I pre ordered my HTC 8.9 inch Nexus 9 Tablet from the Google PlayStore and feel its about time to share my thoughts on it, both good and bad and mention my experiences and workarounds. I had been watching the Nexus 9 with bated breath ever since it was announced that HTC might be manufacturing it. Call me a fan boy perhaps but after owning an HTC One S since its release and not feeling the need to upgrade as it still out performs my family’s newer handsets, I feel speaks volumes about the quality of their products.
(64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB Memory, Wi-Fi, Android v5.0)
I should also mention that my only prior tablet was the original iPad which had been crashing for many months – that and my growing dislike of Apple and their bi-yearly “upgrades” made the switch to android so much easier.
I will also like to mention that this is my second Nexus 9 – the first had to be returned for a replacement due to a software bug – something I took a valuable lesson from and will advise it for anyone thinking of purchasing ANY android product, not just the Nexus 9.
This is to make sure, before anything else – enable the developer mode and allow USB debugging and OEM unlocking – and then leave it alone! (Google search how to do this, varies on product)
The reason for this is that should anything happen software wise and you need to fix it with re-flashing the OS (which will not void warranty btw, as long as you use Google’s official ones) – you will be unable to do so without having first enabled these 2 options. Like me, you will be stuck up **** creek without a paddle and own a £300~ paperweight.
Thankfully Google’s warranty was very simple and even sent me the replacement before returning the old one so I was not left without.
Final niggle is something the Nexus 9 cannot help – but the fact Amazon are dragging their heals to get a working Prime video app released – there are reports of workarounds using the Dolphin browser and flash but so far, I have been unable to get it to load. So for now, you will have to put up with Netflix or Googleplay videos.
Ok thats the negative points – onto the good ones!
The screen size for me is the best thing – its not as big as an iPad, but it does retain the 4:3 ratio which I like – I could never get on with the smaller 8″ tablets with their unnaturally narrow 16:9 profile. Many will argue that if you want to watch films that the 4:3 is no good but I have found that unless you are watching modern widescreen productions, it doesn’t make any difference. Older shows such as X-files for example, are filmed in 4:3 so fit perfectly. Really depends what you are wanting to watch. For web browsing and general use, I find the 4:3 much nicer to work with – it also doesn’t look awkward if help in portrait mode.
Quality wise the screen is very vibrant and does not disappoint – I even have to lower the brightness.
I love the simplistic “tap to wake” function – you do not even need to press a button to reactivate the screen. Even better, if like me you have a flip style case, it awakes when opened and senses light. Nothing ground breaking, just pure simple ease of use.
Sound is very impressive but that is something HTC is well known for. With front facing dual speakers, you will never be short of volume, although bass enthusiasts should not get their hopes up, this is still a tablet after all. A minor niggle is that the feel of the volume rocker is not brilliant, but rather a bit stiff.
Battery is a mixed bag but overall the positives out weigh the negatives – I highly recommend a battery monitoring app such as Gsam to keep an eye on usage, For example, I found out that Chrome is a battery drinker compared to other full screen applications such as Netflix.
Duration time is easily a full day of heavy use – I always charge overnight and rarely do I see it fall below 40%. Lollipop also features a battery saver mode which I do not feel the need to use much, but its their should you want it.
Performance is very smooth and will not keep you waiting although I have found some screen tinting apps such as Twilight seem to negatively effect its fluidity when scrolling pages. If you want even further performance boosts, this being the beauty of android and its more open infrastructure, you can decrease the Animation scale settings in the developer options to make page loading and scrolling seem even smoother.
OS is the biggest talking point and I am very happy with it – its clean, simple yet snappy in design. I love Google’s ease of use when syncing accounts, the chrome auto fill function saves time tapping out details such as email, name and address etc and the creepily accurate “OK Google” voice function. It comes bundled with just about all the office tools you will need having Google’s version of word and excel as well as a very handy to do list and Google drive backup.
Being open source, you can also visit forums such as XDA to get very useful workarounds such as getting adobe flash – no more “you do not have flash installed” errors!
Storage – up until a few days ago this would have been a negative as its widely know that it does NOT contain an SD card slot which really let it down in the reviews. I have the 16gb version which features about 11gb of usable storage – more than enough for simple day to day use but lacking if you want to store videos on it for example.
However, you CAN upgrade its storage after all – just not with an SD card!
Below is a very simple explanation of how – you can use a micro USB flash drive such as the SanDisk Ultra 64 GB Dual USB Drive (SDDD-064G-G46) which worked for me straight out of the box. This slots into your charger socket and voilà, you now have additional storage! This great for keeping photos and videos on like I have. You will also need to purchase a £2~ app called “Nexus Media Importer” from the PlayStore to make it work. Now the sky is the limit to how much storage you can have.
Overall I love this tablet, its clean fast and satisfying. Being Google’s own, it hasn’t got “bloatware” embedded and just feels right. I also like the fact knowing I will not have to upgrade in a year or two just to get some apps to work. If you want a 9″ tablet with 4:3 ratio or just want a break from Apple and want a pure Android experience, look no further.
We ave the HTC 8.9 inch Nexus 9 Tablet