Hands-On with The Nvidia Shield
Originally Published on the Originally Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Written by Dustin Murphy
There’s been times I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have games such as Titanfall, Half-Life 2, Portal, and numerous more, in my hands, at one time. Today at QuakeCon I was able to do this with the Nvidia Shield. From what we’ve seen, it’s a controller with a screen, and looks like it would be a flimsy piece of plastic. Instead of being just that, the Nvidia Shield was a monster of a powerhouse. It housed more raw power than originally thought, when I began to journey through the story of Half-Life 2. Thanks to Nvidia being there, I was capable of experiencing games such as Titanfall, in all its glory. The game was demonstrated at a steady 60fps at 720p, which is the output the Shield was designed for. I was actually quite appreciative of this. The controller, having just raw power, also housed a nice, contour feel to it, making it so that I was capable of holding the controller, and not feeling as if the screen side would just fall over and hit the ground. Impressive, even after an hour of playing Titanfall on it, I was quite astonished at the fact my wrists, and hands, were not cramped.
After speaking with the designers, the controller was developed with balance, and comfort, in mind. They stated that the controller itself was meant to be designed so that players would feel relaxed, and be able to enjoy the game, without tiring of how they were positioned. The more amazing feat, is that the handheld can stream games, without a hitch and run just as smooth as possible. The best part was the fact that the games were running with more than one WiFi, within the area. What does this mean? With approximately nine networks, in the area, the Shield did not stutter once, in its gameplay capability, and remained smooth, and without a transitional drop from streaming to onboard memory. This makes the Nvidia Shield one of the most powerful handheld devices, to date, for gamers who are on the go or don’t want to stare at their computer monitor.
What really struck a high note, with me, is the fact this Android powered device, works with Steam based games, and will stream them and/or play them straight off the onboard memory, which can be expanded by an SD card. So what does that mean for you, as a consumer? Price, quality, and very affordable design, for a power housed device, that deserves the high notes that it earns. Thanks to the power of the Tegra 4 chip, the device does require a fan for it and its related circuitry, we noticed the fans were quiet and made no noise for us. While we didn’t get as much time as we wanted with it, Nvidia made us truly excited to actually get a hold of it and see how long it truly lasts, but also all the games that it can host so that we could be a bit more thorough with this device. We can only assume it’d be a easy device to play while laying down thanks to its light-weight design. Thanks to the handheld device not having a proprietary plug-in, charging it will not be a problem, it uses a simple micro-USB, which most devices use nowadays as a standard charger type.
When it comes to the operating system itself, the Shield comes with a base OS of 4.2.1, which allows it to run every app we could imagine on the Play Store (so we’ve been told) and would love to try and run at that. With the Nvidia’s Tegra 4 Processor we mentioned before and the 2GB of RAM, this device literally flies through each screen you swipe through quickly, but also allow for virtually no system lag when switching between apps or even playing them. The only downside? For those of you who want social media, such as snap chat and or Facebook, these type apps won’t install. However, you can take advantage of the voice-to-text feature for say Skype. So you aren’t fully in the dark here. For those of you who want to use things such as a maps based program and or check-in apps, the handheld will allow you to do this using Wi-Fi, unfortunately it has not had a capability added for cellular radio, which is something we do hope to see in the future with 4G LTE becoming the next big thing.
If you are like me, your friends will want to use a device like it, and what we did get to experience only slightly, was the fact you can add more than one user into the Shield so that they can play their games as well. This is something that left me rather amazed as I placed the Nvidia Shield back down and stepped away to just stare at what I had, the question is the biggest part we wondered though, is it worth the price? At this time, what little I spent with it, I was astonished and would love to spend more time with it inside the office walls of our Oklahoma teams homes or even on the go so that we can get a very solid feel for what the Nvidia Shield is. With many choices such as the PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS, the Shield finds itself in a very interesting position and will definitely leave Nvidia working on improving the hardware as the time goes. All we can say is? I walked away with a very good feeling regarding this piece of hardware and look forward to how Nvidia approaches the handheld and tablet market in the future and left us with good feelings as we walked away from the Nvidia Shield booth at Quakecon 2014.