Today we’re checking out the NVIDIA Shield Pro (500GB model), its optional accessories, and taking a closer look at what this thing actually does. This is a set-top box that’s running Android TV and has quite the feature set to offer…
Inside of the box, you get the NVIDIA Shield, a power adapter, HDMI cable, and a Micro USB cable to recharge the included Shield Controller which is pretty comfortable in my opinion. The NVIDIA Shield can lay flat on a table or you can stand it up if you choose to pick up the optional stand.
The rechargeable Shield Controller and optional remote control both provide a headphone jack for private listening which I find to be convenient if you don’t want to distrub others. It’ll work with standard headphones or ones with an in-line microphone.
On the back of the NVIDIA Shield we’ve got I/O for days including an HDMI port, Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, Micro USB, and a Micro SD card slot. This set-top box also outputs 4K/UHD video from its HDMI 2.0 port and you can add external hard drives via the USB port or expand on the storage up to 128GB through the Micro SD card slot.
Check out our NVIDIA Shield review video below:
What exactly does this thing do?
Well if you’re familiar with Android TV, you’ll feel right at home here. The interface is very fluid thanks to the Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM. This is one of the first set-top boxes that doesn’t feel like gaming was an afterthought. There are games built specifically to take advantage of the internals, most of which, are pretty impressive.
I’m not a huge gamer, but there’s defintiely a console-like experience happening here with the graphics and performance. There are a wide variety of titles to choose from in the NVIDIA Hub like Doom 3, Talos Principle, War Thunder, Juju, and others. If you wanna kick it old school, you can even fire up the original Doom and party like it’s 1993. There’s also a cloud gaming service called NVIDIA GRID which will allow you to stream select PC titles straight to your TV over Ethernet or WiFi.
Because this runs Android TV, you’ll find Google Play services like the Play Store and even some cord-cutting apps like Sling TV, Netflix, and the Plex app to side-load your own content via an external hard drive. And of course, you’ve got Google Play Music, Pandora, and other music apps right at your fingertips. Pretty much the ultimate multimedia experience with the NVIDIA Shield.
As mentioned the Shield will output 4K via Netflix, YouTube, and other services coming out in the near future. You also have other Android TV features like Google Voice Search directly from the remote or controller via the built-in microphone. This will allow you to quickly search for content across the available services without sifting through different menus. There’s also Google’s Cast service which will allow you to cast movies, music, and other content from an Android or iOS device straight to the TV. Along with that, there’s real-time actor recognition in select content that will allow you to pull up info cards about specific people in a movie or TV show.
Currently, this is the set-top box that has it all. If you need something like this in your life, NVIDIA Shield is the best money can buy right now. The gaming experience is fluid and the gamepad, while bulky, feels comparable to an Xbox or PlaySation controller. Like I said, the NVIDIA Shield is the only set-top box that puts gaming first, which is pretty obvious as it comes with a gamepad.
You can pick up the 16GB NVIDIA Shield for $199. If you’d rather not use the gamepad, there’s also a standard remote available for $50. If you plan to load this up with a lot of games, I’d recommend picking up the 500GB NVIDIA Shield Pro for $299. The extra space you’ll get for the price difference is definitely worth having. You can also purchase an additional controller ($59.99) or a stand ($29.99). For a closer look at the NVIDIA Shield, check out our review video embedded above.