The refresh to the Nexus tablet line is finally here, and just like the bump in size the Nexus smartphone received, the Nexus 9, as the name suggests, now boasts a larger 8.9-inch display. The Nexus 9 also brings HTC back into the Nexus fold, and is also the first tablet the company has manufactured in a while. With the best of HTC and a stock Android experience, what does the Nexus 9 have to offer? Before diving into a more comprehensive review, we take a quick a look at the unboxing, and give you our first impressions about the Nexus 9!
If you’ve watched our unboxing of the Nexus 6, you’ll notice that the Nexus 9 comes in a similar plain white box, this time with a large 9 up top. Opening up the box shows you the tablet in all its glory, and underneath, you will find the microUSB cable and the AC wall charging adapter. That is all that is in the box, but this is probably not the final retail packaging though, since there was no documentation in the box, including any user guides or warranty information.
When it comes to the design, the Nexus 9 features a sleek metal frame, and a soft touch plastic back that makes it feel very solid in the hand. HTC has always been committed to great build quality and design, and that certainly comes through here.
Up front is an 8.9-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio, which isn’t something you see very often on Android devices anymore. The display is very bright and vivid, with great looking colors. In terms of specifications, this is an 8.9-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, resulting in a pixel density of 281 ppi.
Being manufactured by HTC, a signature feature makes it over to the Nexus 9, and that is the front-facing BoomSound speakers. In the short time I got to spend with it so far, I am already very impressed by the audio quality. They are loud, crisp and clear, with a lot of depth, and sound as good as you’d expect from a current HTC device.
On the back is a 8 MP camera with LED flash, and at least on paper, this is the best Nexus tablet camera we’ve seen. It sounds like it could be promising, but once again, a tablet camera is likely not going to match up to its smartphone counterparts. A more detailed look at the camera will be done in the upcoming full review.
Great design and features aside, what makes the Nexus 9 special is the fact that it is the first tablet to feature Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. This is biggest overhaul to Android since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and brings with it all the Material Design goodness that we’ve all been looking forward to. Changes are obvious even from the initial setup process. Apart from the brighter motif that you’ll see throughout the UI, you now have the option to restore settings, apps, and data from other Android devices, making the process a whole lot easier that it has ever been before. Apps, menus, and every individual design element come together wonderfully in a smooth and seamless experience. There are numerous changes made in Android 5.0, including improvements to the lockscreen and notification center.
So there you have it – a quick look at the unboxing and our first impressions about the Nexus 9! Obviously, there is a lot more to talk about with the Nexus 9, including the performance with the Tegra K1 processor, the upgraded camera, and the many features of Android 5.0 Lollipop, so stay tuned as we bring you a comprehensive review of the Google Nexus 9.