Google Nexus 9 vs Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
Google Nexus 9 vs Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back!

The first time Google introduced the first generation of its Nexus 7 tablet, it suddenly became a huge hit around the tablet market and in fact, could bring a significant recognition to Asus and especially Google.

Last year, however, Google decided to not refresh its Nexus 7 tablet just like it did 2 years ago in 2013. Instead, Google came up with something new that was more interesting than before.

And that is of course, Google Nexus 9 – another Nexus tablet but aimed at productive users.

Similar just like the first-gen Nexus 7 tablet that Google released in 2012, this Nexus 9 tablet is powered by NVIDIA’s mobile processor.

However, as a new-released tablet, of course Google Nexus 9 receives the latest and greatest from NVIDIA – which is Tegra K1 64-bit dual-core Denver processor.

Interestingly, despite having a powerful processor for gaming, Google decides to introduce this device as a productivity tablet – as shown by the keyboard folio case that Google launches specifically for this tablet on Google Play Store.

Google Nexus 9 vs Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet benchmarks and gaming performance

Well, that’s actually the reason why today i’m really interested to bring up again this Nexus 9 tablet into my next comparison review. This time, however, the tablet that i want to pit side-by-side against this Nexus 9 tablet is coming from Sony – Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

This Sony’s tablet is actually still a new-gen model from Sony's last year tablet portfolio. So i think it’s still relevant to compare these 2 devices in this review.

Well, if you’re interested to know more about these 2 tablets and their gaming performances, then check this one out guys, my comparison review between Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet vs Google Nexus 9. Hope you like it. :)

Anyway, if you like what I share in this review, then don't hesitate to share it on Twitter or Facebook.

Introduction

As far as tablet category is concerned, both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Google Nexus 9 actually fall in 2 entirely different categories - Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is a pure media-consumption tablet, while Google Nexus 9 is more on productivity side.

However, there is one in common that probably makes these 2 devices stand on the same bandwagon. And that is their hardware package, which is powerful and more than good for gaming.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet with its Snapdragon 801 and Adreno 330 GPU is of course powerful to handle the latest games. It goes the same with Nexus 9 with its Tegra K1 dual-core 64-bit processor.

However, in terms of overall quality, i think between these 2 tablets, they both have their own strengths as well as weaknesses against each other.

Anyway, on paper, it’s no brainer that Google Nexus 9 looks more superior than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet especially given that this Nexus device is powered by a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU, which means it will have more powerful graphical performance than the one found on Sony’s tablet.

But even so, both tablets are actually still great equally for playing games.

But the questions remain, with all of the high-grade specs and powerful graphical performance found on both tablets, which one between Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Google Nexus 9 that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Which one between these 2 devices that is so much even better tablet in the whole aspect?

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

Well, hopefully we’re about to find out more about the answers of these questions at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!

Design

Around the smartphone market, both Sony and HTC have been known for their expertise in making premium quality devices. And that shows again perfectly on their latest-gen tablets - Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Google Nexus 9 respectively.

However, between the 2, i think i have to side on Sony’s tablet in terms of design and build quality.

Well, that’s because not only is this tablet equipped with water and dust proof certification, but it also comes with an impressive design and solid build quality.

And this really contradicts with HTC’s homemade Nexus 9.

Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9
Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Despite being a flagship tablet from HTC – which has been known for its premium quality devices –, the build quality of this tablet surprisingly is not that good especially compared to Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

Okay - don't get me wrong. Its design looks gorgeous, no argue about that. However, something that keeps bugging me with this tablet is actually its rear cover.

According to many reviews on YouTube, including TheVerge and PhoneArena, the rear cover of Nexus 9 is really prone to catch fingerprints and human grease.

And this cannot be tolerated because flagship high-end devices mostly have great build quality – like iPad, Samsung flagship tablets, LG G Pad or Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

This really contradicts with Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet that has a great build quality that not only feels really sturdy on hands and comfortable to hold, but it's also not prone to catch fingerprints.

And the capability of this device to “swim” inside the water for 30 minutes really makes it a far better offering than Nexus 9 tablet.

The design of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is actually not a huge departure from the predecessor - Sony Xperia Z Tablet. It still inherits the sharp looking edges, metal trim around the side of bezels and of course clean dark black finish all over the place.

