Google Nexus 9 vs Asus Padfone X: Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on January 21, 2015 | 0 comments
aaaHi guys, welcome back!

Despite being the latest-gen more advanced Nexus tablet that Google has ever released to the market, it’s unfortunate to see how Google Nexus 9 has been gaining some mixed-up reviews all over the net and YouTube.

TheVerge calls it as “2 step behind where Apple is (with its iPads)”, which is surprising given that this Google-branded tablet is the most advanced Nexus model ever released by Google.

This is why today, i’m really interested to put back again one of my favorite tablets this year - Google Nexus 9 – into the ring to fight against a tablet from Asus called Asus Padfone X, which both can be considered as 2 different category devices.

However, i think it would be interesting to see how these tablets stack up against each other – especially on the sector of design and gaming performance.

Google Nexus 9 vs Asus Padfone X benchmarks and gaming performance

Asus Padfone X – as you might know already (or not) – is actually a smartphone, a normal 5-inch regular Android smartphone.

However, what makes it different and even stand out compared to most other counterparts out there is its design.

This device consists in 2 different parts – a 5-inch smartphone and a tablet device called “Padfone Station”.

So with this design concept, user can turn that normal smartphone into a tablet by inserting the phone inside the rear-cover of Padfone Station (just like inserting a removable battery inside a smartphone).

Well, if you’re interested to find out what i’m about to say about these tablets, including my take on their performance and gaming experience as a whole, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X.

Introduction

As 2 entirely different types of devices, both Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X actually look great equally, in terms of specs, design and performance.

Both have powerful set of hardware, both have their own strengths on their design, both have great gaming performance and the most importantly, both of these tablets have their own characteristic compared to other regular Android tablets out there.

Google Nexus 9 is more prominent with
  • its insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor,
  • a much sharper screen,
  • greater sound quality (thanks to its dual-front-speakers),
  • great cameras (given HTC’s years of experience on this department),
  • better newer Android 5.0 Lollipop,
  • better support from Google in terms of software updates and of course,
  • better functionality especially with its official keyboard cover (which is available to buy separately on Google Play Store).
However, there also some other great things to appreciate from Asus Padfone X.

The most prominent is of course its design, which allows users to turn the smartphone into a tablet or the other way around. And this can be really useful especially for on-the-go users.

Anyway, besides its awesome unique design, this Asus Padfone X also looks good when it comes to performance, thanks to Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

The same thing happens on its 13MP camera on its back that has LED flash (plus Asus’ expertise on camera department especially with its PixelMaster tech), which is why Asus devices mostly have great cameras.

And last but not least, this device is also really strong on the sector of battery life, given that it uses 2 different batteries inside the smartphone and the “Padfone Station”.

But the questions remain, with all of these high-grade goodies found on both devices, which one between Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this review?

Do these 2 devices deserve to be positioned alongside other flagship rivals on the market today?

Is it worth it to buy Google Nexus 9 instead of Asus Padfone X? Why?

Design

I think when it comes to the smartphone’s design, HTC is the definitely the one that has been really good at. Most of its smartphones have really great and premium designs.

This is probably why most of HTC smartphones are pretty expensive alongside iPhones and Samsung GALAXY flagship devices.

And HTC still continues that tradition through the Google Nexus 9 tablet.

And this proved to be a great decision from the company because not only do these speaker grilles make this device look great on the front, but the sound that comes out from these speaker grilles is really loud and clear.

Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9
Asus Padfone X
Asus Padfone X
Asus Padfone X 2
Asus Padfone X
Google Nexus 9 is hugely inspired by HTC’s popular flagship smartphone – HTC One M8. It shares the similarity on the front side of the device – like the dual-front-speaker grilles on the left and right areas in landscape mode.

As a matter of fact, according to theVerge, the sound quality of this tablet is so great they wish Apple also implements the same dual-front-speakers on its iPads.

And more impressively is, the sound doesn’t get muffled even if you hold the device and cover the speaker grilles with your 2 hands.

Similar just like Google Nexus 9, Asus Padfone X also has much to say on the sector of design. However, this device is quite different with Google’s tablet.

As mentioned above, Asus Padfone X is actually a smartphone – a regular 5-inch smartphone that can turn into a tablet by using a device called “Padfone Station”.

But the entire system of this device is totally kept inside the smartphone, not the tablet device.

So if you don’t have the smartphone or it is stolen, then the “Padfone Station” becomes no longer useful. In fact, nobody’s gonna buy this it if you lost the smartphone.

So between Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X, i think both devices are really unique in terms of design and they both have their own characteristic that no other tablets on the market have.

