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Nexus 5X and 6P
LG and Huawei have brought Android users their take on the Nexus device. But which one is better?
The Nexus line — Google’s ideal of a modern Android phone — was originally meant to provide developers with a clean version of the Android mobile operating system and official Google apps, without the extraneous bloatware added by device manufacturers and wireless carriers. But consumers quickly caught on that Nexus devices provided some of the best experiences in the Android world. At its Fall 2023 event, Google announced the latest additions to its flagship smartphone lineup: The LG Nexus 5X and the Huawei Nexus 6P, giving Android fans two new compelling options to choose between for their next phone. But which one is better? Here’s the rundown when it comes to raw specs:Design and Screen Size
The 6P is the first all-metal phone in the Nexus line. When presenting the new phone on stage at their event, Google executives touted the product’s diamond-cut edges and sculpted back, which they said offer users a unique feel. While Android has seen its fair share of aluminum phones from Samsung and HTC, we’ve never seen one with the weight of the Nexus name behind it.
Huawei will offer its Nexus 6P phone in frost white, aluminum, and graphite. While the 5.7-inch screen is large, Google promises that it has a footprint similar to that of a 5.5-inch one—with the screen taking up almost three-fourths of the face of the device.
The Nexus 5X by LG is a similarly large phone. The 5.2-inch device is smaller than Huawei’s, but packs a punch. While LG’s plastic phone may have less of a premium feel, some may prefer that design, offering potentially easier gripping without a case. Those worried about quality should know, however, that this isn’t the company’s first time designing a Nexus device. 2012’s Nexus 4 brought Android users a glass front and back. For durability’s sake, we’re glad they moved away from that design.Processor, RAM & Storage
The Nexus 6P has better internal specs than the 5X. But LG’s more affordable Nexus entrant isn’t to be slept on.
The Nexus 5X will bring users a 5.2-inch 1080p screen with 423 pixels per inch (IPS display). LG is making use of the Snapdragon 808 processor here with 2GB of RAM and a 2,700 mAh battery—better than the iPhone 6s’s 1715 mAh battery. 16GB or 32GB models are available.
The Nexus 6P’s 5.7-inch screen has a 1440p display and an eight-core 1.9-GHz Snapdragon 810 processor. A 3,450-mAh battery joins the 3GB of RAM packed inside. The 6P will be available in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB varieties.Android M
Both the Nexus 5X and 6P will come with Android Marshmallow preinstalled. Marshmallow, the latest version of the Android OS, will bring native support for USB-C, Google Now On Tap, and a new app drawer. One of the most significant inclusions, however, is built-in fingerprint support.
Nexus 6P fingerprint sensor
Both 5X and 6P Nexus devices will tout a rear fingerprint sensor for passcode and Android Pay authentication
Similar to Apple’s Touch ID, Google’s Nexus Imprint devices will make use of a built-in fingerprint reader to shuttle users past their lock screens quicker than before. Unlike the iPhone, however, Google’s sensors are on the rear of the phone.Camera
Both devices come with a 12-megapixel camera on the rear (12.3 in the case of the Nexus 5X). And, for quicker shooting, both Marshmallow devices let you double-tap the sleep/wake button to launch straight into the camera. The Nexus 6P offers laser-assisted focus for sharper images.
While the 5X packs a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, Huawei’s 6P brings along an 8MP. If you use your phone as mainly a selfie device, this metric is especially important to you.
Nexus 5X and 6P Price
Here’s how the new Nexus will affect your walletBattery Life
Both devices use the USB-C standard to move over power and transfer data—sorry, wireless charging fans. While we don’t have exact numbers related to charging time, Google claims their Nexus devices will support fast charging.
On paper, the Nexus 6P once again bests the 5X. LG’s device includes a built-in 2,700-mAh battery while Huawei’s offers 3,450 mAh. Since the 6P is pushing more pixels with 0.5 inches more of screen, users may see a benefit in having the extra 750 mAh.Price And Conclusion
There’s one area where the Nexus 5X unquestionably bests the 6P. At $379 for 16GB and 32GB for $429, every version of the 5X costs less than the Nexus 6P. The aluminum 6P starts at $499 for 32GB. The price increases based on capacity from there—$549 for 64GB and $649 for 128GB.
