Nexus 9 vs. New iPad Air 2: What’s the Best Tablet?

nexus 9 ipad air 2

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

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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

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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

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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.

You can buy a Nexus 9 here.

You can buy a new iPad Air 2 here.


Considering getting someone an electronics gift? Check out our Gifts section for tons of great gift recommendations, or visit our ultimate guides to the best gifts for women and best gifts for men.


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