NVIDIA Shield and Tegra Note Tablets: My Thoughts and Impressions

Written by B Johnson September 12, 2014
NVIDIA Shield and Tegra Note Tablets: My Thoughts and ImpressionsHi guys, welcome back to this website!

As you know already, NVIDIA has been well known for its homemade graphic cards or GPU – under the GeForce GTX series - on a wide range of computer devices – from PC, laptop to desktop.

However, compared to other graphic chipsets from other manufacturers, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX series has been really superior especially in delivering a powerful graphical performance to any device that uses it.

So if laptop or PC is powered by this GPU – especially the latest-gen GeForce GTX -, then its gaming performance will be amazing.

In fact, thanks to NVIDIA's close collaboration with other console game developers (like Ubisoft, EA, Activision, etc), there are many PC games that look way better and have more detailed graphics plus advanced visual effects, compared to the console versions – as seen on Assassins’ Creed IV: Black Flag and many other titles.

Interestingly, despite being a really productive graphic chipset manufacturer, this company actually also has another vision on other markets, especially with its graphic card lineup.

And that’s proved by NVIDIA’s decision to get involved in tablet industry by supplying its own homemade mobile processors – known as Tegra – to any manufacturers that are interested to have this processor inside their tablets.

The good thing is, this tech giant has an impressive success especially to convince many tablet makers to use its mobile processors – from Samsung, Asus, Toshiba, Sony, Acer, Xiaomi, LG, Kobo, HP, Lenovo, Motorola and even Microsoft with its Surface RT series.

But apparently, that’s not enough for this GPU maker. Last year, NVIDIA made a brave decision to jump to the bandwagon of its partners – a tablet market.

The first-ever tablet made by this company is called NVIDIA Tegra Note, which is just like any other regular 7-inch Android tablets out there, but it offers something that cannot be found on other counterparts.

And that is a great gaming tablet that has powerful gaming performance, plus a tablet that can also be used as a note-taking device and even a painting canvas. That’s pretty much about this tablet.

But again, that’s still not enough achievement for this company as NVIDIA then continued its journey on Android market by delivering its own homemade gaming device called NVIDIA Shield, which actually a gaming controller (looks just like Xbox controller).

It's powered by Tegra 4, that also has a 5-inch screen attached on it, which kind of reminds me with Sony Xperia Play – although this Sony smartphone doesn’t have physical Xbox controllers just like what NVIDIA Shield has.

However, the concept of NVIDIA Shield changed when this company unveiled its latest effort in tablet market – another gaming tablet called NVIDIA Shield tablet, which takes a lot of design cues from NVIDIA’s first-gen tablet – Tegra Note.

In fact, NVIDIA Shield tablet actually looks really identical with Tegra Note – from the same looking speaker grilles on the front side, the same 7-inch looking design, the same stock Android UI, the same note-taking pre-installed apps and of course, the same but much improved stylus.

Okay then, if you’re interested to find out more about these 2 tablets from NVIDIA, then here you go, my quick review of these NVIDIA Tegra Note and NVIDIA Shield.

NVIDIA Tegra Note

As far as the design goes, NVIDIA Tegra Note actually kind of reminds me with the HTC One smartphone, which has those 2 speaker-grill areas on the left and right (landscape mode) and thin side bezels.

As a matter of fact, i think this NVIDIA’s tablet takes some inspirations from that HTC’s phone. But even so, i still personally like the overall design of this tablet.

It looks really elegant and with those 2 speaker grill areas on the front, enjoying media contents like movies, music or games will be a lot more fun given that the speakers sound really louder and clearer compared to other tablets that have their speaker on their rear cover.

However, the great front design of this tablet is not followed by its rear-cover.

It looks really weird with many inconsistent shapes that just don’t look great on this tablet (which kind of reminds me with the back cover design of Kindle Fire HDX tablets).

And it’s worsened by the lame smart cover that NVIDIA provides officially for this device, which is pretty hard to attach.

But despite all that, what NVIDIA Tegra Note has to offer to many tablet shoppers out there probably will be unmatched by many other 7-inch rivals out there on the market.

NVIDIA Tegra Note is still a decent quality tablet. In fact, it is one of the best gaming tablets out there, alongside LG G Pad 8.3 or even iPad mini, especially the first-gen model.
  • It has a powerful Tegra 4 processor along with a staggering 72-core GeForce ULP GPU inside,
  • 1GB of RAM,
  • 720p resolution on its 7-inch display,
  • a solid battery life,
  • a powerful gaming performance,
  • a fast and smooth experience thanks to NVIDIA’s decision to only use stock Android UI on this tablet,
  • great quality cameras that are able to take some decent shots (according to many reviews on YouTube, including CNET)
  • and the most importantly, an amazing quality stylus that even its touch response could match the S-Pen of Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

So if you’re still looking for a great gaming tablet, that’s also great for many other things – like for watching HD movies, browsing the web, editing documents (the most important one!), drawing beautiful paintings and even taking photos or recording videos – then look no further, NVIDIA Tegra Note is a perfect all around tablet for you.

Actually, NVIDIA has partnered with many tablet manufacturers to release this same Nvidia Tegra Note tablet to their own countries – from HP, WVGA, Advant (if i’m not mistaken) and many other tablet brands.

