While not available for ordering till the 17th, Google decided to announce its new Nexus 9 tablet prior to Apple’s big event tomorrow. At first glace, the device looks to be very similar to what Apple launched last year with its iPad Air but of course their are some differences between the two that give the Nexus the edge but that could change dramatically once Apple announces their new version of the iPad. So what exactly does hits new 9-inch tablet offer?
The Specs vs. Apple iPad Air
So here is a quick rundown of the specs for the Google Nexus 9 as posted and the first generation Apple iPad Air:
|Nexus 9||iPad Air|
|Processor||NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.3GHz Dual Core)||Apple A7 (1.4GHz Dual Core)|
|Display||8.9″ 2048×1536||9.7″ 2048×1536|
|Front Camera||1.6 MP||1.2MP|
|Rear Camera||8MP + LED Flash||5MP|
|Network||802.11ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1||802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Esimated Battery Life (video)||9.5 hours||12 hours|
|Dimensions||9″ x 6.05″ x .31″||9.4″ x 6.6″ x .29″|
|Weight||.94 lbs||1 lbs|
Based on the information provided, the Nexus 9 is smaller thanks to the 8.9-inch rather than 9.7-inch displays. It is also a bit lighter than the iPad Air but by an amount that most people would not notice. The reverse is true of the thickness with the Air just a hair width thinner than the Nexus 9.
In terms of performance, the Nexus 9 will likely have the advantage because of the higher clock speed of almost a full gigahertz faster than the Air. Apple did have the advantage of the 64-bit processing but the Tegra K1 brings this on par. The Nexus also features twice the memory would should help it out in performance as well.
The Nexus 9 also gets a bump in a number of different areas as well. For instance, it has higher resolution front and rear cameras. The problem is that the quality of the images taken from them could negate any benefits of the higher pixel count for the sensors. At least the Nexus 9 offers and LED flash for its rear camera. In terms of networking, the Nexus 9 includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and NFC both of which are missing on the current iPad Air but will likely be added to any refresh.
The one area that the Air has a distinct advantage is in battery life. The larger size allows for a higher capacity battery pack and the lower clock speed processor likely uses less overall power. The result is roughly three more hours of running time on the Air compared to the projections for the Nexus 9. Still, many people have more than enough running time at over eight hours.
Pricing was not officially posted with the announcement of the Google Nexus 9. Projected costs are that the 16GB version will start at $400 when it is available for order online on the 17th and in stores in early November. This is $99 cheaper than the current iPad Air but it is hard to say what prices for the original iPad Air will be once they announce the next iPad tomorrow. In addition, we don’t know the pricing for higher capacity models or the LTE versions which will not be released till some time next year.