Google is positioning these devices as two of the most important Android phones. With an all-aluminum body on the 6P and rear fingerprint sensors on both phones, we may see other hardware manufacturers take cues from the Nexus line in future updates.
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Nexus 6P camera testing: our first real-world results
This week we’re reviewing the Huawei-made Google Nexus 6P, starting with its camera – today you’re going to see our first results. This part of the test is extremely simple – it’s mostly to gauge how well the device can capture everyday objects out in the wild. This presentation comes before our comparisons with other smartphones and before our comparisons with a DSLR camera. This walk takes what might be Google’s most powerful smartphone camera on a walk outside and through a set of low-light shots indoors, as well.
The Nexus 6P works with a 12.3-megapixel camera with the ability to capture 1.55um pixel images. You’ll have an f/2.0 aperture around the back as well with an IR laser-assisted autofocus system for quick capture. Directly to the side of the back-facing camera is a broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual-led flash.
See also: 5 Nexus 6P features Google didn’t tell you about
The entire enclosure on the back is covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. Generally we only see this level of protection on a smartphone on the front of a device for its touchscreen. Clearly Google and Huawei have seen the light, now protecting the device’s back-facing camera array with the same high-end material.
The back-facing camera is able to capture up to 4K-sized video at 30-frames per second as well as slightly smaller video at 120 and 240-frames per second. We’ll be testing the video capabilities of this device in a separate article.
The first image you’re seeing here is outdoors, photographed upward, toward the clouds, with the sun blocked by a tree. This is the first example of a place where a lesser camera would blow out the tree. You can see an ever-so-slight glimmer of a lens flare near the center on the left, but it’s tiny.
The leaves photo below is in just about as ideal a set of lighting conditions as possible. The leaves up front are in focus, the rest isn’t, and the colors are fantastic throughout.
These batteries are photographed in pure sunlight (no artificial light) from behind. It’s extremely bright. Devices from past – even mid-tier smartphone cameras from a year ago – wouldn’t have been able to capture this image. Not without the batteries being blasted and bathed in light around the edges.
Next you’ll see a photo taken with Google’s Lens Blur effect. The subject needs to be in a space where it can be readily identified VS the background, which will be blurred in a notable manner. Here you’ll see the berries up front, and the yard out back.
The photo below was captured while walking at a brisk pace, outdoors, mid-day, with the sun shining brightly on a partly-cloudy day. As with every photo we’ve taken so far, the shutter went off instantly, and a sharp image was captured.
Next is a cropped version of the photo above – cut from the original 4032 × 3024 pixel photo. Remember here that we were NOT being careful to focus on any one point in this image.
The next five photos in a tiny gallery were captured under the same conditions as the grass photo above. Each car is passing at approximately 20 miles per hour on this residential city street.
The TIE-fighter you’re seeing here was photographed in a dark hallway. Looking through the smartphone’s live preview, I fully expected this image to turn out to be a big black blob. As it turns out – and as many dark environment photos turn out with the Nexus 6P – the results were pretty great.
In the slightly deeper dark – with only one light source far off in the distance – you’ll see the next low-light photo coming out just a tiny bit more murky.
The final photo in this set was captured bathed in dim, yellowy, crappy lamp light. Most smartphone cameras would have captured a photo that was far more mustardy. The Nexus 6P takes into account that the user dislikes the trashiness of yellow light as much as the next person, and gives the yellow light a kick in the pants.
What’s left is a photo that – surprisingly – only shows this stormtrooper/sandtrooper helmet in the ever-so-slightly warm color it’s supposed to be.
See our Nexus 6P tag portal this whole week for more hands-on action
Again, this is just one of several review components we’ll be publishing this week. If you have any suggestions for tests you’d like us to run or photos or videos you’d like us to capture, by all means, let us know.
Stick around for more Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X up-close and personal for days and days!
This device will be available from Google online immediately if not soon for starting at $499 USD in Aluminum (that’s what we’re using here), Graphite, or Frost, in 32, 64, and 128GB internal storage size iterations.
