The HTC-made Nexus 9 is Google’s latest attempt to crack the premium tablet market. Previously, Google has done well with its rather affordable Nexus 7 tablets, but it has not taken a proper shot at the high-end tablet market, which is dominated by the iPad. The Nexus 9 is its first salvo at the iPad. We have been playing around with it for a day or so, read on for our first impressions.

Design wise, the HTC Nexus 9 does not hold a candle to the new iPad Air 2 or even the iPad Mini with the retina display. That said, the Nexus 9 is definitely a step up in terms of build quality than the previous Nexus tablets. Though its design is uninspired and feels similar to the Nexus 7, the metal band around the side of the tablet make it sturdier and nicer to hold.

The Nexus 9 is also smaller than the iPad Air 2. But it is bigger than the iPad Mini. It falls in-between the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini with its 8.9-inch display. This means that it is portable, but as it is a thick tablet, it does not feel as nice in hands as the iPad Air 2.

Both the iPad Air 2 and the Nexus 9 have the same resolution. This means on Nexus 9 we get a 8.9-inch display with 2048 x 1536 pixels resolution. In the short time we played with the device, we found the screen to be nice, but it did feel inferior to the screen on the iPad Air 2. The screen was not as vibrant and its brightness appeared to be lower.