Google Books PDF Test: Nexus 9



The Nexus 9, as I encountered it.


One-handed grip is possible.


The focus is off, but I was surprised at how thin it was.


Does it feel cheap? Let’s just say it doesn’t feel like $399. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 feels like money. See where my thumb is? That front edge is a bit sharp.

And we get right down to it:


Foxit Mobile PDF being downloaded directly from the Play Store.

But first I tried reading the PDF via streaming from Google Docs …


… the experience was miserable. The Best Buy store WiFi was jammed. I did a video of this but it’s not worth posting.

This joint, to grab the test PDFs:


How fast the site pulled up was amazing.

Something went awry in downloading. The iOS version of The American Magazine was unsuccessful:


Ignore the camera sensor interference pattern. I didn’t bother to smooth it with a filter.

I hogged the shit out of that Nexus 9. A fellow kept passing by to see if it was free. No damn way was I going to give it up when these downloads were taking so long! The near-300MB version of The American Magazine took about a half hour — that’s how overloaded the Best Buy WiFi was. But I was determined to do this damn test!

For the hell of it, I decided to try Adobe Reader too. Because it was already installed. And I was going to use that damn Nexus 9!

Adobe Reader and The People of the Abyss:

Adobe Reader and Surface Japan:

Adobe Reader and the full version of The American Magazine:

All of that? Pretty miserable. Adobe needs to optimize its software.

Now Foxit Mobile PDF.

Foxit Mobile PDF and The People of the Abyss:

Foxit Mobile PDF and Surface Japan:

Foxit Mobile PDF and the full version of The American Magazine:

That was breathtaking! The Nexus 9 with Foxit kicked the ass of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 with Surface Japan!

And the rendering of the full version of The American Magazine was the fastest I’ve yet encountered!

That 64-bit Tegra K1 CPU combined with Android 5.x is a freakin monster!

I didn’t expect that level of performance from an Android device at all.

I was so stunned that after these tests, I went and looked at other tablets for a while (not doing tests, just light pawing) and then went back to the Nexus 9. I opened The American Magazine again and acted as if I was reading it. Paging normally. And damn, it still blew away everything else. It wasn’t my imagination or a hallucination. It’s not 100% of what I want, but it’s up there at between 90-95%.

After trying the Nexus 9, I came upon the Mach Speed Trio 7.85 again. It still had Foxit Mobile PDF along with the copy of The People of the Abyss I put on it! So I opened it and — my god don’t waste your money on that thing! It was even worse the second time, after experiencing the speed of the Nexus 9!

I still need to get on an iPad Air 2 and attempt a download of the full ~300MB version of The American Magazine to see how it handles it.

So far, the Nexus 9 beats everything else I’ve tried and seen.

Previously here:

Google Books PDFs category
Prior Nexus 9 posts



Filed under Google Books PDFs, Video

7 responses to “Google Books PDF Test: Nexus 9

  1. Romeo

    That’s great! I held out for as long as I could and had to go for a Nex7 when it was on sale, so I could get stuck into my PDF library (Some PDF’s as much as 2GB). I wish these things were lighter so you could hold them comfortably in one hand, but I suppose that would require a whole new battery technology. It’s nice to see this new device getting closer to your requirements – cant be long now!

  2. Umt

    Hi Mike,
    I enjoy your blog. Thank you for everything. I have a nexus 4 phone pretty good phone actually but pdf performance had been terrible like most android device until Lolliop update came out. Now pdf performance is very good. Not perfect also not close to nexus 9 like your videos, yet there is a lot of improvement over kitkat.

    So the success you saw on nexus 9 depends on mostly android 5.0. I think many android tablet will give better pdf performance when they get lollipop.

    Not: I use foxit pdf too.

  3. Robert Jasiek

    Why is Android 5.0 so much faster than 4.4 for PDF viewing?

  4. I for one am happy for you because your neverending pursuit seems to be coming to a close. However, if you buy the Nexus 9 or the iPad, that means you won’t write anymore about China tabs and thus we’ll lose the best blogger in matter China tabs that there is, a genuinely good guy with diverse interests, a grumpy way of writing that I love, and a heart with priorities beyond the world of tablets and gadgets,

    • What I don’t understand is why someone else doesn’t do this. I’d rather read than have to write it.

      • I’d do it, but I live in Spain and I can’t get a Weibo account because my phone number doesn’t get verified.

      • I was able to get a Weibo account without a phone number.

        EDIT to add:

        Also, I checked Weibo well before I finally caved in and got an account. The only difference an acct makes is being able to get large images and sometimes being notified of live coverage of an introduction.

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