After a thick layer of rumors, NVIDIA finally announced its Shield Tablet, which is now available today starting at $300. The chip maker’s new portable gaming device features an 8-inch 920×1,200 display, a Tegra K1 GPU, a 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 4.0 and 16GB of storage space. There’s also a 32GB LTE variant of NVIDIA’s new gaming slate, which bumps the device’s price up to $400. Focused on gamers, the device also has an optional $60 controller that is somewhat reminiscent of the Xbox 360’s gamepad.
If the aforementioned hardware sounds appealing, you can pick up the Shield Tablet from Amazon, Best Buy or directly from its maker. However, if you’re still on the fence about NVIDIA’s latest attempt at high-end on the go gaming, check out some excerpts from some of the device’s recent reviews, along with links to their full write-ups.
That $300 price point is key, and makes the Shield tab and it’s disproportionate horsepower worth taking a chance on for folks just in the market for a small Android tab. If you want the gaming later, you can just pick up the controller (or any Bluetooth controller) later to add it, and in the meantime you’re still getting your money’s worth. And you will for years to come. It’s not bar-none the best choice for normals and gamers alike—that wonderful ideal of gaming hardware that’s also just “the best”—but it’s delightfully close for a first stab. The future is bright. Get excited.
Despite Nvidia’s claims, I wouldn’t get a Shield Tablet for its gaming features alone. Indeed, if you’re buying it solely for the gaming features, then you might be a little disappointed. But, if you’re interested in what the future of gaming might look like, Shield Tablet is perhaps the best glimpse we’ve had of it so far. If Nvidia can push the power of its mobile chips every year as much as it does its desktop ones, and if broadband keeps up, within a few years, something like the Shield Tablet may very well be the best way to game.
The $300 base price for the tablet is fairly affordable, but the cost becomes steep when you throw in the $60 controller and the $30 cover. At that point, you’re just $10 shy of today’s next-gen consoles. Then again, the Shield Tablet runs circles around the $399 Galaxy Tab S 8.4 in terms of speed, and it comes with a versatile stylus. if you want both an Android tablet and a powerful gaming system together, the Nvidia Shield Tablet is a device you shouldn’t pass up.
After getting through all of these observations over the past five days, I’ve come to realize that even though it’s not the perfect tablet, all of the features that this device brings to the table right now would be enough for me to seriously consider buying one. If NVIDIA manages to get enough multiplayer titles with an active community on Shield Tablet, there wouldn’t be a need to stop and consider at all. As someone that has spent the past few years never considering a tablet purchase at all, the Shield Tablet is the first ARM tablet that I would seriously think about buying.