Google Nexus 9 VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1: Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on January 27, 2015 | 0 comments
Google Nexus 9 VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1: Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back to this site!

With more and more tablet manufacturers jumping to the productivity category on tablet market, now we as customers can reap the benefits from this huge exodus.

And also, thanks a lot to Microsoft that has changed its police to slash the cost of its full-fledged Windows Pro OS for manufacturers that want to make affordable Windows tablets, now we can have a much bigger options of productivity tablets with Windows Pro OS, but in cheaper price range.

Speaking of productivity tablets, i think most of us will think about either Surface tablets from Microsoft, Asus Transformer series or other Windows-powered devices.

However, besides these tablets, there are actually many other tablets that are also pretty good especially to accommodate your needs to do some productivity stuff.

Two of them are Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro, the 10.1-inch model.

Google Nexus 9 VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 benchmarks and gaming performance

Anyway, today i want to put these 2 tablets into the same ring in my comparison review. I think this could be interesting to see which one of these tablets that is more prepared as a productivity device.

It’s also pretty exciting to see how they fare against each other on every aspect - like spec sheet, media capability, screen, battery life, camera and of course gaming performance.

Well, if you’re also interested to know more about these 2 devices, including my scrutiny on their performance and experience especially as productivity devices, plus their gaming experience, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

Introduction

The whole aspect of these 2 tablets is actually quite good. As a matter of fact, i think it’s pretty obvious that they both are really well-prepared especially as productivity-focused tablets.

Google Nexus 9 has its official keyboard folio case from HTC/Google, while Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is more prominent with its productivity-related software, all wrapped up in a brand new UI called “Magazine UI”.

If i’m not mistaken, this Magazine UI has been dropped by Samsung entirely and altered back to normal TouchWiz UI due to Google’s end of ownership over Motorola, you know, in order to reduce the ‘heat’ between Google-Motorola to compete head-to-head against all Android manufacturers, including Samsung.

So you probably won’t see this UI anymore on the next-gen GALAXY devices from Samsung in the future. But i might be wrong about this.

Anyway, in order to be categorized as productivity tablets, Google Nexus 9 has its keyboard case, while Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 has the productivity software (as opposed to the stock Android UI on Google’s device).

But the more impressively about these 2 tablets is actually their entire specs.

Google Nexus 9 is powered by a 64-bit Tegra K1 processor and 192-core GPU, not to mention other high-grade specs. Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is also getting the best treatment from Samsung – like the 2.5K display, powerful processor and GPU, great quality camera, impressive design and many more.

But there are still some questions remain. With all of the high-grade powerful specs and performance – especially as productivity devices -, between Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1,

Which one that deserves to be the best productivity tablet in this comparison review?

Which one of these tablets that is a so much better gaming tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to buy any of these tablets, especially for playing heavy 3D games?

Be sure to read the rest of this review if you want to find out more about my final conclusion of this comparison review. :)

Design

Just like Samsung GALAXY Note 3 phablet, this 10.1-inch Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro is actually not a huge departure from its sibling.

As a matter of fact, there are some elements on Note 3 that can also be found on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 – like the faux leather case, fake metal trim all over the side and fake stitching on the rear-edge-side.

Not to mention, this tablet also still inherits the sharp looking less-rectangular corners that actually make it look more elegant, sturdy and in fact, premium.

Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE

Similar just like Samsung’s tablet, Google Nexus 9 also takes some inspiration from other device. And this time it happens to be one of HTC’s own smartphone – HTC One M8.

Even though they don’t look quite similar, but there are some parts that put these 2 different category devices ‘on the same page’. One of them is their dual-speaker grilles.

So just like HTC One M8, Google Nexus 9 surprisingly also comes with the same dual-speaker grilles on the front.

The great thing about this element is, thanks to this speaker grilles' placement on the front, the sound that comes out from the speaker is really loud and clear. And this makes the experience of watching movies and especially playing games more realistic on this device.

Between the 2, i think both Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 and Google Nexus 9 have their own advantages and weaknesses against each other. Samsung’s tablet looks really elegant and premium, thanks to the metal trim and faux leather plus fake stitching on the rear cover.

Meanwhile, Google Nexus 9 also looks quite modern with its overall look, and its dual-speaker grilles really make it a better device for watching movies and playing games.

However, in terms of build quality, it’s too bad that Google Nexus 9 apparently is not as good as expected by many people. And that’s shown on its rear-cover.

According to many famous tech reviewers on YouTube – from TheVerge, Marques Brownlee and Phonearena – the back cover of this tablet is really prone to catch fingerprints and human grease.

