Tablet comparison:Google Nexus 9 Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
There’s a wide selection of tablets to choose as we roll into the holiday season and enter 2015. Apple’s iPad casts a long shadow over the tablet market, but consumers shouldn’t ignore two other tablets.
HTC launched the Google Nexus 9 just recently, its first tablet in over three years after the Jetstream and Flyer tablets flopped back in 2011. Google’s previous two Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets were manufactured by Asus and Samsung respectively.
Samsung launched its flagship back in July, the Galaxy S 8.4. However, unlike its rival HTC, Samsung has always been active and become a strong contender in the tablet and smartphone market.
Let’s look closer at these top of the range Android tablets of 2014, as well as what lessons they can teach consumers and investors alike about HTC and Samsung’s way of business.
Design and Build
The Nexus 9 comes in Indigo Black, Sand and Lunar White while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is available in titanium bronze or stunning white.
With a relatively smaller screen, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is a lighter and more compact tablet. It only weighs 294g compared to 425g of the Nexus 9. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is also incredibly thin at 6.6mm making one of the thinnest devices money can buy. The Nexus 9 is however thicker at 7.95mm.
Both these have plastic rear covers, but the Nexus 9 feels and looks more stylish. The Tab S has holes necessary for an optional case and the Nexus 9 has brushed metal frame that is also similar to its rival.
Performance and Hardware
The Samsung has a smaller screen notably half an inch smaller at 8.4 inches vs. 8.9 inches. The Tab also has an aspect ratio of 16:10 compared to Google’s 4:3 which it shares with the iPad.
Both devices have striking resolutions with the Tab S at 2569 x 1600 and the Nexus 9 at 2048 x 1536. If you can do some quick math then you’ll see that the Galaxy Tab S leads in pixel density with 359ppi, the highest for any tablet. The Nexus trails behind at 287ppi which isn’t bad at all by any standard.
The AMOLED technology offered by Samsung is the best for any content viewing, but it’s not for everyone. With an aspect ratio of 4:3, the Nexus 9 is a much better all-rounder and it is ideally suited for work—especially when consider the optional Keyboard folio.
Memory, Processor and Benchmarks
The Tab S 8.4 uses Samsung’s Evnos 5 Octa-core chip, that joins four 1.9GHz cores with another 1.3GHz cores. It also has 3GB RAM.
Google’s Nexus 9 is among the first tablets to come with the Nvidia Tegra K1, a 64bit chip that runs at 2.5GHz over GeekBench 3. It has 2GB RAM.
These are both speedy devices when it comes to processing, but the Galaxy Tab S tends to lag behind.
Wireless and Other Unique Features
It comes as no surprise that both gadgets have 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi as well as GPS, but there are some differences elsewhere.
The Nexus 9 comes with Bluetooth 4.1, aptX and has NFC while the Samsung uses an older Bluetooth 4.0and does not have NFC. It does however have certain attributes that its rival lacks like the IR blaster and the fingerprint scanner.
Both have stereo speakers, but the Tab S 8.4’s are situated on the sides while the Nexus’ are located at the front.
Both batteries are not removable, but the Nexus 9 edges out the Galaxy Tab S, lasting a whopping 11 hours from our video loop test. The Tab S 8.4 only managed 9 hours which is contrary to the 12 hours claim by the manufacturer.
The Nexus has a battery capacity of 6700 mAh while the Tab S falls short at 4900 mAh. The extra weight may be worth it if you’re looking for better battery life.
Photography is not much of an important aspect when it comes to tablet than it is with a smartphone. Nevertheless, both these are closely tied at the rear with 8MP cameras with LED flash and the ability to record videos at 1080p. The Galaxy tab S tops with a 2.1MP front camera compared to 1.6MP for its rival.
One of the top features of the Nexus is the latest version Android 5.0 Lollipop. The software was launched alongside the Nexus 6 smartphone.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 uses Android 4.4 KitKat as well as Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. This may later be updated to the Lollipop at a point in time, but it will always offer a different user experience to the Nexus 9 because of Samsung’s modifications.
This may be viewed as a close call because both the Google Nexus 9 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 have their pros and cons. If spending more is not a bother, then the Nexus 9 offers better performance and has a lengthy battery life, although it is a bit thicker and heavier than its rival. Samsung on the other hand is not as slick, but it is impressively svelte with certain features that are not available on the Nexus 9.
The Tab S is also cheaper and you can save a couple of bucks taking this route and install the Google Now launcher if you’re not keen on the TouchWiz. Both these are excellent choices for an Android tablet, but in the end it will come down to budget, preference and what you really want to use your device for.