NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Google Nexus 9: Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
January 20, 2015 | 0 comments
NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Google Nexus 9: Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back!

NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 have been the center of attention lately around tech world. Many tech reviewers and enthusiasts were really impressed with these 2 tablets.

And that’s not really shocking because NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 are both powered by NVIDIA’s latest and greatest Tegra K1 processor.

And this already shows how powerful these 2 tablets really are in the first place.

As a matter of fact, as already proved by some benchmark tests, this Tegra K1 processor is capable to deliver even the same graphical performance as today’s desktops or PCs.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Google Nexus 9 benchmarks and gaming performance

But that’s not it.

Thanks to that Tegra K1 processor inside these 2 tablets, both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 have the capability to even handle console/PC-quality games that have been ported specifically for Tegra K1 tablets – like Trine 2 (PS3) and Half Life 2 from PC.

So there’s no doubt if these 2 tablets deserve to be called as 2 of the most powerful tablets on the market right now.

I even believe that their gaming performance are currently unmatched by even the iPads – although Apple is also great for playing games.

Anyway, today in my next tablet comparison review, i would like compare these 2 tablets and show you which one of them is really worth your money.

And given that NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 are both Tegra K1 tablets, i think it would be interesting to see how they fare against each other in gaming performance.

I know that these 2 tablets will be great – in fact, the BEST – gaming tablets on the market right now.

But i believe there is still a lot more to explore from these devices

Well, if you’re also interested to find out more about these 2 tablets, especially my scrutiny on their gaming performance, features and their whole thing, then here you go, my tablet comparison review between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9.

Introduction

At the glance, NVIDIA Shield Tablet kind of looks like the tablet that NVIDIA released a year ago – NVIDIA Tegra Note.

Well, that’s not shocking because both of these devices are made by NVIDIA itself. Actually, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is not a huge departure from NVIDIA Tegra Note.

There are many elements of the predecessor that are still used on NVIDIA Shield Tablet – like the same dual-front-speaker grilles, the same design, the same Tegra processor (but more advanced Tegra K1 of course) and last but not least, the same stylus along with its pre-installed features.

As a Tegra K1 tablet, no doubt that NVIDIA Shield Tablet really excels in gaming performance.

As a matter of fact, this tablet is not only capable to handle all Android games on the market right now, but it also has the power to even play some console/PC-quality games that are specifically ported for Tegra K1 devices – like Trine 2 (PS 3), Half Life 2 (PC) and many more in the near future.

Besides its impressive powerful gaming performance, there is also a lot of great things that NVIDIA Shield Tablet has to offer to users.

For example, let’s start with its stylus.

Similar just like the predecessor (NVIDIA Tegra Note), this NVIDIA’s homemade tablet still inherits the same but more improved stylus. More impressively, it’s now even more amazing with much improved and more advanced-realistic writing experience.

On the other hand, despite being a Tegra K1 tablet, Google Nexus 9 actually falls in the different category than NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So first of all, it’s not intended as a note-taking tablet as it has no stylus.

Second of all, the Tegra K1 processor inside Google Nexus 9 is actually more powerful than the one found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

It is a Tegra K1 dual-core Denver processor with 64-bit architecture, as opposed to the Tegra K1 quad-core 32-bit processor inside the NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So in terms of overall performance, it’s definitely Google Nexus 9 that is more superior compared to NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

However, despite not having the same 64-bit Tegra K1 processor as Google Nexus 9, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is much better tablet here because it offers many great benefits to users.

I’m not saying Google Nexus 9 is a bad tablet – that’s so wrong because Google Nexus 9 is also a great quality tablet.

But i think, the addition of stylus on NVIDIA Shield Tablet really makes this device a better offering in the whole aspect than Google Nexus 9. This Google-branded tablet actually has its own keyboard cover (sold separately).

Meanwhile, NVIDIA Shield Tablet also has its own Xbox-alike controller (sold separately) to accompany the stylus.

So i think what NVIDIA Shield Tablet has to offer to users is – in my opinion – just better overall than Google Nexus 9.

But the questions remain, with all of the impressive things found on both tablets, which one between these 2 tablets that deserves to come out as the best gaming tablet in this review?

Do these NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 deserve to be positioned alongside other flagship rivals on today’s tablet market?

Which one of these 2 devices that is worth your money?

You'll know more about the answers of these questions at the end of this review. So be sure to keep reading this post. :)

Design

When it comes to design, NVIDIA Shield Tablet actually runs on the same track with Google Nexus 9.