This device was manufactured by Huawei and is available through the Google Store online, compatible with a wide range of carriers including Google’s Project Fi.
TWRP recovery is now available for Nexus 6P, the latest Nexus flagship from Google made in partnership with Huawei. To make TWRP work on Nexus 6P, you need to have a modified boot image (custom kernel) that disables forced encryption, and has SELinux set as permissive.
We’ve provided them both below. Before you flash TWRP, it’s a must to flash modified boot image first. Otherwise, TWRP will remain encrypted and you won’t be able to use it to flash SuperSU to acquire root access on Nexus 6P. This is similar to Nexus 5X TWRP recovery.
Find the download links below, and a guide, to install the Nexus 6P TWRP recovery right away.
Once you have TWRP, you can achieve Nexus 6P root access easily.
Huawei Nexus 6P, codename angler
Don’t try this one any other device!
Important: Check your device’s codename on free Android app called Droid Info. If you see the codename mentioned above in the app, then use this recovery, otherwise not. BTW, you can check device’s codename on its packaging box too.
Warranty may be void of your device if you follow the procedures given on this page. You only are responsible for your device. We won’t be liable if any damage occurs to your device and/or its components.
Backup important files stored on your device before proceeding with the steps below, so that in case something goes wrong you’ll have backup of all your important files.
How to Install TWRP
Required: Make sure you have unlocked bootloader of Nexus 6P. (The guide is for Nexus 5X, but works perfectly for Nexus 6P too.) This will delete data, and until you have done this, you cannot install TWRP on your device.
Step 1. Download the modified boot image and TWRP recovery file from above.
Step 2. Create a new folder called nexus6ptwrp, and transfer the two downloaded files into that folder.
Step 3. In nexus6ptwrp folder, extract the zip file to get chúng tôi file from it.
Then, rename the TWRP recovery file to chúng tôi — this makes it easy to enter commands when installing the boot and TWRP recovery below in this guide.
So, you now have chúng tôi and chúng tôi in the folder called nexus6ptwrp, right? Cool.
Step 4. Install ADB and Fastboot drivers on your Windows PC.
Step 5. Boot your device into bootloader mode. For this,
Power off the device. Then wait for 4-5 seconds after screen goes off.
Press and hold Volume down + Power button together to enter bootloader mode. You will see FASTBOOT written at top.
This screen should be displaying the bootloader status as Unlocked, at the bottom of the screen. If it says Locked, then you need to unlock bootloader fo your Nexus 6P first, and for that see the link right above step 1 above.
Step 6. Now, open command window in the nexus6ptwrp folder, in which you have the modified boot and TWRP files. For this:
Now choose Open command window here option from that.
You will see a command window open up, with location directed to nexus6ptwrp folder.
Step 7. Test whether fastboot is working alright. Connect the device to PC first, and then in the command window, run the following command.fastboot devices
→ Upon this, you should get a serial no. with fastboot written after it. If you don’t get fastboot written on cmd window, then it means you need to reinstall adb and fastboot drivers, or change restart PC, or use original USB cable.
Step 8. Flash modified boot image now. Use the following command for that.fastboot flash boot boot.img
(You have to use the boot image’s filename in the above command, which in our case is chúng tôi from step 3.)
Step 9. Boot into TWRP recovery now to be able to flash SuperSU on next steps. Use the following command for that.fastboot boot twrp.img
→ Once you are in TWRP, allow it to mount system as read/write.
We are using the boot command above, which doesn’t installs TWRP recovery actually, but allows us to boot into it using the TWRP image on PC. This way stock recovery is retained upon root, which is required for installing OTA updates.
If you want install TWRP permanently, then use the following command:fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
(You have to use the recovery image’s filename in the above command, which in our case is chúng tôi from step 2.)
Step 10. When done, simply reboot to Recovery mode now. (SKIP this step if you used the boot command above, as you are already in TWRP.)
For this, disconnect the device. Now, press use Volume down button two times or until you device shows RECOVERY menu, and then use Power button to select it.
You will boot into recovery mode now, and will see TWRP recovery.
