Announced roughly 24 hours apart, the new iPad Air and Nexus 9 tablet are both seriously powerful. Apple’s new-for-2014 iPad Air offers lots of new features, while the slender Nexus 9 from Google offers a great blend of performance and price. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your business, or a loved one, it’s important to understand how these two powerhouse tablets differ. Here’s a guide to help you decide which of these two new tablets is best for your needs.
1. Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air: Price
The Nexus 9 starts at $399. The price will increase if you want extra storage or connectivity options. The base model is a 16GB model, and is Wi-Fi only. You can upgrade to 32GB of storage, with the option to get the 32GB variant with either Wi-Fi only or LTE and Wi-Fi capabilities.
The new iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB Wi-Fi Models. Cellular models cost a bit more, so just add $130 to the price for the regular Wi-Fi model to see how much the Wi-Fi+Cellular models will set you back.
2. Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air: Specs
See how crazy thin the iPad Air 2 is in the video above.
According to the info Apple shared at their keynote event, the iPad Air will have 10-hour battery life. The new iPad Air 2 is 12x faster than the original iPad, with 180x faster graphics. The new iPad Air is powered by a new A8X chip with three billion transistors. The device itself is a mere 6.1mm thin, which is thinner than the previous generation iPad Air, and also thinner than the latest iPhones. The iPad Air 2 offers an 8MP camera, with f/2.4 aperture, and it is capable of shooting 1080p video.
Don’t despair, Nexus fans: the new Nexus 9 can more than hold its own. 9to5Google cites a benchmark test that puts the Nexus 9 on the same level as a Mac Pro from 2012. Not bad, considering the Nexus 9 is way thinner than the massive Mac Pro. The Nexus 9 packs a Tegra K1 2.3GHz processor and a Kepler DX1 GPU under the hood.
3. Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air: Battery Life
The iPad Air 2, Apple claims, will have 10 hour battery life. The Verge states that the Nexus 9 will have 9 hours of battery life. Those are pretty comparable, but we’ll have to wait for real-world testing conditions to see how these tablets really perform.
4. Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air: Special Features
Go hands-on with Handoff in the video above. Handoff is a great feature in iOS 8 that lets you start a task on your iPad, and finish it on your computer or other Apple device.
Google is offering something similar with its Android L ecosystem, which will be available on Nexus devices, the Nexus player, TVs, and even cars. The Nexus 9’s front-facing HTC BoomSound™ speakers are also pretty sweet.
5. Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air: Conclusion & Final Thoughts
Google’s official Nexus 9 product page states that the preorders for the Nexus 9 will open up on October 17th, the same day as Apple will accept preorders for the new iPad Air 2. The iPad Air 2 is expected to ship the week of October 19, with the Nexus 9 tipped to ship by November 3.
Both of these tablets come in three color options, and both tablets offer powerful performance. If you own a lot of other Apple devices, the continuity features in the iPad Air 2 will boost your productivity. The Nexus 9 is a good choice for anyone who’s buying into the Android L ecosystem.