Rumors have been flying over the last couple months about Google’s latest tablet, but the company has finally unveiled the Nexus 9, which is an 8.9-inch tablet running Google’s latest Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The Nexus 9 is the successor to the mediocre Nexus 10, which didn’t gain the popularity of the infamous Nexus 7. Nonetheless, Google thinks it can bounce back and offer a better tablet this time around that will cater to users who want a larger screen than what the Nexus 7 offers.
On top of the 8.9-inch IPS display with a 2048×1536 resolution, the Nexus 9 sports a 64-bit 2.3 GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 processor with 2GB of RAM and storage options of either 16GB or 32GB.
The device also sports the usual rear-facing camera at 8 megapixels with a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera.
Other features include 802.11ac wireless, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound, and a 9.5-hour battery life.
This all sounds pretty good for a tablet, but how does the Nexus 9 compare to the iPad mini with Retina display? Here are some key details that you’ll want to know if you’re deciding between the two.
As mentioned, the Nexus 9 sports a 2.3GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 64-bit processor, while the iPad mini with Retina display has a 1.3GHz Apple A7 64-bit processor.
One thing to be aware of is that processor speed isn’t everything. In fact, it’s pretty much meaningless when it comes to smartphones and tablets. With that said, we’ll have to wait for benchmarks to come out, as well as testing the performance between the two devices ourselves.
The Nexus 9 also sports twice the RAM as the iPad mini with Retina display, with 2GB compared to the iPad mini’s 1GB. Again, RAM isn’t everything, and it mostly comes down to how the mobile operating systems utilize that RAM the best, for which we’ll have to wait for performance comparisons in the near future.
The Nexus 9 sports a slightly larger display than the iPad mini with Retina display. The Nexus 9’s 8.9-inch screen is just an inch larger than the iPad mini’s 7.9-inch display. However, both devices sport a 2048×1536 resolution.
This means that the iPad mini ultimately wins out when it comes to pixel density, sporting a 324 pixel-per-inch ratio, while the Nexus 9 is stuck at 287 pixels per inch.
As for clarity and display quality between the two devices, this is something we’ll have to wait on as well. Both displays most likely have slightly different color reproduction, meaning that there will be a lot to compare when we get the two devices side-by-side.
The Nexus 9 sports an 8-megapixel rear camera, while the iPad mini with Retina display has only a 5-megapixel camera.
Cameras on tablets have never been a huge priority for gadget makers, but the Nexus 9’s camera could be changing that. However, megapixels aren’t everything, and we’ll have to wait for camera comparisons between the two tablets to really know for sure which device sports the better camera, but it could turn out that iPad mini may have a true competitor.
The Nexus 9 will start at $399 for the 16GB version, while the 32GB model will cost $479 — just $80 more for double the storage, which is cheaper than the 32GB upgrade tier for the iPad mini, which costs $100 more.
As for the LTE-enabled Nexus 9, the 32GB version will cost $599, compared to Apple’s $629 for the 32GB iPad mini with Retina display equipped with LTE.
The WiFi + cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display start at $529 for the 16GB model, but it doesn’t look like Google will offer a 16GB LTE-equipped Nexus 9.
Lastly, battery life is another feature that’s extremely important to prospective tablet buyers. The Nexus 9 claims a battery life of 9.5 hours, while the iPad mini with Retina display sports a battery life of “up to 10 hours.”
It looks pretty close in this department, but again, we’ll have to wait and see as far as what tablet will last longer. There will no doubt be plenty of battery tests done on the Nexus 9, so we’ll just have to sit back and wait.