Step 11. Once you are in TWRP, allow it to mount system as read/write. Go to Mount menu, and make sure system is selected.
If you can’t use Install menu, then you need to format data of your Nexus 6P. For this, tap on Wipe, and then tap on Format Data. Then type yes to format data, which will remove encryption on your device.
That’s it. You can easily use TWRP recovery on your Nexus 6P.
Root Nexus 6P
Well, check out page for Nexus 6P root.
As you already have TWRP, simply flash the SuperSU file (version 2.52) to gain root access. Ignore other steps on the above page as they involve installing TWRP first.
The closest competitor to the iPad mini is obviously Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. Some may even argue that Apple felt compelled to push out the mini due to the success that Google’s diminutive tablet offering has experienced.
Although it’s been a while since I’ve dusted off my Nexus 7, there’s simply no denying that it’s a solid offering in many areas. I sung the device’s praises, and even Sebastien, who has been a bit more critical of the device, had some nice things to say about it.
Whatever the case may be, it’s pretty obvious that Apple has drawn a line in the sand with the iPad mini, and it too, is quite the compelling offering. How do the two compare? We thought you’d never ask. Check out our head-to-head comparison video inside…
As much as I truly appreciate what Google has done with the Nexus 7 as far as price and features go, there’s simply no denying that the iPad mini beats out its nearest competitor in nearly all facets of the game. Then again, you are paying a premium price for the iPad mini, so you’re getting what you paid for.
You’ve heard the story before, but let me reiterate it one more time for you. The iPad mini’s build quality is leaps and bounds above that of the Google and Asus collaboration. I won’t go as far as to label the Nexus 7 as a toy, because it’s a very nice tablet in its own right. However, once you’ve put in some hands on time with Apple’s tablet, it becomes readily apparent that it’s on a whole new level of polish and sophistication.
As good as the build quality is for the iPad mini, that’s not even the best thing about it. The software is what really makes the iPad mini shine, and it shines brightly. Every iPad customized app already available on the App Store works flawlessly with the mini. That means that at launch, the mini already runs circles around a device that has been out for quite some time now.
I’ve always thought of the Nexus 7 as a decent tablet, but with the release of the mini it seems more and more like an oversized phone. It’s littered with apps that just aren’t customized for the extra real estate, and that, frankly, is a shame.
Yes, the iPad mini comes at a premium, yes, the screen looks like an oversized, albeit improved, iPhone 3GS. The iPad mini isn’t perfect hardware. Like all of Apple’s first run products, it usually takes a generation or two for them to hit the sweet spot. The fact is, though, that neither of these tablets are anything to write home about when it comes to hardware specs.
The iPad mini is hands-down the better tablet because of its build quality and because of its excellent tablet optimized software library. You can kick and scream all you want about the lack of a Retina Display, or the fact that it comes in at a premium price, but the facts are facts, and the apps don’t lie.
Droid Incredible Review (vs. Nexus One vs. Moto Droid)
Incredible, they call it, and for once the marketing hyperbole may be right. The Verizon Droid Incredible by HTC takes a somewhat familiar spec sheet and squeezes out something different enough to stand out from the crowd. For our full review of the Droid Incredible, check out our dedicated Android Community coverage; if you’re more interested in how this shiny new smartphone fits into the current Android line-up – and, more importantly, whether you should choose it or a rival device – then read on.
The Snapdragon chipset has seen plenty of use in recent HTC devices – the Nexus One and the Desire, if you’re limiting things to Android – as has the 3.7-inch OLED WVGA display. Previous phones have had EVDO Rev.A, too, and WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS are par for the course too. Where things improve are in the optics and the internal storage: the Incredible will be the first HTC device to ship with an 8-megapixel autofocus camera, and it’s paired with a healthy 8GB of onboard storage.
More surprising is a noticeable improvement in touchscreen quality when you have both devices side by side. We’re not sure exactly what HTC have done with the Droid Incredible’s capacitive layer, but it’s both more accurate and less likely to miss taps than that of the Nexus One. Many Google phone users have complained of patchy touch response, something we’ve not encountered on this newer handset. The Incredible also has a broader brightness range than the Nexus One, particularly at its lower settings.
