Regular readers of this column may remember that last year, just about this time, we reviewed a nifty little tablet called the Nexus 9, made specifically for Google by HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer known primarily for its Android and Windows smartphones.
The Nexus 9 has a lot of good things going for it. It has a speedy, dual core 64 bit processor and a brilliant screen. It’s also thin and light, has GPS, a dual band Wi-Fi, and decent speakers. If you’re a really techie, you’ll appreciate that it allows for “OTG” which means you can connect a bunch of peripherals with a special cable.
I found the camera sufficient for my needs but probably not as good as the latest Apple device. I can live with that.
The device is just under a pound, so it’s plenty light. The dimensions of the device are 6.05 inches by 8.9 inches by 0.312 inches. For me it’s the Goldilocks size. Just right.
It also has excellent battery longevity. One charge will give you a couple of days usage. The latest OS update makes things even better in this department.
I’ve been using this tablet for a year and really liked it. It more than served my pedestrian needs – surfing the web, taking notes, reading the WSJ, checking the stock market and watching the occasional movie.
So what’s the con?
Well, a few months ago the tablet started acting up. If it wasn’t charged past 50% or so, it would simply crash. I never dropped or abused it, it simply got premature dementia. The screen would frizz out and look something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ykWFT40yzs.
You could fix it by rebooting and then cabling it up and charging it but this was not a long term solution.
I spent a lot of time on forums to try and figure out how to fix it. There were all kinds of weird suggestions (such as ditching Facebook) but none of them worked. I finally threw my hands up and contacted HTC. I realized that it needed to be replaced.
To their credit, HTC did the honorable thing and replaced it with another Nexus 9.
One more thing. The days of having to search for every app that you want to install are over with the Nexus 9.
Android 5.0 Lollipop makes it incredibly easy to restore all or some of the apps from the old device to the new one. During the install process, the new tablet will prompt you to place the old one next to it so that they can “talk” to each other and compare notes. Google will automatically download and install all the apps that were installed on your older phone or tablet.
The Nexus 9 comes in three flavors, 16G, 32G and 32 LTE models. You can buy the 16G version directly from HTC starting at around $399 (if they are in stock) or the 32G model for $479. The LTE goes for $600.
Would I still recommend this product? So long as HTC stands behind it, absolutely. My love affair with this tablet is still intact.