It looks really elegant, premium and of course, deserves to be positioned alongside other flagship devices on the market, even the iPads.

But even so, there are still something to appreciate from the design of Google Nexus 9. And that is the dual-speaker grilles found on the front side.

So similar just like HTC’s flagship smartphone – HTC One M8 -, the front side of Nexus 9 also has this dual-front-speaker grilles on the left and right areas.

According to theVerge, PhoneArena and Marques Brownlee (hopefully, i can get from other sources in the future), these dual-front-speaker grilles really contribute to its good sound quality.

And this really makes the experience of watching movies or playing games more realistic because the sound is really loud and clear. Even the reviewer of theVerge had hopes that Apple would also implement the same dual-front-speaker thing to iPads in the near future.

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet LTEGoogle Nexus 9 (HTC)

4G LTE (Micro-SIM)
Weight 439 g (15.49 oz)
Released March 2014
10.1 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 1200 x 1920 pixels, (~224 ppi pixel density). 16M colors
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801 Chipset
Adreno 330 GPU
3 GB RAM
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
microSD card slot for up to 64 GB
16 GB of Internal storage
8.1 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
2.2 MP front-facing camera
NFC
Java MIDP emulator
GPS
HTML5 Browser
Triluminos display
X-Reality Engine
IP58 certified: dust proof and water resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes
Non-removable Li-Po 6000 mAh battery
Up to 1240 hours (2G) / Up to 1200 hours (3G) of Stand-by time
Talk time (multimedia): for up to 13 hours
Music play: for up to 188 hours

    4G Network 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 LED flash
    1.6 MP front-camera (720p video recording)
    LTE
    Bluetooth v4.1
    NFC
    Wi-Fi 802.11
    USB
    GPRS
    EDGE
    No Radio
    GPS
    Java MIDP emulator
    Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
    Non-removable Li-Po 6700 mAh battery
    Talk time (multimedia): for up to 9 hours

    As 2 flagship tablets, of course both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Google Nexus 9 are really prepared when it comes to hardware specs. However, between these 2 devices, i think Google’s tablet looks much shinier than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet on the sector of hardware, especially in terms of performance.

    Even so, both devices can still be considered as equal on this sector because they both have their own strengths and weaknesses as well against each other.

    Google Nexus 9 comes with an 8.9-inch display sporting the “iPad Retina” 1536x2048 pixel resolution, a dual-core Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture, 2GB of RAM, a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU, 8MP and 1.6MP cameras back and front with LED flash, a pretty huge 6700mAh battery and some other standard features, including LTE connectivity.

    Meanwhile, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution on its 10.1-inch display, a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 8.1MP and 2.2MP rear-facing cameras, NFC, IP58 certification, microSD card slot for up to 64GB, a 6000mAh battery and some other standard features.

    Not to mention, Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat comes out of the box, while Google Nexus 9 comes pre-installed with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

    Between the 2, i think i have to side on Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet because the overall quality of this device is just slightly better than Google Nexus 9 (despite having less powerful processor and GPU, plus a lower-resolution screen).

    But Sony’s tablet has microSD card slot, NFC, bigger 3GB of RAM, better cameras and not to mention, IP58 certification that makes it a tougher challenger for Nexus 9.

    Screen

    On paper, Google Nexus 9 may look more superior than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. Its higher-resolution screen (1536x2048 pixels as “Retina” display on iPads) looks much sharper than the full HD 1920x1200 pixel display found on Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

    But apparently, that’s just on paper. In the real world quality, however, it’s actually the display of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet that is more superior than the higher-resolution screen of Nexus 9.

    According to theVerge, the “Retina” display of Nexus 9 surprisingly is not nearly as nice looking as the “Retina” display of iPads. And this is pretty weird because Google Nexus 9 has the same exact screen resolution of iPads – which is 1536x2048 pixels.

    Still based on theVerge, the screen of Nexus 9 also has this visible gap between the glass and LCD, the colors often look washed out and there’s a visible backlight on the side of the screen.

    And it’s not just theVerge, Marques Brownlee from MKBHD also agrees that the screen of Nexus 9 has this visible backlight especially when the screen goes black, which shows some weird looking colors around the side of the screen.