And this is good because it will set these 2 devices apart from many of its rivals that mostly have generic looking designs.

Back to Top

Google Nexus 9 (HTC )Asus Padfone X
4G LTE
Released 2014, November
8.9 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1536 x 2048 pixels, (~281 ppi pixel density), 16M colors
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Dual-core 2.3 GHz Denver Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
Kepler DX1 GPU
2 GB RAM
Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
8 MP rear-facing camera LED flash
1.6 MP front-facing camera, 720p
Non-removable Li-Po 6700 mAh battery
Stand-by: for up to 720 hours 
Talk time: for up to 9 h 30 min
    Exclusive only for AT&T
    4G LTE (Micro-SIM)
    Released July 2014
    5.0 inch Super IPS+ LCD capacitive touchscreen,
    1080 x 1920 pixels, (~441 ppi pixel density)
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Chipset
    Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU
    Adreno 330 GPU
    2 GB RAM
    microSD memory Card slot for up to 64 GB
    16 GB Internal storage
    Android OS v4.4.2 (KitKat)
    13 MP rear-facing camera LED flash
    2 MP front-facing camera (1080p@25fps)
    * Padfone Station with 9 inch IPS display, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 4990 mAh battery, front camera.
    Non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
    Stand-by: for up to 450 hours (3G)
    Talk time: for up to 21 hours

    As a new-generation device, no wonder if HTC crams some beefy specs inside this Google Nexus 9.

    It comes with a 8.9-inch display sporting the 1536x2048 pixel resolution, a dual-core Denver Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture, 2GB of RAM, 192-core Kepler GPU, 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and a pretty huge 6700mAh battery.

    Not to mention, given Google’s decision to make this tablet a productivity device, there’s also a keyboard case which can be ordered separately through Play Store.

    The same story happens to Asus Padfone X.

    As a new-released tablet, this device is equipped with some high-class of hardware specs.

    Interestingly, given that this Asus Padfone X consists in 2 different devices – the smartphone and the “Padfone Station”, there are also 2 different types of specs found on both of these devices.

    The smartphone comes with a 5-inch display sporting the 1920x1080 pixel resolution, Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear-camera with LED flash, 2MP camera on the front, microSD card slot for up to 64GB and a non-removable 2300mAh battery.

    Meanwhile, the “Padfone Station” is armed with a larger 9-inch screen sporting the 1920x1200 pixel resolution and 4990mAh battery inside.

    Screen

    On the sector of display, i think it’s irrelevant to compare between Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X side-by-side because – as mentioned above -, this Asus Padfone X consist in 2 different devices – the smartphone and the “Padfone Station”.

    So the comparison on this display sector must be done between Google Nexus 9 and the “Padfone Station”.

    Anyway, when it comes to sharpness, it’s no brainer that, Google Nexus 9 is the clear winner here if compared with Asus Padfone X.

    This is not so surprising given that this Google-branded tablet is sporting the 1536x2048 pixel resolution on its 8.9-inch display.

    On the other hand, Asus Padfone X is equipped with a 1080p display (1920x1200 pixels).

    But that’s on paper, not in the real world quality.

    According to theVerge, despite having an insanely sharp resolution, the display of Google Nexus 9 is not nearly as nice looking as the Retina Display of iPads.

    The colors often look washed out, there’s visible air gap between the glass and the LCD and the backlight is visible on the side of the screen.

    This of course is a bummer because Google Nexus 9 is probably the most advanced tablet that Google has ever released in its Nexus line.

    This really contradicts with Asus Padfone X because as we all know already – unlike HTC -, Asus has been in this tablet-making industry for quite so long – as seen on its Asus Transformer line.

    So Asus is more experienced and has the expertise in making tablets.

    So between these 2 devices, Google Nexus 9 may have the sharpness, but Asus with its years of experience is probably more superior with its Asus Padfone X, especially when knowing that this device is the flagship model from this company.

    User Interface

    The UI of Asus Padfone X is definitely on the different side of the road with the UI of Google Nexus 9.

    However, it still has almost all the elements of standard stock Android UI, like widgets, app drawer, drop-down notification & setting window and many more.

    But of course, Asus has provided some new features that probably cannot be found on stock Android UI, like multiwindow mode for example and many other more.

    Meanwhile, as a Google official tablet, no wonder if Google Nexus 9 comes pre-installed with a pure stock vanilla Android UI based on the Material Design that Google introduced a few months ago on Android L’s announcement.

    Google Nexus 9 is injected with Google’s latest and greatest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, so basically, there is a complete overhaul in terms of design layout, icons, visual presentations, features and many more, if compared to the previous iteration Android 4.4 KitKat.

