To clear up the air at first, it must be mentioned that the Xolo Tegra Note is not a product from the Chinese tech company entirely. The firm had no contributions to its configurations or designing. The Tegra Note had been designed by NVIDIA as a referencing platform for showing off the 4 ARM Tegra processor’s power.
Even though it is a fourth generation chip from NVIDIA, the manufacturer did not announce plans of using it in future or current devices. With no takers around and inventory piling on, NVIDIA altered its strategy by deciding to make its own products for customers.
This led to the birth of the Shield Game Console and Tegra Note. NVIDIA has branded the shield as its own product while the Tegra Note was treated slightly differently. Just as NVIDIA makes referencing graphics cards based on graphics processors and allows all partners to duplicate it simply and paste their own stickers, it has allowed Xolo to take care of distribution and sales by branding it as their own with little or no customization.
Therefore, the Xolo Tegra Note is an NVIDIA product essentially, including the typography and colours on the box. In different parts of the world, the identical tablet could be sold as an EVGA or Zotac product. It is not necessarily a bad thing as the tablet is very powerful and offers good value for money.
Feel and Look
The tablet’s weight is perhaps the most prominent feature of it. Weighing 320g, it is definitely heavier than the Nexus 7 and weighs almost as the iPad Mini. You will certainly feel its weight in your hand particularly if you hold it in the reading or gaming position for too long.
The plastic body has rubberized grips by the sides and along the back. The front face of the tablet is symmetrical and perfectly black aside from the tiny dot signifying the secondary camera. When you lift it, you wouldn’t know which way to hold on to it. The screen has been two wider speaker grilles flanking it and no logos or capacitive buttons have been placed there.
For better grip, the body has been given twin rubberised pads which also give the XoloTegra Note a tougher look. There is little to complain about the construction quality of the Tegra Note even though body flexes slightly is pressure is applied to it.
Introducing the Tegra 4 processor
The Tegra 4 processor is the central focus here and everything regarding the XoloTegra Note has been made for showcasing the potential of the processor even though some corners have been cut for ensuring lower pricing. The Tegra 4 has been designed mainly for tablets and is beefier compared to processors by other firms which also adapt them for fitting into smartphones.
Some of the tricks that are there in its sleeve include the low power fifth companion core which comes into play for allowing the four other cores to hibernate and consume lesser energy. The 4 primary cores are founded on the ARM Cortex A15 logic while the companion core has been founded on the low spec Cortex A9.
A disappointing part of the Xolo Tegra Note is that it has the Android 4.2.2 fitted in which is almost 2 years old. The Android L is set to be released now which makes the 4.2.2 almost unacceptable. NVIDIA is yet to comment whether it will release updates for the OS and for how long.
The Tegra Note has a 5MP camera which works well in day light as the shots are well exposed. However, closer inspection would reveal that the edges appeared jagged on objects and the quality was fuzzy on everything. The shots were quite reasonable when they were scaled down. Performance in low light was not great at all. Even objects in the foreground were defined poorly and excessive noise on the photos could be seen.
Special Games for Tegra 4
The XoloTegra Note’s main focus is its gaming ability. There are quite a few heavy graphics games which could test the performance. A game titled Dead Trigger 2 was used by testers for this purpose. The game is a first person shooting one where you would have to kill and dodge zombies in different scenic locations. The game has been enhanced for devices running on Tegra 4 and promises graphics which are cutting edge such as reflections on water, realistic physics at the time of object destruction.
The game is quite engaging visually and you will notice effects like flames, lend flares and lighting glimmering off particles of smoke floating in the air. It is definitely a great looking game. It is exciting to play and does not feel like one meant to showcase graphics.
The performance of the tablet is top notch as there is no lag when you are playing games. Loading time is quite significant as the games are quite heavy. The device also heats up a bit when you play on it for too long. Playback of HD videos was flawless aside from very heavy files.
The GFXbench scores were quite impressive in terms of benchmarks, at 32fps whereas the Ice Storm Unlimited3DMark test gave back 14.961 points. Both these scores are impressive for general performance and gaming. It is expected that in the future, the hardware would be pushed further.
The Xolo Tegra Note would have been phenomenal if it was launched earlier. By the current standards, it continues to be quite impressive but the glaring drawbacks could upset users. The screen is not as great as other devices available in the market and does little justice to the ability of the Tegra 4. The stylus is a great touch but its use depends on the apps mostly.
The price tag of the Xolo Tegra Note is quite reasonable at Rs 17,999. Its nearest competitor is the Nexus 7 which comes at Rs 20,000. Within the same pricing band, the iPad Mini (non-retina) comes for Rs 21,900.
Both the Android options have their own weaknesses and strengths- the Nexus’ CPU is weaker and neither is its storage expandable. However, the screen is of a better quality. You need to decide upon your priorities before buying.