The Droid Incredible’s main competitor on Verizon is likely to be the Motorola DROID (review on SlashGear). It’s a testament to Motorola’s ambitious design that, while the DROID has been on sale for several months now, it’s still a viable option among newer devices. Like the Incredible it has a 3.7-inch display (running at the slightly higher 854 x 480 resolution) but the Motorola uses a more traditional LCD panel than HTC’s currently favored OLED screens. Although the latter is arguably more power efficient, the DROID’s display is in our experience just as bright and color rich as that on the Droid Incredible; it also has the benefit of being more usable (at lower brightness settings) outdoors.
As with the Nexus One, the Motorola runs Android 2.1 with no embellishments (not even the company’s own MOTOBLUR social networking integration). While you could argue that the DROID’s slide-out hardware QWERTY keyboard makes it a more proficient messaging device, HTC’s updated Mail client actually pushes the Incredible ahead in our opinion. Although 2.1 has native Exchange support, it’s only for email and contacts; the HTC app adds in calendar sync too, and the mail app itself allows you to view messages organized by whether they’re flagged, unread or from certain “VIP” contacts, or if they’re meeting invitations, and there’s a threaded “conversation” view too. Although the Motorola’s QWERTY is fair, HTC’s standard on-screen keyboard is a pleasant boost over and above the regular Android QWERTY – thanks to improved auto-correction – though we’re also fans of Swype on which we’re actually faster than with a hardware ‘board.
The flip side to out-of-the-box usability with Sense, though, is the ease of future OS updates. It’s telling that, in the months the DROID has been on the market, Motorola have already upgraded it from Android 2.0 to 2.1; HTC users have been waiting considerably longer for an update of early Android devices (such as the HTC Hero) to a newer version of the platform. That’s down to the headaches of getting Sense to play nicely with a changed OS, and while we don’t doubt HTC’s intent to keep the Droid Incredible as current as possible, we also feel pretty confident saying that the Motorola handset, unmodified as it is, will likely get official builds sooner.
Where the Droid Incredible particularly kicks away from the Motorola – and, for that matter, the Nexus One – is with its camera. It’s not just a win on the spec sheet, either; the Incredible’s 8-megapixel autofocus camera has a brighter, dual-LED flash than the Nexus One, and the still photos it takes are significantly better than those of either the Google phone or the DROID. It’s also more flexible, with granular control over exposure, contrast, saturation and sharpness, ISO ranges from 100 to 800 and optional geotagging and face detection. Sadly there’s no 720p HD video recording on any of the three devices, but the Droid Incredible’s 800 x 480 WVGA footage is reasonable if uninspiring.
Tour of Grand Canyon at 30,000 feet through Droid Incredible’s camera
Sample videos taken with Droid Incredible
Image taken by Droid Incredible of Grand Canyon
Unfortunately, the flip side is battery life. The Nexus One requires some goading of settings to get it through a heavy day’s use, and – since some of the more recent firmware updates – the Motorola DROID actually stretches out its battery surprisingly well. Here, though, the Droid Incredible falls resolutely into bottom place; we’re not sure quite what’s happened, but it ousts even the hungry Nexus One. With the settings as standard, and push email turned on, we didn’t make it through a full day of use before the phone expired. Toning down the amount of social network updates that Sense makes, together with notching down the screen brightness a little, each helped prolong things, but the Incredible is definitely an over-eater.
Compounding the issue is the absence of a charging dock. Both the DROID and the Nexus One can be paired with an optional cradle, and we’ve found that we’re more likely to drop each phone into its respective dock than we are to plug them in with a regular microUSB adapter. That way, the handset gets a mild top-up and you get to stay wireless for more of your day. The Incredible’s lack of charging contacts (unlike the Nexus One) and side-mounted power connector mean a portrait-orientation dock is unlikely, and the fact that Sense doesn’t have a landscape-orientation mode leaves us doubting that HTC plan a cradle similar to Motorola’s.
