Today we have two of the freshest Nexus tablets. We have the ASUS-made Google Nexus 7 and the HTC-made Nexus 9. We’re going to be putting these two tablets head to head to see which one comes out on top. Both of these tablets are running the latest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
I do want to note that if you guys watched my last video, taking a look at the Android 5.0 Lollipop running on the Nexus 7; yes I did install the Google Now Launcher so all the amazing animations I mentioned in the last video will be available here in this video so this will be a fair comparison. I just didn’t want to include the Launcher in my last video just because I wanted to show you guys what Android 5.0 Lollipop looked like without any sort of pre-installed applications or anything like that.
So I just wanted to clear that up. Let’s go ahead and put these two tablets head to head to see which one comes up on top.
So the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 9. In terms of build quality, these two tablets differ quite a bit. First of all, the Nexus 7 was made by ASUS and cost about $200, while the Nexus 9 is made by HTC and costs twice as much starting at about $400.
The Nexus 7 isn’t terribly constructed but it certainly did have the cheapest feeling device of the two. It has a plastic build with a plastic soft touch back cover. I mean it doesn’t have a slimy plastic back cover like we saw with a bunch of phones and tablets in 2012. It was made in 2013 so we have a more developed matted finish instead. It just feels alright. It’s far from premium in the hands. The back plastic cover, I’ve noticed, sort of separates from the glass from time to time, especially when popping in a case; which shouldn’t happen. That alone just doesn’t add a whole lot of value to the overall design that’s for sure.
Also the buttons on the Nexus 7 are basically on the back of the tablet, which makes it a bit awkward to hold and find the correct orientation. But overall, the build quality is okay at best for a tablet. For a budget tablet though, I would say it’s pretty good but if you compare it to an iPad or even some Samsung tablets, it’s just okay at best like I said earlier. The 16:9 aspect ratio with the 7-inch display makes it very easy to hold though with one hand so I will say that.
If we take a look at the Nexus 9 from a build quality perspective, first of all, it’s designed by HTC; which is generally a high quality manufacturer and it really shows with the Nexus 9. The sides are flat and constructed with aluminum and the back cover is plastic but it’s soft to the touch, kind of similar to the Nexus 7 but it definitely feels softer with a more premium finish, although it is more of a grease and fingerprint magnet. It will pick up every finger grease sweat I have, which is pretty gross especially if you like at your tablet at an angle. You will notice it for sure. One thing I really don’t like about the Nexus 9 is also the buttons. They’re basically flushed with the sides of the Nexus 9 so it’s really hard to press them, let alone find them. I would have loved to have them protrude and be clickier but they’re quite the opposite.
The Nexus 9 does have a 4:3 aspect ratio though instead of a 16:9 aspect ratio. And I actually don’t mind the change. It makes sense for a larger tablet like this to have an aspect ratio like that. But you won’t be able to grip it as well as the Nexus 7 since it’s so wide, your hand will basically have to stretch to hold both sides of the tablet with one hand. It’s just not going to happen that easily.
The display does vary quite a bit though. In terms of specs, the Nexus 9 has a 1536 x 2048 resolution QHD display measuring in at 8.9 inches while the Nexus 7 has a 1080p resolution HD panel measuring in at 7 inches. But you know, since screen sizes are different, they actually have a similar PPI. The Nexus 9 has a 281ppi while the Nexus 7 has a 323ppi. So actually, the Nexus 7 is quite a bit more densely packed, full of pixels. Although I will note that the Nexus 9’s display is much brighter. Colors are just much more bright and vivid on the Nexus 9. Also, the whites are a bit whiter than the Nexus 7 as well. And it’s possible that it’s due to the brighter display on the Nexus 9, which is noticeably brighter.
But in terms of performance, since both of these devices are running stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. The difference between the two is very slim. To be honest, it’s really not that noticeable when I flash the initial 5.0 Lollipop ROM on the Nexus 7, I thought it ran smoother than the Nexus 9. It just felt like it did. But I did pick up the Nexus 9 and let it run through the same tasks and everything and it really just was fast.
The Nexus 9 though is rocking a NVIDIA Tegra K1 64-bit dual-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz with 2GB of RAM. The Nexus 7, on the other hand, is rocking a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, quad-core at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM. So you think in terms of specs, the Nexus 9 will be way faster but honestly, it’s not that noticeable. I mean the bigger display does require more power to push all those pixels so it probably levels out in that regards. Basically, I wouldn’t buy the Nexus 9 if you’re looking for a big performance improvement though over the Nexus 7. It’s just really not that noticeable.
If we take a look at the cameras though, the Nexus 7 has a 5MP rear-facing camera and the Nexus 9 has an 8MP camera. But don’t take pictures with the tablet. Your smartphone is most likely going to be a much better option. The cameras on both of these are pretty bad. They’re decent at best but I’m really not even going to take a look at them. I mean, as you can see here, they’re okay and that is all that should be said about them.
Battery life is also not that great for both of these tablets. The Nexus 7 has a non-removable 3950 mAh battery that can charge fast since it’s smaller. It also powers a lower resolution display so it doesn’t need to be all that big to keep the charge going. But with that said, it is just an average performing battery.
The Nexus 9 though has a non-removable 6700 mAh battery that is also just average. It takes a long time to charge since it’s bigger and just doesn’t have any turbo charging capabilities like the Nexus 6 Android Turbo. I know that’s a Motorola thing but come on Google, why not include it in the Nexus 9? Especially since the battery life is just so-so. At least the Nexus 7 charges fast. You should be able to get through a full day of use if you use this tablet no more than about 6 or 7 hours of screen on-time. If you play a lot of graphic intensive games or really crank up the brightness, you’ll probably see around 3 or 4 hours of battery life, give or take.
So overall, here is my conclusion of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 9. If you guys already own the Nexus 7 and are looking to upgrade to the Nexus 9, just don’t. Save your money and just wait until your Nexus 7 gets upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop. The difference really isn’t that noticeable.
But if you don’t have either of these two tablets and are looking for a tablet to run the latest and greatest version of stock Android out of the box, then you know the Nexus 9 will be a great option. I mean is it the best option out there, that’s debatable. But it’s certainly the best Google tablet available and its feature proof so it’ll support all of the latest big software updates for at least the next couple of years. I’m sure.
Some of the pros of the Nexus 9 over the Nexus 7 is first of all, the build quality is awesome. It’s not the absolute best but it’s certainly better than the Nexus 7. Also the front-facing speakers which I really didn’t talk too much about are definitely a nice improvement and it’s just nice to have audio that’s facing to you instead of away from you. And the display is very vivid and it’s just nice to look at even more so than the Nexus 7’s display.
And some of the pros of the Nexus 7 over the Nexus 9 is centered mostly on the fact that it’s budget-friendly. It’s about half the cost of the Nexus 9. And also its performance is still competitive with many other Android tablets out there currently in the market. Especially now that it has Android 5.0 Lollipop.
But yeah guys, that is my comparison between the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 9. If you guys have any questions at all, be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment down below or sending me a tweet @BeauHD over on Twitter.