The Tegra Note 7 Is Neat; Is It Worth $200?
The Tegra Note 7 is an interesting product from Nvidia. It's the first tablet to follow a similar model as the company's graphics products in that it provides the silicon and a reference design, and leaves the sales and distribution to its OEM partners. It's interesting to note that we've seen other Tegra Note brands pop up besides the ones Nvidia shared with us on the first page of this review; UK retailer Dixons lists an Advent Vega Tegra Note for £180.
A $200 price point makes this one of the most affordable tablets that we'd ever consider owning, and the Tegra 4 SoC inside makes it one of the very fastest available. For the mobile Android gamer, Nvidia's Tegra Note 7 presents an extremely attractive option that's really only bested by Shield. Not so much in performance even, but due to the console's form factor and GameStream support.
Of course, if you're looking for a less game-centric device suited to some basic productivity tasks, the Tegra Note is much more useful than Shield, particularly when it comes to touchscreen gaming, reading, and even watching videos. But it's also not alone in the competitive seven-inch tablet market. The Asus-made Google Nexus 7 counters the Tegra Note 7's "stock Android" selling point, and clearly surpasses it with a sharp 1920x1200 display and 2 GB of RAM. While one may argue that the Tegra Note 7's comparatively lower resolution display at 1280x800 could mean that some applications are less memory-intensive, 1 GB appears as something we thought we left behind in 2012. Thankfully, Android 4.4 KitKat promises to be even more lightweight, supporting devices with just 512 MB of RAM. The same can't be said for increasingly graphically-intensive games coming out on Android, though. Nvidia is readying an update to Android 4.3 for December, and while we imagine that 4.4 is currently in the works as well, the company said it doesn't have anything formally to announce.
There's no question that the Tegra Note 7 presents an interesting value proposition. It's the fastest tablet in its size class and distinguishes itself from the rest with gaming muscle and a pleasantly effective stylus for those who may want to use it as a drawing tool. In some regards, there's nothing else quite like the Tegra Note 7. But there are many alternatives. Nvidia clearly had to make some tough design choices in terms of price and performance, and so too will you. Two-hundred dollars buys you no better tablet in terms of gaming, sound, and stylus support. However, an extra $30 put towards the Nexus 7 gets you ahead in most other experiences where processing power isn't as important.