NVidia has been making great strides with Android gaming, their Tegra Zone games, paired with processors built with gaming in mind, while somewhat fragmenting the Android experience has garnered them quite the following. The NVidia Shield hand-held gaming system, is quite the feat of engineering with solid hardware and interesting software features like GameStream (their PC Streaming service), has now been turned into a tablet – the Shield Tablet.
The NVidia Shield Tablet isn’t their first attempt at the tablet market, with NVidia launching the budget minded Tegra Note reference platform last year. What the Shield Tablet is, is NVidia’s first attempt at the higher end tablet market, and from the looks of the hardware included they’ve included some pretty nice specs here.
The NVidia Shield Tablet features an 8″ 1080P display, framed by dual front-facing stereo speakers on the sides, with a 5MP front-facing camera included as well. It’s powered by the Tegra K1 SoC, which includes a 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU and a 192 core Kepler GPU. It’s got 2GB of RAM and options for either 16GB or 32GB of storage, with a microSD Card slot to back it up.
Connectivity wise, the tablet will come with a Wireless N WiFi, as well as Bluetooth LE and GPS, with GLONASS. It will also come in LTE versions if you’re willing to pay the extra price.
|Processor||NVIDIA® Tegra® K1 192 core Kepler GPU,
2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU with 2GB RAM
|Display||8-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch Full HD display|
|Audio||Front facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone|
|Storage||32 GB (WiFi+4G LTE) / 16 GB (WiFi-only)|
|Wireless||802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
GPS / GLONASS
|Connectivity||WiFi+4G LTE or WiFi-only
MicroSD storage slot
3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support
|Motion Sensors||3-axis gyro
|Gaming Features||SHIELD wireless controller compatible
GRID Cloud Gaming Beta
|Cameras||Front: 5MP HDR; Back: 5MP auto focus HDR|
|Video Features||4K Ultra-HD Ready|
|Stylus||DirectStylus 2 with 3D Paint (Included)|
|Software Updates||SHIELD software upgrades directly from NVIDIA|
|Battery||19.75 Watt Hours|
|Weight and Size||Weight: 13.7oz / 390g
Height: 8.8in / 221mm
Width: 5.0in / 126mm
Depth: 0.36in / 9.2mm
|Operating System||Android KitKat OS|
NVIDIA SHIELD app
Trine 2: Complete Story
Multi language Handwriting Recognition
|Cellular Connectivity||North America:
Unlocked (compatible with AT&T and TMobile, please check bands supported)
LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 2G, GSM, EDGE
|Cellular Bands||North America:
LTE: Bands 2,4,5,7,17 (1900, 1700, 850, 2600, 700)
HSPA+: Bands 1,2,4,5 (2100, 1900, 1700, 850)
|Optional Accessories||SHIELD tablet cover
SHIELD wireless controller
SHIELD AC adapter
The Shield system isn’t just about the hardware though, as nice as it looks, the software is where NVidia has been really appealing to even PC gamers. Their GameStream PC Game streaming software has been a compelling enough reason for many Australian’s to import the Shield Hand-held unit to our shores and the Shield Tablet will again support GameStream. You will of course need some grunt in your PC, with GameStream requiring an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 6xx series or greater GPU.
GameStream is also being linked with a service which NVidia is trialling – in California only at the moment – which will allow them to stream, and then save game progress directly to the cloud. An interesting feature which if rolled out world-wide could do great things for gamers the world over.
SHIELD Tablet: Built For Gamers
As a gamers platform, the NVidia Shield Tablet will integrate Twitch and NVIDIA ShadowPlay. This is a feature which will let ‘users save and stream their greatest gaming moments’ using the Twitch platform. You can also stream your face live to the world using that 5MP front-facing camera.
But, let’s talk games and apps. You can of course use Google Play on Shield, giving you access to the over 1 Million apps and games on Google Play. But with Tegra Zone or NVIDIA SHIELD Hub as it’s now known, NVidia has built quite a relationship with developers and they’ve leveraged that to have titles available specifically for the Shield Tablet at launch.
Included on the Shield Tablet is Trine 2, an online RPG which looks to be quite popular. They’ve also been working with Valve and you can grab two of THE best games, available exclusively on the Shield Platform: Portal and Half Life 2.
NVidia has also compiled a list of ‘Featured Games’ the list includes : Anomaly 2, Burn Zombie Burn!, Dungeon Defenders: Eternity, Chucks Challenge 3D: Reloaded, Flyhunter: Origins, Mount and Blade, Prime World: Defenders, Pure Chess, Real Boxing, Rochard, Wonder Momo, The Walking Dead: Season Two, Z2: Steel Soldiers and Zombie Tycoon.
With Shield running Android 4.4, you should be right for compatability. NVidia has been pretty good about keeping the Shield Hand-held up with the latest Android updates, which bodes well for the Shield Tablet.
There will be a bunch of accessories for the Shield Tablet. First and foremost, included with the tablet is the DirectStylus 2. The DirectStylus 2 is promised to be twice as responsive as the previous version and NVidia advise that it’s ‘the first GPU-accelerated 3D painting experience’. Paired with NVidia Dabbler app, there should be some interesting art created with this stylus.
There will also be a Shield Tablet cover, a three part cover which will allow you to prop the tablet up or cover the screen when not in use.
Next, the gaming controller. Because Shield is all about gaming at it’s core and unlike the Shield handheld, there’s no built-in controller. The Shield Tablet allows for up to four of these controllers to be connected to the Shield Tablet using Wi-Fi Direct connectivity.
The NVidia Shield hand-held is quite a nice controller having a nice weight to it, so the Shield controller for the tablet is expected to be similar. The controller includes a gaming headset jack, built-in touch pad, volume control and NVidia is also doing some interesting things with in-game voice commands and search.
Pricing and Availability
So, where can you get one. Well, the answer isn’t pleasant. The Shield is now available for pre-order in the US and Europe, where it will begin shipping to pre-order customers as well as stores on July 29th. There’s no plans at this stage to sell the tablet in Australia.
Last year we saw Mobicity begin offering the NVidia Shield Hand-held, so hopefully if they receive enough requests, they’ll do this again. Alternatively you could always utilise one of the many shipping forwarders in the US and have one sent – almost – directly to you.
Pricing for the Shield is as follows:
|North America||United Kingdom||Mainland Europe|
|16GB Wi-Fi SHIELD Tablet||$299||£239.99||€299.99|
|32GB 4G LTE SHIELD Tablet||$399||£299.99||€379.99|
|SHIELD Wireless Controller||$59.99||£49.99||€59.99|
We enjoyed our time with the NVidia Shield Hand-Held last year at the EB Games Expo, we are again hoping that NVidia will make an appearance at this years expo, hopefully with a Shield Tablet in tow.
Will you be importing an NVidia Shield Tablet?