Yesterday Google introduced us to the HTC madeNexus 9, a 9-inch Android-powered tablet with an aspect ratio that’s no longer for watching movies, and is more in line with productivity and getting work done. Today, Apple officially announced theiPad Air 2, and it became clear why Google went with a non-letterbox resolution screen.
Apple’s new iPad Air 2 has a 9.7-inch display with a resolution of 2048×1536 and 264 pixels per inch.
The Nexus 9′s display is a little smaller at 8.9-inches but with the same resolution, Google’s tablet bumps the clarity up to 276 ppi. While some may complain about the 0.8-inch difference, the screen on the Nexus 9 is going to look crisper and clearer than the screen on the iPad thanks to the higher pixel density.
Both tablets run 64-bit CPUs with operating systems designed to take advantage of the extra horsepower. Apple is touting “2.5x faster graphics”, but with a 192-core Kepler GPU powering the graphics in the Nexus 9, I can’t see how the iPad can even compete.
The Nexus 9 will come in three different versions:
- 16GB WiFi: $399
- 32GB WiFi: $479
- 32GB LTE: $599
The iPad Air 2 will come in six versions:
- 16GB WiFi: $499 (a $100 premium over the Nexus 9)
- 64GB WiFi: $599 ($120 more than the Nexus 9, but double the storage)
- 128GB WiFi: $699
- 16GB LTE: $629 ($30 more than the Nexus 9, but half the storage)
- 64GB LTE: $729
- 128GB LTE: $829
While the Nexus 9 is clearly the better buy, the most important thing to consider is the philosophy. Apple believes that you should only run the apps and services it deems appropriate. Google, on the other hand, lets users sideload applications from any source, and there are multiple app stores that can be used to purchase and update apps should you want to break free from the Google ecosystem, something Apple doesn’t let you do.
A new user, when faced with the facts, should have absolutely no problem picking the Nexus 9 over the iPad Air 2. However, everyone who already owns an iPad or an iPhone has already gotten used to how iOS works, and have probably already purchased books, music, movies, and apps through iTunes – none of which would transfer over to the Android-powered device (though the reverse is true is as well).
Nexus 9 versus iPad Air 2
When looking at power and hardware, the Nexus 9 is it, but Apple has always been able to sell its products (and the image that accompanies them) for a premium.
If that Apple logo is worth an extra hundred dollars, have at. If you’d rather have freedom, flexibility, and use that extra C-Note for something else (several dozen MP3s, a few dozen eBooks, a dozen movies, or a hundred premium apps, the Nexus 9 is the tablet for you.