It’s frustrating, because there are lots of power-hungry reasons we’d rather have the Droid Incredible in our pockets. There’s Flash Lite 4.0 support in the browser, for one, though performance at streaming video is very much dependent on the bitrate it has been recorded at; too high, and the Snapdragon CPU chokes and playback gets stuttery.
Audio performance during voice calls is a little better than with the DROID, though lags behind the Nexus One. That’s primarily down to the Incredible lacking its sibling’s noise-cancelling microphone array. Meanwhile 3G data performance over the Verizon EVDO Rev.A network was strong, though without a CDMA Nexus One we can’t make any direct comparisons. As with the DROID, the Incredible is CDMA-only and – shortsighted in our opinion – lacks global 3G support; saying that, as far as we’re aware the upcoming Verizon Nexus One won’t get that either. If you regularly travel outside the US and still want to use your smartphone, neither the Incredible nor the DROID are the devices to choose.
Strong contender as the Motorola DROID is, the Droid Incredible by HTC edges ahead by virtue of its better performing camera and Sense UI. Similarly, we’d pick the Incredible over the Nexus One; don’t underestimate the value of having Verizon’s after-sales support network to hand, something that – even when the CDMA Nexus One goes on sale – the Google-branded phone will lack. Our only real Incredible concerns begin with battery life and end with firmware updates; we hope HTC can tweak their power management to address the former, though the latter could be the sting in the smartphone’s tail. As we said with the HTC Desire, though, opting against a Sense device out of what may or may not transpire a number of months into the lifecycle does mean you’re missing out on an excellent handset experience today.
When the HTC EVO 4G arrives on Sprint later this year, the Android balance will change again. Connected services are arguably the future of smartphones and mobile devices, and the boost in data speed WiMAX will bring may just change our minds again. Until then (and of course that assumes you live in an area served with Sprint 4G coverage) we’re leaning toward the Verizon Droid Incredible by HTC. International travelers and those unwilling to experiment with their data and power settings should look elsewhere, but everyone else will be enjoying excellent camera performance served up in a user-friendly package.
Unboxing Droid Incredible by HTC for Verizon
Verizon Droid Incredible by HTC key specifications:
Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon chipset
512MB ROM, 512MB RAM
3.7-inch WVGA 480 x 800 OLED capacitive touchscreen
8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
8GB internal memory & microSD card slot (32GB)
EVDO Rev.A, WiFi b/g & Bluetooth
Android 2.1 with HTC Sense
3.5mm headphones socket & microUSB 2.0 port
1,300mAh Li Ion battery (rated 5.2hrs talktime or six days standby)
4.63 x 2.3 x 0.47 inches / 4.59 oz
Google Nexus 9 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Google’s Nexus 9 features an 8.9-inch LCD display with 2048 x 1536 resolution and a pixel density of 281 ppi. The Tab S features an 8.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1600 resolution and a pixel density of 359 ppi.
Both tablets offer great viewing angles and are extremely sharp. However, the biggest difference between these two tablets is the aspect ratio. The Nexus 9 has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which isn’t too common on tablets for a reason. Letter boxing occurs more than we’d like it to when watching videos or movies, but that’s the sacrifice you’ll need to make when choosing a squarer display. We understand that no aspect ratio is perfect for everyone, as Samsung’s 16:9 ratio has its flaws as well. Holding the tablet in portrait mode is okay, but Internet browsing in landscape on the Tab S isn’t ideal, as not much information can fit on the screen, especially because web pages aren’t usually laid out side-to-side. Additionally, thanks to the Nexus 9’s LCD panel, we’ve experienced a bit of light bleed on the top and bottom of the display. However, that’s nothing you would particularly notice in everyday use.
When it comes to displays, if you want a more natural color display palette, you might want to consider the Nexus 9. But if you’re partial to punchier colors and deeper blacks, the Tab S is for you. What’s more, the Tab S offers a significantly higher pixel density, resulting in an overall clearer display.
The Nexus 9 offers the powerful NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor backed by 2GB of RAM. The Tab S features Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octacore chipset backed by 3GB of RAM.