However, don’t worry because all of these tablets are still the same Nvidia Tegra Note tablet even with the same Tegra 4 and stylus, only with different logo on the back (and probably some pre-installed apps from each manufacturer, such as: HP printer app on its HP Slate 7 Extreme, etc).

So if you’re not able to find Nvidia Tegra Note in your country, you’ll probably find this same tablet but from different manufacturers.

However, it’s worth noting that, according to many reviews around internet (and even many giant tech sites), Tegra 4 tablets like NVIDIA Tegra Note has this overheating issue on its rear cover.

So this device – on the back cover – becomes hotter especially when used for doing some heavy intense tasks like playing heavy 3D games intensively.

This actually also plagues many other Tegra 4 tablets out there on the market, especially the ones with higher-resolution 1080p or 2.5K display.

But given that this tablet only sports a 720p display, which is not as power hungry as other 1080p or 2.5K tablets, then the overheating issue on this device is probably not that significant.

Nvidia Shield

After having some moderate reception around the tablet market, NVIDIA is still not giving up with its effort in this industry.

And that’s proved by this company's decision to release the successor for its previous-gen Nvidia Tegra Note tablet.

However, this second-gen tablet actually is still similar in many ways with the predecessor.

This one is called Nvidia Shield tablet, but it’s not the same Nvidia Shield device that was released last year, which was a Xbox-alike gaming controller with 5-inch screen attached.

But Nvidia Shield tablet still inherits many great things found on the Nvidia Shield controller, like the ability to stream games through GeForce-GTX-powered PC/laptop or via WiFi/internet.

Not to mention, this Nvidia also provides the separate controller which looks like Nvidia Shield device, but without the screen (because the screen will be taken over by the Nvidia Shield 7-inch tablet.

As a second-gen model, then it’s really obvious that Nvidia Shield will bring some bumped up specs here and there on its hardware.

And it’s seen clearly by NVIDIA’s decision to use its latest-gen mobile processor – Tegra K1 – on this device, making it a top on the market when it comes to graphics and gaming performance.

Besides on that processor, Nvidia Shield now also comes with a much higher-resolution 1080p (1920x1200 pixels) on its larger 8-inch display, a bigger 2GB of RAM, a more staggering 192-core Kepler GPU and much improved 5MP cameras back and front.

However, there are some parts of this device that are still similar with the predecessor – from its stock Android UI, the same pre-installed note-taking apps (added with NVIDIA’s new ‘Tegra Zone’ app) and of course, the one and only, the great quality stylus.

The other great thing found on this tablet is actually on its touch response technology that is now much improved and more realistic than the predecessor – especially when used for drawing paintings -, thanks to the power of Tegra K1 processor and its technology.

As a gaming tablet, there’s no single doubt that Nvidia Shield will be perfect for that matter.

In fact, - thanks to its Tegra K1 along with the 192-core GPU -, Nvidia Shield is absolutely the best gaming tablet on the market right now, as well as other Tegra K1 tablets out there, like Xiaomi Mi Pad and the rumored-HTC-Nexus tablet.

It handles any Android games perfectly and smoothly, plus in full highest graphics and visual effects, and it also has the huge support by some console game developers and game engine makers to deliver their popular titles specifically to Tegra K1 tablets only, such as this Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Pad of course.

And not to mention, if you want to play games on this device with controller, then YES – you can do it!

NVIDIA itself actually also releases a separate Xbox-alike controller (without the screen attached just like Nvidia Shield device released last year) specifically for this Nvidia Shield tablet.

And according to many reviews, this controller is really awesome to use on this Nvidia Shield tablet.

But it’s worth nothing that, given its full HD display plus an insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor (which both are power hungry for this tablet), according to some reviews on YouTube, this NVIDIA’s tablet is only capable to last only around 2 to 4 hours when it’s deployed with some heavy 3D graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5 or any other console titles like Trine 2, Half Life, etc.

This is actually still acceptable given that its higher-resolution screen and powerful Tegra K1 can really squeeze a lot of juice from the battery of this tablet.

However, despite all that, i personally think that Nvidia Shield is still a great gaming tablet.

In fact, thanks to:
  • its powerful Tegra K1 processor (that’s capable to deliver a desktop-quality graphic performance and 3 times graphic power as Apple A7 chipset),
  • 2GB of RAM,
  • full HD display,
  • a staggering 192-core GPU,
  • sharp-taking 5MP cameras (that are able to take decent quality shots),
  • a stock Android UI and of course,
  • the great quality stylus along with its pre-loaded apps,
I think it’s really easy to recommend this tablet to you, especially if you’re still looking for a decent quality tablet for media consumption.

Okay then, that’s all for now about these NVIDIA tablets. I’m sorry i don’t include the Nvidia Shield device (gaming controller) in this quick summary review because – besides i haven’t reviewed this device on this website -, this Nvidia Shield is actually not a tablet.

So i think it’s irrelevant if i write the review about this Nvidia Shield device because it’s simply not a tablet.

But i’ll probably change my mind in the future and will be interested to bring up this Xbox-alike gaming device to this website.

So if you want to know whether that will happen or not, then you should stick around to this website for further updates, especially on this ‘NVIDIA Tablets’ page.

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