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At £199, Google's Nexus 9 finally makes sense

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Ever since Google launched the Nexus 10, I've craved a decent full-size Android tablet. Sony's Xperia slates are nice enough, but I've always missed the purified software experience that comes with Nexus devices. When the Nexus 9 was announced, I thought a worthy upgrade had arrived, but it quickly became clear that the hardware wasn't up to HTC's usual standards. The plastic back creaked and the display suffered from light leaks, while the price, which originally started at $399/£319, felt a little on the high side.

It's been roughly six months, and now we're starting to see some price movement for the Nexus 9 in the UK. John Lewis and Currys/PC World, for instance, currently have the 16GB model listed for £199.99. Both deals are only temporary, but they're still significant given how long the Nexus 9 has been on the market. There's no word on whether the price drop will ever become permanent, but I feel like it definitely should.

You see, I like many of the ideas underpinning the Nexus 9. The brand has never been a huge seller for Google (arguably by design) but there's a substantial group of people that want a large, premium Android tablet at an affordable price point. With its One smartphone line-up, HTC has shown that it can design beautiful hardware, and the Nexus 9 was an opportunity to marry that expertise with the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop. (The device still hasn't been updated to Android 5.1, incidentally.) The 9-inch display's 4:3 aspect ratio, while not to everyone's tastes, is great for reading digital comics, magazines and browsing the web, and the front-facing speakers are well-positioned for blasting out music.

However, the Nexus 9 does have its flaws. As we've said before, the device can be a little awkward to hold, and the display is good enough, but not spectacular. It's a similar story with the speakers and performance. Both are solid, but nothing exceptional. All of this is a problem when you're being asked to shell out £319. But £199? Personally, that makes the tablet's drawbacks less of an issue -- although of course, you could argue that a flawed product will always be flawed, whether it's being sold for £319 or £199. Google should make this price drop official, only then does the Nexus 9 start to make sense.

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