Nexus 9 review roundup: swing and a miss

Google's Nexus 9 tablet is out this week. Should you buy one? Judging by the first round of reviews, shopping around for another tablet may be a good idea.

While reviewers seem relatively happy with the device's 2048x1536 display, stock Android 5.0 operating system, and battery life, they complain about poor performance, excessive heat when running demanding apps, and a number of fit-and-finish issues—including backlight leakage and a plastic back that apparently bends when you press down on it.

The verdict is unanimously lukewarm. Take a look:

  • Engadget: "I didn't expect to feel so torn about the Nexus 9. On the one hand, Android 5.0 Lollipop is refreshing, what with its snappiness and welcoming redesign. On the other, I can't help but feel a little frustrated that Google and HTC compromised on the Nexus 9's screen, speakers and design."
  • Gizmodo: "[T]he Nexus 9 isn't an irredeemably bad device; it's just a pretty mediocre option in a world full of other tablets that really stand out in one way or another. In a world that's already full of tablets that work just fine for the most part, you need to have a really good excuse to buy a new one."
  • PC World: "The Nexus 9 doesn't exist solely for Google to sell tablets; it exists to get developers thinking about how to move Google's Android ecosystem forward into the next generation of mobile technology. . . . If you're drawn to the Nexus 9, buy it because you want to see what the future's like, not because you're looking for the absolutely perfect tablet device."
  • The Verge: "[T]he Nexus 9 just isn't as good as it needs to be. It's priced as high or higher than Apple's tablets, but doesn't offer anything in terms of hardware or performance to sway someone from just purchasing an iPad instead. The Nexus 9 would make a killer $249 or $299 tablet, but at $399, even last year's iPad Air is a better buy for the vast majority of people."

Oh well. At least the Nexus 7 2013 is still available—for now. You can grab it for $199.99 at Newegg, and an Android 5.0 update is on the way.

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