Nexus 9 Hands-on: Front Facing Speakers and Video Playback

It’s finally here. Google’s brand new HTC Nexus 9 tablet was released this morning on the Google Play Store, Best Buy, and is coming soon to many more retailers around the globe and in the United States. However, many buyers are still on the fence, so below is a quick video showing off a few things many buyers are curious about.

Last week we posted our first hands-on and initial impressions, liked to below, but many buyers wanted to hear the new front facing speakers, see how video plays on the new 4:3 aspect ratio and 8.9-inch screen, and more, so we’ve done all that for you.


Read: Nexus 9 Hands-on & First Impressions

Google’s new tablet has a lot to offer, and it’s finally available starting today for $399. If you’re still debating whether this is your next tablet, check out our video and a few more details after the break.



Earlier this month, Google posted a quick blog post and announced the all-new Nexus 6 smartphone, the Nexus 9 tablet, a Nexus Player and the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop software update. All the reports and rumors that were floating around for months were put to rest, and now we have our hands all over it.


We’ve seen plenty about the new Nexus 9 already. From a few quick hands-on videos, tons of photos, and a few short videos. However, it was our YouTube Channel commenters that wanted to hear the speakers, see video playing in 1080p, and a few other things. While this won’t all come across and give you a first-hand experience too well on video, below is exactly that, as requested.

The Nexus 9 has a beautiful 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 Full HD display, and it looks wonderful. Colors are excellent, brightness is extremely good, and text is crisp. Blacks are inky black, and the viewing angles are quite excellent, even if there’s a decent amount of screen glare. Below is a video showing off the display, and those speakers.

HTC makes the Nexus 9, and most likely the same stunning front-facing speakers from the popular HTC One M8 smartphone are in the Nexus 9, but we can’t be sure. What we do know is they’re better than almost (almost) any tablet we’ve ever used, sound great, and front facing speakers just make sense.


Samsung did this in 2011 or so with a few tablets, but for some crazy odd reason abandoned the idea. We have a feeling most new Android tablets in 2014 will have front facing speakers. The bass is decent given the little space to work with, audio fidelity isn’t amazing, no, but it’s good. The mid-range isn’t the best, but what mobile device is? The Nexus 9 has the best speakers of any Nexus tablet to date, and is one of the best all-around tablet speakers on the market.

I’m very close to the camera in the video, so obviously my voice is loud and clear, but users will have no complaints about the front facing speakers that come equipped on the HTC Nexus 9.


Then of course we tested some videos. The Nexus 9 is a change from all Android tablets, and uses an Apple-like 4:3 aspect ratio where the device is wider, and not quite as long. Rather than the 16:9 we’re used to. Personally I love the change, but on video you’ll get black bars top and bottom. It isn’t a huge issue, but does waste some of that 8.9-inch screen.

Movies in 1080p on YouTube are excellent looking, especially at 75% or higher brightness, and video playback from Google Play Movies are good too. I love the experience so far, and this will be my couch and travel companion for years to come. The screen is bright. Lets just cut all the arguments right now. The video doesn’t do it justice, and you’ll have no complaints about the screen. A tablet with poor brightness is the LG G Pad 8.3 as it doesn’t get too bright. This isn’t a problem with Google’s Nexus 9.


We received final Android 5.0 Lollipop software for the Nexus 9 late last night, far too late to actually put it through the paces, test battery life, and give users a full review. That being said, this is still an excellent tablet from our initial impressions, could be priced a bit lower in my honest opinion, but expect more details in a full Gotta Be Mobile review coming up soon.