Is The Nexus 9 A Well Rounded Device? Internal Components Suggest Otherwise
With the launch of the Nexus 9, its time we took a look at what lies under the hood of Google and HTC's graphics powerhouse. The Nexus 9 just went for $199 yesterday thanks to HTC's Hot Deals, so now more of you should be interested in what makes the device tick and whether its the right device for you. Thankfully for all of us, folks over at iFixit have done a Nexus 9 teardown and we're here to explain to you how the device works and what it looks like under all the glossy casing. So lets start.
The Nexus 9 is one easy tablet to open up. The rear cover of the device doesn't require any tools to remove. You can simply remove it using your fingernails but be warned. The camera of the device is fixed rather stubbornly to the rear case and will get pulled out of its connector once you remove the rear case. To further complicate things, the connector to the camera is located underneath the motherboard so you're going to need to remove the motherboard as well if you intend on reconnecting it yourself.
The rear camera on the Nexus 9 is the same one used on HTC's Desire 610 announced earlier this year. The camera, labelled as 3BA804P1 K1419 A 1.0 has a resolution of 8 megapixels and f/2.4 aperture width. It comes with LED flash and auto focus on board, but without any optical image stabilization. Not quite the stunner as some cameras found on other gadgets, notably Samsung's Galaxy Note 4. Perfect for some light photography, but don't expect it to do much in more demanding situations.
Battery life is one crucial element that is being debated on the Nexus 9. The device is powered by the Tegra K1, which delivers top notch graphics performance, but being manufactured by the 28 nm process, ends up draining battery life as well.
To power the Tegra K1, the Nexus 9 comes with a 3.8V 6700 mAh battery on board. Also, the battery on the Nexus 9 isn't that easy to remove. You're going to need a fair amount of pressure and some good tools if you want to take a look at it. As far as capacity goes, the much less power demanding iPad Air 2 has a larger battery of 7340. Seems like battery life is one area which could give the Nexus 9 some trouble in the future.
The modest front camera for the Nexus 9 is relatively easy to remove and doesn't end up dislodging itself from the motherboard without any effort applied. It has a resolution of 1.6 MP with f/2.4 aperture.
Its time for perhaps the most anticipated feature of the Nexus 9, at least in the hardware department. Taking the device further apart allows us to get to the heart of it all and lay our eyes on the motherboard and the much talked about Tegra K1, which is something that has set the Nexus 9 out in the tablet market in terms of performance. So take a look at the Tegra K1 in its full glory, below.
Labelled as T4K885 01P TD590D-A3, the red box above shows Nvidia's 64-bit, Dual Core, Denver Tegra K1 SoC. For something that houses 192 GPU cores on board, you'd expect a greater size, but the tinier the things, the more powerful they are these days. The orange box is 2 GB of Micron Technology's FA164A2MA 16 Gb RAM and the yellow box is Samsung KLMAG2GEAC 16 Gb eMMC NAND Flash Storage.
The green box is Broadcom's BCM4354XKUBG MIMO 5G Wi-Fi 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.0/FM Module which is, as you guessed, responsible for wireless connectivity on the Nexus 9. Other components include the Texas Instruments TI47CFP91 T65913B3D9 in blue and Broadcom BCM4752 Integrated Multi-Constellation GNSS Receiver which is capable of collection of data from GLONASS, SBAS, GPS and QZSS for better navigation.
Front facing speakers on the Nexus 9 show that HTC/Google have not put much significant effort towards multimedia design in their much hyped tablet. The speakers on the NExus 9 appear to be quite ordinary and fade away to mediocrity when compared to the ones found in Apple's iPad Air 2. Seems like the major focus in Nexus 9's design has been performance and software.
The display of the Nexus 9 isn't as easy to separate as the back cover of the device is. Separating the LCD from the Display Assembly is quite hard since HTC has gone to great lengths to make sure the two can not be separated. Nevertheless, once separated, we get to see the touchscreen controller on the LCD display.
After looking at the Nexus 9's internals, one thing is clear. Google and HTC have focused the device solely around two things: Performance and Software. The Tegra K1 and Android 5.0 both are first of their kinds in the market, and any user eager to try them out together for the first time should get his/her hands on the Nexus 9.
However, if you're looking for a great multimedia device with above par photographic capabilities then the Nexus 9 will disappoint you. For all the performance lovers, stay sharp since HTC's promised new deals for the device pretty soon. The last one did see the device being sold for half its price after all. For all the multimedia and photography lovers, stay put. Our Nexus 9 Vs iPad Air 2 hardware comparison will be up soon.