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Wouldn't You Prefer A Nice Game Of Chess?

Nvidia Officially Unveils the Shield Tablet and Shield Controller
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While the Shield Tablet is all that’s needed to play the thousands of native Android touch based games, the Shield Controller is necessary for the full Shield gaming experience. The Shield Controller is naturally modeled after the Shield Portable, with a similar control layout and feel. The wireless controller works with both the Shield Tablet and Shield Portable, and uses Wi-Fi Direct rather than Bluetooth for communication. Using Wi-Fi keeps control latency to a minimum and allows sufficient bandwidth for transmitting bi-directional audio, a necessity when a headset with microphone is plugged into the headphone jack on the controller.

The Shield Controller offers a wealth of functionality specific to the Shield family of products. The controls can be used for navigating the Android UI and various menus, but the on-screen keyboard is still necessary for entering text. There’s a dedicated button for launching the Shield Hub app and Google Voice, working with the built-in microphone, can be summoned for voice control. The buttons can also be used for controlling GameStream and there’s even a small capacitive multi-touch touch pad.

The Shield Tablet inherits all of the advanced gaming features from the Shield Portable. First, there’s Console Mode. Like the name implies, the Shield Tablet can be hooked up to an HDTV via the MiniHDMI port and function like a game console. Up to four wireless Shield Controllers can be used simultaneously while playing Android and PC games. It can also function as a media player for watching Netflix HD and other content on the big screen.

Next, is GameStream, which allows you to play PC games on the Shield Tablet from anywhere over a Wi-Fi or LTE connection. In the article Shield Remote GameStream: How Far Will You Go to Game?, we examine how well Nvidia’s game streaming technology works over several different connections using the Shield Portable.

With GameStream, the game is rendered on the PC, which then uses the NVENC hardware-based video encoder to create an H.264 video stream that’s sent to the Shield Tablet. The Kepler GPU in the tablet then uses PureVideo HD for decoding the stream. Using this process, GameStream can send 720p video over wireless or 1080p video over ethernet with an optional ethernet to USB adapter.

Nvidia Grid, an extension of GameStream to the cloud, is yet another way to enjoy PC games on a Shield portable device. This service functions the same as GameStream, but instead of using your own PC for game rendering, Nvidia’s cloud computers do the hard work. Nvidia Grid is still in beta and currently offers 16 titles, including Borderlands 2. The good news is this service is free for a limited time for Shield users. The bad news is Nvidia Grid is limited to users in Northern California only. Hopefully, Nvidia is able to extend this service as it offers a great deal of potential. Check out the Nvidia Grid Cloud Gaming Beta page for more information.

Another feature that’s unique to the Shield Tablet is Twitch integration. Using Nvidia ShadowPlay, it’s possible to stream game sessions, complete with voice and video overlay (via the front camera), to the Twitch network for sharing with friends and family. Twitch streaming works with any native Android or GameStream game. This feature isn’t limited to just games either; any Android app can be streamed to Twitch by just pressing a button on the Shield Controller and activating it from the popup menu.

Games

Any gaming device is only as good as the games it plays. Fortunately, there’s already a strong catalog of titles for the Shield Tablet with more on the way. Nvidia enumerates over 400 optimized touch and controller games for Android, including Half Life 2 and Portal.

Trine 2: Complete Story, a FrostByte game bundled with the Shield Tablet, is one of 11 new Tegra K1 optimized games. It uses the same textures and assets as the PS3 version of the game and even includes PhysX support.

For the PC gamers, there’s currently over 120 GameStream-ready PC titles, with the only real requirement being support for external game controllers.

And yes, you can even play Pure Chess.

Follow Matt and Tom's Hardware on Twitter

Display all 43 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    TechyInAZ , July 22, 2014 10:20 AM
    Cool! What a great tablet for not just gaming, but it can also be a great productivity powerhouse.
  • -7 Hide
    DarkSable , July 22, 2014 10:32 AM
    ... seriously Tom's?

    Websites have been proclaiming the end of the world as we know it (or at least of desktop computers) for years now, and it's all just built on itself. The reason desktop sales have declined marginally is because most home users already have a desktop fast enough for their needs, and only need to replace it when it breaks.

