The Nvidia Shield was released about a month and a half ago ago and to be honest I wasn’t that excited, having been disappointed by handheld gaming devices in the past. However I finally got to try it for myself hands-on at the PAX conference recently, and boy has my tune changed.
The Nvidia Shield is a great portable gaming console. It’s powered by the Android operating system and features a full-size Xbox 360 style gamepad with a beautiful touchscreen LCD. The LCD features 1280×720 resolution, otherwise known as 720p.
I played Sonic the Hedgehog and GTA Vice City, and the gameplay was great. It was smooth and responsive, and the graphics were gorgeous. Game switching was fast, I just hit the Nvidia button and used the touch screen (which was sometimes a bit finicky) to choose the game I wanted to switch to, and BOOM, there it was. The other game kept running (or paused) in the background so I could return and pick up where I left off at any time.
But this is not just a portable device, it also works with your existing gaming PC (assuming you have an Nvidia GTX graphics card, of course), and any Miracast-capable TV. The PC relationship allows the Shield to stream games such as Bioshock Infinite, GTA4, and Skyrim from your PC to your Shield. Awesome! This would be helpful in my house, since our gaming rig is hooked up to the household’s main TV.
Equally as great, using a Miracast-enabled TV, you can wirelessly stream games from the console to your TV. The video quality was amazing, zero lag, high definition, and the action was perfectly synced between the two screens (TV and Shield). If you don’t have a Miracast compatible television, there is a full-sized HDMI port on the back of the Shield which I assume accomplishes the same screen mirroring.
My only gripe is that the touchscreen was a bit unresponsive at times and it took more than a few taps to select an option, but hopefully that will be improved in the future (maybe through a software update). Another nag is the fact that the current selection of Shield optimized games is a bit underwhelming, but the fact that you can use it to play all the standard Android games should make up for that, and there are bound to be more exciting titles out in the future.
The Shield is a beautiful device, and it feels solid. It performs well, and is clearly a device built for gamers. The product is priced at $299.99.