Nvidia made it! Thanks to the mobile Tegra chip, the popular graphics manufacturer has been featured in mobile devices for quite some time. Countless tablets and some smartphones run on the Tegra chip. In order for some hardware to add that extra added value, many games are optimized with the Tegra chip, which significantly improves effects and graphics. With NVIDIA TegraZone, Nvidia offers an alternative app store, which specifically offers these games and apps.
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Features & Use
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Android version: 4.0.4
Applicable for 2.3 and higher.
Installation size: around 5.8 MB
Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean optimized: yes
Tip: Nvidia TegraZone is only available for devices containing the Tegra chip. For a list of supported devices, check out the Nvidia Homepage.
NVIDIA TegraZone's authorizations showed no sign of abnormality.
Many people have often asked why the first Tegra chip they ever heard of was the Tegra 2 Chip. This fuels almost all of the first generation Android tablets and its successor, the Tegra 3, can be found in many present tablets, as well as in a few smartphones (like the HTC One X for example). The first Tegra chip (Tegra, respectively Tegra 1) could only be found in one highly distributed device: the Zune HD, Microsoft's unsuccessful iPod Touch alternative from 2009. I was a Zune HD owner and at the time was really impressed by the Tegra platform, even though the beginning didn't seem too bright for Nvidia. At the moment, my slightly outdated Galaxy Tab 10.1 is running on the Tegra 2 chip, after all, it was the first dual-core processor available for tablets.
Even with the introduction, what exactly is NVIDIA TegraZone? Basically, it offers an alternative app store. Many games (like Shadowgun or Riptide GP for example) are Tegra-optimized and offer for the most part much better graphics, mostly in the form of special effects. In the Google Play store, you'll recognize these games mainly under the name-affix ''THD''. All the same, it can get tedious always having to search for optimized apps. The NVIDIA TegraZone groups together all games and apps that have been optimized for the Tegra chip. In order to make it easier for clients, the app's shortcut will direct them to the respective counterpart in the Google Play store. It isn't necessary to buy it directly from the NVIDIA TegraZone. The app is divided into three categories:
- Spotlight: here you'll find an overview of the most popular games and apps, as well as news regarding Nvidia and the Tegra platform and respectively the apps belonging to it.
- Games: all apps are gathered here, even if they're not games, which is a little confusing at first. Getting acquainted with the categories will help you find what you're looking for. Evidently, there's also a search function.
- News: as mentioned above in the ''spotlight'' category, here you'll have news and info.
It becomes quickly evident that NVIDIA TegraZone is distinctively optimized for games. This isn't only because the advocated apps are mostly games, but also because it shows which ones can be played with a controller, which is a very useful function! In the NVIDIA TegraZone the apps won't hold the ratings that they've received in the Play Store. TegraZone has its very own evaluation system. That may seem unnecessary at first glance, but actually makes sense for the reason that Tegra-optimized apps in the Play Store often receive negative comments from users who can't install the respective apps (because their device doesn't have a Tegra chip). These irrelevant comments won't appear within TegraZone.
NVIDIA TegraZone is practically a must-have app for users with a Tegra device. Here, you'll often find optimized apps more quickly. A positive aspect is the TegraZone installation refers the user back to the Play Store. An alternative paying option like in AndroidPIT App Center is unfortunately not available. You'll find a complete list of Tegra-supported devices on the Nvidia Homepage.
Screen & Controls
NVIDIA TegraZone's design closely follows the Nvidia style: green, black and white. The app was well designed and its controls are impeccable. One thing that they could have done: add a search function in the the top functions bar, which would permit the user to quickly access each category within the app. The app is also optimized for tablets and offers another layout for landscape mode.
Speed & Stability
NVIDIA TegraZone worked well during the test. There were no crashes or other problems. Everything was in working order, even with my slightly older Galaxy Tab 10.1.
NVIDIA TegraZone is free in the AndroidPIT App Center, as well as in the Google Play store.