The SHIELD wireless controller has a similar layout and feel to the SHIELD portable, but it is a separate, standalone device that will eventually support PCs as well. Although the SHIELD portable gaming device connects to wireless controllers via Bluetooth when in console mode, NVIDIA leverages WiFi direct with the new SHIELD wireless controller. Using WiFi direct results in lower-latency, which is of paramount importance with a gaming controller, and also allows for much greater bandwidth. And NVIDIA leverages the additional bandwidth to stream audio to and from the controller—there’s a 3.5” jack right on the SHIELD wireless controller that’ll accept any standard headset.
There are a couple of analog joysticks on the controller, along with D-pad, standard X/Y/A/B buttons, left and right triggers and shoulder buttons, navigation controls, and a volume rocker. On the back of the controller (in addition to the 3.5” audio jack) there is a micro-USB charging port as well. We’re told the SHIELD controller can last about 40 hours on a single charge when not streaming audio, and about 20 hours with two-way audio streaming.
The buttons aren’t the only input devices on the SHIELD controller, however. There is also a built in microphone for voice control and search and a capacitive touch pad. We saw the voice controls in action and they were surprisingly quick and accurate. We didn’t, however, get a chance to try the touch-pad (NVIDIA was still tuning it).
The full list of features and specifications for the SHIELD wireless controller is available in the table above. There’s not much more to see that we haven’t already covered, but for those that want the full monty, there it is…
NVIDIA will begin taking pre-orders for the SHIELD tablet and wireless controller immediately. The expected ship date in the US and Canada is July 29 and August 14 for Europe. The 16GB WiFi-only SHIELD tablet will be sold for $299. The 32GB model, which also includes LTE support, will sell for $399. The SHIELD smart cover / stand is $39 and the SHIELD controller is priced right in-line with other wireless console controllers at $59.
We’re hoping to have a SHIELD tablet and wireless controller in-hand for some independent testing in the next few days, but from what we’ve seen so far, we’re excited. The build quality of the SHIELD tablet and wireless controller seemed top-notch and the performance of the Tegra K1 at the heart of the device was impressive in the various demos NVIDIA had set up. When the SHIELD portable first hit, it outperformed most of the Android-tablets we had tested up to that point. We expect a similar showing from the new SHIELD tablet, powered by NVIDIA's Tegra K1.