Nvidia Shield Review: Tegra 4-Powered Handheld Gaming

Battery Life And Charging

As mentioned, Shield was originally specified for 38 Wh of energy and later revised down to 28.8 Wh. Of course that roughly 25% reduction is going to chip away at the console’s run time in games and movies. But it also helps keep weight down.

Nvidia estimates that one charge should yield four to five hours of play time in the most demanding Tegra 4-optimized titles, while more typical Android games might run for as long as 10 hours.

We fired up Epic Citadel, which isn’t specifically written to tax Tegra 4, but still offers a High Quality setting we can use on all of our comparison devices. With Wi-Fi enabled, our display calibrated to 200 nits, and the walk-through looping, Shield ran for six hours and thirty-nine minutes. Do the math, and Nvidia’s platform is averaging 4.33 W of power consumption in a demanding 3D workload.

Going back the other way, we connected the 2 A charger that Nvidia bundles with Shield, which the company says provides the best charge time and performance. Charging a completely drained to a full battery took four hours and 56 minutes.

A second drain test measured how long it'd take to deplete Shield's battery if all you do is stream PC games to the device. Because this is a video decode workload, you get a lot more run time than the 3D benchmark, despite constant Wi-Fi traffic. Streaming Skyrim in the same room as our router, we managed to get nine hours and 58 minutes from Shield. I cannot imagine any situation where you'd want to be staring at that screen for 10 hours without a break to eat, call your mother, or charge Shield back up. That's pretty safely all-day gaming battery life.

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    Top Comments
  • esrever
    looks ok but not worth the price
    15
  • Hazle
    impressive, especially PC streaming. but for $300, i'd rather pause the game to take a bathroom break. it's gonna take me a library of good android exclusives for me spend that amount of money, and PvsZ or Angry birds don't cut it.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • esrever
    looks ok but not worth the price
    15
  • Hazle
    impressive, especially PC streaming. but for $300, i'd rather pause the game to take a bathroom break. it's gonna take me a library of good android exclusives for me spend that amount of money, and PvsZ or Angry birds don't cut it.
    13
  • beta212
    Meh, with the PS4/xbox coming out , and tons of more convenient phones I don't see a market for a tegra4 shield, personally I'm saving my money for a console. The tegra is also too expensive and gimmicky to boot.
    8
  • dragonsqrrl
    When you look purely at the performance and specs $300 unsubsidized isn't all that bad considering the hardware you're getting for the price. The problem to me isn't so much price but the target market. How many people are willing to spend that much on a second or potentially third mobile device meant specifically for gaming and entertainment?
    5
  • bryonhowley
    Looks nice but I can find things better to spend $300 on. In truth I can't see ever streaming my PC games to a 5" screen when I use 3 Asus 27" monitors on my desktop PC. Going from 5760x1080 to 720p does not sound like something I am ready to do. And if I want to game from my recliner I just use my Xbox 360 wireless controller and play the game on my Panasonic 50" 3D Plasma.
    4
  • vaughn2k
    for U$180, I can get a nice Lenovo Phone. For U$ 500, a good Xbox.. not sure if I need a Shield where I could play anywhere..
    1
  • slomo4sho
    Not sure why most of your benchmarks were just between the shield and the Nexus 7. I understand that the Nexus 7 utilizes Tegra 3 but the iPhone 5, Note 2, or some other tertiary figues should have been included to provide a better comparison between this device and other current generation products.