    But apart from that, the screen of Nexus 9 is still relatively good and sharp for a flagship device, if not as great as iPads.

    This is the opposite of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. As a matter of fact, the display of this Sony's tablet is a huge improvement from the screen of predecessor - Sony Xperia Z Tablet (which has bad viewing angle, mediocre color saturation and the colors look washed out, similar just like the screen of Sony Xperia Z smartphone actually).

    But all of that is gone now and has been significantly improved on the second-gen Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. It now looks really sharp and vibrant, it has better viewing angle, great color saturation and the colors now look more popping out than before.

    So between these 2 tablets, i think it’s pretty weird to say that Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a better display quality than the screen of Google Nexus 9, despite having lower resolution than the “Retina” display of Nexus 9.

    Google's tablet may have the 'sharpness', but Sony's device has the 'quality'. So it's just not about quantity, the quality also matters.

    User Interface

    On all Nexus devices, Google still keeps the tradition going. And that is the use of stock vanilla Android UI on Google Nexus 9. On this latest-gen model, however, Google brings the latest and greatest Android 5.0 Lollipop and makes it the world’s first tablet shipping with Android Lollipop.

    Meanwhile, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is running on the other side of the road. It comes with the older-gen Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box (but i believe, it’s upgradeable to Lollipop) and its UI is fully-customized with Sony’s usual Xperia skins and features.

    So as a result, the UI of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet obviously has a lot more features and attractive visual presentations than the stock Android UI of Nexus 9.

    This is probably why Sony’s tablet has a much bigger 3GB of RAM than the one found on Google’s tablet – which is only 2GB. But even so, both tablets are really good equally in terms of software.

    But of course, between the 2, i think i will go with Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet because first of all, i’ve been a huge fan of Sony Xperia UI.

    It looks really elegant with its dark-themed live wallpaper and i also like all the new added features, like multiwindow mode that allows users to float many apps on the same screen.

    On the other hand, the stock Android 5.0 Lollipop UI on Nexus 9 is more prominent with the “Material Design” that Google introduced a few months ago in 2014 along with the announcement of Android L.

    So there will be huge improvements over the previous-gen KitKat especially on the entire design and visual presentations as well.

    Both tablets are actually great with their own UIs, however, when Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet receives the Lollipop update, i believe it’s going to offer a lot more features and better looking more useful UI than on the Nexus 9.

    Back to Top
    The gaming performance of both tablets are actually good 'on the same level'.

    They both are equipped with the best mobile processors on the market to date and they’re also more than capable to handle even the latest graphically demanding games on the market right now, even full highest graphics. No argue about that.

    However, if compared side-by-side against each other, of course, Google Nexus 9 is definitely the clear winner here against Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. And that’s because this tablet is powered by a dual-core Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture and a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU.

    And thanks to Google’s decision to use stock Android UI on this tablet, this really helps a lot in making it more powerful for playing games.

    And according to Epic game engine developers, Tegra K1 processor is so powerful it’s even capable to deliver the same graphical performance as today’s desktops or PCs.

    And this can be clearly seen on the capability of Nexus 9 to handle some console/PC-quality games like Trine 2 (correction: my bad! According to what I read around internet, apparently Trine 2 is not compatible for Google Nexus 9. So this game cannot be played on this device), Oddworld Stranger's Wrath and Half Life 2 that actually are ported officially from PS3 and PC, along with all of their graphics and visual effects.

    This really contradicts with Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet that is only able to play Android games.

    But it’s not just the gaming performance that makes Nexus 9 a better gaming tablet than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, but also its gaming experience as well.

    One of them is its good sound quality, thanks to the dual-front-speaker grilles found on this HTC’s homemade device.

    So according to many reviews on YouTube, this dual-front-firing speakers really contributes to its good sound quality. It’s really loud and clear, and it really makes the experience of playing games on this tablet more realistic especially for gamers.

    So in terms of gaming experience as a whole, i think it’s quite obvious that Google Nexus 9 is a much better gaming tablet than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

    It has far more powerful gaming performance, great sound quality, full support from mobile and even console/PC game developers and not to mention, it has a much sharper display than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

    But even so, as mentioned above, both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Google Nexus 9 are still great equally for playing games.