And it’s not that surprising for me given that the predecessor of NVIDIA Shield Tablet – Tegra Note – is actually inspired by the same design concept of HTC’s flagship smartphone – HTC One, especially with its dual-speaker grilles on the front.

So no wonder if this tablet looks similar with HTC’s homemade Google Nexus 9.

But i think, that is good because i personally really this design concept even from the first-gen NVIDIA Tegra Note (HP Slate 7 Extreme as well).

NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet

Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9

It looks really modern and unique than any other Android tablets out there on the market, which mostly have this generic looking design.

And thanks to the dual-speaker grilles on the front, the sound that comes from the grilles is really loud and clear, making the experience of watching movies or playing games more realistic for users, especially gamers.

However, there’s still one downside found on the Google Nexus 9.

And that is its rear-cover. According to many reviews (including Phonearena and theVerge), the rear cover of this tablet is really prone to catch finger prints and human grease.

So if you decide to buy this tablet, you probably would need to buy an extra case cover to protect its rear cover from touching your hands because trust me, it won’t look good anymore if it’s filled with many of fingerprints and grease all over the place.

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Nvidia Shield TabletGoogle Nexus 9 (HTC)
No SIM
Released 2014, July
390 g (Weight)
DirectStylus 2
8.0 inchCapacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 16M colors (~283 ppi pixel density)
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
ULP GeForce Kepler 192-core GPU
Dual bass reflex port audio enhancement
microSD Memory Card slot for up to 128GB
Internal 16 GB
2 GB RAM
No GPRS, No EDGE
Wi-Fi 802.11
Bluetooth
microUSB
5 MP rear-facing camera (2592 ? 1944 pixels) autofocus touch focus, HDR
5 MP front-facing camera with HDR
HTML5 Browser
No Radio
Java MIDP emulator
HDMI port
19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery
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 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
1.6 MP front-facing camera, 720p
HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE
Bluetooth v4.1
NFC
GPRS
No Radio
GPS
Java MIDP emulator
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
Non-removable Li-Po 6700 mAh battery
Stand-by: for up to 720 hours 
Talk time: for up to 9 hours 30 minutes 

On the hardware standpoint, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet should give the crown to Google Nexus 9 because it has better overall specs than NVIDIA’s tablet.

First of all, its display is larger and much sharper with 8.9-inch screen sporting the 1536x2048 pixel resolution (which weirdly is the same resolution of latest iPads), compared to the smaller 8-inch display with 1920x1200 pixel resolution on NVIDIA’s tablet.

And then, on the performance department, Google Nexus 9 is taken care by a dual-core Denver Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture, as opposed to the 32-bit quad-core Tegra K1 inside NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

It goes the same with the 8MP rear-facing camera of Google’s tablet that is better than the 5MP shooter on NVIDIA’s tablet – especially given HTC’s experience on this sector with Ultra-Pixel tech.

However, for the most part, i think both tablets are still equally great in the whole aspect.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet may not have the same sharper display, more powerful 64-bit Tegra K1 processor and better 8MP camera on Google Nexus 9 (not to mention, the keyboard case as well).

However, it still has an amazing Direct Stylus 2, great cameras and especially, it has its own gaming controller that NVIDIA releases officially for this device, which will surely give much better gaming experience to this tablet.

Screen

Screen is definitely the sector that Google Nexus 9 shows off its superiority at compared to NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

It has a much larger 8.9-inch display with much sharper 1536x2048 pixel resolution – as opposed to the full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution on the 8-inch display of NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So when it comes to sharpness, Google Nexus 9 is a clear winner here if compared with NVIDIA’s tablet.

It looks much even sharper, the text is more readable, the image looks crisp and everything that you throw on the screen will no doubt look insanely sharp on this device.

But even, the screen of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is actually not too shabby at all. Its full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution on a smaller 8-inch display already looks really sharp for most of users.

Interestingly though, according to theVerge, the screen of Google Nexus 9 – even though it looks sharp -, is not as great as the Retina display on iPads.

“The colors often look washed out, there’s a visible air gap between the glass the LCD itself and the back light is easily visible from the side of the screen”. As said by TheVerge about this tablet in its review.

And this contradicts with the screen of NVIDIA Shield Tablet which gains many great positive reviews from tech reviewers on YouTube.

User Interface

One of the great thing found on both devices is probably their UI. Both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 come pre-installed with stock vanilla Android UI, which means, their overall performance will be really fast and smooth, plus more efficient in battery life and memory.

And that’s because with this stock Android UI, there will be no bloatware and unnecessary pre-loaded tasks and apps running in the background – which usually will drain the battery much faster.

