sliding on smooth surfaces. With the 9 in particular, however, it’s downright infuriating the original form was ever allowed to enter production, and even more frustrating because early adopters are just flat out of luck.

It’s possible that angry customers plead with the powers that be, a newer Nexus would be provided, but it’s also possible they will be met with a template response indicating that “we constantly aim to improve out products…”. Alas as my Nexus 9 was procured in the USA (and I live in Japan), chances of anything getting resolved is extremely unlikely. If anyone here has one and wants to try, please feel free to post the results below.