This really contradicts with Samsung’s tablet that has solid build quality on its rear-cover, which of course feels nice, comfortable and not fingerprint-friendly.

So in the long term, this can be quite annoying because having a tablet with dirty back cover can totally ruin the overall experience of most users.

This will make Google Nexus 9 users more careful when holding this device, and even force them to cover this tablet with external case cover (which probably can be useful given that Tegra K1 devices probably still have the overheating problem just like Tegra 4).

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Google Nexus 9 (HTC )Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE

4G LTE
Released November 2014
8.9 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1536 x 2048 pixels (~281 ppi pixel density) 16M colors
Dual-core 2.3 GHz Denver Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
Kepler DX1 GPU
2 GB RAM
Android OS 5.0 Lollipop
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
8 MP rear-facing camera 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
1.6 MP front-facing camera, 720p
HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE
NFC, Bluetooth v4.1
Wi-Fi 802.11
USB
GPRS
EDGE
No Radio
GPS
Java MIDP emulator
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
Indigo Black, Lunar White, Sand Colors
Non-removable Li-Po 6700 mAh battery

    4G LTE
    Micro-SIM
    Released March 2014
    Weight 477 g (1.05 lb)
    10.1 inch Super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen, 2560 x 1600 pixels, es (~299 ppi pixel density)
    Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
    Adreno 330 GPU
    2 GB RAM
    Android OS 4.4 (KitKat Samsung TouchWiz UI
    8 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash
    2 MP front-facing camera (1080p@30fps)
    Memory Card slot microSD for up to 64 GB
    16/32 GB Internal storage
    GPRS
    HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps
    Wi-Fi 802.11
    Bluetooth
    Infrared port
    microUSB v2.0
    HTML5
    No Radio
    GPS
    Java MIDP emulator
    Non-removable Li-Ion 8220 mAh battery

    As 2 flagship devices from HTC and Samsung, of course both of these tablets are well-prepared on the sector of hardware. And that’s shown perfectly mostly on the processor and GPU of each device.

    Google Nexus 9 is powered by NVIDIA’s latest and greatest Tegra K1 dual-core processor with 64-bit architecture, accompanied by 2GB of RAM and a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU.

    Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 also looks superior in performance, thanks to the Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM found inside its machine.

    In terms of performance, both devices are really powerful in today’s standards.

    However, if compared side-by-side against each other, of course Google Nexus 9 with its Tegra K1 processor is the one that will come out as the winner here.

    But the good thing is, there are still some parts on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 that put it on the same level and in fact, overshadow Google Nexus 9 in the whole aspect.

    Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 comes with 2.5K resolution (2560x1600 pixels) on its 10.1-inch display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 2MP front-facing camera, Magazine UI based on Android 4.4 KitKat, a huge 8220mAh battery and some other standard features.

    On the other hand, Google Nexus 9 features a “Retina” 1536x2048 pixel display, a dual-core Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture, 2GB of RAM, 192-core Kepler GPU, 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 1.6MP front-facing camera, Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, a pretty huge 6700mAh battery and some other standard features.

    Actually, both devices look good equally on the sector of hardware specs.

    However, in terms of quality, we’re about to find out which one of these devices that is really better in the whole aspect.

    Screen

    On paper, Google Nexus 9 definitely is not on par when it comes to sharpness against the 2.5K display of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    And that’s pretty obvious considering its resolution – 1536x2048 pixels – is lower compared to the one found on Samsung’s device – 1600x2560 pixels.

    But apparently, it’s not just on paper, but also in the real life implementation.

    So again, according to PhoneArena, TheVerge and Marques Brownlee (or MKBHD), the display of Google Nexus 9 apparently is not nearly as nice looking as the “Retina” display of iPads – despite using the same 1536x2048 pixel resolution.

    So there’s visible air gap between the glass and LCD, the colors often look washed out and there’s also visible backlight on the side of the screen, especially when the screen is set in dark black color.

    The good thing, the screen of Google Nexus 9 still looks gorgeous and insanely sharp. So all of its problems probably will not be so annoying for most of users, especially the ones that are not tech-savvy.

    On the other hand with Google Nexus 9, the display of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is of course far more superior than Google’s tablet. And again, it’s not just on paper, but in overall quality.

    Thanks to Samsung’s years of experience and expertise on display department of its devices – especially with Super AMOLED technology – the display of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 looks really gorgeous and insanely sharp.

    It has great viewing angle, great color reproduction and saturation and pretty much everything that you throw on this display just looks amazing.

