The 9 best features of Google's new Nexus 9 tablet

nexus9 iggy
Credit: Google

You might have thought that with the Nexus 10 collecting dust on the shelf and the second-generation Nexus 7 running out of stock on the Play Store, Google was done with tablets. Not so! The company announced the HTC-manufactured Nexus 9 today, and it is just full of good stuff. Here are the nine most exciting features we’re looking forward to experiencing with the new tablet.

It’s the right screen size

nexus9 whoo

Girl, look at that screen. Or a rendered mockup of it, anyway.

The Nexus 9’s 8.9-inch, 2K display is just the right size for a tablet—it’s not too big and it’s not too small. And think about it: If you’re going to buy a tablet, you might as well get something that’s substantially bigger than the phone you carry around with you every day, but is more compact than your laptop.

It has a better aspect ratio

Speaking of screen sizes, the Nexus 9’s 4:3 aspect ratio will make websites and ebooks easier to read than on other similar sized tablets. The 16:9 aspect ratio is better for smaller tablets, which the Nexus 9 is clearly not. It also makes iPad apps easier to translate to Android, as Apple has always stuck to the 4:3 screen dimensions on its tablets.

It has stereo sound

If you’re going to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus on your tablet—I like to use mine to catch up on Scandal every weekend—then you need to have speakers that can accommodate that experience. Thankfully, HTC brought over the fantastic stereo sound from its HTC One (M8) to the Nexus 9. Hopefully this will inspire other manufacturers to do the same from here on out.

It has a wicked fast 64-bit processor

The processor inside the Nexus 9—the 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1—is an updated version of the one that’s in the Nvidia Shield Tablet. That device had four 32-bit cores (plus one low-power core), but Nvidia’s new dual-core 64-bit CPU is supposed to be even faster. It has the same graphics processor, which is blazing fast. Its inclusion means that Google wants developers to make apps that leverage that processing power. Pretty soon, your Android-based tablet will be as powerful as a laptop that’s just a couple years old—you’ll be able to run games that look like they belong on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

It has a keyboard cover

nexus9 keyboard

The keyboard is sold separately, but it will hopefully inspire more users to do business with an Android tablet.

This is taking a page from Microsoft’s Surface, but it’s a good idea to get the business-centric Android consumers on board. The keyboard cover is magnetically attached and turns on the device when you flip it open. It’ll make it easier for you to type out long emails or organize your life, and it’ll hopefully encourage more developers to make business-minded, tablet-specific apps for the Android platform—something it’s severely lacking at the moment.

It has superfast Wi-Fi

Internet speeds in the U.S. often lag behind those of other advanced countries, but at least your local network connection can be lightning-fast. The 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO antenna embedded inside the Nexus 9 will help enable faster Wi-Fi speeds, so those big downloads and file transfers won’t take so long. And you should be able to wander farther from your hotspot while maintaining a good connection.

It has some of HTC’s neat features

In addition to HTC’s BoomSound speakers, the Nexus 9 will also have the “double tap to wake” ability, which is one of the more helpful interface features of the One (M8). You won’t have to reach up to the power button—you just double-tap to turn on the screen.

It’s lighter and smaller than the iPad Air

...for now. Thursday’s Apple event could introduce a tablet device that is lighter than the one it offers now. Either way, it’ll be reasonably light among big-screen Android tablets, which will also hopefully inspire other manufacturers to follow suit.

It will be available soon

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Available soon!

Unlike the Nexus 6 phone, which we won’t be able to buy until later this month, the Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order in the Google Play store beginning October 17, and will show up in stores on November 3.

 
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