Nvidia released some very credible Android gaming hardware last year in the form of the Shield. You can see our thoughts on the 5″ combination controller and screen here. Eighteen months later, they’re stepping up their game with a new 8″ tablet and a companion controller. Let’s take a look at what could be the most credible mobile gaming device yet.
The Shield tablet is powered by Nvidia’s K1 system on a chip. The chip includes a quad-core 2.3GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU, which is slightly out of date, but adds a Kepler based GPU with 192 micro cores. The Kepler architecture was originally designed for the professional market, so this is some major hardware in a mobile device. The tablet features a 1920 x 1080 Full HD display. Not class leading, but 275 ppi is nothing to look down upon. The tablet comes in 16 and 32GB variants, but can be expanded with up to 128GB more with a MicroSD card. It comes in both Wi-Fi only and LTE variants.
Other than the K1 GPU, the specs are middle of the road. The services really bring this tablet over the top. First off, it supports Nvidia’s GameStream. That means you can stream your PC games to this 8″ tablet. Nvidia also has a library of games they’re calling GRID Cloud Streaming that can be streamed over the internet to the tablet. The approach looks similar to OnLive. Nvidia also has the Shield Hub, their library of Shield enhanced Android games, including exclusive ports from Valve. There is also an included copy of Trine 2. If that still isn’t enough, the tablet has Google Play and the Android library of games. It’s able to stream these games to your TVs with console mode. There’s also built-in Twitch streaming. Not quite gaming, but the Shield tablet also includes a stylus.
The one thing you’ll notice about the Shield tablet is that it’s, well, a tablet. You have no console grip and no buttons. Instead, Nvidia has released a proprietary controller. It has about the same buttons you saw on the 5″ Shield, but this controller is neither Bluetooth nor directly connected. Instead, it uses a form of Wi-Fi for a lower latency connection. The controller features what you’d see on newer game consoles such as a built-in headphone jack, integrated mic with a voice assistant, and a small touch pad. You can use up to 4 of them.
Pricing and availability
The Shield tablet will start at $299 for the Wi-Fi model of 16GB of storage. The Wireless Controller will sell for $59.99. A controller is NOT included with the tablet. The pair are available for pre-order on Nvidia’s Shield site or most physical and online retailers including Amazon, Fry’s, GameStop, and Best Buy. Nvidia did not give a release date I could find.
With powerful graphics and access to both Android and PC games, the Shield tablet might be the most credible mobile gaming device to date. Unlike the original Shield, it can also be your daily tablet. A lot of the technology does rely on streaming though. We’ll have to see how this device pans out.
As always, we want to hear from you. Is the Shield tablet something you’d want to buy? Does the separate controller rather than a controller case bother you? Let us know here or on social media.