The NVIDIA Shield Tablet is the latest mobile device from graphics and gaming powerhouse NVIDIA. It’s an LTE capable, 8 inch Android tablet that runs on the company’s new high-performance K1 processor platform. Watch Mobile Geeks get a very first hands on with an exciting tablet device aimed squarely at gamers everywhere.
The Shield Tablet from NVIDIA looks like a new kind of beast compared to previous NVIDIA developed mobile devices. In fact just a quick reading of the specification sheet of this device is going to make gaming geeks salivate in anticipation. The Full HD 8 inch IPS LCD panel has a 1920 x 1200 resolution with thin bezels and a scratch resistant coating that looks pretty glossy, but overall very impressive. The Shield Tablet is available in two configurations, 32GB LTE and Wi-Fi capable model (do we call it phablet?) and a cheaper 16GB Wi-Fi only model.
Before we go any further, check out this first hands on video from our buddy Roland who caught up the NVIDIA Shield at an event in Berlin:
NVIDIA Tegra K1. A Mobile Gaming Beast
One real talking point of the Shield Tablet however, is the system-on-chip which powers it – the current flagship mobile processor from NVIDIA, the Tegra K1. The Tegra K1 features a 2.2GHz quad-core Coretex A15 processor flanked by a 192-core Kepler-based GPU. We could expect plenty of performance from the four Cortex A15 cores, but the real gem in the context of this device is the Kelper or K1 graphics processor which makes it the world’s most powerful mobile processor ever.
The Tegra K1 has seen little light of day so far, in fact this will be only the second time we have seen the platform, after having first encountered it on the XiaoMi MiPad. We expect a great deal from the K1 chip. Let’s hope it stands up to scrutiny.
NVIDIA Console Mode
Hyperbole aside, the NVIDIA Shield will of course do a great job when it comes to gaming, but other killer features include support for 4K video and HDMI out, meaning you can easily hook the Shield up to your HD TV and use the device as a gaming console. This is what the company calls NVIDIA Console Mode.
This is made possible because the Shield Tablet works in tandem with a specially developed NVIDIA a Shield Controller which means you don’t have to use the touchscreen to enjoy game-play, but can get a fully immersive gaming experience with a very responsive controller that sports a latency that is 3x lower than Bluetooth. The device can support up to four connected controllers simultaneously, so once connected to a TV it really feels like you are getting that true gaming console experience with your buddies…
The NVIDIA Shield will run Kit Kat Android 4.4.2 at launch with the company making pretty bold claims that they will implement upgrades to Android L / 5.0 as soon as it arrives from Google. Other key specifications include 2GB of RAM, a microSD card slot supporting up to 128 GB storage (handy for stashing game .apks and video content), a very impressive looking stylus, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and micro SIM card slot (for 32GB version only). You are also getting a front 5MP camera and a back 5MP camera. The facing speakers also seem to be very impressive, and somewhat reminiscent of the Boomsound implementation we see on the HTC One series.
NVIDIA Shield – Image Gallery
NVIDIA Shield Controller – Image Gallery
NVIDIA GameStream Technology
Among a slew of cool features and technologies the NVIDIA Shield also debuts, we have a new NVIDIA GameSteam technology that promises to allow you stream any game from your PC. The feature requires you have a new-ish GeForce GTX 6000 series or above GPU, so will be compatible for pretty wide audience of PC gamers.
With the NVIDIA Shield, the company is also debuting a feature that integrates with the popular Twitch video platform and community for gamers – introducing NVIDIA ShadowPlay. The idea behind ShadowPlay is the ability to leverage the devices’ built-in camera overlaying the gamers own image on to the game-play which can then be streamed and shared within the community.
NVIDIA Shield Pricing and Availability
The NVIDIA Shield tablet will be available to the US and Canada on July 29, followed by Europe on August 14th with more regions in the fall of this year. The 16GB Wi-Fi only version will retail for $299, while the 32GB with LTE will be available for $399. The Shield Controller will retail for $59 and the protective Shield cover could be yours for only $39. The device will come preloaded with the NVIDIA Shield Hub app, which will provide access to games, plus a preloaded install of Trine 2: Complete Story, a popular game on Xbox and PlayStation consoles that is now optimized for Tegra K1.
We will follow up with a more in depth look at the NVIDIA Shield as soon as we can. Watch this space!