NVIDIA SHIELD Tegra 4 Android Gaming Portable

Gaming Experience, Streaming

NVIDIA’s SHIELD is all about gaming, so we obviously spent quite a bit of time playing games on the device, both from the Google Play store on streamed from a PC. But the ability to play games isn’t the whole story. The overall experience is important as well and we think SHIELD delivered.

Some NVIDIA SHIELD Hands-On Action

Thanks to its TEGRA 4 SoC and unmolested version of Android, the SHIELD offers a very fluid, smooth Android experience. And the build quality and feel of SHIELD is top notch. It’s unfortunate NVIDIA ran into an issue so close to launch that delayed its release until today, but even so, it’s obvious the company didn't skimp with SHIELD. It’s very solid and feels good in the hand. 

NVIDIA SHIELD Real Boxing Game Demo

As a hardcore boxing fan (one of the last I presume), I was excited to play Real Boxing on the SHIELD and can report that the game looks as good in the real-world as it did in all of the demos you may have seen up to this point. Animation is smooth and the graphics looks great. There is a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of the controls, which rely mostly on the two analog sticks and left and right shoulder buttons, but once you do, defending and throwing combinations works very well.

I’ve fought quite a few rounds in Real Boxing and the only complaint I have so far is that the game is a little too easy in the very beginning. If you take the time to practice and master the controls using the built in tutorial, expect a string of first round knockouts.

Blood Sword Running On SHIELD

Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin also looks really good. It’s a Diablo-like, hack-and-slasher, that’s got some wild, outlandish-looking bosses. The graphics are very good and the this type of game is perfectly suited to the use of analog sticks for controls, but like most hack-and-slash games, it can get a somewhat repetitive. The constant and “uggs and rawrs” from the main character can be a bit grating too, but that’s just my quick, initial impression. I’m more of an action gamer that doesn’t like to think about things (I like to get in, kill some stuff, and get out), but if Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin is your type of thing, you’ll probably enjoy the heck out of it. From the time I spent playing it, the game does seem polished.

Racing AR Drone 2.0s on SHIELD

NVIDIA also set us up with an AR Drone, to experience a non-gaming, Tegra optimized application for SHIELD. And yeah, the thing is as fun to play with as it looks in the video above. I’m not a great pilot just yet, and I’d still like to tweak the flight parameters before drawing any final conclusions, but the AR Drone is definitely a riot. And I’m not just talking about the flying that’s fun, it’s getting a different perspective on things in the vicinity. The AR Drone streams video from its on-board HD camera to the SHIELD as you fly. Just launching the thing high into the air and peering into trees or over the houses in the neighborhood is really cool. Not to mention the possibilities if you’ve got some hot neighbors you’d like to “check in” on. Wink, Wink. :)

Streaming PC games to SHIELD also worked very well, though streaming will still be in beta at launch.  As of now, There are only a handful of games that are officially supported (the list is available here), but users can try non-supported games as well. Keep in mind though that games designed to work well with a controller (like driving or sports games) are best suited to the device. With that said, our limited experience with streaming PC games to SHIELD (we just got the software a couple of days ago) was good.

Setting up streaming is extremely simple. As long as you've got a compatible graphics card (GTX 650 or higher), the SHIELD and PC are connected to the same network, and the GeForce Experience software is installed on the PC, streaming can be enabled in just a few clicks. Simply launch GFE, go to preferences, then Streaming and enable the feature. Then on the SHIELD, tap the NVIDIA button, go to PC Games, and the SHIELD with link with the PC over the network and list the compatible games right in the menu.  To see some streaming in action, check out the video embedded on page one.

One annoyance with streaming to SHIELD is that the GFE software will change your PC's screen resolution to 1280x720 when launching a game to eliminate the need to scale anything on the SHIELD's screen, which will end-ups rearranging any icons you've got on your desktop. It's not a huge deal, but something we wanted to mention nonetheless.

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