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Google Nexus 9 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

We like big tablets and we cannot lie - so we’ve been pretty impressed with Samsung’s mighty Galaxy Tab S. But there’s a new tablet challenger in town, the Google-branded and slightly smaller Nexus 9. Is the bigger tablet better?

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We really like the Galaxy Tab S. Will we like the Nexus 9 even more? / © Samsung

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: display and screen

The Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution display with a density of 287 ppi. The Galaxy’s screen is bigger at 10.5 inches, and it’s more dense too by a microscopic margin: its 2,560 x 1,600 resolution is 288 ppi. If you looked really, really closely you’d see that the Samsung is very slightly lower resolution, but we defy you to tell the difference without a microscope.

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: design and build quality

The Samsung is a lovely thing, super thin and reassuringly tough - although it does have a tendency to heat up when you run it hard. The Nexus appears to be more functional than funky: it’s not ugly, but you wouldn’t put it in a beauty contest either. 

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: processor and RAM

The processor inside the Nexus 9 is a dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1, a 64-bit processor with 2 GB of RAM. The Samsung comes in two versions: one with an 8-core Exynos 5 Octa clocked at 1.9 GHz, and one with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 at 2.3 GHz. The Samsung has 3 GB of RAM.

samsung galaxy tab s 10 5 usb microsd lautsprecher
The Galaxy Tab S is impressively thin and has a premium feel. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: operating system

In its role as Android’s flagship device, the Nexus 9 will run Android L 5.0, aka Android Lollipop. The Galaxy Tab S runs Android KitKat, although an Android L 5.0 update will no doubt arrive fairly quickly.

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: camera

The Nexus 9 has a 1.6 MP front-facing camera and an 8 MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization. The Samsung has a 2.1 MP front camera and an 8 MP rear camera.

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: battery

The Nexus 9 battery delivers 6,700 mAh, but the Samsung has more power: the Samsung Tab S has a 7,900 mAh battery.

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: tech specs

  Nexus 9 Galaxy Tab S 10.5
OS Android 5.0 L Android KitKat
Display 8.9-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 (287 ppi) 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixels (288 ppi)
Dimensions 153.68 x 228.25 x 7.95 mm

177.3 x 247.3 x 6.6 mm

Weight 425 g (Wi-Fi), 436 g (LTE) 465 g
Battery 6,700 mAh 7,900 mAh
Camera 8 MP with OIS 8 MP
Processor Dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800

RAM 2 GB 3 GB
Internal Storage 16 / 32 GB 16 / 32 GB
Connectivity Quad-band GSM, CDMA, Penta-band HSPA, LTE, 802.11ac (MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC HSPA, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
Price 399 USD 499.99 USD

Nexus 9 vs Galaxy Tab S: early verdict

Does size matter? That’s the big difference between the two tablets, with the Samsung offering a 10.5-inch screen and the Nexus 8.9 inches. That means the Samsung is the better tablet for gaming, video and generally slouching around on the sofa while the Nexus is more portable. You’re unlikely to be disappointed with either device, and we suspect that for many purchasers it’ll come down to a simple question of price - in which case the Nexus is an easy sell.

What do you think? Would you pay more for an extra inch?

10 comments

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  • The factor that has been left out is the micro sd card on the tab s. It can be expanded up 128 gb. The nexus can not be expanded. So clearly Google did not make anything better. I have the 2013 of the nexus 7. Biggest problem is when traveling without WiFi is videos can be only so many or music. My 10.5 that has 128gb sd can hold hours of video in HD and music. Google for gets that traveling with a WiFi only tablet, you need your files with you.

  • Really PIT? Isn't this a bit ridiculous? You are comparing two products, where one isn't even released yet and you never got your hands on a media kit yet. Please stop speculating and stick to news, not rumored specs.

  • If new Nexus Tablet is anything like my Google Nexus 10.5 that I have now then it will be a really nice tablet. And with the Nvidia processor at 64 bit it's going to be a really fast and awesome tablet.
    I know that I will be buying one!
    The one that I have now has been faultless sense the first day I got it .
    But you watch as their is going to be talking heads telling everyone that it's this and that. I have to laugh.

  • CJ Brown Oct 11, 2014 Link to comment

    Software, Hardware, various features and functions, price - consumers will decide based upon these things (I can't wait to see the Nexus 9) ....

  • Why are comparisons being made when most of the nexus specs are rumors.Must have been a slow day at the office.There's one very important spec.not shown.The type of screen,is the nexus IPS,LCD,SUPER LCD ETC.It's going to be very tough to beat the tab S screen.I have the 8.4 and the 10.5.Also are they going to have a 32gb nexus.16gb is close to useless(well 10 or 11gb)by the time the OS gobbles up some space.That is my only complaint with the tab S 8.4,no 32gb offered.And developers and GOOGLE have just about rendered the SD card unusable for storing games and apps on.So I would say the nexus will have to do something incredible to make me change over.I will say,I have the Nvidia shield with the k1 chip and it's awesome.So the nexus will have that going for it.

  • Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE tablet or 10.5 trumps this Nexus tablet period.

  • plck74 Oct 11, 2014 Link to comment

    tegra k1? awesome but why 2g ram. hope it will not lag.

  • Why are polls being done on products that are not yet confirmed?

    • Dave P. Oct 11, 2014 Link to comment

      Not only that, but you can't accurately compare two products based on (presumable) specs only. The specs can give an indication, but it's how the device and software deal with the specs, that determines how well the device functions, handles and performs. Articles like this and the one with the Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air are mostly useless.

      I own (for example) a Nexus 7 (2013), which should perform better than my previously owned TF300 in regards to gaming. At least that's what the specs would like you to believe. well known touch related problems with the N7 screen however make it the most annoying tablet to play games on, and make me wish I still had my TF300 with lower specs. WiFi quality of the TF300 was also a lot better than that of my N7. That's just two (real world) examples, and I could name you a few more, but I think I made my point.

      It's fairly useless to draw conclusions after comparing two devices, when you only have one at hand. Unless of course you don't mind theoretical conclusions.

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