    The other reason is that people have leapt headfirst into the pile of hype that surrounds tablets, which means they're going to see great growth... right until they hit market saturation.
  • 8 Hide
    InvalidError , July 22, 2014 10:36 AM
    Finally something new and noteworthy in the sub-$300 tablet segment.
  • 4 Hide
    InvalidError , July 22, 2014 10:45 AM
    Quote:
    The other reason is that people have leapt headfirst into the pile of hype that surrounds tablets, which means they're going to see great growth... right until they hit market saturation.

    Tablet sales have already started to slow down; probably in large part due to tablet specs having remained mostly stagnant for much of the past two years. I hoped the N7-2013 would start a flood of decent ~$200 devices but it seems most of the sub-$300 segment just continued filling up with devices having specs closer to the N7-2012 instead.

    PCs on the other hand are getting bumper sales on the back of companies being forced off XP.
  • 1 Hide
    hahmed330 , July 22, 2014 10:50 AM
    I have to correct one thing Matt... You can use Nvidia Grid Streaming from anywhere, but obviously you need latency of less then 40ms and 10mbit download speed for a great experience. I am seriously looking forward for the whole review though. Direct Stylus 2 looks really interesting. Hopefully Remote Gamestream has come out of beta.
  • 4 Hide
    TheMentalist , July 22, 2014 10:55 AM
    People always open their mouth saying the shield is worthless. It's the best hardware you get for the money!
  • 1 Hide
    DarkSable , July 22, 2014 12:35 PM
    Guys, read what I was saying.

    Never did I say that the Shield, or the shield tablet, was worthless - I think they're great pieces of tech.

    I was annoyed with Tom's Hardware for perpetuating the absolutely faulty myth, which has been around for at least five years now, that desktop computers are "on their way out" and that we should all give up and buy mobile devices.

    I have a 3ds and a nexus 5, both of which I like to game on... but that doesn't mean I'm giving up my gaming computer, or that gaming computers aren't going to exist in a few years.
  • 3 Hide
    kamhagh , July 22, 2014 12:41 PM
    That Price is amazing!!!! Also i agree with darkdable,,

    Phones will NEVER replace pc, well at least not for next 80 years! And touch is the worst kind of input, specially for gaming, but its portable and good! Ita good to play awesome games outside and bring it with you, but still, its not pc!!! Pc is amazing, mouse and keyboard, huge screen,
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , July 22, 2014 1:09 PM
    Quote:
    I was annoyed with Tom's Hardware for perpetuating the absolutely faulty myth, which has been around for at least five years now, that desktop computers are "on their way out" and that we should all give up and buy mobile devices.

    Well, Intel is putting more effort in their laptop/mobile/embedded R&D and still pushing power-efficiency across the board, Nvidia adopted a mobile-first design mentality, AMD is moving to a heavily if not exclusively APU-centric device lineup, etc.

    They might not be dropping desktops overnight but they are all moving in the same general direction: towards a future of mostly low-power if not mobile/embedded systems.

    XP maintaining a ~30% market share until Microsoft dropped public support for it is living proof that many people and applications do not need anywhere near as much processing power as today's entry-level systems provide. Intel's Q2 report says ASPs have dropped by 3%, meaning that a fair chunk of Intel's end-of-XP bumper sales are for lower-end/lower-cost chips. This is not going to get better.
  • 1 Hide
    airborne11b , July 22, 2014 1:18 PM
    I love this new design. It's a mobile gaming powerhouse and if you combine it with a controller that attaches to the device itself, you get one hell of a mobile gaming device with a huge screen that also doubles as a really powerful android tablet.

    PC streaming, GRID, Console Mode, Tegra K1 fueled android gaming, Direct2 Stylus, full android OS backed by serious processing power.

    All for $299. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

    I also sent an email asking when the STG-ONE tablet-attachable controller will be released. I'll reply back here if I get a response.
  • 0 Hide
    klyze , July 22, 2014 1:25 PM
    I could not care less for game streaming or even the controller, and i have a powerfull pc, but this, as an android tablet its insanely powerfull for the price, and with a ton of extras like twitch streaming, great front cam, stylus, draw a and write tech, and ofc the Tegra K1.

    I think ill buy one to read manga and general use, the extra power is always welcome ^^
  • 2 Hide
    TheMentalist , July 22, 2014 1:36 PM
    Quote:
    Guys, read what I was saying.

    Never did I say that the Shield, or the shield tablet, was worthless - I think they're great pieces of tech.

    I was annoyed with Tom's Hardware for perpetuating the absolutely faulty myth, which has been around for at least five years now, that desktop computers are "on their way out" and that we should all give up and buy mobile devices.