    The great thing about this new Android version is, there is a battery saving mode which makes this tablet more efficient with the use of battery life (like the feature to wake up the lock screen with one single tap without waking up the entire pixels of the screen, etc).

    Not to mention, on this new Android version, there’s also a new feature that allows users to wake up the tablet with a key-phrase “OK Google” even when the device’s screen is off.

    This is actually the similar feature found originally on Moto X.

    So between these 2 tablets, i think i have to go with Google Nexus 9 just because it has the newest and latest Android build along with all of its useful features, including the battery saving mode, which is awesome.

    But Asus Padfone X also has a great UI because besides having all the standard features on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, this tablet also some new revamped interface plus new added features from Asus, not to mention some cooler visual presentations here and there all over the place.

    So i think this depends on your personal preference actually.

    If you love stock Android UI, then go with Google Nexus 9. But if you want a lot more cool features and new looks of UI, then Asus Padfone X is still a decent choice.

    Back to Top
    Between Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X, i think it’s very obvious that Google’s tablet is far more superior on the sector of performance. And that’s mostly because it’s equipped with NVIDIA’s latest and greatest Tegra K1 processor, along with the staggering 192-core Kepler GPU plus 3GB of RAM.

    Not to mention, the Tegra K1 processor of this device is the Denver version with 64-bit architecture. So as a result, this tablet really screams compared to Asus Padfone X.

    However, it doesn’t mean that Asus Padfone X will be inferior in terms of performance compared to Google Nexus 9.

    Well, it’s not true because this Asus tablet also receives the best treatment from the manufacturer especially when knowing that it is the latest flagship device from this company.

    So there’s no doubt that Asus Padfone X also excels on the sector of performance, just like Google Nexus 9.

    But of course, if pitted side-by-side against this Google’s tablet, Asus Padfone X stands no chance to compete on this department.

    Even so, both tablets are still really powerful equally and any task that you throw on any of these tablets – even many tasks and apps at once – will be executed perfectly in fast and smooth experience.

    Meanwhile, in terms of gaming performance, it’s just no brainer that Google Nexus 9 is far more superior than Asus Padfone X.

    And that’s thanks to its Tegra K1 processor and 192-core Kepler GPU that are believed to be capable to deliver the same graphical performance as today’s desktops/PCs.

    In fact, according to some benchmark tests, this processor is able to top Apple’s A7 SoC (system-on-chip) with 3 times graphic power compared to the iPads.

    And we all know already that iPads have been really powerful in the graphical performance, especially with its PowerVR G6430 GPU.

    So basically, with this insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor, this Google Nexus 9 is able to handle any Android games that you see today on the market like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5 and even GTA San Andreas.

    Not to mention, thanks to the desktop-quality graphical performance of Tegra K1 processor, this tablet is also able to run some console-quality games like Trine 2 (PS3), Half Life 2 (PC) and many other titles from console game developers that are about to arrive in the near future.

    Meanwhile, despite not having the same powerful graphics performance as Google Nexus 9, the internals found inside the Asus Padfone are still considered as high-class of hardware, even for today’s standards.

    It has a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, coupled with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM, which are more than happier to execute any graphically demanding games like GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 5 or Asphalt 8: Airborne in buttery smooth performance and of course, in full highest graphics.

    The other thing that makes the gaming experience on this Asus tablet probably stand out compared to Google Nexus 9 is probably its dual-device capability – a 5-inch smartphone and a 9-inch Padfone Station.

    So if you’re not in mood to play games with the larger-screened tablet, you can simply detach the smartphone from the Padfone Station and continue playing your favorite games right away from the 5-inch smartphone.

    It goes the same with the other way around. So i think this can be really fun especially when playing games on-the-go.

    However, that plus point found on Asus Padfone X can also be tackled by the other great things found on Google Nexus 9.

    And that is its sound quality.

    Thanks to HTC’s decision to design this tablet with the dual-front-speaker grilles, the sound quality of this tablet is really loud and clear, making the gaming experience on this tablet more realistic for gamers.

    As a matter of fact, theVerge also compliments the sound quality of this device, and its reviewer really hopes Apple also implements the same thing on the future iPads.

    But that’s not it. There’s still more that makes the gaming experience of Google Nexus 9 far greater than Asus Padfone X.

    And that is the huge support from many console/PC game developers to port their popular titles on Tegra K1 devices like Google Nexus 9, especially given its desktop-quality graphics performance.

    Not to mention, the close partnership of NVIDIA with many console/PC game makers like Ubisoft, Activision, EA and many others, could be really helpful especially to convince these developers to make console-quality games for Tegra K1 devices in the future.

