NVIDIA SHIELD Tegra 4 Android Gaming Portable

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As we’ve mentioned, NVIDIA’s SHIELD is built around the company's homegrown Tegra 4 SoC. NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 builds upon the success of the Tegra 3 by incorporating updated quad ARM 15-based CPU cores with a custom 72-core GeForce GPU, which all told offers up to 6x the performance of Tegra 3.

Like its predecessor, Tegra 4 will also have a 4+1 CPU design, which combines 4 high-performance cores with a low-power battery saver core to prolong battery life (up to 14 hours of HD video playback on smartphones according to NVIDIA). The A15 cores used in Tegra 4, however, are up to 2.6x faster than the A9-class cores used in Tegra 3, for significantly better performance all around. The Tegra 4, which is clocked at up to 1.9GHz in SHIELD, is paired to 2GB of memory in SHIELD and 16GB of internal storage is present as well. The device also features built in 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, a 3-axis Gyro, and a 3-axis Accelerometer.

Wrapped around the Tegra 4 is a console-grade game controller, attached to a 5”, multi-touch display with a native resolution of 1280x720 (294 dpi). And in case you were wondering, the thing is built like a tank. The SHIELD feel very solid in the hand, though at about 579 grams, it is somewhat heavy. Regardless, if you had any concerns about SHIELD’s build quality after its initial delay, don’t—it’s exudes quality.

When closed, the NVIDIA SHIELD looks much like an Xbox controller, sans buttons (they’re hidden underneath the screen, obviously). The stock silver “tag” is positioned right on the back-side of the screen and there are “NVIDIA” and “SHIELD” badges, along with an air-vent, sandwiched right in between the handgrips at the front of the device.

There’s a lot more going on around the back of the SHIELD, however. Around back you’ll find a mini-HDMI output, a micro-USB charging / sync port, a headphone + microphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a relatively big exhaust vent. The Tegra 4 in SHIELD is actively cooled (air is pulled in through the front and exhausted out the back), though it is very quiet and never got particularly warm to the touch. On either side of all of those ports are some right and left trigger and shoulder buttons as well.

Flip up the screen, and SHIELD’s D-Pad and dual-analog joysticks are visible, along with some X/Y/A/B function buttons. Right about in the center of the device are five more buttons (volume, start, back, home, and NVIDIA). On either side of the buttons, you can also see SHIELD’s stereo speakers. The speakers are mounted in waveguides, with tuned ports and offer exceptionally good sound quality in our opinion, especially considering how small they are. We should also note, that just above center-mounted buttons, there is also a tiny microphone port.

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MichaelRodriguez one year ago

I was NOT expecting the "good night, bitch!" comment during the review. Well played. haha

RZielaskowski one year ago

haha! had to watch it because of your comment!

JamesRennie one year ago

"Can it run crysis"

HotHardware1 one year ago

I had to sneek that one in there--took me too long to knock him down and I didn't want to shoot another take. :)

MichaelRodriguez one year ago

I must admit. It was a breath of fresh air after all the strict technical reviews. Knowing you enjoyed the game enough to make an off-the-cuff comment like that said more about the console than just the specs alone.

PLowe one year ago

Why didn't you bench it against iPad 4 or Nexus 10? The iPad you used is over a year old, and Nexus 10 is the only other A15 device out there, they both seem obvious choices to bench against.

Joel H one year ago

"Why didn't you bench it against X, or Y, or Z?"

Hardware availability and time are always factors in a review.

marco c one year ago

Hi PLowe. I, unfortunately, didn't have an iPad4 or Nexus 10 at my disposal. Wish I did, but had to make do with what I had on hand.

JefferyPruett one year ago

Marco Kicked Some Major Butt! Btw anyone knows how much this cost? i was thinking of buying one :o.

Clixxer one year ago

$299 for the shield Jeffery. Looks like a cool device and I wouldn't mind messing around with one but in the end im not big on portable gaming.

Joel H one year ago

I'm impressed by Shield. I don't know if it'll sell well or not, but it looks like quality hardware.

DustinMaxfield one year ago

I think it's pretty cool.

But if the game streaming only works with Nvidia graphics cards then this product isn't for me.

It makes sense that they would pretty much only develop that for their own graphics cards, but I've got a Radeon and would like that same functionality. If they would accomodate those cards as well, they could tap into the market those who have already have an AMD card.

ajm531 one year ago

Awesome. you guys rocked. I asked and you delivered. that little demo of the streaming aspect of the device was awesome that practically zero lag of streaming makes me want to get this. It was so sweet watching move instantly as it did on the pc. For being beta its crazy good already. Also though i know this is a give but what kind of internet speeds do you have?? Im curious whats the lowest you could have to get that kind of zero latency for streaming to th shield.

Marco C one year ago

ajm531, streaming is done over a local network, not the internet.  The SHIELD was connected wirelessly to an Asus RT-AC66U router at a distance of about 30 feet.

BrianKeegan one year ago

I'm not an Nvidia fan but...this is pretty amazing.

lakiw one year ago

This device is sooo cool. I`m gonna own it first in Montenegro.

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