The Comparisons: Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The new NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 is a great little device, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  One of the toughest comparisons for it will be Google’s own Nexus 7.  Starting at $229, the Nexus 7 is a Qualcomm powered 7-in tablet with a 1920×1200 screen.  It is both thinner and lighter than the Tegra Note 7.  Additionally, the Nexus 7 features 5.0 GHz 802.11n, NFC and is already capable of running Android 4.3.

Despite those differences, the NVIDIA tablet is still very competitive with the inclusion of the faster Tegra 4 processor and graphics cores, micro-SD slot for storage expansion, vastly superior audio output, and stylus support.  The EVGA / NVIDIA tablet is also 10% less expensive, when comparing MSRPs.

The Nexus 7 is just slightly thinner than the Note 7, though you can tell the difference when holding in immediately.  The weight difference is also something you can feel just by holding them successively.  Part of the issue with the Tegra Note is likely due to weight distribution rather than the 0.1 pound difference, it feels heavier than the scale shows.

Build quality is another concern for the Tegra Note 7 going up against the Nexus 7.  The 2013 edition of Google’s smallest tablet feels more expensive than it is, and the various units I have handled seem engineered to very tight tolerances.  The buttons just feel a bit “better” as well, though not to the point that I can describe WHY. 

Another interesting contender to the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.  This tablet is significantly more expensive thanks to the included active stylus technology.  A 16GB version of this tablet will run $359 or so.

Obviously the Galaxy Note 8.0 is larger than the other two competitors, but not dramatically.  It performs very well thanks to the quad-core Exynos Samsung SoC, but can’t keep up when it comes to graphics and gaming. 

The Note 8.0 is thinner than the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7.  The biggest advantage this Samsung tablet has is the active stylus implementation of Samsung S-Pen. 

When using the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 side by side, it is clear that the active implementation of the pen technology has its advantage over the NVIDIA DirectStylus passive implementation.  But NVIDIA was very upfront with us that would be the case – its claim is they offer very similar performance in key areas like palm recognition and variable width strokes at a significant price cut.  Based on the MSRP of the Note 8.0 from Samsung ($379) and the Tegra Note 7 ($199), that is clearly the case. 

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