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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:58

Tegra Note 7 gets mixed reviews

Written by Peter Scott



Great performance, poor build quality

Nvidia officially launched the Tegra Note 7 yesterday, but the launch was limited to the US and UK, so the first and so far the only reviews are coming from British and American tech sites. And they are not very encouraging. 

The Tegra Note 7 is based on Nvidia’s Tegra 4 T40S application processor and performance is not an issue. Although it has just 1GB of RAM, it also has a relatively low res 1280x800 and plenty of muscle to keep the action smooth. There’s a 5-megapixel camera at the back and a VGA front facing camera at the front.

Reviewers had a few gripes with the front facing camera, which was described as “awful” by PC Mag and “crappy” by CNET. The rear camera, backed by the new Awesome Camera app and a few interesting technologies, got some praise. Anand said it was a lot better than expected, although it still feels like a smartphone camera from yesteryear. He also gave Nvidia kudos for excellent sound quality, although the Note 7 is not the loudest tablet out there.

The 1280x800 7-inch panel is average. It lacks contrast and doesn’t handle blacks as well as many 2013 tablets. However, to be fair most reviewers compared the Tegra Note 7 to much pricier tablets like iPads and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series tablets. The biggest problem identified by most reviewers is poor build quality. Slashgear describes it as “plasticky” while PC Mag compares it to cheap Chinese tablets and although it shares some design DNA with the old Nexus 7, the choice of materials doesn’t appear to be as good.

However, despite its foibles most reviews ended on a positive note, no pun intended. The stylus got universal praise thanks to low latency – in fact, the reviewers found it to be superior to Samsung’s stylus support, although Samsung still has better stylus apps. Performance is not an issue, as the Tegra Note 7 can easily keep up with $399 and $499 tablets, even beat many of them. In terms of value, the Tegra Note 7 comes in $30 cheaper than the Nexus 7, but it’s much cheaper than Samsung’s stylus tabs.

All in all it seems Nvidia simply cut too many corners to shave off a few bucks and hit the $199 target. As a result the front camera is terrible and build quality is subpar. On the other hand, it does ship with an immensely powerful chip given the price and it has great stylus support, but not that many users need a stylus.

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