Google calls the Nexus 9 a tablet for mover and makers, perhaps an indicator that the new Nexus tablet is going to be pitched at productivity, rather than just portable entertainment.

Built by HTC, the Nexus 9 breaks new ground for Android with a 4:3 aspect display and the first 64-bit processor, the Nvidia Tegra K1. 

Also ushered in is Android Lollipop that makes its debut on the Nexus 9 and the Nexus 6 smartphone.

Nexus 9 preview

The Nexus 9 steps in and replaces the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 7, leading to a device that sits neatly in the middle. The 153.68 x 228.25 x 7.95mm measurements give you a compact tablet and the 425g weight is light enough to be portable, taking care of the "movers" part of Google's description.

Of course, since the Nexus 9 was announced, Apple came along with the skinny iPad Air 2 and that's likely to be the device that the Nexus 9 is immediately compared to. In some regards - like the sheer power - we're not able to compare at this stage.

What we can say is that there's a lot to love about HTC's design on the Nexus 9. You don't have a 6.1mm body that's all metal like Apple offers, but the tablet feels solid enough and the plastic back doesn't feel cheap.

It's a soft-touch plastic, providing plenty of grip and here it's sporting the "lunar white" colour. Note that it's "lunar white" rather than "diamond white" or "brilliant white". Yes, it's more light grey than white, but it should withstand the dirt and grime that a white colour might attract.

Nexus 9 preview

The back sits flush with the aluminium frame of the Nexus 9 which has a nice brushed finish. If you're craving metal like you'd find on the HTC One or iPad, then here it's really only a small element of the design. It's a nice look and feel though and those points are aesthetically pleasing. 

Compared to the Nexus 10 - built by Samsung - it's altogether a better quality of device. The Nexus 10 was groundbreaking in its own right with its 2560 x 1600 pixel display back in 2012, but the Nexus 9 is more manageable, and the screen width is pretty much the same. 

That's what the 4:3 aspect brings, a wider display that's going to be better in portrait when it comes to things like reading books and magazines. It means your 16:9 movies will be more letterboxed in landscape, but this is an aspect ratio that's been working for Apple since the iPad's inception.

Nexus 9 preview

The display itself takes a step back from the Nexus 10 in resolution terms. It now matches the iPad with 2048 x 1536 pixels spread across 8.9 inches. That's 288ppi, which it still pretty sharp.

First impressions of the display are pretty good. It seems bright and punchy and the viewing angles on the display look great, but perhaps the iPad Air 2 perhaps trumps it with that new anti-reflective layer. We can't immediately complain about the resolution, but once we've had the chance to fire up our favourite games, we might change our opinion. Suffice to say, we're happy with what we see here.

The device we got access to is obviously pre-release, so was running the preview build of Android 5.0, rather than the final release version of Lollipop. But what we see here is the full extent of Android's new material design. Some of it will be familiar, as apps like Chrome and Google Play Music have already been updated. The new multi-tasking UI is much nicer and it was slick and fluid to swipe though.

Nexus 9 preview

There's also some touches of detail that we really like, such as enhanced volume options. Tap volume down and you can opt to silence the tablet for an hour, or to only allow priority notifications through. Then there's the way the settings "cog" icon rotates as you swipe down the notifications pane.

Things were swift to swipe through, but we can't assess any of the performance measures of the Nexus 9 yet, or bring you much detail on how well Lollipop sits on this tablet.

nexus 9 preview

What we can say, however, that the Nexus 9 is a lovely device. HTC has brought some of its skill to the device with the front-facing BoomSound speakers, but we've yet to put them through their paces. We're hoping they match the performance of the HTC One M8.

Priced at £319 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only Nexus 9 it will be available from 3 November. We will bring you a full Nexus 9 review, and all the details on Android 5.0 Lollipop, as soon as we get our hands on a final model. Until then, enjoy the pictures.

READ: Apple iPad 2 vs Nexus 9: Battle of the brand new tablets