Nvidia Shield Tablet
Nvidia's original shield handheld device was aimed specifically at gamers. While it served a purpose, it wasn't appealing to the masses. Things have changed with the release of Nvidia's Shield tablet. This $299 device features an 8 inch screen and the company's widely lauded Tegra K1 processor. It is no longer merely a screen for hardcore gamers. The Shield functions as a media tablet and also as a gaming device.
The Shield's Computing Power
The brand new Tegra K1 mobile processor is the heart of the Shield tablet. It has 102 Kepler cores, DirectX 12, Open GL and it can support the Unreal Engine 4. This means that it is on par with the capabilities of many gaming PCs. Similar computing architecture is used in the Nvidia desktop GPUs. Nvidia claims that the Shield carries the world's fastest mobile processor as the Kepler cores are paired with a 2.2 GHz quad core Cortex A15 processor.
The Nvidia Shield boasts 2 GB of RAM, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz support, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS radio and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. All of this adds up to an incredibly fast and efficient computing experience that eclipses nearly every other Android tablet on the market. When you move between menus and programs, you'll do so with ease and fluidity. The Shield's user experience design is top notch. Apps load up in seconds and even complex games are ready in a jiffy.
The Shield's 5,300 mAh battery lasts for 9 hours even if the user is constantly operating the device. Those who use it periodically will be able to avoid recharging the device for a day and a half or longer. This isn't the best battery life among tablets but it is certainly in the top tier.
How It Looks
In terms of aesthetics, the Shield is monochrome with dark and light blacks that are quite glossy. It's not the most colorful tablet but it has a unique style. Its upper speaker bar is divided in half by a 5 megapixel camera. There are elongated black speakers at the bottom, edges and top of the Shield. The Nvidia Shield measures 8.8 inches in length, 5 inches in width and .35 inches in thickness. It has an 8 inch 1,920 by 1,200 display and weighs merely 13.7 ounces. The screen is quite bright and images are very sharp.
There are all sorts of ports, buttons and assorted controls around the unit's perimeter, with the volume controls, a power button, a microSD slot and a stylus on the right side. The stylus has been dubbed Direct Stylus 2.0 and it works with impressive accuracy. Users can purchase a magnetic cover that folds with ease and wakes the Shield with a simple flip.
The Shield's Gaming Controller
There's an optional Shield wireless controller for those who want to use the device for gaming purposes. It is highly recommended in order to control games played on the Shield with precision. The controller runs an extra $60. It operates with WiFi and has very little latency. The Shield also connects to any Bluetooth gamepad, so there's more than one controller option for gamers who pick up the Nvidia Shield.