HTC Nexus 9 in 2016: Full review of this outstanding Android tablet

Before I write the review about the HTC Nexus 9, I would like to give you some details on my "tablet" experiences. Believe it or not, my first tablet was the Motorola Xoom. It was powered by one of the worst Android versions: Android Honeycomb 3.0. Then I moved to webOS with the Touchpad, iOS with iPad, Blackberry Playbook and a long list of Android tablets (Galaxy Tab, Amazon Fire, Lenovo K1…..). To be honest like many of you, I became very tired and uninspired by tablets. I have been tempted by the iPad Air 2 but I don’t like iOS. One of the main reasons why I have been without tablets for almost a year is due to my Chromebook (that I adore!). Next week I will write a post about my 2 years with a Chromebook and hopefully it will convince you to adopt the amazing Chrome OS.

Last month I found a very good deal on the Nexus 9 32gb and decided to give it a try. Guess what? I don’t regret it! The Nexus 9 with Android 6 Marshmallow is an amazing tablet, and here is what I think about it. This is my full review of the HTC Nexus 9.

The look: sleek & minimalistic

I feel sorry for the Nexus 9 because this is a really underrated tablet. This is probably due to some early “dodgy” units sent by HTC and Google to be reviewed. I read about some serious issues with the build quality of some tablets, however my Nexus 9 is perfect, sturdy, and there is no build quality issues at all. In fact I think this is one of the most beautiful tablets produced recently. I think HTC failed their quality control with the first batch! 

The combination of glass, metal and plastic is a winner to me. I have the white/grey model and it feels and looks very classy and sleek. The way the front speakers are designed is also a very nice touch. I don’t have any issues (as reported by some early reviewers) with the back of the tablet. It is a thin and light tablet with a very nice screen ratio. The only issue is the power button and volume rocker. HTC what were you thinking? It is very difficult to find them and they feel cheap. That’s a serious mistake, but it's not a deal breaker. 

Look: 9/10


Display:Beautiful IPS LCD display

The Nexus 9 has a beautiful HD display with an excellent 281 ppi. This is not an Amoled display so don’t expect colour saturation a la Samsung. Instead HTC has gone for an IPS-LCD display. It is a very nice screen with an excellent colour reproduction and very good viewing angles. I really like it and I have no negative points whatsoever. 

Display: 10/10

Speakers: Stereo sound as it should be

I watch a lot of Netflix, Hulu and Youtube on my Nexus 9. I really appreciate what HTC and Google have done with the speakers. The tablet has two nicely designed and discreet stereo speakers featuring the HTC Boomsound technology. Sound is great, it could be a little bit more powerful but they are really good (compared to a lot of other tablets on the market). When I get ready for work in the morning I have the Nexus 9 on (listening to Google Play Music) and I don’t need any bluetooth speakers on in my bedroom. Great job HTC.

Speakers: 9/10 (could be a bit louder).

The Nexus 9 is an excellent media consumption device. Great Stereo sound is a bonus

The Nexus 9 is an excellent media consumption device. Great Stereo sound is a bonus

Camera: Not bad, not's a tablet at the end of the day!

My smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy S6 which means I am blessed with an outstanding camera. I don’t normally take pictures with a tablet but I tested it for this review. The result is just average. It's ok if you have good outdoor conditions (sunny and on a bright day). However, indoor pictures are not that great. The video quality is much better and I can see myself using the Nexus 9 as an occasional video camera. My main problem is the Google camera app as it's really basic and so I much prefer the Samsung camera app on the S6.

Camera: 6/10

Battery life: Better than my Galaxy S6 but could last longer

When you own a Samsung Galaxy S6, anything can be an improvement on the battery department! Samsung..what have you done? Saying that, the Nexus 9 has a good battery but nothing really great like the iPad or my Chromebook. I would say it is between average and good. In the beginning I used to charge it every evening or sometimes twice a day. Now that I am back to work, I don’t spend so many hours on the Nexus 9. At the moment I charge it every 2 days. I would say that the battery is OK but nothing great. If you are a heavy user, you will be disappointed. For what I am doing with the Nexus 9 (a few hours usage every afternoon/evening) the battery is perfectly fine, but far from outstanding!

Battery: 7/10


Android 6 Marshmallow: the best Android so far

It is very interesting to see how iOS has gone from clear/polished and user friendly to messy, a bit buggy and not too user friendly anymore. During the same period of time, I have seen Android improving the user experience and design of the UI. With the Nexus 9 you get pure Android and not all the skin nonsense from Samsung-Sony-HTC etc…. 

So far I am really impressed by Android 6 (Marshmallow). In my opinion this is the best Android edition. It is clean, polished, user friendly and it is very rare to experience any lags or bugs on the Nexus 9. This is a joy to use. The only problem with Android on a tablet, is that Google Play hasn't got the amazing tablet apps choice that Apple has with the iPad. And it is still very difficult to search for tablet optimised apps on the Play Store. This is a shame and I think that Google hasn’t done a lot since the days of Android 3.0 Honeycomb.  Instagram is still not tablet optimised! Come on...this shouldn’t happen in 2016. But there is an improvement. Google apps look amazing on the Nexus 9, and there are more and more tablet apps available..the only problem is they are hard to find on the Play Store.

With Android 6 Marshmallow, my Nexus 9 is really fast, lag free and a joy to use. I am really impressed by the hard work of Google. Without a doubt this is the best tablet I have ever owned (I still miss webOS though!). 

Android 6: 9.5/10

Final thoughts

I feel sorry for Google and HTC because the first reviews were not that amazing (essentially due to some production issues and Lollipop Android bugs). With Android 6 Marshmallow, the Nexus 9 is like a new tablet with powerful performances. I am so pleased with it that I recommend it to anyone. There are still stocks available on Amazon, Argos and Ebay. You can get the 32GB for less than £280 and trust me - this is a bargain. Android is now a more mature OS for tablets and if your phone is Android, the Nexus 9 will make the perfect companion. Personally I value the way everything works together with my Chromebook, my Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Nexus 9. If you have a lot of £££ you might be tempted by the new Pixel C tablet by Google, but trust me for much less £ or $ you can get a great, fast and amazing Android tablet: The Nexus 9.

Recommended: YES & YES

I am now looking for the official keyboard case for the Nexus but it seems it is difficult to find one in the UK! As soon as I can buy one I will write a full review about it.

I hope you have enjoyed my review about the Nexus 9 in 2016 with Android 6 Marshmallow. As always I welcome all your comments and feel free to Like and Share (it helps a lot!). 

The Nexus 9 is available on Amazon UK:

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