Lately I've been coming across quite a few articles that tell me to start expecting an influx of cheaper tablets starting this holiday season - and when I say cheaper tablets, these articles don't just mean those $70 tablets from that no-name manufacturer running some whacked out version of Android. I mean really good tablets, with good specs and from reputable companies for really low prices. While low-priced tablets aren't exactly hard to come by, there's still a considerably limited collection of them for sale that I would actually recommend to people, especially for under $200 given the rise in price of the new Nexus 7 to $229.
But perhaps the rumors of cheap-yet-competent tablets wasn't merely a rumor after all, as today we heard some pretty exciting news for those who are in the market for a sub $200 tablet. NVIDIA, the company behind what many computers use as a graphics card, has put their new Tegra Note 7 tablet out for pre-sale on Newegg.com. Although NVIDIA is no stranger to making components for mobile products, such as graphics cards, the company recently starting taking mobile manufacturing a little more seriously as this would be the second device they release this year. The first, the NVIDIA Shield, was the first portable Android gaming handheld device.
The NVIDIA Shield is still somewhat of a marvel to me, as it's clunky but it's still making progression towards making mobile gaming the future. It's clear that right now mobile platforms and gaming don't exactly come close to where console and PC gaming are - for now - but it's also clear that NVIDIA is taking the necessary steps to help ensure that mobile gaming only goes up from here. But this new product, the Tegra Note 7, takes on the more familiar form of a tablet. Not only that, but the features this tablet packs certainly makes it worth checking out this holiday season - if for nothing else, the $199.99 price point might spark your initial interest, but that's definitely not all that the Tegra Note 7 has to offer.
Like the very name of the device suggests, the Tegra Note 7 is very similar to the Galaxy Note devices in the fact that it also has an included stylus and dock within the device to hold said stylus. Not many devices come with this feature anymore, and it's something that I wish more manufacturers would employ. At last another manufacturer sees the benefit of at least having option of a stylus there to use if the user pleases, or somewhere to put it in case they don't. As the owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 myself, I am ever so grateful of the dock on the bottom right of my tablet to stick my stylus when it's not in use. Otherwise yeah, I probably would have lost the stylus countless times by now. But I digress - the fact that NVIDIA includes this feature on the Tegra Note 7 already makes it a tablet to consider, particularly as a rival to the more expensive Galaxy Note 8.0, which costs $349.
That's $150 difference right there, so what makes the Galaxy Note 8.0 cost so much more than the Tegra Note 7, and is it worth the extra money? After doing some research on specs and features between the two devices, I could tell you right now that if I had waited until now to find a tablet with a stylus, the Tegra Note 7 would have been my choice hands down.
For starters, I'm a pretty cheap person to begin with. However, even looking at what the Tegra Note 7 had to offer I couldn't complain about what I was seeing. The 7-inch tablet has the same resolution as the Galaxy Note 8.0 at 1280x800, and with the Galaxy Note 8.0 having an 8-inch screen rather than the Tegra Note's 7 the resolution ends up being a little crisper on the 7 in the end. Both tablets use a quadcore processor, with the Tegra Note using an NVIDIA Tegra 4 Cortex-A15 and the Galaxy Note 8.0 using a Cortex-A9. Both tablets have 5-megapixel rear-facing cameras, but the Tegra Note uses a VGA front-facing camera while the Galaxy Note has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter. The Tegra Note also only uses 1GB of RAM while the Galaxy Note uses 2, but regardless, benchmarks regarding graphics and gaming heavily favor the Tegra Note due to its more modern processor.
Even the design is, in my opinion, significantly more convenient on the Tegra Note 7 rather than the Galaxy Note 8.0. The Galaxy Note from the very beginning felt very thin in my hands, and the plastic back made it hard for me to get a good grip on. The first thing I went shopping for was a case, The Tegra Note 7 gives the back of the device a rubberized backing so it's easier to grip. That in itself is an improvement right there. While the Galaxy Note might look aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the Tegra Note gives you more grip and less chance to drop it. Also, one of my favorite features about my daily driver device, the HTC One, is also something that the Tegra Note includes in its device - dual front-facing speakers. Yeah, boy!
When it comes to software, the Tegra Note 7 comes with nearly stock Android, while the Galaxy Note 8.0 comes with Samsung's skinned version of Android, TouchWiz. Now, on this it's hard to really say whether one is better than the other or not. Sometimes people actually prefer to have the skinned version and extra features rather than a barebones version of an OS. Personally, I could sacrifice the bloatware from TouchWiz for the more stock-like version of Android and not miss anything. I mostly got the Galaxy Note 8 because it was one of the only tablets that had an included stylus and software support for it. But now that the Tegra Note 7 is here, the Galaxy Note 8 is looking less and less fabulous every day. Especially because of dat price versus the features that you get for it.
That being said, though, I'm interested in what you guys think about it. Do you think that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in its entirety is worth more than NVIDIA's Tegra Note 7, or do you think the Tegra Note gets you more for your money despite costing less? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!