In terms of Android version, Google Nexus 9 looks better than NVIDIA Shield Tablet here because it is the world’s first tablet shipping with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.

The good news, NVIDIA already tackled that issue a couple of weeks ago by releasing the same Android 5.0 Lollipop for its NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So both of these tablets are equally prepared on this sector.

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When NVIDIA released NVIDIA Shield Tablet to the market, it’s really obvious that this graphic card manufacturer had a clear intention to make this device a pure gaming tablet.

And that’s shown clearly by how this company also released a separate Xbox-alike gaming controller to accompany this tablet.

This is actually not very surprising given that its predecessor - NVIDIA Tegra Note – was also intended by NVIDIA clearly as a gaming tablet, despite being a note-dedicated device.

So if you’re planning to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet in the near future, you can totally expect its gaming performance to be top notch.

In fact – in my opinion -, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet alongside other Tegra K1 tablets like Google Nexus 9 and Xiaomi Mi Pad are the best gaming tablets out there on the market right now, especially in terms of performance and experience.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet is powered by a quad-core Tegra K1 processor clocked at 2.2GHz per core.

Meanwhile, Google Nexus 9 is armed with a more powerful a dual-core Denver Tegra K1 processor with 64-bit architecture.

However, in terms of overall performance, both of these tablets are equally fast and smooth, especially when doing some basic daily tasks like watching HD movies, reading books, browsing the web, controlling the UI or using live wallpaper.

The good news is, both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 come pre-installed with the stock Android UI.

Google Nexus 9 already comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, while NVIDIA Shield Tablet also already receives the same Android build a few days after Nexus 9.

So i believe this could really help a lot in making their performance run much even faster and smoother, plus more efficient in battery life.

Meanwhile, as far as the gaming performance is concerned, i think both tablets are ‘on the same page’ for that matter.

And that’s thanks to the Tegra K1 processor found inside NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 – which is basically intended by NVIDIA as gaming processors -.

Even though Google Nexus 9 comes with the 64-bit model of Tegra K1 chipset, i don’t think there is a huge difference on their gaming performance.

So if you buy any of these 2 tablets, you can totally expect its gaming performance to be really powerful, in fact more powerful than any other tablets out there on the market today.

So basically, either NVIDIA Shield Tablet or Google Nexus 9 is capable to handle the latest graphics intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5 or even GTA San Andreas.

And yes – all of these games will play in buttery smooth performance and of course, in full highest graphics.

Not only that actually, as Tegra K1 tablets, you’ll also be able to play some console-quality games like Trine 2, Half Life 2 and many future next-gen titles that are ported specifically for Tegra K1 tablets.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet 2
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
In my opinion, both tablets are just great for playing games.

Their gaming performance is really powerful, they can handle any games that you see today on the market and their sound quality is also really loud and clear – thanks to the dual-speaker grilles on the front of these devices, making the gaming experience more realistic.

However, if i had to pick, i would probably go with the NVIDIA Shield Tablet because this tablet is a pure gaming tablet.

Not to mention, NVIDIA also releases the Xbox-alike controller for this device and according to many early reviews on YouTube, this gaming controller is really awesome and works really great on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.


On the other hand, Google Nexus 9 is also a perfect machine for gaming – just like NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

But the fact that Google Nexus 9 is intended by Google as a productivity tablet probably makes this device an ideal productivity tablet, not a pure gaming tablet.

But even so, Google Nexus 9 is still as great and powerful as NVIDIA Shield Tablet in terms of gaming performance. No doubt about that.

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

Cameras

NVIDIA with its old-gen Tegra Note managed to gain many great reviews even on its cameras. And this company apparently still wants to continue that tradition on the successor.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with 5MP camera on the back – similar just like the predecessor -, while the other 5MP camera can be found on the front – which is a huge upgrade from a VGA front-facing camera on Tegra Note.

In terms of quality, this tablet is actually not too shabby at all. It’s able to take decent quality photos and even slo-mo videos.

Meanwhile, on the blue side (but wait, where’s the red side by the way?), Google Nexus 9 looks more superior with an 8MP rear-facing camera and LED flash, while the front-shooter is 1.6MP, as opposed to the 5MP front and back cameras on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

In terms of quality, i think Google Nexus 9 has the edge here compared to NVIDIA Shield Tablet, especially with its LED flash.

However, the rear-facing camera of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is also impressive though, as shown by some reviews on YouTube.

According to theVerge, the rear camera of Google Nexus 9 is able to take decent shots, which is not surprising given HTC’s expertise on this camera department.

So if you love photography, you’ll make no mistake if you decide to buy any of these tablets. They are able to take great pictures and sharp videos.

