Product: Nvidia Shield Tablet with game controller
Price: £239.99 (tablet) £319.94 (package)
Specifications: Nvidia Tegra K1 192-core Kepler GPU, 2.2GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU, 2GB RAM, 8in 1920x1200 display, front-facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone, 16GB expandable storage via microSD card, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS/GLONASS Mini-HDMI output, Micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support, 5MP HDR front-facing camera, 5MP auto focus HDR rear-facing camera, 4K Ultra-HD Ready video, 19.75 Watt Hours battery, 221x126x9.2mm, 390g, Android Kitkat
THE NVIDIA SHIELD is the company's second attempt at a console inspired tablet. Once again, the emphasis is on the gaming credentials offered by Nvidia's graphics pedigree.
It's the first Android device to sport the new Nvidia Tegra K1 chip, which has been smashing benchmarks for almost everything in its wake, including laptop and desktop chips. This review covers the Shield as a package, including the optional game controller and stand case. It should be noted that these items are not included out of the box as standard.
The Nvidia Shield is an 8in device and has a pleasing height, enough to feel sturdy, but not enough to feel bulky. The device measures 221x126x9.2mm and weights 390g. It's clear that the designers have gone for something sleek but blokeish.
The matt black casing feels a little cheap and, in spite of the wafer thin bezel lengthways, the incorporated stereo speakers at the front look quite prominent, unlike the HTC One, for example, where they blend in very well. The buttons and ports on the side are very sleek and sympathetic to the overall design, and the Shield logo picked out in gloss relief on the back is a nice touch.
It has two cameras, front and rear, making it great as a communications tool. The case stand is essentially a flap which can be folded to create a stand, or unfurled to make a protective covering. In terms of a stand, it is a bit limited as to what angles it sits at; we'd like to have seen a bit more adjustability.
What is extremely pleasing, however, is that it fits magnetically so it can be released quickly if it's getting in the way. In fact, its disposability is probably its saving grace. We'd much rather use a full case, and there are plenty of them available from third parties. The wireless controller is a chunky affair. It's the same form factor as a PS3 controller but slightly bigger and for some reason weighs considerably more.
It consists of one manual joypad, two analogue sticks, four front-facing buttons and four trigger buttons. There are also replications of the standard Android menu options. It feels surprisingly pleasing to hold and the light-up Nvidia logo that shows that it's connected manages to look classy instead of tacky. It has one more hidden secret too - a headphone socket, of which more later.
Next: Connectivity and inputs.