Nvidia released some technically impressive mobile processors in the past few years, but the company has had few smartphone design wins to show for its efforts. At last year's Mobile World Congress, the company showed off its Tegra 4i platform for the first time, and now that low-cost, small form-factor SoC with integrated LTE has found a home in a pair of upcoming handsets. We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Wiko Wax, which along with Latin American versions of the LG G2 mini, will be the first phone to sport a Tegra 4i processor and take note of its smooth performance.
The product of Wiko, a French manufacturer of unlocked phones that sell in Europe only, the Wax sports a 4.7-inch, 720p display, an 8-MP rear camera and a 5-MP front-facer for taking sharp selfies. We were impressed with the phone's subtle but stylish black, soft-touch chassis, which has subtle curves that reminded us of the HTC One's shape along with a snazzy gray accent stripe in the bottom bezel.
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Though the display was only 720p, images like the background wallpaper, looked particularly sharp and colorful. The screen also seemed to have a more matte finish than most handsets as overhead lights in the room produced very little glare.
The phone was running a stock version of Android Jellybean, which was skinned only with an Nvidia-themed wallpaper. The unit did not have much in the way of preloade software, but it did have TegraZone for downloading the latest games and a copy of "Real Boxing" which we used to try out the phone's graphics capabilities.
When we fired up "Real Boxing," a game with 3D rendered characters and fast action, images were smooth and fine details like the boxer's skin seemed particularly detailed. Though not as fast as its big-brother, the Tegra 4, the Tegra 4i contains 60 GPU cores, which should provide really strong gaming and video playback experiences.
For Nvidia's Tegra 4i platform to succeed, the chip needs to appear in some more widely-distributed phones, but with the Wiko Wax, it looks like it's off to a decent start. The Wax will start selling throughout Europe this April.