Nexus 9 review roundup

BY Evan Selleck

Published 3 Nov 2014


The Nexus 9 was officially unveiled on October 15, and now the reviews are starting to trickle in. The friendly roundup will hopefully give some indicator if the Android 5.0 Lollipop-equipped tablet from HTC is a safe purchase.

The HTC-branded tablet, the nine-inch Nexus 9, is the manufacturer’s return to the Nexus brand, and it does so triumphantly with a brand new device running a clean install of Google’s newest version of their mobile platform, Android. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, plenty of new additions, tweaks and upgrades have been made, along with a new look in Material Design. How does it all stack up, though? Reviews are in:

9to5 Google

There’s no doubt that the Nexus 9 is built to perform, and because it’s running a clean install of Android 5.0 Lollipop, it has every opportunity in the world to do so. Lollipop makes this tablet a dream to use. This isn’t going to be a Lollipop review, but I’m certain that Google’s latest mobile OS is a life-changing experience for all Android devices. We’ll bring you full thoughts on Lollipop at a later date.

Thanks to its processor and GPU setup, the Nexus 9 flies through tasks like a boss. Multitasking is smooth, animations are slick, and if you’re a fan of Android, then you’ll fall in love with the software experience here. Material design is a big change for Android. Everything is animated and you get a real sense of direction when navigating through the user interface. There’s a nice flow to every transition and the tablet apps have seen a lot of optimization which is always a welcomed improvement.“

The Verge

Google has often used its Nexus line of devices to debut new processor technology for Android, and the Nexus 9’s Nvidia Tegra K1 chip is the first 64-bit chip in an Android device. The K1 has two main cores, 192 cores in its graphics chip, and is paired with 2GB of RAM. The $399 Nexus 9 also starts with 16GB of storage, while a 32GB model is available for $80 more. Neither version offers a microSD slot for further expansion, so I’d recommend splurging for the 32GB model.

With all of those bits and cores, one would expect the Nexus 9 to be extremely fast without any performance hiccups, but sadly that is not the case. Stutters and slowdowns are plentiful, apps take a long time to open and load, and some apps just crashed repeatedly. Once a game like Goat Simulator or Monument Valley does load, game play is fine, with steady framerates and no lag. It’s just a chore to get there.“


Part of that’s because of the NVIDIA chipset thrumming away inside the 9’s metal-and-plastic frame, but really, the Android team deserves a lot of credit for crafting an experience that feels damned near seamless. You’ll probably notice that bump in speed and responsiveness most when you’re swiping through multiple home screens and sifting through all your open apps; the latter feels outrageously quick, without a hint of lag on my test unit. Even better, app previews show up nearly instantaneously once the simulated inertia starts to slow down those app cards in motion. Speaking of apps, they launch quickly and run with fewer hiccups than on other similarly specced devices, though those rocket starts tend to slow down a touch when you’ve got loads of apps going at the same time. C’est la vie.


The Google and HTC tablet collaboration is a fast performer with a few kinks. Its cutting-edge Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver chip is a charging bull, ready to smash through any task. As the first 64-bit chip bolstered by a 64-bit OS, its CPU performance is on par with the fastest and most powerful chips out there.

Navigating the OS is swift and switching between apps is so quick it’s almost eerie. Performance also remains impressively smooth when many apps are open in the background. At one point I had over 20 apps running and I was still able to play large games without a hitch.“

As is usually par for the course, reviews tend to offer a wide look at a device as a whole, even when focused on one aspect. After catching these snippets, do you plan on picking up the Nexus 9?