At the moment, the Nexus 7 2013 edition is widely considered to be the king of Android tablets — and it isn’t even close. However, Nvidia has just revealed what looks to be a competitor device in the form of the Nvidia Tegra Note. The key selling point of the Tegra Note is that it’s a complete tablet platform powered by Nvidia’s own Tegra 4 SoC that retails for just $199, which puts it right in the sweet spot to compete with the Nexus 7 2013.
The Tegra Note is actually Nvidia’s hardware reference tablet that manufacturing partners can use to build their own Tegra 4-based tablets. It features a 7″ HD (1280 x 800) IPS display with a pixel density of 216ppi. The Nexus 7 2013 actually has the better screen (Full HD 1920 x 1080, 315ppi), but true to its name, the Tegra Note also supports stylus input via its own Nvidia DirectStylus technology. According to Nvidia:
[Nvidia DirectStylus technology] lets a fine-tip passive stylus be used to draw lines of different width simply by varying the pressure applied by the user.
By harnessing the Tegra 4 SoC’s capabilities, DirectStylus technology allows the tablet to recognize the difference between a fine-tip stylus, palm, eraser or finger. That way, the Tegra Note and future tablets that will be based on its design can incorporate Galaxy Note-like features and capabilities without the expensive option of designing a proprietary stylus or incorporating a digitizer to support certain stylus technologies.
The Tegra 4 SoC in itself is also quite notable. Similar to past Tegra designs, it’s a quad core chip, this time a Cortex-A15 CPU, with a fifth battery saver core, while graphics are handled by a monstrous 72-core GeForce GPU for unparalleled gaming performance. While it’s up to manufacturers like ZOTAC, PNY and EVGA to determine the quality of the cameras and the variety of ports they will build into their tablets, the Nvidia Tegra Note is equipped with a 5mp back camera, VGA front camera, micro-HDMI port, and built-in stylus with interchangeable tips.
There’s no news yet as to what version of Android the Nvidia Tegra Note will run out of the box, but all indications point to Android 4.3. Like the Nexus 7 2013, it will come with pure vanilla Android with no custom skin running on top. Hopefully, some version of the Tegra Note will end up on Philippine shores. We’ll just leave that to our local gray market sellers if no official distributor emerges.