Nvidia is mostly known for their video cards but since 2013 (with the release of the Shield portable) they are also active on the Android console/handheld/tablet market. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a tablet and I stumbled upon the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1. It was priced at €199 which seemed like a very good deal. I’ve tested the tablet for a week now and here’s what I think.
Let’s start with a very important aspect of any tablet; the screen. The Nvidia shield has an 8 inch 1080P IPS display which looks absolutely gorgeous. Everything looks really sharp and clean which makes watching videos a joy. The speakers (most of the times that’s a huge weakness on tablets because they are on the back) are great; the Shield has two front facing speakers which are loud. Under the hood we find 2 GB of ram, a Tegra K1 processor and a 16 GB SSD. 16 GB doesn’t sound like a lot but the Nvidia shield has a micro SD slot so you can easily upgrade the amount of storage you have.
The Shield fields solid in the hand and the rubberized finish makes sure that it doesn’t slip out of your hands. Another important aspect of any tablet is the battery. I’m a power user and at the end of the day my tablet was always down at around 10% battery. That isn’t too bad but if you stream a lot of games this will be considerably worst. Oh and don’t think that you’ll find a charger in the box because Nvidia decided that it wouldn’t include one with the Shield. No idea what the reasoning behind this is but it loses points for that.
The Shield was designed with gaming in mind. It comes with a pretty clean version of Android (currently running Android 6.0) with a few extra Nvidia things thrown into the mix. One of the coolest things is the built in recording software. You can now record or stream whatever happens on the screen and it looks pretty good (see video below). The tablet is powerful enough to handle games whilst the recording software is running in the background so you don’t have to worry about that. Another big part of the Shield is the ability to stream games from your PC. The only thing you need is a solid Wifi connection and a Nvidia videocard (full requirements are listed below).
You can test this service for free for three months but after that you need to pay 8$ a month for the service. I personally don’t want to pay that much to stream games that I already own on a device that won’t run the games as smoothly as my computer. Another problem with playing ‘real’ games (not mobile games) is the lack of a controller. Nvidia does provide a special shield controller but that will set you back another €60. Another option is a PS3 controller but I haven’t tested that yet because I still need a connector so that I can connect it to the Shield.
Like I said before, watching videos is a joy on the Shield but you can also take videos and pictures with your Shield. On the back it has a 5 MP camera which takes OK pictures (see below). You can also record 1080P video and even slow motion video. On the front you’ll find a 5 MP HDR camera which is better than the one on the back and therefore it is perfect for Skype calls (or to take an insane amount of selfies if that is your thing).
The Nvidia Shield is a very nice tablet for the price. The screen is beautiful and it packs enough of a punch to handle all of your tasks. The focus on gaming is nice but it’s a shame that the Shield controller isn’t bundled with the tablet. If you’re a looking for a cheap but quality tablet then look no further; the Nvidia Shield is great value for money.