    Google’s tablet may be more powerful in graphical performance, but for today’s standards, both devices are still ‘on the same level’ when it comes to playing games.

    Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Google Nexus 9 and Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

    Cameras

    Through Nexus 9 tablet, Google surprisingly made a huge improvement on its camera, especially compared to other Nexus tablets. And this is actually not shocking because HTC – which is one that manufactures this device – has years of experience on the camera department of its devices (especially with Ultra Pixel technology of its smartphones).

    So as a result, the 8MP rear-facing camera on this tablet is able to take some decent quality shots.

    In fact, according to theVerge and Marques Brownlee, the photos taken with this tablet are actually quite good, although not as good as the iSight camera on iPads. But at least, Google is on the right track if it wants to make a true challenger for iPad in the future.

    It goes the same with Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet actually. As one of the camera suppliers for most tablet manufacturers like Samsung or even Apple, of course, the 8.1MP rear-facing camera on this device is more than capable to take some decent quality shots.

    In fact, if you love photography, you will feel at home when using the cameras on this tablet. Too bad there’s no LED flash found on this tablet, while Google Nexus 9 has it. So in low light condition, the photos or videos might not look that impressive.

    Battery Life

    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is powered by a 6000mAh battery inside, while Google Nexus 9 is equipped with a much larger 6700mAh battery. This is probably not that surprising because Google’s tablet has a much higher-resolution screen, plus more power hungry processor and GPU.

    However, in moderate use, any of these devices are more than happier to accompany you in a solid day on a single charge of 100%.

    But of course, if you are a power user and you’re gonna use any of these tablets to do some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen at all, their battery life could drop drastically to just around 4 to 6 hours the longest.

    According to GSMarena, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet could survive in 13 hours for talk time and 188 hours for music play. Meanwhile, Google Nexus 9 has a promised 9 hours 30 minutes of battery life in talk time (multimedia).

    This is probably due to the fact that Nexus 9 has a higher-resolution screen and a more power-hungry processor than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

    Besides, Sony’s tablet is also equipped with this battery saving technology on its screen. So this probably helps a lot in making this tablet last longer than Nexus 9.

    My Personal Opinions

    So in my final conclusion of this comparison review, i think it’s pretty hard to determine which one between these 2 tablets that is a better tablet in the whole aspect.

    I mean, Google Nexus 9 may have a higher-resolution screen than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. However, in the real life implementation, the display of Nexus 9 apparently is not as good as it is on paper.

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

    And this is really different with the display of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet that looks really vibrant and sharp, and it’s a huge improvement over the predecessor.

    However, on the sector of gaming performance, of course Google Nexus 9 is more powerful than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. And it’s not just on paper, but also in the real life execution.

    Both of these tablets may be capable to handle some latest heavy games like Modern Combat 5 or GTA San Andreas in buttery smooth performance and in full highest graphics.

    However, Google Nexus 9 also has all the graphical power to ‘execute’ some console-quality games like Trine 2, Oddworld Stranger's Wrath or Half Life 2 that both are ported officially from PS3 and PC respectively. And this probably cannot be found on Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

    Not to mention, thanks to NVIDIA’s close partnership with many famous giant game developers like Activision, Ubisoft or EA, this will really help a lot to convince these game makers to port their popular titles specifically to Tegra K1 tablets like Google Nexus 9 in the future.

    But then again, despite not having the same powerful gaming performance as Nexus 9, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is actually still superior in terms of cameras, display, design, battery life, features, UI, movie watching experience and it also comes with microSD card slot for up to 64GB to accompany its 16GB of internal storage (while Nexus 9 doesn’t have it).

    So i think it really makes the overall quality of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet much better than Nexus 9, despite having lower-resolution screen and less-powerful gaming performance.

    However, at the end of the day, the decision to buy any of these devices will come down to your personal preference and needs as well.

    So if you’re looking for a solid gaming tablet that is also great for doing productivity stuff, then Google Nexus 9 might be your answer here.

    It has powerful “gaming” processor and it also comes with the official keyboard folio case from Google (sold separately on Google Play Store).

    Meanwhile, if you’re only looking for a pure media-consumption device that is also good for playing games, then Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 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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