Nvidia Shield Taking PC & Mobile Gaming to the Next Level
In 2013 Nvidia announced the Nvidia Shield, a portable gaming device that allows you to play all your favorite Android and PC games. On July 29th (For the US and Canada, August 14th for Europe) Nvidia will release two more products into the Shield line including a tablet and a wireless controller. Gaming tablets are something that Microsoft and other PC makers have been talking about for the future of gaming. Nvidia has made three products that are not only ahead of the competition, but also have the hardware to make serious gamers salivate about these mobile gaming options.
At first glance the Shield Portable seems just like any other Bluetooth controller for your mobile device or a larger Xbox 360 controller. Upon flipping open the top it becomes apparent that it is much, much more. The Shield Portable, weighing in at 1.3 lbs, comes with a 5-inch 1280×720 glossy LCD touchscreen and controller surface which includes a D-pad and dual analog sticks. Underneath the hood is some of the most powerful hardware that you can get in a mobile device. The Android hardware is using Nvidia’s own 1.9GHz Tegra 4 processor, which means a 5-Core CPU and a 72-core GPU. The Shield also includes 2GB RAM, 802.11n dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, an internal gyroscope & accelerometer, 16GB of internal flash-based storage, and a MicroSD slot for expanding storage.
Now as impressive as the Nvidia Shield Portable is as a serious gaming device, the Shield Tablet shines even brighter. Nvidia has really brought serious gaming to mobile with this device. The Shield Tablet has an 8-inch, 1920×1200 Full HD display and uses the 2.2 Nvidia Tegra K1 GPU and 2GB ram. The Tegra K1 Processor is the most powerful mobile processor to date and is the same processor that Google has been rumored to be using in the Android Auto/Auto Link system to bring Android OS to the dash of your car. The Tegra K1 is the first processor to use the latest version of the ARM Cortex A15 CPU architecture which has numerous performance and power optimizations. This includes Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture, Kepler. A Kepler-class graphics processing unit contains 192 CUDA cores, as well as dedicated audio, video, and image processors. Impressive to say the least.
The Nvidia Tablet also comes with 32GB of flash-based storage (16GB for WiFi only version), 802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, a Mini-HDMI output, a MicroSD storage slot, and front-facing stereo speakers that are impressively loud and what you would expect from a tablet that is made for gaming. You also can take your gaming everywhere because of the 4G LTE option. Contact your wireless service provider to add the Nvidia Tablet to your current mobile plan. A 5MP HDR camera is also included on the front and back of the device and as a gaming tablet there is no real reason to put a 5MP camera on the back. I would prefer them leave out the camera and take 25 dollars off the price. Even the worst phones these days have 5MP cameras
The new Nvidia Shield Wireless Controller designed for the Tablet (sold separately) looks and feels practically identical to the one included in the Portable with a few revisions. The dual-analog sticks were moved up a little on the pad making it more comfortable for longer gaming sessions. The bottom of the pad now has a touchpad and Nvidia added their own buttons that include volume controls, an Android Home and Back button, and includes voice commands. Much like the Kinect 2.0 for the Xbox One of the voice commands allow you to launch your favorite games without needing a button. Most importantly, Bluetooth has been replaced for WiFi Direct for ultra low-latency gamepad connectivity. Say goodbye to controller lag. This is a feature that will make serious gamers sway towards the Shield Gamepad over the competitors. The Nvidia Shield Wireless Controller is a great addition to the line and with all the features packed in for $59.99 it has the ambition to rival other top PC gamepads.
Alright so games. Since the Portable and Tablet are using the Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat, you are able to go to the Google Play store and download thousands of games for your new gaming devices. Nvidia has stated however, that not all games support the controllers or remapping needed by the Portable or Controller. So not all games will be compatible with the Shield line. But, the games that are optimized for the Shield controls play perfectly. Included on the device is the Nvidia Shield app which includes over 200 Shield optimized games including Half-Life 2, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Max Payne.
The most unique feature of the Shield line is PC-Streaming. With the release of the Shield Tablet, Nvidia has revised the new Nvidia GameStream making it much more seemless and reducing a lot of the lag issues that the Shield Portable had problems with early on. With GameStream you are able to launch any supported game from your Gaming PC and play games like Titanfall or Dishonored while away from your computer. It is just a matter of time till kids get busted with this at the dinner table. The hardware restrictions however, (Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 or above) are pretty intense to make this possible without lag, but working correctly it is an exciting addition to the next generation of PC gaming. Not only are you able to stream complete PC games on the tablet, but are able to stream to Twitch with no app required. Or if you want to hook up the tablet to your TV in the living room through micro-HDMI your Gaming PC now can be played on your TV. I can’t see hardcore gamers using this feature, but it is a pretty amazing option to have.
Nvidia has taken the mobile gaming market to the next level with the power and technology to back it up. The Shield Tablet is a huge jump forward in mobile gaming hardware and is also one of the most powerful tablets on the market. Anyone looking to buy a tablet this year should have Nvidia’s on the top of the list. This device is a powerhouse for anyone who is looking for a mid-sized tablet, especially PC gamers. The tablet will be available on July 29th with a price tag of only $299.99 dollars.
Like us on Facebook!