Two of the most anticipated, and later acclaimed tablets of the year are the Nvidia Shield Tablet and the HTC Nexus 9. While other tablets like the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 have also been recently released, people outside the Apple ecosystem tend to gravitate towards these two powerful tablets. While the Nvidia Shield Tablet is the successor of the Shield Portable, and as such it is intended for intensive gaming, the Nexus 9 encompasses gaming and an entertainment center in one neat slate.
When it comes to buying a new tablet, or upgrading from an older model, you should definitely check out these two options, because they are included in most buyer’s guides among the top tablets of the year. Even though both have prices a little on the hefty side, both are excellent examples of how hardware and software can be combined to provide an excellent multimedia experience for the user.
The Nexus 9 is the more recent iteration of an Android tablet and the first pro we need to mention is that it comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. Android 5.0 Lollipop is the latest mobile operating system from Google, with 64 bit support, Material Design and a ton of new features users can enjoy. The Nexus 9 is the more expensive tablet compared to the Nvidia Shield Tablet, but both offer great bang for buck if we check out their spec sheets and some user reviews. The Nvidia Shield Tablet is aimed at gamers and can be a substitute for Steam machines. The drawback of the Shield Tablet is that it is a bit on the hefty side compared to the Shield Portable and it has a bulky controller.
The Nexus 9 is appreciated, aside from Android 5.0 Lollipop, because of its ideal aspect ratio (4:3), knock to wake and HTC BoomSound speakers, which are among the best speakers for smartphones and tablets you can find. At the same time, we didn’t expect the Nexus 9 price to be so high, the design could have been better, the display quality could have been better and we honestly thought we would see a microSD card slot somewhere, since it is a Google tablet. Let’s get to the specs and features of each these slates to see how they size up next to each other.
HTC Nexus 9 specs, price and features
CPU – dual core, NVIDIA Tegra K1, 2.3 GHz, 64 bit
GPU – Kepler DX1
DISPLAY – 8.9 inch IPS LCD, 1536*2048, 288 ppi pixel density
MEMORY – 2 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, no microSD card slot available
BATTERY – 6700 mAh
CAMERA – 8 MP rear camera with LED flash, autofocus, 1.6 MP front camera
VIDEO – 1080p HD
BODY – 228.25 x 153.68 x 7.95 mm
WEIGHT – 436 g
WIRELESS – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
PRICE – $450
FEATURES – Light sensor, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, BoomSound stereo speakers, magnetic keyboard attachment
OS – Android 5.0 Lollipop
Nvidia Shield Tablet specs, price and features
CPU – quad core, NVIDIA Tegra K1, 2.2 GHz
GPU – GK20A
DISPLAY – 8 inch, IPS LCD, 1200*1920, 283 ppi pixel density
MEMORY – 2 GB RAM, 16/32 GB ROM, microSD card slot available
BATTERY – ~5300 mAh
CAMERA – 5 MP rear camera with autofocus and HDR, 5 MP front camera
VIDEO – 4K Ultra-HD ready
BODY – 223.5 x 127 x 9.1 mm
WEIGHT – 390 g
WIRELESS – 802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
PRICE – $300 for the 16 GB version, $400 for the 32 GB version
FEATURES – Light sensor, Bluetooth 4.0, mini-HDMI out, LTE, microSIM, front facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone, GPS, Nvidia GameStream, Nvidia ShadowPlay, Grid Cloud Gaming, Console Mode, Gamepad Mapper, DirectStylus 2 with 3D Paint,
OS – Android 4.4 KitKat, upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop
Overall, both the Nexus 9 and Nvidia Shield Tablet are worthy of each other and offer good bang for buck, if you think about it. The main pro for the Nexus 9 is the 64 bit configuration tailored for Android 5.0 Lollipop. Otherwise, Google and HTC could have worked more on the display quality and the design of the product, which could have been easily improved. On the other hand, the Nvidia Shield Tablet is clearly made for the gaming crowd. While the Nexus 9 does get better scores on performance, we are curious to see how that will work out for the Nvidia Shield Tablet once it gets the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. All in all, when it comes to bang for buck, the Nvidia Shield Tablet is more appealing because it is cheaper and offers a flawless performance, an acceptable display and a pretty ergonomic design.
The Nexus 9 is a powerhouse nonetheless, and if you want something that is the high-point of Google and HTC, and can be called a future-proof device, the slate shouldn’t disappoint you. The Nexus 9 is one of the best tablets on the market, but is hasn’t become the best yet. Many say that the iPad Air 2 is a better option than the Nexus 9 and Nvidia Shield Tablet, but we suppose that depends on user preference rather than tablet specifications. In any case, I would choose the Nvidia Shield Tablet because it has a microSD card slot. I would choose the Nexus 9 for the bigger screen and better resolution, as well as for the heftier battery. Which is your dream-tablet?