After all the waiting we finally have our hands all over NVIDIA SHIELD. The Android-powered game console all built inside a dedicated game controller with an attached 5-inch 720p HD display for the ultimate gaming experience. Today we'll be giving you a first look at the retail goods, as well as our first impressions on the new quad-core Tegra 4 powered games. Sadly today brought bad news that the launch has been delayed, but read on for our thoughts and a few videos.
You all should know plenty about NVIDIA SHIELD already, as we've been following it quite closely. Just to refresh your memory we have a dedicated game controller, with NVIDIA's 1.9 GHz quad-core Tegra 4 under the hood. You'll enjoy 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, micro-SD support (up to 64GB) mini HDMI-out for streaming video, games, and Android to the big screen, and more.
Attached to that game controller with dual analog sticks, dedicated gaming buttons (all like an Xbox controller) and triggers, we also have a 5-inch 1280x720p HD display showing us Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This is nothing new, so take a peek at our unboxing video below, then read on for our first impressions of the retail device.
After only using it for a few minutes here and there at press events, our thoughts were mixed on SHIELD. Now having used it for an extended period of time, we love it. More specifically, I love all the different things we can actually do with it. While SHIELD is obviously a game console at heart, works great with the hundreds of thousands of Android apps, and can even play full Steam and PC games, it's everything else that rounds it out.
Build quality with SHIELD is actually extremely impressive. It feels extremely solid and durable, yet isn't too heavy to be uncomfortable for extended periods, although you might need a day or two to get accustomed to it. The plastic's aren't lightweight and cheap feeling, and it overall just feels like a premium device. All of this for the newly lowered $299 price is actually extremely awesome.
Today we don't want to spoil all the fun regarding NVIDIA's SHIELD, but lets just say it's pretty awesome. The speakers on board are extremely loud and crisp, the screen is brilliant and works wonderful indoors and out, and overall it has been a joy to use. I've been using SHIELD to stream music with Google Music All Access since it doubles as a portable speaker, and browsing with the analog joysticks was better than I expected too.
Then, as you all know SHIELD also works great with the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Quadricopter. Instead of fumbling with on-screen controls and gyroscope inaccuracy in-flight with their current method, SHIELD enables a realistic and much more accurate flying experience. Giving us a controller just like many radio-controlled cars and airplanes available today. While we'll be focusing much more (and reviewing the AR Drone 2.0 soon) below you'll see an awesome example of the fun, accuracy, and enjoyment SHIELD brings to flying devices like the AR Drone.
NVIDIA's SHIELD won't be shipping until sometime in July now, sadly, but surely it will be worth the wait. Our unit works as perfect as ever, and for those wondering, the screen latch is durable and tight. We won't know until we use it for longer periods how it will stand up to the test of time, however.
While we've been running loads of benchmarks (and being impressed by the Tegra 4) using Miracast wireless streaming, and outputting games to our HDTV using the mini-HDMI output on back you'll have to stay tuned for our full review to see all the exciting things SHIELD can do. Oh, and once NVIDIA launches SHIELD we'll also be able to stream full PC games in all those stunning graphics right to our gaming device, no matter where we are.
We stuck to the basics today, as we don't want to spoil all the fun too soon. Let's just say SHIELD is much more impressive than we originally thought. Has much more potential than just an Android gaming device, can double as a portable speaker and brings more to the table than just gaming features. I streamed the Stanley Cup Finals on it all week with the WatchESPN app, and didn't even need a stand. It's quite fun.
Stick around for much more coming soon! Everything else you need to know can be found from our Tegra Hub.