Nexus 9 with Keyboard Folio: Poor design, not ideal for work

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Tablets can be good tools for getting work done. That’s especially true when you pair the tablet with a solid keyboard. Unfortunately, design choices on Google’s Nexus 9 tablet and the optional Keyboard Folio make the pair a poor fit for taking to work.

The Nexus 9 is the latest tablet from Google, built by its partner HTC. It is a premium tablet with a price to match, starting at $399 and topping out at $599 with LTE. The build quality is worthy of the high price given it’s one of the few devices running the latest version of Android, Lollipop.

It has good hardware inside, starting with the Nvidia Tegra K1, and rounding out with the high resolution (2048 x 1536) 8.9-inch display. Unfortunately, this hardware is likely the cause of the back of the Nexus 9 getting noticeably warm near the rear camera. This is probably where the CPU and graphics chipsets reside. As troubling as the heat issue is, this isn’t the reason why the Nexus 9 is not ideal for using at work.

 The big reason why the Nexus 9 tablet from HTC and Google is not the best for taking to work is the lack of a memory card slot. Most Android tablets have a microSD slot (or bigger) to add external storage.

Memory card slots provide an easy way to share large files, like presentations, with colleagues. Business travelers appreciate the ability to load up a memory card with movies and music for those long flights.

The lack of expandable storage hits hard on the Nexus 9, as it is only available for purchase with 16 or 32GB of memory. It can connect to the cloud for storage, but that depends on always having a network connection.

The design choice to skip a memory card slot is silly, and especially so for a premium tablet costing $400 – $600. OEMs making cheap tablets can squeeze a card slot in, why couldn’t HTC and Google?

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