Taking good advantage of the ongoing Google I/O conference, NVIDIA has just released what's undoubtedly one of the world's fastest Android devices: SHIELD. This peculiarly-named device might take over the name of the original portable SHIELD hand-held, but it's a much different device.
SHIELD is a set-top device that NVIDIA aims to be better than all of the others. And we'd hope so, because the $199 price tag for the regular model will demand that this is a premium product, at least compared to simple media streamers. Yes, "regular model", because there's also a Pro model, which tacks on an extra $100. SHIELD Pro bumps the internal storage from 16GB to 500GB, and includes a full Android copy of Gearbox's Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which will be released on July 1. SHIELD is a tweener of sorts, it's a set-top box on steroids, if you will, and more on par, horsepower-wise, with a game console.
Both SHIELD models sport NVIDIA's Tegra X1, announced at CES. With that being the case, SHIELD marks the quickest time ever between a Tegra announcement and product release. More often than not, we learn about Tegra at CES in January, and then see it reach a product in the Chinese market during the summer. NVIDIA really seems to be getting comfortable with its mobile business!
With the Tegra X1 under the hood, SHIELD supports 4K video and great gaming performance. Other hardware includes 802.11ac wireless, gigabit Ethernet (a sweet touch), USB 3.0 ports, MicroSD expansion, and an HDMI cable. For those who don't want to jump on the SHIELD, you'll also score $30 of free credit for Google Play, as well as a 90 day subscription to Google Play Music.
You can find a SHIELD Android TV Device Now, On Amazon
We have a review of the SHIELD in the works, so stay tuned for that.
SHIELD's release isn't the only interesting news to revolve around NVIDIA today. Thanks to some benchmarks posted to GFXBench's website, we get a glimpse at what appears to be the second-generation SHIELD Portable. It performs a bit worse than the new SHIELD, but offers nearly 5x the performance of the original portable, and almost double the Tegra K1-based SHIELD Tablet.
As a major fan of the original SHIELD portable, I look forward to seeing what this new one will bring to the table. Thanks to this leak, we can glean some information, though. What's most interesting to me is the fact that it has a 7.8" screen - far larger than the 4" screen of the original. 7.8" is so large, in fact, that if this information is true, the new portable is going to be a vastly different device. Also worthy of note is that this one has a front-facing camera, although the resolution is paltry, at 640x480. That assumes that this information is correct, but given this leak, it seems certain we'll be learning about this device during the summer.