On September 23, 2013, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang provided more concrete details about his company’s Tegra Note 7 tablets, which will be produced by a variety of Nvidia partners and launch in October, reports Tech2. Many users are hoping the tablet will act as a cost-effective alternative to the company’s portable gaming device, the Nvidia Shield. But how does the Note really stack up?
The New Android in Town
Just like the Shield, the Tegra Note will run an Android OS, along with a Tegra 4 mobile processor, quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU, and 72-core GeForce GPU. According to Tech2, the first tablet in the new Note line is the Xolo Play, manufactured by Lava International. Included in the Xolo package is the 7″ tablet, a chisel-and-brush stylus, and a magnetic slide cover which both protects the Note and acts as a kickstand. The new tablet features PureSound front-facing HD stereo speakers, a 5MP rear camera and VGA front camera, and enough battery life for 10 hours of HD playback. An HDMI out port lets you connect the device with an HDTV for big-screen gaming, and the Xolo Play also supports third-party game controllers. While there’s no official price announcement yet, $199 is a safe bet, which is $100 cheaper than Nvidia’s hand-held gaming platform, the Shield.
With the Shield, Nvidia hoped to target a segment of “hardcore” gamers who weren’t satisfied with tap-and-swipe games on their smarthphones and tablets but still wanted a portable playing experience. By marrying a full controller with a 5″ screen and adding full Android functionality, Nvidia created a hybrid that was too big for carrying around in your pocket, too small to be called a real “console” and yet delivered an almost perfect gaming experience, according to the Wall Street Journal. With access to the Android app store, streaming content, and a crisp, clear screen, the handheld was a winner in terms of what was available, how well it played, and how cleverly everything worked together.
The only sticking point? Price. At $300, the Nvidia Shield got mixed reviews from journalists and gamers alike, with many pointing out they could buy a full-on console for the same price, or asking for extra features such as a detachable screen, backlit buttons, and even a camera.
Solid Middle Ground?
Kotaku argues that the Tegra Note might be able to do everything the Shield does, only with less weight and a smaller price tag. Not only are 7″ tablets better suited to playing video (and portrait-mode games) than 5″ options, but the Note can offer the benefit of touchscreen for web surfing or email. Adding a third-party controller turns the device into a gaming platform of theoretically the same caliber as the Shield, at two-thirds the price and without limiting its functionality. And with a host of manufacturers like Lava, EVGA, PNY, and Zotac all prepping slightly different versions of the Note, it should be possible to find one that fits your style and your budget.
Bottom line? Things look good for the Tegra Note as a better-priced version of the Nvidia Shield. Expect to see first versions of the tablet hit store shelves in early October 2013.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons