I snagged a Nexus 9 over the Black Friday weekend for my wife in white to complement my sand model (so we can tell them apart). Look at the photo; if that’s white, there is […]
HTC is just killing me. Last week, I bought a new Nexus 9 tablet from Amazon, thinking: “What a deal!” But every Tuesday, the device manufacturer boasts big 24-hour sale. “What a steal” is my […]
My May, lukewarm assessment begins: “t want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship”. I didn’t see value for the cost, particularly comparing performance to other tabs similarly priced. On Oct. 29, 2015, Amazon delivered a new N9, and the user experience dramatically differs from the previous device—so much I must revise my review.
Days earlier, I parted with iPad Air 2 LTE. The family hopes to change cellular carriers, and there was opportunity to amicably relinquish my payment responsibility to Verizon. I would love to replace the Apple with Google Pixel C, but the tab’s forthcoming release date is uncertain. I reconsidered Nexus 9 and found the 32GB white model available from Amazon for $130 less than list price. I ordered, knowing that the device could be returned for refund if Pixel C imminently released or if N9 dissatisfied again. Lower price made buying and trying again an easy decision.
I want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship. N9 is not a bad tablet; others offer better value and performance for the price (or less), with Apple iPad mini being high among them. That said, if pure (aka stock) Android is your thing, there is no worthy alternative. Just prepare for a few compromises, particularly if moving up from Nexus 7.
In his November 2014 review, my BetaNews colleague Brian Fagioli calls Nexus 9 “magical“. I can’t agree. During my four months using the tablet, response occasionally hesitates and WiFi too often disconnects. Last week, my N9 received the newest Android update, which somewhat resolves both problems. I purposely delayed this review, waiting for v5.1.1.
As a working journalist, I am conflicted about Google. In my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, I call the company a “leech that feeds off the intellectual property of legitimate content producers” and rail on the Google free economy’s negative impact on the Fourth Estate. That said, I am a huge consumer of the company’s products and services, which enable me to better do my job and that empower my life.
Something else: A decade ago (yes, 2005), I identified “Search as the New User Interface“—and it has proved to be for a generation of computer users. The UI, particularly from Google, helps to democratize content, and so doing empowers (there’s that “e” word again) everyone. But search also encourages content piracy. Philosophically, I strongly believe in information for all. Economically, I want to earn a living from writing, which is much more difficult in 2015 than 2005.
Compressed audio gives up so much, I am surprised by the fidelity Nexus 6 gives back. Shocked is better word. I ordered the smartphone from T-Mobile on January 21 and received it the following day. As I will explain in my forthcoming review—tentatively planned as an “I love you” post on BetaNews (and here), Nexus 6 is amazing. I haven’t enjoyed using a handset this much in years. The overall user experience is spectacular.
My audio expectations were modest, when first connecting my Grado Labs Rs1e headphones and streaming from Google Music. Soundstage and detail exceed streaming from iTunes to iPhone 6, or—I do not lie—listening to music stored on MacBook Pro SSD. The differences in detail are shockingly apparent. On all three devices, graphic equalizer is not enabled.
Yesterday afternoon, I received Google’s newest Android tablet, which HTC manufactures, for review. The companies unveiled Nexus 9 in mid-October 2014, and sales started as Americans prepared to vote in November’s mid-term elections. So I am late in the reviews cycle. My eventual write-up will post to BetaNews, and also here—keeping with my sentiment that writers should own/control their content.
What follows is my thinking out loud, as I begin to process Nexus 9’s benefits and detriments. Some of my opinions will likely change during the reviews process. For anyone who cares about photos: I shot the tablet with the Fujifilm X100T. The pic is from the JPEG, with slight adjustment to the temperature. Okay, let’s get to first-impressions.