Tablets are tablets, we’re beginning to think. The scope a manufacturer has to differentiate is becoming increasingly limited. Especially so, when one tries to identify genuinely useful adornments. We like the Gigabyte Tegra 7 because there’s very little other than impressive performance and good engineering to appreciate. It’s not unlike the Nexus, in this respect, although the Gigabyte feels more solid and well built, and with premium materials used.
At its heart is the Nvidia Tegra-4 processor, which currently stands as the quickest available for any tablet. Flicking through apps is as speedy and smooth as we’ve ever experienced on a tablet, and the grunty processor really helps along apps which use the stylus.
When drawing, it simulates brushes very well, and it’s easy to create varying line width. There’s no perceptible lag, with the on-screen ink flowing the instant the stylus touches the screen, and the fastest strokes cause no jitter in the lines. This performance is far superior to any of the Samsung Galaxy Note tablets which have a noticeable delay when you start drawing and a low tolerance for quick movements.
The stylus is a double ended type, with a thin and curved nib at one end and a thicker one at the other. It’s possible to create quite beautiful calligraphy using the thicker nib.
The screen touch mode switches to one optimised for the stylus when it’s slipped from its slot, and in that mode using fingertips is well nigh impossible, however, the excellent stylus action makes this a sensible compromise. If you really are serious about a tablet with a stylus, this is the best going at the moment.
On the downside, the screen is extremely glossy and mirrors everything around it far too well, often making it tricky to focus on the display itself. When lighting conditions are good, though, the IPS screen is vibrant and evenly lit.
At around $250 it’s a premium 7-incher with outstanding stylus capabilities, built well and with quality materials and attractively styled.