A Hands-On Look At NVIDIA's Updated SHIELD TV
The new NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Wireless Remote, And Game Controller
|Processor / RAM||NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor with 256-core Maxwell GPU with 3GB RAM|
|Video Features||4K Ultra-HD HDR Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264)|
|Audio Features||7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI|
|High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192kHz over HDMI and USB|
|High-resolution audio upsample to 24-bit/192hHz over USB|
|Wireless||802.11ac 2x2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi|
|Two USB 3.0 (Type A)|
|IR Receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)|
|Gaming Features||NVIDIA GeForce Now streaming service|
|Weight and Size||Weight: 23oz, H: 6.2in, W: 3.8in H: 1.0in/25mm
||Starting @ $199|
As we mentioned, although this is technically a new SHIELD TV device, it is built around the same Tegra X1 SoC as the original. Just to quickly reiterate, the Tegra X1 is packing quad CPU cores and a 256-core Maxwell-based GPU. The on board video engine is capable of full 10-bit, 4K encode and decode at up to 60Hz, with 1080P 60 and HDR support as well. There is also 3GB of RAM installed in the SHIELD TV, along with 16GB of flash storage, which can now be expanded via USB -- the micro-SD card slot on the original is gone.
Other features of the SHIELD TV include built-in Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two USB ports, and an HDMI output. The USB ports serve double-duty for charging the wireless remote and controller (if you don’t plug them into chargers separately) and for storage expansion. Though 16GB has proven enough for numerous apps, the additional storage would come in handy for local media or side-loading apps, etc. The original SHIELD TV also had a micro-USB port for connecting to a PC and interfacing with the device, that’s not present on the newer model.
NVIDIA has completely fleshed out the new package, not only with an updated game pad, but the advanced SHIELD Remote as well. A new stand for the SHIELD TV was also released to accommodate its smaller chassis, but that remains an optional accessory.
We approve of NVIDIA’s decision to include both a game pad and remote with the SHIELD TV. The game pad is obviously ideal for gaming, but it’s a bit clumsy when navigating through applications and media because you have to engage with it with both hands. The SHIELD Remote, however, is super sleek, intuitive, and easy to use with one hand, so it's ideal when zipping through apps like NetFlix.
The new wireless controller also enables one of the new features of platform – the always on, Google Assistant. The controller features a built-in, near-field microphone, so as long as you’re in earshot, a quick “OK Google” will bring up the digital assistant so you can rattle off questions or commands. There are myriad of use cases for Google Assistant, from checking weather to controlling automated or smart devices in your home.
The Remote has a very high-quality feel and works very well. The buttons are responsive and the microphone picks-up casually-spoken voice commands easily without incident.