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Nvidia Reveals the Tegra Note Tablet – It Could be the Best $199 On the Market

Tegra-Note-front[1]Nvidia has just officially unveiled the 7″ Android tablet that cleared the FCC last week, and it is every bit as impressive as the paperwork made it sound.

In fact, I would say that it is too good to be true. Nvidia is touting The Tegra Note as a $199 ultimate 7″ Android tablet, but the specs and features are as good as what I would expect to see on a tablet that costs $100 more.

The Tegra Note is Nvidia’s reference design, and it is going to be licensed to tablet makers.

This tablet has the latest version of the Tegra chip with a quad-core CPU and a 72-core GPU and it is running a version of Android which has been optimized to work best on the Tegra Note.  It comes with 2 front-facing, sound-optimized front-facing stereo speakers, a pair of cameras, 16GB of storage, and more battery life than you can shake a stick at.

And then there’s the stylus, which Nvidia describes as:

NVIDIA DirectStylus technology transforms a normal stylus into an incredibly responsive experience with finer point and broader stroke control. It also comes bundled with apps for convenient, stroke-based note taking.


And it’s not just the hardware that sounds amazing; the software features also show that a lot of work went into this tablet. For example, the camera app is much more capable than most:

The camera uses Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture to deliver stunning new features. Tegra Note also brings SmugMug’s Camera Awesome app — one of the top camera apps on iOS — to Android. Camera Awesome delivers exclusive Tegra 4 features like tap-to-track and 100 fps video with slow-motion playback.

All in all, I don’t see how this tablet can reasonably be sold with a retail of $199, but that’s what Nvidia is saying. This tablet should be available from one of Nvidia’s partners in October, but something tells me that the $199 tablet is going to be a lot less impressive than the tablet unveiled today.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but the abilities and specs that Nvidia is ascribing to the Tegra Note reminds me of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, and that is a $400 tablet with a less powerful CPU and better camera, but equally impressive software. If Samsung priced their cutting edge tablet at $400 then how did Nvidia manage to come up with a design that cost $200?

I must have missed something.

I wonder if perhaps this tablet is priced at $200 in anticipation of the new Kindle Fire HD? The leaked benchmarks for that tablet suggest it is going to be considerably more powerful than its predecessor, and that could spur Nvidia to release an equally impressive at a $200 price point.

That would make sense, right?


P.S. Here’s a set of the specs for quick reference:

  • CPU: Tegra 4 mobile processor with quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and 72-core GeForce GPU
  • 7″ HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 800)
  • Rear 5MP and front VGA webcam
  • 16GB storage with microSD card slot
  • Front-facing “HD Audio” stereo speakers with a unique bass-reflex port
  • Stylus: Chisel and Brush tips for natural writing and broad strokes
  • Micro HDMI connector to drive big screen TV videos and gaming
  • Battery Life: 10 hours HD video playback

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Jason September 18, 2013 um 11:43 am

Well, I’m not much for comparing specs, but I can see right away that the HD display of 1280×800 isn’t exactly cutting edge. Still, everything else sounds good.

fjtorres September 18, 2013 um 12:21 pm

Cheap screen, cheap cameras.
I think $199 is about right.

Nate Hoffelder September 18, 2013 um 12:53 pm

The webcam is cheap, yes, but I wouldn’t say the same about the 5MP rear camera. Based on my experience you don’t really need anything higher than that, so if the software is good then the quality of the camera’s sensor will matter more than the resolution.

fjtorres September 18, 2013 um 1:21 pm

There’s more to camera quality than just the pixel count. (Just ask Apple. Or better yet, Nokia.) Pixel count is a marketing term mostly.
I’m willing to bet the reviewers are going to find issues with both cameras.
Corners have been cut–all that remains is seeing how much the cuts matter.
Maybe not much, but maybe…

Bubba September 18, 2013 um 12:43 pm

besides wouldn’t the obvious reason be to have price comparative to the nexus 7? samsung might be able to bank on their massive ad campaigns and hence awareness but nvidia not so much (to the person on the street anyway). Anyway nice to have alternatives.
btw after your build up I was expecting the sentence "but the specs and features are as good as" to end with a higher number lol

Nate Hoffelder September 18, 2013 um 12:58 pm

Good point about the nexus 7. Depending on the market, the Tegra Note might have to compete more against the Nexus 7 than against the KFHD. But the KFHD is available in more countries (or so I thought).

Len Feldman September 18, 2013 um 2:11 pm

One thing I noticed on Nvidia’s website is that the Tegra Note will "start" at $199, so that leaves its customers with a lot of upside pricing latitude. In addition, as Jason pointed out, the 1280 x 800 display is far from "state of the art" and is what you’d expect in a $199 (or even cheaper) tablet. One additional caveat: I’ve seen lots of reference designs from lots of companies over the years, but most of them get changed by individual OEMs/ODMs by the time they get into production, and few of them hit the consumer price targets originally announced.

Nate Hoffelder September 18, 2013 um 2:27 pm

That’s what I think could happen, yes.

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