When it comes to gaming tablets, these tablets were at the forefront of the competition when they were launched in 2014. Both the Nvidia Shield and the Nexus 9 directly competed with each other as the specs and display size were largely similar, as was the software experience. But in an Nvidia Shield tablet vs Nexus 9 battle, who would win? Off the top of our heads, we would vote for the Nvidia Shield, but to see what we mean, you really should read through this comparison we put together for you guys!
Nvidia Shield Tablet vs Nexus 9
The Nvidia Shield is made by gaming hardware behemoth Nvidia, while the Nexus 9, though labeled a Google tablet, is manufactured by Taiwanese electronics giant HTC. Coming from a legacy of graphic cards (GeForce), Nvidia made sure their tablet packed everything a gamer would require from their tablet. The Nexus 9, on the other hand, checks all the boxes and runs stock Android, and works as an all-rounder. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both these devices.
- You get access to a vast gaming library
- Gaming performance is top-notch
- Comes with a stylus that also works very well
- Has powerful front-facing stereo speakers
- Has an HDMI out
- Build quality could have been better
- Needs you to invest in a Shield controller for the best experience
- The screen is a bit dim
Here’s Marques Brownlee’s take on the Nvidia Shield:
Google Nexus 9
- The screen is pretty impressive even though it’s an LCD
- Runs stock Android very smoothly
- The metal frame makes the tablet look modern and stylish
- The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass
- Has a fairly large battery
- Tends to overheat pretty soon
- No memory card slot, so limited storage
Here’s a short review of the Nexus 9:
|Model||Nvidia Shield||Nexus 9|
|Display||8.0 inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1200 pixels||8.9 inchesIPS LCD1536 x 2048 pixels|
|Chipset||Nvidia Tegra K1Quad-core 2.2 GHz||Nvidia Tegra K1Dual-core 2.3 GHz|
|Battery||5400mAh Li-Ion||6700 mAh Li-Po|
|Memory||16GB 2GB RAM||16GB 2GB RAM32GB 2GB RAM|
|SD Card Support||Yes, microSDXC||No|
|OS||Android 7.0 Nougat||Android 7.1.1 Nougat|
|Ports||microUSB 2.0Mini HDMI||microUSB 2.0|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band,Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Hotspot|
|SIM Support||No||Yes, Nano-SIM|
|Stylus||Yes, comes with a stylus||No|
|Dimensions||8.70 x 4.96 x 0.36 inches||8.98 x 6.05 x 0.31 inches|
|Weight||13.76 oz||15 oz|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
Nvidia Shield Tablet vs Nexus 9: Features Face to Face
If you’re even more confused after that table, we don’t blame you! After all, it appears both devices have either one or the other feature, and they both carry the same chipset as well. But it’s only when you take a closer look that you see where it gets different. So let’s start with the design.
When it comes to design, both devices seem similar. They both have soft-touch plastic backs with their respective logos printed in large format across the back. What we liked about the Nvidia Shield is the way the stylus disappears into the body — it’s quite stylish. The dual speaker grills on the front of the Nvidia Shield also add a nice look to it. In comparison, the Nexus 9 has functional speaker holes but does not add anything, aesthetically speaking. However, the Nexus 9 is available in White, Black, and Sand color variants, whereas the Shield can only be bought in a black option.
Both the Nvidia Shield and the Nexus 9 comes with IPS LCD screens, but the Nvidia Shield has an 8-inch display, whereas the Nexus 9 rocks a 9-inch display. The high-resolution Nexus 9 screen seems better than the Shield when placed side by side. Additionally, the Nexus 9 comes with version 3 of Gorilla Glass from Corning, which is useful in keeping the screen safe from accidental drops. The Nexus 9 would get a thumbs-up from us for having a slightly better and larger display between the two.
Front-mounted stereo speakers are a delight, and we consider them an integral part of owning a tablet. This is because speakers placed on the back or the side simply do not offer the same audio experience. Luckily, both these tablets feature excellent front-facing speakers. You also have 3.5mm headphone jacks on both of them, and since they both have Bluetooth, you’re good to go with your wireless earbuds as well.
On paper, the Nvidia Shield and Nexus 9 come with the same Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset. Still, the difference is that the version inside the Nvidia Shield is a highly-mutated and superpowered unit of the K1 chip. This is because gamers are demanding creatures, and offering them a chip that could keep up with their skills was mandatory for Nvidia, given that its main customer base is the gaming community.
Nvidia also threw in a free stylus with the Shield tablet, and it is pretty optimized for use in various apps. Another win for the Shield is that it comes with a mini-HDMI out — so all you need to connect this tablet to your TV is an adapter. Here’s a piece we wrote about connecting your tablet to your TV. You should give it a read!
The Nvidia Shield shipped out with Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), but thankfully, the updates from Nvidia continue all the way to Android Nougat (version 7.0). The Nexus 9 runs the smoothest version of Android, as it runs stock Android Nougat. This does mean that you miss out on all the additional features that other manufacturers add to the OS.
For example, Nvidia not only gives you access to its Shield Games library, but you also get apps such as Squid and Nvidia Dabbler. The settings menu is a gamer’s dream come true — you can tweak many, many settings and customize them for each app as well. Another feature we loved about the Shield tablet is its ability to switch to ‘Console Mode’ when connected to a smart TV. It basically powers off the screen, shuts off all apps, and puts all its processing power into letting you game at the best possible game settings.
And did we mention that you can stream and game directly from your PC to your Shield tablet if your PC has a GeForce graphics card? That’s right, thanks to GameStream, you can now play all the games that are installed on your PC. All you need is a broadband connection and the latest software updates, and you can be anywhere in the world and still be able to play PC games on your Shield tablet, as long as your internet connection holds up.
