The second generation of NVIDIA’s portable gaming kit has evolved to the point that the screen has separated from the controller. While the original Shield gaming console was high on innovation it was a little short on sales. The newly announced Shield Tablet and Controller keep the gaming emphasis of the original; it just does each part better and separately.
Taking care of the gaming hardware the Shield Tablet crams leading edge hardware into a svelte 8 inch tablet. The Shield Controller rounds out the gaming experience with a fast, flexible and comfortable game controller. Any game available anywhere.
NVIDIA will sell the Shield Tablet and Controller separately beginning July 29. The 16GB WI-Fi only Shield Tablet will sell for $300 and the Controller for $60. Has NVIDIA produced the most powerful gaming tablet to date? Is it enough to capture share in a saturated tablet market?
Under the hood the hardware is latest generation with the Tegra K1 chip. A chip that features 4 2.2GHz CPU cores and 192 Kepler GPU cores, near desktop PC power. Android 4.4 KitKat has 2GB of RAM to run in and 16/32GB of storage to save files to. The display is a full HD 8 inch IPS panel and sound is provided by front facing speaks and dedicated bass reflex ports. Connectors around the edge include mini-HDMI, micro USB 2, micro SD card slot, headphone jack and micro SIM slot for LTE connectivity. Recording everything you do are 2 5 megapixel cameras, one front and one rear. Battery life is quoted as 10 hours for video playback.
Various gaming modes allow you to extend your gaming experience to any HDMI TV in the immediate vicinity. In console mode a big screen TV can be attached via the mini-HDMI. Resolutions up to 4k are supported and games are sent to the TV in full screen mode. Twitch mode uses the front camera and game capture to stream out both gameplay and webcam. GameStream allows games to be sourced from PCs on the local network if they have a GTX video card and can even extend to NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service. Standard Android games play as normal and nearly 400 games are being specially optimized for Tegra K1 chip and the wireless controller.
The Shield Wireless Controller connects via WiFi Direct which should provide lower latencies and higher bandwidth than Bluetooth. Up to four controllers can be connected to each Shield Tablet with each player able to connect their gaming headset to their own controller. It can even be used on other Android devices.
As a general duty tablet the Shield tab is a solid high end Android device with some serious gaming grunt. The Shield Wireless Controller seems to have cracked the portable controller equation with comfort, low latency and compatibility with all Android devices. Put both Shield devices together and you have some very potent portable gaming hardware, NVIDIA’s best portable gaming hardware yet and maybe the best there is.