    I have a 3ds and a nexus 5, both of which I like to game on... but that doesn't mean I'm giving up my gaming computer, or that gaming computers aren't going to exist in a few years.


    I agree with this.
  • 2 Hide
    matt64 , July 22, 2014 2:02 PM
    Quote:
    I was annoyed with Tom's Hardware for perpetuating the absolutely faulty myth, which has been around for at least five years now, that desktop computers are "on their way out" and that we should all give up and buy mobile devices.


    All I stated in this article is that PC sales have declined in recent years. I didn't claim, or mean to imply, that PCs are "on their way out", which I certainly don't believe. Desktop PCs will be around for a long time, but they have to accept the fact that we have other devices we want to spend time with too.

    Mobile devices aren't going to replace PCs for those of us who enjoy PC gaming, but they can be complimentary. Nvidia's GameStream feature, for example.

    - Matt
  • 0 Hide
    tryingmybest , July 22, 2014 2:23 PM
    Nintendo needs to release a new portable machine fast.
  • 1 Hide
    larsoncc , July 22, 2014 2:28 PM
    How does this compare / benchmark against Intel's HD graphics, specifically their low power versions, like in the Bay Trail processors, or the tablet-based i5-4210Y (HD 4200) or the Surface's graphics in the i5 4300U?

    Are we actually getting to the point where they're compatible to each other? Would this tablet be better served with a Windows OS (supplanting the need for GameStream entirely) or with a Linux OS (same reason, because of direct Steam support, but thinking of licensing costs here).
  • 1 Hide
    ferooxidan , July 22, 2014 2:29 PM
    Sigh.. nvidia really know how to charge their customer more money. Separating the screen and the gamepad, into a tablet and wireless gamepad then sell it separately. I mean what's the use of having a overpowered tablet just to play Android games? Or playing optimized game on touchscreen or streaming pc game from touchscreen? The experience will be less enjoyable playing on touchscreen than with gamepad (imagine if your favorite pc game IS an fps lol). Wasn't the Shield was suppose to be a device that let's you game/stream pc game anywhere? Now, even after you buy the gamepad, you still need to adjust/position/put the damn tablet somewhere so you can use it as a screen to game on, that means limiting the way you can play/stream pc game compared to previous model (the portable one). If they provide me the ability to game/stream pc game from anywhere in the world (via internet as done by Tom's), I want to do it literally anywhere and anyway I can, be it sitting, leaning, laying down, walking, etc etc. This new form factor destroy that freedom completely and the wifi only models makes playing from anywhere in the world limited into just your home network wifi or any place that has wifi. Remember the joke on original Shield? "Now I can play pc game while taking a dump on bathroom (or something similar)" No, duh! You have to put the tablet first so that you can use it as a screen then play or bear the awkward experience to play on touchscreen; that also limiting people with small bathroom with no place to position the tablet. The point is, it will be limited to your surrounding to achieve comfortableness or bear with touchscreen or just playing android games, meanwhile you can do it more freely with the previous generation. I still think it's better to upgrade the previous gen Shield with today spec. You can argue tablet increase productivity, but it is a gaming product, intended for gaming, and only so much productivity you can do on Android tablet compared to a Windows tablet. Razer Edge looks attractive right now in terms of portable gaming tablet and productivity combined.
  • 1 Hide
    matt64 , July 22, 2014 2:33 PM
    Quote:
    I was annoyed with Tom's Hardware for perpetuating the absolutely faulty myth, which has been around for at least five years now, that desktop computers are "on their way out" and that we should all give up and buy mobile devices.


    All I stated in this article is that PC sales have declined in recent years. I didn't claim, or mean to imply, that PCs are "on their way out", which I certainly don't believe. Desktop PCs will be around for a long time, but they have to accept the fact that we have other devices we want to spend time with too.

    Mobile devices aren't going to replace PCs for those of us who enjoy PC gaming, but they can be complimentary. Nvidia's GameStream feature, for example.

    - Matt
  • 0 Hide
    matt64 , July 22, 2014 2:37 PM
    Sorry for the double post. It's a browser refresh thing :( 

    - Matt
  • -1 Hide
    Luis XFX , July 22, 2014 2:44 PM
    Ordering time now.
  • 0 Hide
    Gelid03 , July 22, 2014 2:45 PM
    I'd love to get one of these to replace my 1st gen nexus 7
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