I’m really not a fan of just copying someone else’s products. Yes Samsung has proven it can work but in the end it is still just a copy and it is far better to carve out your own space. That is what NVIDIA did first with Shield and now with the Tegra Note 7 which is similar in performance but rather than an integrated Tablet and Controller, this is a pure tablet.
Now, "Luxury Value" sounds like an oxymoron but that is exactly what NVIDA has created in this gaming focused product; the product feels and performs like a high end offering, but is priced like a value offering. That spells deal to me and I love deals particularly around Christmas.
I’ve been using an early version of this product for about a week now and I’m clearly impressed.
Hell of a Deal for $200
Given the iPad Mini with the Retinal Display is nearly $400 you have to start with the price of this product. At $200 this thing is a steal. Specs are strong: a 7” HD (1280x800) IPS screen, a five core (one core is for low power standby) ARM Cortex A15 with 72 Core GPU, a 5 MP HDR Camera in back (I’m not a fan of taking pictures with tablets), 16GB base storage but it has a Micro SD slot, amazing speakers, stylus (with pixel by pixel accuracy), and a really nice looking case and cover.
The Affordable Gamers’ Tablet
This is less than a Kindle HDX or a Nexus 7 and for its intended purpose it is arguably better than both. This product is targeted at entertainment with an emphasis on gaming. It is compliant with branded Bluetooth game controllers (though I find I’d just rather use my fingers because I bring them with me) and its cover allows for a panoramic setup for gaming or movie watching. Always wanted to be able to game in the car, plane, or hotel without lugging a laptop? While this is clearly running Android games, with the controller the experience is very console like and you can push the tablet image to a TV for both gaming and video watching.
What kind of surprised me was the stand out feature on this product is the stylus. This is really a nice implementation if you are artistically inclined or really want to write on a tablet (I’m not and I don’t) you’ll find the accuracy of this stylus well above what you’d see on anything short of a professional digitizer. It is very precise and it makes me wish I’d inherited my mother’s sense for painting. In my own case I got back into doodling a bit and the nice thing is you can quickly erase what you’ve drawn so the speaker doesn’t see you’ve crudely drawn him with a penis for a head. Not that I’d ever do that mind you.
One other part that really stood out for me was the case. I have a number of tablets but particularly against the iPad this one is far more comfortable to hold largely because they’ve used a combination of thick rubber and texturing. Even if your hands are sweaty you are less likely to tire or worse, accidentally drop this tablet and even if you do, it appears far better protected than those that are incased in metal.
Since I’ve been mostly gaming on this tablet it runs less than the 10 hours for movies listed, much less, closer to 5 or 6, but that is the same with all of the Android based tablets and even NVIDIA Shield. Gaming pulls a lot more power. But most planes now have power available under the seats, so do most cars and even airports so I’ve never actually run out (though I’ve come close). As a result I carry one of the USB power packs just in case this happens and that gets me through. One feature I’d like to see in a tablet is fast charging (80% power in 30 minutes) but while some phones (Blackberry Z30) and laptops (Lenovo X1 Carbon) have this feature it hasn’t yet appeared on a tablet I’ve tested (yet).
Wrapping Up: Hell of a Value
I can’t get over what you get for $200, this is 10% cheaper than even the new Kindle HDX which is also a really nice box and it’s slightly smaller size makes it fit better in my pocket. The look and feel for the product are just amazing; it feels like luxury but it is a price leader. While I’m not a stylus fan, if you are, you won’t find one better in any product in this class, and the gaming experience is pretty damned impressive. This would be a great product at $230, for $200 it is a deal, and I love deals. This’ll be a great Christmas for folks on my gift list (shhh! Don’t tell) and, for once, I won’t go broke! Now that’s value I can believe in!