When it comes to software experience, the Nvidia Shield is a clear winner for us.
When it comes to performance, both of these tablets may seem similar to a layman. Both run apps smoothly, are fun to watch videos on, and both tablets refuse to show any lag. But dive into the settings, and you’ll start to see why the Nvidia Shield is superior. It has high-performance modes for when you want to game, and you can also restrict the amount of computing power that apps demand from the chipset. You can also control the number of cores you want running at any point in time.
You are restricted to Android games on the Nexus 9, but the HTC tablet does a decent job of it. The games run smoothly enough, but it’s the Nvidia Shield that really wins the vote from us.
It’s uncommon to see people shoot pictures with their tablets, and this was doubly true back in 2014. This is also the reason why the camera specs of neither the Shield nor the Nexus 9 are great. On the Nvidia Shield, you get a 5MP camera on both back and front, whereas the Nexus 9 is marginally better with an 8MP camera on the rear and a 1.6MP shooter on the front. If we had to pick, we’d choose the Nexus 9’s camera for being slightly better than the Shield.
Accessories / Peripherals
Straight off the bat, the Nvidia Shield crushes the Nexus 9 with accessories, which the company promotes as much as it does the tablet. This is because these extras come together to give you a premium experience that Nvidia wants you to enjoy as a Shield tablet owner.
First off, you have the Shield controller, which is great if you’re an avid gamer and plan on playing plenty of the games from the Shield Games app. You can also use Xbox or PS controllers, but user reviews have us convinced that you’re better off with the custom controller if you don’t want to experience bugs or other issues.
The DirectStylus 2 stylus is another great highlight for the Nvidia Shield. The apps running on the Shield have been optimized to work with the stylus, so regardless of whether you want to take down a few notes or draw a few doodles on Dabbler, you’re in for a great experience. When it comes to accessories, the Shield tablet is unbeatable. The Nexus 9 has a nifty cover-keyboard combination, though, as you can see in the picture below.
Both tablets run Android 7, but we found the experience to be a bit richer on the Nvidia Shield thanks to all the thoughtful extras the company has added to Android. Be it the apps or the flexibility when it comes to tuning your settings, the operating system on the Nvidia Shield feels more intuitive and rich than the stock Android experience on the Nexus 9, which at times feels a bit bland. Note that the Nexus 9 is still smooth, and the animations are pretty fluid.
For the amount of time we spend on our devices, there is never enough battery charge! But being a gaming device, we would expect more out of the Nvidia Shield, as it comes with a 5400mAh cell and no fast charging. As a gaming tablet, it really should have carried better battery specs! In comparison, the Nexus 9 shines, as it features a 6700mAh battery under the hood. This makes the Nexus 9 a daily driver, and if you need a tablet with more battery life, you should go for the Nexus 9.
We aren’t fully sure why the Nexus 9 does not offer a slot for memory cards, especially since the storage caps out at 32GB on the LTE version. If you pick the WiFi model, you have to make do with just 16 gigs of storage space. In comparison, the internal storage on the Nvidia Shield maxes out at 16GB, but at least you get a microSD card slot that lets you store up to 128GB of data or files. It would be a bad idea to get a tablet with such little storage, so in this scenario, we would definitely recommend the Shield over the Nexus 9.
Nvidia Shield Tablet vs Nexus 9: Quality and Reliability
The Nvidia Shield tablet and the Nexus 9 from Google were both launched in 2014 (July and October of that year, respectively). Because of this, you’d find it tough to find these devices unless you search for them on eBay or be on the lookout for unopened boxes from collectors on other seller sites. But if you do manage to get your hands on a new piece, you’ll still have a good experience since both devices were well-made and quite reliable.
Since both Nvidia and HTC have discontinued production of these devices and no longer sell these devices through their official channels, you’re unlikely to find that the company will honor the warranty.
As mentioned above, the products being discontinued may make it difficult to get any repairs done if you need to get either of these tablets fixed up. But it’s always worth a shot since these companies have a stellar record of customer care, so definitely reach out to them if you run into issues. You can reach out to HTC Support and Nvidia Support via their official websites.
Now that we’ve broken down both tablets to the basics, as you can see, there are as many similarities as there are differences, which is why you can’t pick a winner easily. After all, the Nvidia Shield is a gaming delight, whereas the Nexus 9 is ideal for someone who wants a larger screen and a simple, stable operating system with good battery life.
Though you will not be able to find the Nvidia Shield or the Nexus 9 via official company channels anymore, it is possible that the occasional boxed unit pops up on eBay or Amazon. These are the approximate prices for the Nvidia Shield and Nexus 9 in 2022:
Nvidia Shield Tablet
Nexus 9 Tablet 2GB 16GB
Nexus 9 Tablet 2GB 32GB
We hope you liked this Nvidia Shield Tablet vs Nexus 9 comparison article because it was a lot of fun for us, too! We found both devices to be on the same level regarding offerings and value for money. But we did sway a bit more towards the Nvidia Shield because it’s such a good gaming gadget, despite the years since its launch.
So if you’re looking for a tablet that you can spend hours gaming on, then you should go for the Nvidia Shield. But make sure you buy the Shield controller as well because that’s half the fun. And if you’re looking for a tablet that you can use for various activities like watching videos, running Google Maps, connecting to your TV, and playing the occasional game. In that case, you should consider the Nexus 9. Let us know in the comments which tablet you’d choose!
Related Read: 11 Best Gaming Tablets