    This device feels like a universal Wii U game pad and there is almost zero reason to own one.
    3
  • cats_Paw
    Considering that Oculus rift will cost somewhere around 300 dollars as well, id rather wait for that to spend my cash.
    Streaming is nice but if you are close toy our pc why not use the PC itself?
    6
  • edwd2
    could be used to run a psp emulator, but phone can do that too.
    1
  • shikamaru31789
    I'm just not seeing much reason to get one right now, not when I'm saving for the Xbox One and PS4. If it was at a lower price and if it supported AMD GPU's for PC streaming, I might get one. But they also need to get some developers to make some good Android exclusives, not just your typical mobile time wasters and ports of older console/PC titles, but some actuallAAA exclusives that are optimized for Tegra 4.
    2
  • vaughn2k
    for U$180, I can get a nice Lenovo Phone. For U$ 500, a good Xbox.. not sure if I need a Shield where I could play anywhere..
    0
  • Chetou
    When nobody wants to buy your SOC, I guess you have to make up a new product. Not very useful past the initial gimmick.
    4
  • The Grave Digger
    "shield Competes to your Disposable income" Really??
    1
  • iam2thecrowe
    What a pointless product. This will be a flop.
    1
  • tadej petric
    Shield really doesnt make me want to use it instead PC.
    3
  • blubbey
    Maybe in 3-5 years when mobile graphics really starts to come into their own. $300 for something I'd play while taking a dump isn't good value, I have a phone that can do much more afaik. If I want dedicated gaming I'd play on my PC or even buy a next-gen console for that money in a year's time.

    Side notes, isn't the Tegra 5 about the same power as a current console? That's next year too so assume in 4 years after that it should be 5x the power at least (Tegra 6 is supposedly 2x as powerful so 2.5x the power of Tegra 6 in ~3 years). That'd start to approach next gen consoles power in a handheld device. I'd probably pay $300 for that in 5 years assuming nothing else is better value.

    It's not like this is progression is unimpressive however, 5 years ago we had pitiful mobile processing power compared to today. I'm not expecting similar growth because that'd be crazy - http://cdn2.ubergizmo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/tegra-5-kepler-graphics-curve-640x315.jpg - but still. 20x the growth from today will be possible considering Nvidia's Tegra roadmap shows Tegra 6 being ~10x performance of T4.
    0
  • ubercake
    Great thorough review about a niche product.
    3
  • somebodyspecial
    Anonymous said:
    We've been playing with Nvidia's Shield handheld for more than a month, but only recently got access to its killer feature: streaming PC game content. Does Nvidia's foray into the hardware world deserve your $300, or is this expensive toy impractical?

    Nvidia Shield Review: Tegra 4-Powered Handheld Gaming : Read more


    Can you guys test some movies with HDMI or miracast to TV? This was one of the features I would like to know about before pondering buying. A large part of the point of this thing for me is a portable 1080p player (or even 720p, as most of those look great on 60in or lower anyway). Also with that hdmi hooked up (or miracast) can you play your games out to TV too? I had thought I'd be able to play android games on the big screen (PC too).

    can you guys comment on this stuff? Anything out to TV is stuff your Vita/3DS can't do. I'd think this is a pretty important detail for most but unless I missed it in the review it wasn't even mentioned or tested. I was hoping for some PC to TV comments. Can this output your PC streamed games to TV or does lag etc prevent this? Or are you stuck on the 5in for both android and pc streams?
    3
  • somebodyspecial
    For anyone caring PC mag got substantial numbers from a trio of tablets:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2415809,00.asp
    Antutu=36489
    geekbench=4148
    GLBench offscreen is 57fps
    So I'd say it should do well in a tablet vs. S800. It destroys S600. Not bad. Those were devices from Feb, so I'm thinking a shipping tab would have to be optimized a little more than a pre-release product but I could be wrong. Hope someone tests the toshiba write soon, not to mention HP's and ASUS's T4 tablets.

    Antutu on the Shield is impressive (though 720p, glad they didn't try 1080p on this thing, 720p gives it plenty of power for what it's designed to do) but the 1920x1200 1.9ghz ref tablet isn't far behind and S800 scores I've seen from devices show about 35k on tablets. That being said I expect S800 to match or beat T4's gpu (though we still need to see actual games benched, not synthetics to truly prove this), but I think most cpu test should favor A15. The numbers out so far seem to show this.

    I don't see T4's lack of OpenGL ES3.0 as any big deal. There are no benchmarks to test it, thus no software that uses it either. In other words, NV was right to dump it to save power/soc space etc and dedicate that to what we will probably use during the devices life. I'll change my opinion maybe after a few games show up with ES3.0 in them. Until then, no point in having it yet.
    0
  • CaptainTom
    Frankly I can play any game on my very portable $750 laptop with a 750m in more than 720p, and I already need that for school (Like most people).

    And if I want handheld gaming, I'll play Uncharted/Killzone on my vita over Angry Birds any day lol!
    1