AnandTech reviews Google's Nexus 9 tablet

In today's open source roundup: Is the Nexus 9 worth buying? Plus: Should Google buy RadioShack's stores? And Linux Mint 17.1 might be as good as it gets

AnandTech reviews Google's Nexus 9 tablet

The Nexus 9 tablet is Google's attempt to take a stab at the high end of the tablet market. But did the company hit or miss the bull's eye with the Nexus 9? AndandTech has a very deep and detailed review that reveals the good and bad of the Nexus 9.

Joshua Ho and Ryan Smith report for AnandTech:

The Nexus 9 is undoubtedly an aspirational device. For a long time now, Google and the Android tablet market in general have been in a position similar to Amazon’s Fire tablet. This has meant that the margin on the hardware itself has been quite low, and while quality was possible to achieve there were often sacrifices made in order to reach the targeted price point. This was seen in the form of lower CPU and GPU bins in the SoC, lower quality NAND, and generally poorer displays. The Nexus 9 changes this strategy by reaching for a higher price point and attempting to deliver a no-compromise tablet in return.

...there seems to be a reasonable level of attention to detail. The camera is acceptable, even if the focus and capture latency aren’t the greatest. The audio quality from the speakers is also quite good, and really helps to enable a great experience when watching any kind of video or listening to music without earbuds/headphones. The software experience is acceptable, although Google continues to fight issues with ecosystem support for tablets.

With all of this in mind, it’s hard to give a resounding recommendation of the Nexus 9. The Nexus 9 is a step towards a high-end Android tablet, but not the leap that Google was hoping for. If one wants an Android tablet near the size of the Nexus 9, I can’t really recommend anything else. The Galaxy Tab S falls short on account of performance and battery life, and despite the somewhat unremarkable design of the Nexus 9 I believe that it is nicer than the Galaxy Tab S. However, if one were to assume that OEMs are currently readying devices to truly carry the torch of the high-end tablet, the Nexus 9 is a hard sell. I suspect that this wouldn’t be nearly as difficult if the Nexus 9 had a lower price point of 300 and 350 USD for the 16GB and 32 GB WiFi variants, and 450-500 for the 32GB LTE variant. Google has managed to get close to the mark with the Nexus 9, but like the Nexus 6 it seems that it’s up to the OEMs to cover the remaining distance.

More at AnandTech

Android Authority had a more upbeat take on the Nexus 9 back in November:

From the first moments you pick up the Nexus 9, it’s clear that you’re holding Google’s best Nexus tablet yet and a worthy contender to title of best tablet on the market. The Nexus 9 is well-built, features a beautiful screen, great speakers, decent camera, and, above all, offers an exquisite software experience.

There are some flaws that I simply can’t ignore – the occasional performance issues are inexcusable and the device heating is an inconvenience you won’t find on other devices. And battery life has been disappointing in my experience. It’s possible that Google, HTC, and Nvidia will find solutions to these problems and a future OTA will erase them, though there’s no guarantee this will happen.

With all this considered, I still feel confident to recommend the Nexus 9 as a great buy. Given all that it offers for the price, the presence of beautiful stock Android, and the guarantee of timely updates, the Nexus 9 is worth every penny.

More at Android Authority

Android Pit felt that the Nexus 9 was a bit of a letdown:

The Nexus 9 has me in two minds. It promised so much: next-gen specs, a whole new world of Android, HTC quality build quality and BoomSound speakers, but the reality is a bit of a letdown. I don't know to what degree the fault is in HTC's lap and to what degree Google are to blame, but there are some very bad decisions made with the Nexus 9.

Sure, some aspects like performance, battery life and the camera could be improved with a firmware update, as they were with the Nexus 5, but right now, the way it comes out the box is not enough for me to call this anything like the best tablet of the year, and I so wanted it to be. Even the lack of a 64 GB version really bugs me.

There are definitely high points of the Nexus 9: BoomSound is solid, the Tegra K1 is super fast and powerful, the device looks good (even if it feels a little flimsy) and stock Android 5.0 Lollipop is mostly a joy even if the tablet optimization for me feels a little weird in places. There's lots of promise here for those that can live with a few issues. Which is pretty much the Nexus mantra through and through: top shelf halfway and bargain basement the rest. I'm just not sure Google made the right choices this time around.

More at Android Pit

Should Google buy RadioShack?

RadioShack is in the headlines but not in a good way. The company is entering bankruptcy and there is much speculation about what will happen to its stores. A writer at 9to5Google speculates that RadioShack's demise might be an opportunity for Google take on Apple's retail stores.

Seth Weintraub at 9to5Google reports:

In one swift move, Google could immediately have a bigger retail presence than Apple with almost 5,000 US stores, a rejuvenated workforce (at least to start with) and a somewhat lucrative business model selling carrier Android devices and accessories.

Over the first year, Google could manage continuing losses while training up current and new staff on Google products, redesigning the stores to be more inviting, and switching product lines to become more valuable. Apple and Tesla have both proven that high tech companies can prosper in retail. Microsoft and Amazon are both making efforts to get into retail as well.

This is a perfect opportunity and fit for Google. I really hope they take it.

More at 9to5Google

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