Look, why can't someone get it right? As a gamer, I'm looking for a very simple device. I want it to:
- Be portable
- Have good battery life
- Use physical controls, like a gamepad
- Have an open OS and a huge selection of mobile games
- Also be able to play modern Triple-A games like you see on the XBO and PS4
- Stream games in my house such as the Wii U does
- Let me access movies, music, etc
- Plug into a TV and act as a mobile streaming box for games and video
Basically, I want everything
, and then some. Is that too much to ask? IS THAT TO MUCH TO... oh, wait a second. What's that? Such a device already exists, you say? And I can buy it with actual money, RIGHT NOW?
Tell me more!
This is the thread for discussion of the NVIDIA SHIELD
What is the Nvidia Shield?
It is many things to many people. In a nutshell, though, the Shield is a portable, Android-based gaming console. It's cutting edge hardware includes an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor that utilizes a 72-core Geforce GPU and Quad-core 1.9 GHz ARM A15 CPU. Seriously, in terms of mobile hardware, this thing is a beast. It packs the chipset along with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage (Micro SD expandable) into the gamepad you see in the picture above.
The gamepad itself is more or less a mix of the XBox and Dualshock controllers, including dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, and the traditional A-B-X-Y layout, with two trigger and two shoulder buttons on the top and rear. The clamshell-designed package pairs this gamepad with a 5" OLED 720p Touchscreen that folds down and protects the innards of the device when not in use. Also included is a pair of purportedly excellent speakers which supposedly surpass most other handheld devices, and customizable magnetic plates to change the look of the thing.
Sounds good. What can it do?
it do? The most basic function of the Shield is as a portable Android gaming device. Included is a mostly stock 4.3 Android OS, with a few UI enhancements on the front end. This means anything in the Google Play store is fair game to be installed on this device. There are a number of games that have been fully optimized for the Shield and its controller, and this library is ever growing. In addition to those games, anything else can also be played from the Android store. Games that support controllers work best, but even for those which have no third-party controller support, the Shield includes a fairly ingenious software solution called "Gamepad Mapper", which will superimpose gamepad buttons over on-screen controls. You can fully customize where these buttons will go and how they'll behave, so basically any
game can be made to work with the Shield's controller. You can even download pre-made game profiles online from people who have already made the best setup and avoid the hassle of doing it yourself.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg. One of the coolest features of the Shield is that it can stream games from your high-end gaming PC to its screen, Wii U style. If you aren't familiar with how it works, it basically handles all the heavy lifting of running the game itself on your Gaming PC taking input from your Shield controller, and then sends a low-latency video stream back out to your Shield's screen. Any PC that meets the Shield's minimum specs can stream PC games, which are: Core i3 2100 or Athlon II X4 640 or higher, and an Nvidia Geforce GTX 650 or higher. Yes, that means if you're running an AMD video card, you're out of luck. Sorry, this is an Nvidia party only, and what are you doing running an AMD system anyway, get with the times, man!*
Streaming works through the Geforce Experience and Gamestream
software. As with the Android store, there are a number of games pre-configured to work with Gamestream out of the box, such as CoD: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite... there's actually quite a few, so go check out the official list
. However, since the Shield can access your Steam library, you can also play basically any game that's supported by Steam Big Picture Mode and has official controller support. From reports I've read, Gamestream works anywhere from "not bad" to "spectacularly", depending on the strength of your wireless signal. Note, as of right now, streaming only works locally to your router. Sorry, you can't play Saints Row 4 on the bus on your way to work. You can, however, play it on the toilet, just the way Johnny Gat would have wanted!
But that's not all! The Shield can also operate in Console Mode, which means that you can plug it into any old TV through HDMI, pair it up with a bluetooth gamepad, and stream your games on the big screen as you would with an Ouya or one of those other lame Android consoles that only do this one function. Pfft, that's amateur hour. The Shield just threw that in as an added bonus. Oh, and there's of course access to Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc ad nauseum. One cool little thing in that regard though is that, since it has a flip up screen, hands-free viewing of movies and stuff is way easier than on a tablet. Flip the screen up, set it down, and watch. No need for additional stands or using one hand to prop it up. A small but deceptively convenient feature.
Holy Crap Dookie, this thing sounds awesome! What are you gonna tell me next, that it only costs like $100 bucks or something?
You got that right! Well, actually no, I'm lying. It's a bit more expensive than that. All of this gaming goodness comes at a premium. The Nvidia Shield will run you 299 US Dollars.
No, it's not cheap. Some might even say it costs too much. And for some people, I'd say even many people, that might be true. Not everyone needs or wants a PC streaming device, or a ridiculously powerful Android handheld, or even another set-top gaming box. However, for many other people, this has everything they could want in a console and more.
What price would I be willing to pay to sit downstairs next to my wife and play Metro Last Light while she enjoys the latest episode of Top Chef? What price would I pay to secretly behead dudes in Dishonored at the same time I'm spending time with my daughter playing Mario? What price would I pay to finally play Crazy Taxi on a handheld device with full console controls again, or blast through The Conduit with an actual gamepad while sitting at the Dentist's office? I don't know about you, but yeah, I'll gladly pay $299 for this.
Can it do anything else?
Hmm, I think that's about it. Oh wait, I forgot, you can also use it to pilot a freaking AR Drone and capture its footage directly back to the Shield
So yeah, that's pretty cool.
Alright, I'm sold. Where can I buy it?
There are a number of brick-and-mortar stores where you can pick it up, such as Gamestop, Fry's, and Microcenter. You can also get it from several online outlets. See Nvidia's purchase page
for more details.
Now you tell us, have you bought a Shield yet? What do you think about it? Does the PC Streaming work as well as advertised or is it hot garbage? I haven't actually picked one up yet, but plan on it soon and would love to hear some impressions.
Just a heads up, Microcenter is also running a Black Friday deal this weekend where you can get it for $250 with a free Shield Case
. That's basically $90 off. This is where I'll be purchasing mine. Or should I say, my wife will be purchasing it for me for Christmas. If other deals pop up I'll try to keep this thread updated with the latest info. If you know of any sales, post them here and I'll update as well.
FINALLY, A WARNING
In reviewing the Shield's features, you may have noticed that I neglected to mention the device's abilities to perform a certain... um, function
, related to playing older games from previous-generation consoles on it. Yes, we know about it. Yes, we realize that this might actually be the Shield's killer feature and how perfectly suited it's portability and full gamepad would be for this function.
However, NO, WE WILL NOT DISCUSS IT. As for this thread, let's keep it from getting shut down and keep away all discussion of that-which-shall-not-be-named.
Now, get Shielding! Shielded! Get Shi... whatever you know what I mean.
*Actually, I'm just ribbing you, AMD cards are great as well. But hey, it's an Nvidia product... what'd you expect?