Thanks to the Tegra K1, gaming on the Nexus 9 is runs particularly well. We haven’t seen many dropped framerates or stutters in games, so if you’d like a tablet specifically for gaming, the Nexus 9 might be your best bet. Gaming on the Tab S isn’t laggy either, though we can’t help but notice it feels just half of a step slower than the Nexus 9. If you buy one tablet or the other for gaming, you won’t be disappointed with either.
When it comes to performance in software, the two don’t really differ. Thanks to the stock Google experience on Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Nexus 9 flies through the software with ease. We didn’t notice many hiccups while scrolling through recent apps, web pages, or really any other aspects of the software. Though the Tab S has many more software features to push around in Samsung’s TouchWiz, it performs surprisingly well.
In case you’re new to the tablet world, software is where these tablets differ more than anything. Google’s Nexus line has always come with a “no-frills” software experience. Nexus devices always run stock Android software, and that can be both a positive and a negative. Without a ton of extra features crammed into the device, the software runs very smoothly. Whether you’re a fan of Android 5.0 Lollipop or not, there’s no arguing that the software experience is one of the most simple and elegant experiences out there. On top of that, this device was made by Google, so it will be one of the first devices to receive any updates that are pushed out to Android.
Samsung takes a vastly different route when it comes to software. We’ve all said it before, and we’ll say it again: TouchWiz is bright, big, colorful, and very busy. From the cluttered Settings panel to the busy notification drop down menu, it’s clear that simplicity isn’t Samsung’s strongest asset. However, it’s cluttered for a reason. With so many extra features crammed into the software, you’ll find some to be extremely useful and others to just take up space. Unfortunately, software updates are pretty scarce with Samsung devices. The Tab S is still running Android 4.4 KitKat. While not too many other manufacturers have pushed out Lollipop updates so far, Samsung is usually last to update their devices. Though it’s a relatively new tablet, the Tab S may not see its Lollipop update for quite some time.
When comparing the two, it should be noted that Samsung is one of the only device manufacturers to actually use a big screen the correct way. Features like Multi-Window that allows for running multiple apps at once, Smart Stay that keeps the screen on when you’re looking at it, and Smart Pause that pauses a video when you look away, really help make for a better media-consuming experience.
Where the Nexus 9 comes up short in the number of features, it makes up for it in design. Android 5.0 Lollipop brings more UI enhancements to Android using Google’s new Material Design language. In Lollipop, everything warrants a movement, whether that be the information on the notification shade moving when you pull it down, or any number of new layers Google has added in to show more depth in the software, it’s all just really good looking. We aren’t sure what Lollipop will bring to Samsung’s TouchWiz, but we do know that it may not get there for quite some time.
All in all, if you’re looking for a tablet that has more features than you can count and incredible multitasking software, the clear choice is the Tab S. But if you’re more partial to the simplistic, elegant and quickly-updated software experience, we’d suggest you go with the Nexus 9. Keep in mind that neither devices’ software experience is perfect, and sacrifices will need to be made with both.
The Nexus 9’s starting price is $399 for the 16GB Wifi-only model. Higher storage options and LTE-connected variants are also available, so be prepared to pay more depending on which option you choose. It’s also available in Black, White, and Sand colors, and can be purchased directly through Google Play, HTCor Amazon.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 also begins at $400, and can be bought directly through Samsung, or basically any other electronics retailer out there. It’s available in Dazzling White or Titanium Bronze, and also comes in higher-storage variants. Though the Tab S is priced at $400, at the time of writing this, we found a few on Amazon being sold for under $350.
So, there you have it — our comparison of the Google Nexus 9 vs. the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Again, your decision on whether to buy one tablet over the other completely lies in your needs. The Tab S offers great multitasking software, a solid build quality, and is slightly more portable. However, be willing to put up with cluttered software and a slightly lower battery capacity. The Nexus 9 offers a beautiful, simple software experience with a large battery and loud front-firing speakers. Nonetheless, choosing the Nexus 9 means you’ll need to deal with slightly less-quality hardware and not many extra tablet-friendly software features.
When comparing these two, it’s very apparent that neither one is close to perfect, but if you’re looking for a tablet that has an 8 or 9-inch display, you can’t go wrong with either one. Let us know your thoughts on these two tablets!
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