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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Gadgets-Reviews

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XOLO Play Tegra Note review: a budget tablet for hard-core gamers
Sarthak Saraswat, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 03, 2014
First Published: 13:24 IST(3/2/2014)
Last Updated: 17:55 IST(3/2/2014)

The tablet market has grown many folds in the past one year. However, what users desire isn’t just a fancy device that can perform basic functions. They look for a tablet that can easily process the meanest games in the market and speedily perform heavy duty tasks.


XOLO Play Tegra Note, touted to be the world’s fastest 7-inch Android Tablet is a sleek gadget build for hard-core gaming enthusiasts. Powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor with a 72-core GeForce GPU and quad-core CPU, the tablet packs enough power to run the most demanding games without a hiccup.

Design:
As we open the box, a non-descript screen stares at us. The Tegra Note has a 7-inch 216 ppi pixel density LCD capacitive touchscreen which provides a widescreen display. There’s a tiny dot on the top for a front facing VGA camera. Two strategically placed matte plastic strips on the sides form the stereo loudspeakers, promising a rich multimedia experience. The tablet has no capacitive buttons or logos upfront.

As we lift the tablet out of the box, its weight became apparent. At 320g, it is considerably heavier than its competitor, the Nexus 7. Overall, though the device may not be able to match the Nexus in terms of looks, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of build quality.  The Tegra Note has a plastic body with rubberized grips around the sides and on the back for durability, providing it a heavy-duty look.

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The ports and buttons –a Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, and a microSD card slot, power and volume buttons, and a 3.5mm headset port – are all placed around the edges. The slots are fully exposed without a rubber flap for protection. Another drawback in the Tegra Note is that it has no cellular data capability. Without a SIM card slot, we had to depend on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connectivity.

The back of the device is a mix of glossy and rubberized plastic, with NVIDIA and XOLO logos. The lens for the 5- megapixel 2592х1944 pixels camera is located on the top right corner. The Tegra Note also comes with a chic stylus that is located at the rear end of the device on the right side.

Features and specifications:
The Tegra play is powered by a 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 Quad-core processor with the much publicised Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset. However, the OS is a disappointment as the device runs on Android 4.2.2, which is now a year old.

In terms of memory, it has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage space. This can be expanded upto 64 GB through a microSD card.

An essential feature of the tablet is the stylus functionality. The stylus on the Tegra Note is a simple capacitive one that uses what Nvidia calls the DirectStylus technology. It fits into a slot at the bottom. When pulled out, it triggers a prompt on the screen asking if the user wants to use the Write or Tegra Draw function.

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The device sports a 5-megapixel camera with useful functionalities like the always on HDR, the Tap to Track feature that lets you track your subject till it’s in focus and an inbuilt Camera Awesome app.

The tablet also boasts of an unbeatable sound experience with Tegra 4 audio processing for louder and richer sound quality. The Tegra note speakers offer an extended frequency range of up to 380-12kHz in comparison to the typical 800-5kHz range.

Performance:
The tablet is packed with kick-ass hardware. The Tegra 4 chipset makes sure all the games thrown at it run smoothly without a hitch. Despite having only 1GB of RAM, it manages to load even the most demanding games in no time. Gameplay in the Tegra Note is fun with no trace of framing. The speakers are particularly good with sufficiently loud output.

In terms of battery backup, the Tegra Note is quite impressive. The 4100 mAh battery lasted for 6 hours while playing high performance 3D games. While playing HD videos, the battery lasted for a remarkable 8 hours.

The Tegra Note lacks heavily in the software section. Typing is a pain as the keypad is very tacky and the words get auto corrected without an option to change them back. This makes entering text a very tedious process.

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The stylus is very responsive and a handy tool for taking notes.

The 5-megapixel primary camera does a decent job. In terms of software, the Tegra Note’s Camera Awesome app is much better than the regular Android camera app. Other noteworthy features are object tracking, software based video stabilization and the always on HDR function. The hardware, though, is a bit of a let-down. Pictures taken in daylight seem to have sufficient depth with the required amount of exposure. However, pictures taken in low light appeared a bit pixilated. The camera does not have a flash functionality. The front VGA camera has a shallow field of view and lacks clarity. We had to hold the device a mile away to get our face into the frame. However the video quality was better. Overall, the camera is good if you want to take pictures on-the-go and do not have another camera nearby.

Love:
Performance
Stylus integration
Price

Hate:
Display could be better
Disappointing camera
Software needs to be updated

Verdict:
If you’re looking for looking for style and superior display, you might want to take a look at the Nexus 7. However in terms of power, Tegra play steals the show.
The Tegra 4 processor is a boon for gaming enthusiasts and provides a smooth, exhilarating experience. The sound quality is slightly better and louder than Nexus 7. Added to this, the tablet has a slick stylus and an expandable storage, all for a neat price of Rs. 17,999.
In all, the XOLO Play Tegra Note is for hard-core gamers who want to go light on the pocket but want a bang for their buck.


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