    So between these 2 tablets, i think it’s really obvious that the tablet that has the best gaming experience as a whole is definitely Google Nexus 9. No doubt about that.

    Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Google Nexus 9 and Asus Padfone X... , including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

    Cameras

    The superiority of Google Nexus 9 on the sector of gaming experience probably can be tackled by Asus Padfone X on camera department.

    And this is not so surprising given that Asus Padfone X is actually a 5-inch smartphone that has another complement device called Padfone Station.

    And we all know that most of flagship smartphones have some great high-quality cameras compared to tablets.

    So when it comes to the sharpness of taking photos, it’s no brainer that the 13MP rear-facing camera with LED flash on Asus Padfone X is more superior compared to the 8MP camera with LED flash on Google Nexus 9.

    But even so, despite having only 8MP camera on the back, according theVerge, the camera of this device is capable to take decent quality shots, although it’s not on par with 5MP iSight camera on iPads.

    So even if you pick any of these devices and you happen to love photography very much, then you’ll make no mistake if you buy either Google Nexus 9 or Asus Padfone X.

    The most importantly is, they both take great shots.

    Battery Life

    Similar just like on the screen department, Asus Padfone X also uses 2 different battery capacities on both the 5-inch smartphone and the Padfone Station.

    However, when merged together, these 2 devices’ batteries will also be combined into one battery.

    The 5-inch smartphone of Asus Padfone X is powered by a 2300mAh battery, while the Padfone Station is equipped with a much larger 4990mAh battery.

    Meanwhile, as a solo device, Google Nexus 9 is only powered by a pretty huge 6700mah battery inside. So both of these devices are actually pretty equal on the sector of battery capacity and basically, these guys can survive in one solid day, of course in moderate use.

    However, if we talk about battery life, i think i have to go with Google Nexus 9 because there are some factors on this tablet that make its battery life stronger.

    First of all, it comes with stock vanilla Android UI, which is really efficient with the use of battery.

    Not to mention, there’s also this battery saving mode along with its technology that Google includes on this Lollipop – like the ability to wake up the screen by using one single tap without waking up the entire pixels of the screen, etc -, making this tablet really efficient with the battery life.

    And this has been proved on Google Nexus 5 that has much improved battery life after the Lollipop update arrives.

    And this really contradicts with Asus Padfone X.

    First of all, it comes with Asus’ homemade customized Asus UI that has a lot of new added features and visual presentations, which obviously will take a lot of space in the memory.

    And this leads to the consistent use of energy especially when the RAM is filled with many running tasks in the background.

    So between these 2 tablets, i think Google Nexus 9 is a bit more efficient on the sector of battery life.

    My Personal Opinions

    So in conclusion, i personally think that both tablets are just great as a whole.

    Google Nexus 9 is no doubt powerful on many sectors of this device – like its processor, graphical performance, huge RAM, powerful 192-core GPU, great cameras, good sound quality, amazing gaming experience, solid battery life (thanks to Android Lollipop) and impressive modern-looking design.

    Asus Padfone X, however, is also a decent quality device.

    The most prominent strength found on this device is definitely its dual-device capability – which consist in a 5-inch smartphone and a 9-inch tablet “Padfone Station”.

    And this – in my opinion – really stands out compared to Google Nexus 9.

    The gaming experience of this device is also improved a lot thanks to this dual-device capability, as mentioned on the “gaming performance” section above.

    Asus Padfone X also looks good on the sector of hardware specs.

    It comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, coupled with Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM, plus it has a much better 13MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and of course, a full HD 1080p resolution on both devices – the smartphone and the tablet device.

    But if compared side-by-side against Google Nexus 9 in the whole aspect, i think it’s quite clear that Google’s tablet looks more superior than Asus Padfone X.

    So make it simple:
    • it has a much sharper 1536x2048 pixel display, 
    • a more faster Tegra K1 processor along with 192-core GPU, 
    • a more powerful graphical performance, 
    • greater gaming experience (esp. thanks to dual-front-speaker), 
    • full support from console/PC game developers, 
    • better sound quality, 
    • longer battery life with newer Lollipop software, 
    • and last but not least, it has the keyboard case
    Asus Padfone series actually has been known also for its keyboard dock. But, i’m not sure if Asus Padfone X still comes with keyboard dock anymore just like the predecessors - Asus Padfone I & 2, Asus Padfone Infinity I & 2.

    So between these 2 tablets, i believe Google Nexus 9 is a much better tablet in the whole aspect than Asus Padfone X.

    Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...

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