    In fact, the display of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is one of the best on the market to date.

    User Interface

    Just like my early comparison between Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 vs NVIDIA Shield Tablet, the UI comparison between Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is actually really similar, in fact, just the same.

    So similar just like NVIDIA Shield Tablet, Google Nexus 9 also comes with the stock vanilla Android UI based on the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop, while Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is more convenient with its Magazine UI.

    Both of these UIs of course look and work entirely different one to another.

    The stock Android UI on Google Nexus 9 is the standard and comes with the basic design layout that you’ve come to love on Android OS, like homescreen with widgets, app drawer, notification window and many other standard features.

    Meanwhile, the Magazine UI on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 actually kind of reminds me with Live-Tile-based Metro UI on Windows-powered devices, which come with Live Tiles on entire homescreen area.

    These 2 UIs are actually great equally and they both offer a lot of cool things to users.

    The Magazine UI looks really elegant with box-shaped Live Tiles and widgets, plus Samsung’s usual multiwindow split-screen mode (which allows users to float 4 apps on the same screen).

    Meanwhile, the stock Android UI on Google Nexus 9 looks and works just like we’re already familiar to see on many Android tablets. But thanks to Google’s latest Material Design on Android 5.0, now the entire look and features of this UI are way more improved with much simpler overall design.

    Back to Top
    When it comes to gaming, it’s no-brainer that both Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 will be more than great for that matter. Google’s tablet has an insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor and a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU – which are made for console-quality gaming -.

    Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is also looking good with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and Adreno 330 GPU.

    And thanks to 3GB of RAM on Google Nexus 9 and 2GB of RAM on Samsung’s tablet, the free space in the memory will be bigger especially when running some heavy games.

    So basically, with these type of hardware package on each tablet, both Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 are more than adequate to execute even the latest and most graphically demanding games like Modern Combat 5, GTA San Andreas or Asphalt 8: Airborne – all in buttery smooth performance and in full highest graphics.

    However, if compared side-by-side against each other, then it’s pretty obvious that Google Nexus 9 is more prepared in terms of gaming performance and experience than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    And that’s because – besides having a powerful 64-bit Tegra K1 processor -, there are also some important factors that make it a much better gaming tablet overall.

    First of all, it has a greater more powerful gaming performance. As a matter of fact, the Tegra K1 processor inside this tablet – according to game and Epic Engine developers – is more than capable to deliver the same graphical performance as today’s desktops/PCs.

    And this means, in the near future, the next-gen games for Tegra K1 tablets like Google Nexus 9 will have more detailed console-quality graphics and more advanced visual effects than on other non-Tegra-K1 devices out there.

    And this can already be seen on some games like Half Life 2, Trine 2 and Oddworld Stranger's Wrath - which are ported straightly from consoles and PC, even with the same graphics and visual effects.

    Besides that powerful performance, Google Nexus 9 is also more superior in terms of sound quality than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    That’s thanks to its dual-front-speaker grilles that according to some reviews on YouTube – including theVerge and Marques Brownlee – is able to produce loud and clear sound quality to this device.

    And this really makes the experience of playing games on Google Nexus 9 more realistic than on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 - of course, without headset.

    But apparently, that’s not it. There’s more. And one of them is the close partnership between NVIDIA and many famous console/PC game developers like Activision, Ubisoft or EA.

    The advantage of such partnership is, this will make it easier for NVIDIA to convince its partners to port some of their popular games specifically to Tegra K1 devices in the future, of course if Tegra K1 tablets become popular across the market and manage to grow a huge ecosystem in the future.

    So with all of these facts, i think it’s just not that hard to recommend you Google Nexus 9 instead of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 as a better gaming tablet.

    In fact, Google Nexus 9 is actually one of the best gaming tablets on the market to date, alongside iPads and NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    So if you’re in the search for a pure gaming tablet that is actually intended as a productivity device, then Google Nexus 9 can be your best shot here, if not NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Google Nexus 9 VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

    Cameras

    In terms of camera, something that is really impressive is actually found on the Google Nexus 9. So on this tablet, HTC apparently makes such huge improvements on its camera – compared to predecessors – that’s able to take some decent quality shots without any tweaks from users.

    This is according to some reviews on YouTube. But of course, compared to flagship devices from Samsung – including Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 – then it’s pretty obvious that the cameras of Google Nexus 9 will be crushed mercilessly especially in terms of quality and sharpness.

    But even so, taking photos and recording videos on Google Nexus 9 can actually be quite pleasing to do because it’s just capable to take great shots.

    Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 – as a flagship device from Samsung -, it’s just no brainer that its camera quality is just top notch and even on par with the iSight camera on iPads.

    So basically, if you’re into photography, then you will definitely pick up Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 instead of Google Nexus 9.

    However, if you love taking photos and recording videos, the cameras of Google Nexus 9 are actually pretty reliable to accommodate your hobby.

    Battery Life

    On the sector of battery life, both Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 can actually be considered as equal.

    Okay, Samsung’s tablet may have a much larger 8220mAh battery, while Google Nexus 9 looks more humble with a smaller 6700mAh.

    However, Tab Pro 10.1 comes with a super-high-resolution 2.5K display – which is power hungry – plus a heavy-weight fully-featured software – which also is power hungry -.

    So i’m not surprised to see this device use a much larger battery.

    But basically, with each battery capacity, both Google Nexus 9 and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 are still more than capable to deliver an all-day-long battery life to users, of course in moderate use.

    So practically, if you use any of these tablets to do some basic daily stuff in mixed screen-on and screen-off, then you can expect to see these devices survive until the night arrives, of course on a full 100% charge.

    However, if you use any of these tablets to do some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen at all – like for watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row -, then their battery life would drop drastically to just probably around 4 to 6 hours the longest, maybe more maybe less.

    But between these 2 tablets, i think Google Nexus 9 has a slight advantage than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    And it’s not only because it has lower-resolution screen, but it also comes with light-weight stock Android UI without any heavy customizations from manufacturer – or in this case, HTC.

    Not to mention, this Android 5.0 Lollipop also comes with battery saving mode and some other features plus tweaks from Google that make it more efficient with the use of battery life.

    So i believe this could really help a lot in making it last much longer than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    My Personal Opinions

    So in my final conclusion of this comparison review, i personally think that Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is slightly superior than Google Nexus 9 in the whole aspect.

    And that means, yes, Samsung’s tablet is a much better tablet than Google-branded Nexus device.

    Okay, Google Nexus 9 may have the so called “Retina” display and powerful gaming hardware package (64-bit Tegra K1 processor and 192-core Kepler GPU).

    However, in overall quality, it’s actually Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 that really excels on each sector of the device.

    I mean, compared to the “Retina” display on Google Nexus 9 that is not nearly as nice looking as the “Retina” display of iPads, the 2.5K screen of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 of course looks much better, much sharper and the entire quality of its display (from viewing angle, color reproduction and saturation) is far better than the display of Google Nexus 9.

    The screen of Google Nexus 9 is definitely sharp, but apparently, the panel used on such a flagship device like Google Nexus 9 is not the good quality one. So as a result, it gains a lot of negative reviews from many tech sites.

    But even so, according to Marques Brownlee, the screen of Google Nexus 9 is still great and sharp though, but not as great as the “Retina” display on iPads or Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    And it goes the same with other parts of Samsung’s tablet, from the cameras, the software, features, build quality and battery life.

    But the good news is, Google Nexus 9 is still far more superior than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 in terms of gaming performance and experience.

    So besides having an insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor (that’s able to execute console-quality games), this Google Nexus 9 is also supported by many mobile and even some console game developers.

    And thanks to NVIDIA’s close partnership with many famous console/PC game makers, this of course will open up the chance for these developers to port some of their popular titles specifically for Tegra K1 tablets like Google Nexus 9.

    And this means, the future of gaming on Google Nexus 9 is much brighter than on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    The other thing that makes Google Nexus 9 a better gaming tablet than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 is its sound quality. And this thanks to its dual-speaker-grilles on the front side, which makes the experience of playing games on this device much better than on any other tablets without dual-front speaker grilles.

    So long story short, as a gaming tablet, then Google Nexus 9 is just more ideal than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1.

    But even so, for playing Android games, both of these tablets are still powerful equally.

    As productivity device, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 and Google Nexus 9 are also good for that matter. I mean, Google Nexus 9 may have the official keyboard folio case released by Google on Play Store.

    However, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 also has an impressive Magazine UI that can be really good for doing some productivity stuff, especially when paired with 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard.

    So either if you pick Google Nexus 9 or Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1, any of these tablets will serve you well as a productivity tablet.

    So bottom line, if you’re looking for a decent productivity tablet that is much simpler than Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft, then either Google Nexus 9 or Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 can still be a great option for you.

    However, if you’re in the search for a simple productivity device that will also be great to handle console-quality games in the future, then Google Nexus 9 is definitely your destination here.

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

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