It was a big news day for Google on Wednesday. The company introduced the official name for Android L, which is officially Android 5.0 Lollipop, a new Nexus 6 smartphone and the highly anticipated HTC-built Nexus 9 tablet.
The Nexus 9, in terms of its screen size, falls in-between the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 tablet, and delivers what appears to be a first-class hardware design that should attract Android faithful and regular consumers alike.
We’ve gone through all of the device’s specs and features and we’re here to talk about five of our favorite aspects of the Nexus 9. We can’t wait to check it out in person and, as a brief reminder, pre-orders kick off on Oct. 17 with wider in-store availability scheduled for Nov. 3. Enough chit-chat, here’s what we love.
1. NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 64-bit processor
Qualcomm has done an amazing job offering some pretty solid processors, but we’re also big fans of what NVIDIA has been doing in the space. We first tested the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor in the SHIELD Tablet, which we dubbed the best Android tablet on the market in our review, and we’re psyched that it’s making its way to the Nexus 9, too. The Kepler DX1 processor should offer an amazing gaming experience, and we already know that the K1 processor is excellent at handling Android 4.4 KitKat, so the experience should be even smoother on the optimized Android 5.0 Lollipop release. Since it’s an NVIDIA chip, we hope there’s news on some exclusive titles coming to the tablet down the road, but we don’t have any details on that front just yet.
2. HTC BoomSound Front-facing speakers
One of our favorite features on HTC’s smartphones is the BoomSound front-facing speakers. You get a full audio experience right up front without any worry about muffling the noise with your palms as you hold the tablet. Google smartly took advantage of HTC’s developments in this space and included the BoomSound speakers on the Nexus 9. That means you can expect great audio while gaming, watching YouTube videos or even if you just leave the tablet hanging out on your desk. We’ll hold out on our final reservations for just how well these sound until we go hands-on with the tablet, but we don’t think HTC is going to disappoint.
3. A Super Sharp 8.9-inch Display
Google’s Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 packed high-res screens and we’re glad to see the company didn’t skimp this time around, either. The Nexus 9 is equipped with an 8.9-inch display with a 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution. The IPS technology built-in should also make for great viewing angles, which means your friends will be able to watch a movie with you without experiencing any distortion while looking-on over your shoulder. Text should also be super crisp, particularly when surfing the Web or viewing magazines in Google Play.
4. Brushed Metal Accents
We were particularly fond of the build of the Nexus 7 last year, but it would certainly have been weird if Google tapped HTC to build a new tablet and it didn’t offer a premium design. We were certainly wishing that the Nexus 9 would have a metal body not unlike the One M8, but we can’t have everything, and we’re glad that it at least maintains some of that first-class look. You’ll find brushed metal accents running around the borders of the device, which complement what appears to be a soft plastic finish on the back. Now the tough part will be choosing between the white, sand and black color options, all of which look pretty darn attractive.
5. First Tablet With Android 5.0 Lollipop
And of course we come to the software: this is the most exciting part! It’s the first tablet with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, which means you’ll be the first on the block to sport Google’s brand new operating system. You’ll find the new Material Design language tweaks, improved notifications, increased security out of the box, performance enhancements and more but, what’s most important, to us, is that this device will receive frequent updates. You can expect new features released by Google will hit the Nexus devices first and that it should be supported with the latest software for at least the next couple of years.