Google Nexus 9 VS Apple iPad Air 2

Both Google and Apple have released their best tablets yet; the Nexus 9 and Apple’s iPad Air 2. Both slates are powerhouses it looks like Google and Apple spared no expense in providing tablet enthusiasts with a product that they can drool. Unfortunately, there can be only one winner. Here we have the Nexus 9 duking it out with the iPad Air 2. Which company will gain the bragging rights of possessing the best tablet of 2014? Read out comprehensive comparison to find out.

apple ipad air 2

Screen size and resolution

While both tablets possess the exact same resolution (2048 by 1536 pixels), the iPad Air 2 wins over the Nexus 9 by having a larger screen size (9.7 inches vs. the Nexus 9’s 8.9). However, Nexus 9’s smaller screen size allows it to possess a higher PPI density compared to the iPad Air 2. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Nexus 9 is better than the iPad Air 2. It just means that if you possess an astute observation or a magnifying glass, you just might be able to spot the difference in display quality of both tablets. Otherwise, chances are that will conclude both tablets as having the same resolution. However, where the iPad Air 2 is able to excel is the result of Apple making a huge change to its current flagship tablet. By reducing the air pockets between the screen and internal circuitry, the iPad Air 2 not only becomes extremely thin, but when both devices are compared in a well-lit environment, the iPad Air 2’s display is less reflective than the Nexus 9, making it much easier to view content. It also goes easy on your eyes, which is exactly the sort of thing we are looking for.

Camera performance

Companies normally avoid equipping their tablets with powerful cameras. The Nexus 9 and the iPad Air 2 have followed the same suit. Apple has made improvements to both cameras on the iPad Air 2. The front-facing Facetime HD camera’s resolution has been bumped up 1.5 MP, while the rear iSight camera now possesses an 8 MP resolution with an f/2.4 aperture. In addition, the rear shooter can record 1080p videos with features digital stabilization, burst mode, timelapse and slo-mo mode features. Unfortunately, all those perks are unable to slip past the Nexus 9’s 8 MP rear camera, which performs far better than the iPad Air 2 in low level environments. While Google’s product takes the win in this category, it is not every day you see users reaching out for their tablets to capture images. While this feature can be termed as negligible, you people will still be able to find a resourceful use for a tablet camera.

google nexus 9

Operating system and performance

For your own comparison purposes, given below is a table that specifies the hardware specifications that end making both tablets the powerhouse slates of 2014.

  Chipset CPU RAM GPU
iPad Air 2 A8X Tri core 1.5 GHz 1 GB Quad core PowerVR Series 6 GX6450
Nexus 9 NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual core 2.3 GHz 2 GB Kepler DX1

Both devices run a 64 bit compatible CPU and in terms of performance, there was not a shred of difference that we could find separating the two devices. One would believe that since the Nexus 9 possesses hardware engineered by NVIDIA’s highly successful Kepler architecture, it would gain the upper hand in multi-tasking and a variety of other tasks. Sadly that was not the case, as both tablets could handle multiple app openings without the slightest delay. This goes to show you how optimized Apple’s iOS platform is. Google is slowly climbing to the top of the mountain, but it has a long way to go before it can count its Android Lollipop 5.0 update as being in the same league as Apple’s iOS. While there was no lag, stuttering or long game loading durations when firing up intensive gaming applications such as Dead Trigger 2 and ShadowGun: DeadZone, benchmarking results show that Apple’s A8X processor is far superior to NVIDIA’s chip is every available test conducted. However, while Apple’s iPad Air 2 is clearly the winner when it comes to brute processing and graphics rendering power, those results will only become prominent once you run benchmarking applications. Otherwise, no sort of lag was experienced by us when we were running real-world applications and tasks on both devices. So unless you want to mouth off the performance crunching numbers of your unbeatable iPad Air 2, we’d settle for the Nexus 9 as well.

Battery performance

Now that it is confirmed that the iPad Air 2 has forced the Nexus 9 in to submission with its raw processing power, let us move on to our battery tests and find out how well that raw power is able to give us the battery life that we desperately require. To test out battery life, we utilized a custom web-script; a tool that shows us the most accurate battery timings when the tablets will be subjected to normal load. The Nexus 9 was the clear winner. After the iPad Air 2’s battery life depleted, the Nexus 9 was still going strong with 22 percent charge remaining. After completely draining out the battery life of the Nexus 9, we found out that Google’s offering was able to shed out 1 hour and 57 minutes more before finally powering off.

Final Verdict

After carefully comparing both tablets, we have to side with the Apple’s iPad Air 2. This is because while the tablet comes with a larger price tag, it also possesses a larger screen size that exudes a comfortable display, which is something that you will always look forward to when it comes to viewing 1080p movies or using the iPad as a laptop replacement. Additionally, the iPad Air 2 excels exceptionally in the benchmarking tests, which was extremely surprising for us, given the fact that NVIDIA is the leading provider of graphic chips. Sure, the Nexus 9 was able to top out in our battery tests, but the battery starts degrading after a given number of charges, which means your Nexus 9 might even start giving out less battery time in the near future. If the Nexus 9 was priced at $299, it would have been a ‘no brainer’ purchase. While the iPad Air 2 does not go easy on the wallet, the Nexus 9’s $399 price tag is not friendly from any angle too.

Do you think that you’d spend a large portion of your money to purchase the iPad Air 2, or would you stick to getting a highly improved ‘pure’ Android experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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