Xolo Play Tegra Note review

First issues first: the Xolo Play Tegra Observe shouldn’t be purely a Xolo product. Xolo itself has had no involvement with designing and configuring it. The Tegra Observe was created by Nvidia as a reference platform to point out off the facility of its Tegra four ARM processor. Regardless of it being the fourth era of cell silicon from Nvidia, no producer has introduced any plans to make use of it in any present or future system. With stock mendacity round and no prospects in sight, Nvidia modified its technique and determined to create its personal shopper merchandise.

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Thus, the Tegra Observe and the Protect handheld recreation console had been born. The Protect is an Nvidia branded product bought by the corporate itself, however Tegra Observe is handled just a little otherwise. Similar to Nvidia creates reference graphics playing cards based mostly round its graphics processors and permits all its companions to easily duplicate and put their very own stickers on them, a number of manufacturers all over the world have merely licensed the Tegra Observe design. In precisely the identical method, these corporations, together with Xolo, primarily maintain gross sales and distribution with their very own branding on the field and little or no different customisation.

So the Xolo Play Tegra Observe is out and out an Nvidia product, right down to the colors and typography on the field. In different elements of the world, you may discover precisely the identical pill bought as a Zotac or EVGA product. This is not a foul factor, for the reason that pill itself shouldn’t be solely extraordinarily highly effective, but in addition wonderful worth for cash.

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Feel and appear
The very first thing that struck us after we lifted the Tegra Observe out of its field was its weight. At 320g, it is significantly heavier than the newest Nexus 7 and practically as heavy as an iPad mini. You will positively really feel it in your fingers, particularly when you maintain it in a gaming or studying place for a very long time. The physique is manufactured from plastic and there are rubberised grips across the sides and on the again. The pill’s entrance face is completely clean and symmetrical, other than a tiny dot for the front-facing digicam. When choosing it up, it wasn’t straightforward to know which technique to maintain it. The display screen is flanked by two broad speaker grilles, and there are not any capacitive buttons or logos of any type.

The physique has two rubberised pads for grip, which additionally lend the Tegra Observe a heavy-duty look. We haven’t any complaints in regards to the Tegra Observe’s development high quality, although its physique does flex a bit when you apply stress to it.

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Across the edges you may discover fairly just a few buttons and ports: Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, and a microSD card slot (uncovered, with out even a rubber flap or dummy filler for cover), energy and quantity buttons, and a three.5mm headset port. The Tegra Observe has no mobile knowledge functionality, so there is not any SIM card slot. Wi-fi connectivity comes within the type of Wi-Fi b,g and n assist in addition to Bluetooth four.zero.

Nvidia has designed this pill with stylus enter in thoughts. The one which comes with it’s slimmer than traditional, and has a singular chisel-shaped tip. If you slide it out of the silo on the decrease proper, a immediate seems on display screen asking if you wish to open Write or Tegra Draw, the 2 preloaded stylus-optimised apps. You possibly can add your personal shortcuts to the launcher immediate when you like.

The one main disappointment is the display screen. For a tool created by a graphics agency to advertise handheld gaming, the display screen is definitely fairly terrible. 1280×800 shouldn’t be a excessive decision by right now’s normal; the obvious system to match it with is the 2013 Nexus 7 which comes with a surprising 1920×1200-pixel display screen. Colors do not actually pop, and viewing angles aren’t as broad as we would like. One other odd factor is that at sure angles, whether or not on or off, you possibly can see an array of skinny horizontal bands operating throughout the display screen. We won’t make sure whether or not that is a part of the stylus digitiser or only a manufacturing quirk, and it would not intervene with watching motion pictures or studying with the pill held at arm’s size. It is solely whereas enjoying video games, with numerous motion, that they generally caught our eyes and felt distracting.

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The Tegra four
It truly is all in regards to the processor right here. Every thing in regards to the Tegra Observe has been designed to showcase its potential, though corners have been lower to make sure a low value. The Tegra four was designed for tablets, and is much beefier than processors from competing corporations that additionally attempt to match into smartphones. It has just a few neat tips up its sleeve, resembling a fifth low-power “companion core” that kicks in to permit the 4 major cores to fall asleep and devour much less power. Whereas the 4 most important cores are based mostly on ARM Cortex A15 logic, the companion core relies on the lower-spec Cortex A9.

On paper, the Tegra four is sort of a powerhouse. It has 72 “GeForce-class” cores which Nvidia describes as delivering “console-class gaming experiences”. Its graphics pedigree is extra obvious within the listing of options supported: self-shadowing, HDR lighting, real-time physics, fabric simulation and particle results. One other buzzword on the spec sheet is “Computational Images Structure”. Nvidia says that its digicam app harnesses the complete energy of the Tegra four processor by delivering always-on HDR with none lag, video stabilisation, and object monitoring, although not all these options can be found within the Tegra Observe at launch time.

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H.264 video decode is normal, and resolutions of as much as 4Kx2K (4096×2160) are supported, although solely at 24fps. 1080p decode can go as much as 60fps.

Software program
It is a pretty disappointing space: the Tegra Observe runs Android four.2.2, which is now a yr outdated. Internationally, an replace to Android four.three has been launched, however our check unit did not choose it up. Even that is not the newest and best model, so we would wish to know whether or not Nvidia has a timeline in place for delivering updates and the way lengthy it is dedicated to doing so.

The Tegra Observe remains to be fairly usable although. The primary annoyance is that Nvidia selected to go along with gentle buttons on display screen fairly than capacitive or bodily ones on the system’s face. This eats up plenty of display screen house. When enjoying fullscreen video games, there is a black band of wasted house operating throughout the underside of the display screen, with solely three light gray dots within the center to information you the place to faucet.