Battery Life

I think the decision of both companies to use the stock vanilla Android OS is a great one because by using this stock UI, not only are these tablets capable to perform much and smoother, but their battery life is also more efficient.

All thanks to Google’s latest battery saving mode on Android 5.0 Lollipop - like the ability to see to see new updates and notifications on lockscreen with one single tap without waking up the entire screen and its pixels, Project Volta, etc.

And the good news is, NVIDIA Shield Tablet already receives this update just around few weeks ago.

So in terms of battery life, you can totally expect both of these devices to survive in a solid day on a single charge – of course in moderate use.

Basically, they will last all day long if you use any of these devices to do some basic media-consumption tasks in your spare time.

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

As a matter of fact, according to some reviews on YouTube, the battery life of NVIDIA Shield Tablet could drop to just 2 or 3 hours if you use it for playing some graphically demanding games in the row.

I think its full HD display is the one to blame or probably its Tegra K1 processor because these 2 things can be really power hungry.

But even so, both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 are relatively good in terms of battery life, not the best, but good enough for most of users.

My Personal Opinions

So in conclusion, i think this can be pretty hard for me to determine which one between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Google Nexus 9 that is a better tablet, especially for gaming.

I mean, NVIDIA Shield Tablet may have its own Xbox-alike controller that works really great for this device.

However, Google Nexus 9 is also really impressive because it’s equipped with a more powerful 64-bit Tegra processor, as opposed to the 32-bit Tegra K1 quad-core processor on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

So at the end of the day, the final decision to buy any of these tablets will come down to your personal preference. If you want a note tablet with great gaming performance, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a great tablet for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a productivity device that is powerful for gaming, then Google Nexus 9 can be your best shot here as this tablet comes with keyboard cover (sold separately).

But for me personally, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a much better tablet in the whole aspect than Google Nexus 9.

And i have some strong reasons to believe that.

First of all, its stylus. I’m personally really impressed a lot with the stylus of this tablet, even from the first-gen Tegra Note released last year.

In fact, the writing experience of its stylus is as great as the S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note 8 – as i’ve already seen on some video comparison reviews on YouTube between this tablet and Samsung Note device).

Long story short, the stylus of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is really amazing you can even create some beautiful professional paintings out of it.

The other great thing on NVIDIA Shield Tablet is its design. And this has something to do mostly with its great gaming experience.

So this tablet is designed to have dual-speaker grilles on the front side. And this really helps a lot with the sound that comes out from the speaker.

So as a result, the sound quality of this tablet is really loud and clear, making the experience of playing games or watching movies more realistic.

The more impressively is, the sound of this tablet doesn’t get muffled easily even if your hands cover the speaker grilles when holding this device in landscape mode.

Google Nexus 9 actually also has this same exact design, given that HTC – the maker of HTC One M8 - is the one that manufactures this tablet in the first place.

And we know already, NVIDIA Shield Tablet takes some design cues from HTC One M8. So in terms of sound quality, both of these tablets are equally great.

Besides those great stylus and sound quality, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is up ahead compared to Google Nexus 9 because NVIDIA also releases the dedicated gaming controllers for NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

And according to many reviews, this gaming controller really works great on this NVIDIA’s tablet.

So this really adds up a lot more points to NVIDIA Shield Tablet especially as a pure gaming tablet (which is the main reason why i built this site in the first place, right?).

So bottom line, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a much better tablet than Google Nexus 9, of course as a gaming tablet.
  • It has powerful gaming performance,
  • it has sharp display, it has huge 2GB of RAM,
  • it has THD well-optimized games for NVIDIA Shield Tablet (i believe Nexus 9 also has it),
  • it has amazing stylus,
  • it has some high-grade specs,
  • it has the dedicated gaming controller,
  • it has great sound quality,
  • it has modern-looking design
  • and pretty much everything about this NVIDIA’s tablet is just perfect, especially as a gaming tablet.
However, Google Nexus 9 is also a great quality tablet as well.
  • It has a much sharper display than NVIDIA Shield Tablet,
  • it has the dedicated keyboard case,
  • it has better camera (given HTC’s experience on camera departments, especially with its ‘Ultra Pixel’ technology),
  • it also has modern-looking design,
  • it has great sound quality (thanks to the dual-front speaker grilles),
  • it has smooth experience
  • and pretty much about this device is also great, if not the best.
But i believe it’s more ideal as a productivity device instead of a pure gaming tablet, given its keyboard cover – although it’s also as powerful as NVIDIA Shield Tablet in terms of gaming performance, no doubt about that.

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