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Nvidia Shield Tablet

£N/A
graphics
features
performance
games

4.6

5

Overall

The Nvidia Shield Tablet is a distinctive looking, powerful Android slate that possibly marks the beginning of a new kind of gaming. It kicks ass, both a kind of console and a tablet. Hot property.

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Sam Applegate

29th October 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


Tablets have always been a bit of a naff platform for playing games on, right? I've always thought so, anyway. Well, it seems like I wasn't alone, as the Nvidia Shield Tablet sets out to prove that it can alter perceptions and create a new kind of gaming experience, whether WiFi only or with 4G.

It makes a pretty good stab at it, whilst also being a great mobile tablet for everything else.

First things first. What is the Nvidia Shield Tablet? As the name would suggest, it's still a rectangular slate that possesses many of the same characteristics that have identified tablets since the release of the original iPad. Touchscreen, portability, sometimes dubious battery life, etc etc. On the Shield, you can browse the web, have Skype conversations and do pretty much everything else that any other Android-based tablet can manage.

Nvidia have blessed the Shield Tablet with a micro USB port, micro HDMI port and a micro SD card slot. That means that it has plenty of connectivity options, as much storage as you want and the priceless ability to link it up to your HD TV with an absolute minimum of hassle. Little details like that are worth their weight in gold.

A Gaming Physique

As befits its intentions, the Nvidia Shield Tablet isn't built like other tablets. Usually Apple or Google's Nexus range aim to be as light and insubstantial as possible, whereas the Shield is more reminiscent of its namesake. Whilst hardly titanic in scale, it's certainly chunkily built, but it still only weighs around 390 grams, which makes it far from the heaviest tablet around. You can still use it with one hand, too, even if it's a little on the thick side. As you'd expect from such a build, it feels robust and resilient.

It's wrapped in soft touch matt black plastic and has a bit of the military look that often appeals to gamers rather than aesthetes who want to look sophisticated. Some people will like it, others won't. It's certainly different, and with SHIELD written on the back, anyone in the know will recognise coming across a fellow gamer.

Another mark of differentiation: the Shield's speakers are really rather good. No, they don't compare to a dedicated sound system, whether that's a hard-wired set or a wireless standalone Bluetooth speaker, but compared to pretty much every other tablet out there, they have superior volume, warmth and depth that scorns the tinniness that those rivals can offer. Nvidia recognised that audio is an important part of the gaming experience and hence dealt with it properly.

The display screen itself is eight inches in size, with a resolution of 1920×1200 and a PPI of 294. That's not quite as crisp as some tablets, but it's still extremely good. A more significant criticism is the sense that perhaps colours could be a little bit richer and more dynamic, but the easy way to remedy this is to link it up to your HD. Then you have plenty of wow.

Nvidia have also thrown in a stylus as part of the package.

It's Got The Power

Any machine that wants to call itself a gaming platform needs to have plenty of muscle, and the Shield delivers on this front with abandon. With a 2.2Ghz, ultra modern processor and 2GB of RAM, you'll be doing well to find a game that tests the Shield to its limits. Of course, that power also means that it's blisteringly fast at everything else, too.

The Nvidia Shield Tablet offers fairly average battery life for a tablet. Depending on the settings you're using, you can look to achieve video performance of around six hours, but perhaps only half of that for intensive gaming. While that's nothing to be ashamed about, it does mean that you'll need to have a socket on hand for extended gaming sessions.

Games Master?

The most interesting element of the Shield, of course, is the gaming element.

To take advantage of the Shield's startlingly good processing and graphics power, you'll also need to purchase the controller and possibly the kickstand. The good thing is that the WiFi controller feels well built and substantial, the bad that you're looking at spending an extra £50 so.

The range of games that specifically available for the Shield tablet at the moment isn't enormous, but you do get the chance to play them in 1080P, and most bundles offer a free copy of Trine 2. What can be said already is that the shop interface is simple and painless to use and that catalogue is only going to get bigger. Nvidia are also developing a cloud-based games system that offers more opportunities.

The key thing for now, then, is that you'll be able to play all of your PC games on the Shield, so long as your machine runs an Nvidia graphics card. You just need to stream them over your WiFi, although this means that no one will be able to use your PC at the same time. Hmm.

One absolutely key consideration that you must take into account before opting for the Shield is the strength and reliability of your WiFi. If you're streaming games from your PC to the Shield, then you really must have good coverage that isn't going to let you down. Similarly, the connection between the Shield itself and the controller is based over your wireless network, so a poor connection is going to leave you frustrated.

Wrapping Up

So the vital question is, if you've already got a high-end tablet that you use for everyday things, should you buy it? If it's a relatively modern one, then the answer is probably no, even though the Nvidia Shield Tablet is an extremely good machine.

On the other hand, if you're a keen gamer and are looking to either get a tablet for the first time or to upgrade an older model, then the Shield makes a very strong case for being your best option. You could have a piece of the future of gaming in your hands.

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To read more on this model, check out the Nvidia Shield Tablet homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Moving your app and game files (APK + OBB files) to your microSD card is compatible with select apps and games.
  • MX PLAYER is recommended when playing FLV, MKV, and other unsupported media files.
  • The preloaded NVIDIA SHIELD Hub gives you one-touch access to over 200 SHIELD-optimised game titles.
  • That's on top of all your favourite apps from Google Play—including Netflix, Pandora, and more.

Model

CPU

GPU

RAM (gb)

Storage (gb)

Rating

Price

Microsoft Xbox 360

Xenon-3core

ATI Xenos

.512

4

£389.99

Microsoft Xbox One

AMD 8 Core

1.23 TFLOPS

8

500

£179.99

Microsoft Xbox One X

Custom CPU @ 2.30 GHz 8 Cores

Custom GPU @ 1.172 GHz 40 CUs Polaris Features 6.0 TFLOPS

12 GB GDDR5 @ 326 GB/s

£384.99

Nintendo 2DS

Dual-core

PICA200

.125

4

£N/A

Nintendo 2DS XL

4x VFPv2 Co-Processor

804 MHz ARM11 MPCore Quad-core

256

4GB MicroSD Included (replaceable)

£125.00

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo ARM

Digital Media Professionals PICA2000

.128

2

£144.99

Nintendo Classic Mini SNES

-

-

-

-

£49.99

Nintendo Switch

Nvidia "customised" Tegra X1

-

4

32 + MicroSD

£274.99

Nintendo Wii U

Multi-Core

AMD Radeon

2

8

£459.99

Nvidia Shield Tablet

ARM Cortex A15 CPU

K1 192 Core Kepler GPU

2

16

£N/A

Playstation TV

N/A

N/A

N/A

1

£35.99

Playstation Vita Slim

Quadcore

SGX543MP4+

0.125

0.5

£N/A

Sony Playstation 3 Slim

Cell Broadband EngineTM

RSX

0.256

500

£399.85

Sony PlayStation 4

AMD 8 Core

1.84 TFLOPS

8

500

£349.99


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