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Nvidia provides a Tegra Zone app which handily curates all of the video games and utilities that showcase the Tegra’s energy. We discovered quite a lot of titles to sink our tooth into, throughout a wide range of genres. The 2 stylus-oriented apps, Tegra Draw and Write, additionally come preloaded. Neither of those was significantly straightforward to make use of. Tegra Draw’s interface provides no clue as to the varied instruments obtainable, and we found by trial and error that the stylus is sort of delicate to stress. There’s additionally a doubtlessly helpful annotate instrument that permits you to draw a variety round any a part of the display screen in any app and replica it into Tegra Draw, however once more, there is not any path about easy methods to use it.

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Digital camera
With a view to faucet into the aforementioned imaging capabilities of the Tegra processor, Nvidia has changed the default digicam app with one known as Digital camera Superior. It is a fairly full-featured app, with nifty options like a wide range of grid overlays that can assist you body photographs, modify settings, and rapidly swap between nonetheless and video. The best characteristic is Focus Monitoring, which retains objects in focus even when they transfer across the body otherwise you reframe your shot. All the time-on HDR is because of be added in a software program replace, so we have not taken it into consideration.

The Tegra Play has a five-megapixel digicam which we examined in a wide range of lighting situations. In daylight we had been happy at first with how effectively every shot appeared to be uncovered, however on nearer inspection, edges of objects had been jagged and there was a fuzzy high quality to the whole lot. When scaled down, the photographs had been acceptable. Low gentle efficiency was not good in any respect. Even foreground objects had been poorly outlined, and there was extreme noise throughout.

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Oddly, movies are saved in 3GPP format. Once more, publicity was effectively managed even when following fast-moving objects. Movies look nearly okay on the system’s display screen and on a pc monitor. The standard is not going to blow anybody away but it surely’s completely nice for recording little moments and sharing them on-line. The Tegra Observe’s lens is situated very near the sting of the system, so it is advisable to maintain it fastidiously whereas filming otherwise you’ll find yourself with a finger blocking half your body.

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Gaming
Video games should be the Tegra Observe’s bread and butter. We discovered a wide range of titles that may check this concept. Essentially the most notable of the bunch was Useless Set off 2, a first-person shooter by which it’s a must to dodge and kill zombies in numerous scenic locales. The sport is “enhanced for Tegra four gadgets”, and guarantees cutting-edge graphics resembling water reflections and reasonable physics when destroying objects. The sport actually is visually partaking, and we observed results resembling lens flares, flames, and lightweight glinting off smoke particles drifting within the air. It is simply one of many best-looking video games we have seen on a conveyable system. The sport is enjoyable to play and it by no means appears like only a graphics showcase.

One other recreation we tried was Eden to Inexperienced, an odd freemium technique recreation that performs like Crops vs Zombies with eco-consious messages flashing on the person all through. It definitely appears like there’s plenty of graphics processing happening, however the visuals are cartoonish and the sport itself shouldn’t be very a lot enjoyable.

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Different video games highlighted within the Tegra Zone app embody FIFA 14, GTA San Andreas, The Cave, Actual Boxing, Useless On Arrival 2, Gangstar Vegas and Zombie Tycoon 2. There is no scarcity of titles that would appear to benefit from Nvidia’s .

Nvidia additionally factors out that the Tegra Observe is suitable with a wide range of third-party recreation controllers. With the pill sending full HD video to your TV, you can even use it as a gaming console.

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We additionally must make a particular point out of the Tegra Observe’s audio system: sound was loud in each recreation we threw at it. It is not the highest quality sound, which grew to become far more obvious in our FLAC and MP3 music assessments, but it surely’s greater than sufficient for immersive gaming.

Efficiency
Gameplay was persistently clean, with no stuttering. Load time remains to be significant-these are fairly heavy video games in any case. We additionally observed a bit of heat increase throughout our gameplay classes. HD movies performed flawlessly, other than just a little artifacting on our heaviest AVCHD pattern clip.

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The Tegra Observe additionally scored impressively effectively in our suite of benchmarks. GFXbench returned a rating of 32fps and 3DMark’s Ice Storm Limitless check returned 14,961 factors. Each scores bode very effectively for gaming and normal efficiency, even sooner or later as new titles are launched that push this additional and additional.

So far as normal efficiency goes, we noticed scores that edge out right now’s strongest smartphones based mostly on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor. The general rating in Quadrant was 15,788, and the SunSpider JavaScript check accomplished in simply 547.2ms

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Verdict
One yr in the past, the Tegra Observe would have been an exceptional pill. By right now’s requirements it is nonetheless spectacular, however has a few drawbacks that might put folks off. The display screen is not on par with different gadgets in the marketplace, however what’s worse is that it simply would not do any justice to the Tegra four’s capabilities. The stylus is a pleasant contact, however its utility relies upon completely on apps.

Fortunately Xolo has launched the Tegra Observe in India with a smart price ticket of Rs. 17,999. Its major competitor, the Nexus 7 (2013), begins at Rs 20,999. In the identical value band, the non-retina iPad mini sells for Rs. 21,900. Between the 2 Android choices, every has its relative strengths and weaknesses: the Nexus has a considerably weaker CPU and would not have expandable storage, however its display screen is of a a lot larger high quality. You will simply must determine which tradeoffs you need to make.

Professionals

  • Nice potential for gaming
  • Stylus for apps that assist it
  • Comparatively enticing value

Cons

  • Display screen is sub-par
  • Wants a software program replace

 

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