User Interface and Experience
NVIDIA equips the Tegra Note 7 with a near pure version of Android, similar to Google’s own Nexus devices. There are only minor additions made to the OS, to support NVIDIA’s proprietary technologies like DirectStylus, Chimera, and PRISM.
Right out of the box, there is virtually no bloatware installed, and there’s no custom skinning done either. The streamlined nature of the OS, combined with the speedy Tegra 4 make for a smooth and enjoyable experience in our opinion. The Tegra Note 7 already feels fast and responsive, though we do wish the device had more than 1GB of RAM.
There is an array of Widgets included on the Tegra Note 7, but initially, all of the devices home screens are free and clear of clutter. NVIDIA / EVGA leave it up to the end user to configure his/her home screens, which is how it should be in our opinion.
We’re going to talk about Chimera on the next page, in the camera section, but we should mention DirectStylus and PRISM here for a moment. PRISM is a power saving technology, that will dynamically adjust the screens backlighting to conserve power. PRISM works as advertised, but it was somewhat distracting to our eyes in apps like Facebook. When scrolling, if a large image would slide on-screen, the dimming would change the white background to a greyish hue. And then it would turn white again as the image passed. It’s not a big deal, and some people probably wouldn’t notice it, but we mention it because it did catch our eye.
DirectStylus on the other hand is good stuff all around. DirectStylus uses the Tegra 4’s image processing capabilities to analyze data from the device’s touch sensor to recognize the difference between a fine-tip stylus, finger, eraser and palm, eliminating the need for a separate digitizing layer to the screen to support a stylus. DirectStylus is also intelligent enough to discern pressure, so the included blade-tipped stylus can be used to draw fine or thick lines. Turn the stylus over and it acts like an eraser.
As we’ve mentioned in our evaluations of Samsung’s Galaxy Note products, we like what having a stylus brings to the table. And NVIDIA’s implementation is very good. There is minimal lag and the stylus works as expected. NVIDIA also included a couple of apps (Tegra Draw and Write) which are designed for the stylus (which pop-up when you pull the stylus from its slot), but you can also use it to write on images, capture portions of a screen, etc.