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Nexus 9 review: Time to let go

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £319
inc VAT (16GB, Wi-Fi)

Still our favourite Android tablet to date, the Nexus 9 is now something of a bargain


Processor: Dual-core 2.3GHz 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver, Screen size: 8.9in, Screen resolution: 2,048×1,536, Rear camera: 8MP, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 4G optional, Size: 153.7x8x228.3mm, Weight: 425g, Operating system: Android 5.0 

Buy the Google Nexus 9 now from eBay



The Nvidia Shield Tablet was the first device we saw with an Nvidia Tegra K1 system-on-chip, but the Nexus 9 is the first device to use the full-blooded 64-bit version of the processor. While the Nvidia Shield Tablet has four cores that operate at 2.2GHz, the Nexus 9 only has two, but these run at 2.3GHz and are based on the newer ‘Denver’ CPU. The Nexus 9 is also equipped with 2GB of RAM.

The Nexus 9 scored an outstanding 1,637 in the singlecore test of Geekbench 3 and a staggering 2,818 in the multicore test, making it one of the most powerful and fastest tablets we’ve tested so far. Likewise, its huge Peacekeeper score of 2,020 made for some incredibly slick web browsing, as pages loaded quickly and scrolling produced no stutter whatsoever. 

The Nvidia Tegra K1 is no slouch when it comes to gaming performance, either. The Tegra K1 is built around Nvidia’s Kepler GPU architecture with 192 Nvidia CUDA cores. Unsurprisingly, it blitzed through the offscreen Manhattan test in GFXBench GL, scoring a massive 1,942 frames. Unsurprisingly, this is more than enough to handle even demanding games like Blizzard’s Hearthstone and 2D games such as Threes and Alphabear run like a dream. 

Nexus 9 Best Tablets image

Battery Life

The Nexus 9’s 6,700mAh battery helped it to an impressive performance in our continuous video playback test, too. Google only rates the Nexus 9 for 9.5 hours of video playback, but with the screen set to our standard 170cd/m2 brightness, we saw 12h 31m before the battery gave out. This doesn’t quite beat what we’ve seen from Sony and Samsung’s little and large tablets, but it’s a good three hours more than either of Apple’s iPads can do. 


The Nexus 9 has a 1.6-megapixel camera on the front and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. Both lenses have an f/2.4 aperture. As far as tablet cameras go, it’s not too bad, but a fair distance away from the quality of the iPad Air 2’s sensor. In our outdoor shots, the colours the camera produced were slightly muted, and images weren’t as sharp as we would have liked. There was also noticeable noise in the shadow details and some images came out slightly under-exposed.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow

As a Google-own-brand device the Nexus 9 gets the latest version of Android first. It launched with Android 5.0 Lollipop but has been running Android 6.0 Marshmallow for some time now. That gives you all the latest features, including Doze for much-improved standby battery life and far better management of app permissions for better security.

That version of the operating system hasn’t yet seen the promised multi-window support but that will come with the Android 7.0 N release later this year. If you’re impatient then you can even update your tablet with the developer beta version now. For more details on that, including the new features and how to install it on your device see our Android N 7.0 review

It’s also worth remembering that Android devices support proper multiple user accounts, so a single tablet can be shared among two or more people, with each having their own apps, homescreens, browser favourites, email and more. It’s a great idea, although you’ll almost certainly want the 32GB version of the device if you’re planning on using it this way.


The Nexus 9 is still a brilliant tablet and one that’s yet to be replaced by Google. The screen is wonderful, the battery life is fantastic and the build quality and design are good too. There are more powerful tablets around now, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, which has a fantastic AMOLED screen as well. At £300 it’s a bit more expensive than you can pick up a reconditioned Nexus 9 but it’s still a better buy for most people. The Nexus 9 will still appeal to those wanting the latest Android updates and an operating system that’s as Google intended. Buy the Google Nexus 9 now from eBay.

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ProcessorDual-core 2.3GHz 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver
Screen size8.9in
Screen resolution2,048×1,536
Screen typeIPS
Front camera1.6MP
Rear camera8MP
Memory card slot (supplied)No
Wireless data4G optional
Operating systemAndroid 5.0
Battery size6.700mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Part codeNexus 9

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