Today we had a brief 15 minute first look at the new Nexus 9 tablet from HTC running Google’s new Android Lollipop operating system. We were not allowed to photograph it next to any other tablets or devices, so all you’re going to get is some photos of the tablet by itself and a few first impressions. Also, the device is running a preview version of the new Android operating system, so of course things are going to change on that end, but we can get a pretty good idea of what the hardware is going to be like. The new tablet was announced last week and its pricing is going to start at about $400. The Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 display, a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor (with a Kepler GPU), and an 8MP camera on the back with a 1.6MP camera on the front. There’s also 2GB of RAM, a 6700mAh battery, and 16 or 32GB of internal storage. The tablet will feature BoomSound speakers, along with brushed metal sides. Again, since we only had 15 minutes with the new tablet, we’re going to have to reserve any final judgment for after we really put the device through its paces in a full review.
The most distinct aspect of the Nexus 9 is the way the rear camera is set into the back of the tablet. The edges taper, but there’s a metal ring surrounding the camera that kind of sticks out a bit.
While the extruding camera is strange, I kind of like it because you can feel where the camera is when you’re holding the tablet. It’s a great indication of, “Hey, this is where the camera is, don’t get your finger prints on it.”
On the edges, there are two front facing speakers, which is great since your ears are probably going to be in front of the screen when you’re doing something that plays audio. Also notice some significant glare on the screen.
There’s a MicroUSB port for charging on one of the edges, which, by the way, are all metal.
The speaker at the top has a tiny sliver of plastic that comes out and over the metal edge of the tablet. This is the LED notification light. It seems like a strange location, but we imagine this design makes the light visible even if the tablet is set face down somewhere.
The high resolution 2048 x 1440 screen looks great, though it’s pretty shiny and gets fingerprints all over it pretty easily.
Speaking of fingerprints, the back of this black Nexus 9 has a soft-touch finish. We loved HTC’s soft-touch devices since they first started making them with the i-mate JAMin back in 2006. It feels great, but as you can see, it can attract a lot of the oils in your finger tips.
In terms of the software, again we had barely any time with the device and it’s an unfinished operating system that’s certainly still buggy. That being said, we did get a few of the built in apps to crash and the multi-tasking view did seem to lag a bit.
We still have some time before the new Nexus 9 is available to the public, but what do you think of it so far