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Shield's Second Lease On Life Impresses

Nvidia's Shield Revisited: Console Mode, Streaming, And More
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Nvidia isn't calling its October 2013 OTA update a re-launch per se, but from where I'm sitting, that's certainly what it feels like. In my opinion, this mobile gaming platform shouldn't have been released without a game control mapper and working App2SD functionality in the first place. As for the new console mode, it takes Android gaming in the living room to another level. The difference that 1080p makes on a big-screen TV is breathtaking, and surprisingly the Tegra 4 SoC handles it with apparent ease. The holiday bundle discounts and Amazon.com availability are further evidence that Nvidia wants to move these things.

So, if we're calling this a re-launch, am I more impressed now than I was back in July? Absolutely. In my eyes, the Shield went from a peculiar alternative to the most attractive portable game console available. And unlike Chris, who was principally interested in PC game streaming, I still cannot bring myself to get excited about that feature. If I'm at home, I can't imagine choosing a gamepad and television over my mouse, keyboard, and monitor. And if I really want to game on the TV, I have an HTPC for that.

For me, Shield is more about playing interesting titles on the road using Google's OS. Android gaming has come a long, long way, and it's not slowing down. There are some great titles out there, and even more impressive content in the pipeline. I'm not a fan of using a simulated gamepad and buttons on a touchscreen, but with the new game mapper, I suddenly have access to thousands of Android titles developed without controller support. And through the new console mode, I can enjoy a lot of those games on a big-screen TV at 1080p. That's a more intriguing proposition than before, when I was toting the console around with me.

Today, the Shield is a lot better than it was at launch. It's still not perfect, though. While the game mapper works well, I did run into quirks at times, particularly when the analog sticks come into play. If Nvidia's software team can improve that functionality, there'd be little left for me to critique. Bottom line: if I had to choose between a $200 Nintendo 3DS XL, a $200 Playstation Vita, and a $300 Nvidia Shield, I'd spend the extra $100 without much thought. And if I were in the market for a GeForce GTX 770 at $330, a 780 at $500, or a 780 Ti at $700, it'd be difficult not to put the $100 holiday bundle discount to use on a new Shield.

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  • -5 Hide
    Jordan Nwokolo , October 28, 2013 7:34 AM
    This is The Real Next Gen Gaming System..Stream,Cloud and A.R.S.E(Android Revolutionary System Entertaiment) Based Console,No Doubt about it !!
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , October 28, 2013 8:07 AM
    Here is some competition just in case, you know, you happen to own a smartphone or Tab.
    http://www.phonearena.com/news/10-game-controllers-for-smartphones-and-tablets_id39901#10-iControlPad-2

    And, with Miracast you can send 1080 to your TV too.
  • -2 Hide
    Peacelol , October 28, 2013 8:27 AM
    Where exactly are these reduced prices linked from? As of 0800 Pacific I don't see any reduction in pricing from any of the major retailers. All I've seen are updates regarding the holiday game bundle deal.
  • -1 Hide
    damianrobertjones , October 28, 2013 8:35 AM
    Still won't buy it as I'd then have yet another device.

    Hey Tom's hardware... Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in the world, recently released a Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro... No article?
  • 1 Hide
    cangelini , October 28, 2013 8:37 AM
    @ Peacelol: The prices will be in effect starting tomorrow morning
    @ damian: We have one and are in the process of reviewing it!
  • 0 Hide
    Peacelol , October 28, 2013 8:50 AM
    Thank you Cangelini
  • 0 Hide
    Zachasaurs , October 28, 2013 10:01 AM
    i love these bundles im getting a 760 withing the week
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , October 28, 2013 11:01 AM
    Price Drop For Nvidia!!!!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-gtx-780-price-drop,24886.html
  • 0 Hide
    funtasticguy , October 28, 2013 11:02 AM
    I have a question. Does the mapping software work when you're in "console" mode and using a Bluetooth controller?
  • 0 Hide
    BranFlake5 , October 28, 2013 4:28 PM
    Good to see Nvidia really working on the Shield. It has potential.
  • 0 Hide
    SWEETMUSK , October 28, 2013 4:37 PM
    OMG the new shoadowplay is so awesome!use more less energy then fraps!!!
  • 0 Hide
    bigcyco1 , October 28, 2013 5:17 PM
    Thanks for the review.
  • 0 Hide
    whyso , October 28, 2013 9:49 PM
    Are you using a 4170 on the titan system? How about testing on a less CPU bound platform.
  • 0 Hide
    gopher1369 , October 29, 2013 6:09 AM
    "Personally, I have very little interest in GameStream, if only because I'd never pick a gamepad and 5" screen over a mouse, keyboard, and full-sized monitor if I was in Wi-Fi range of my PC."

    Try using a mouse, keyboard and full sized monitor whilst on the loo, in the bath or in bed, for example.

    Try gaming when your wife is using your HTPC to watch Eastenders on iPlayer and your daughter is using your desktop to stream Dora the Explorer on Netflix.

    In short: I love my 3DS and would also absolutely love Shield, if it was about £100 cheaper.
  • 0 Hide
    awesomedude911 , October 29, 2013 8:42 PM
    Sony and Nintendo make bad portables with small amount of good games. Glad Nvidia has come to the rescue!
  • 1 Hide
    xbins00 , October 29, 2013 10:40 PM
    Thats depressing...I paid 400 for a 770 in the middle of august and only got splinter cell. If i waited I could have had three games and 100 off a shield while saving 70 bucks on my card.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , October 30, 2013 6:26 AM
    Quote:
    "Try using a mouse, keyboard and full sized monitor whilst on the loo, in the bath or in bed, for example.

    Try gaming when your wife is using your HTPC to watch Eastenders on iPlayer and your daughter is using your desktop to stream Dora the Explorer on Netflix.

    In short: I love my 3DS and would also absolutely love Shield, if it was about £100 cheaper.


    Try playing Android games on Shield if you need portability instead of a half-assed and frustrating PC-ish experience without a mouse and keyboard.

    You miss my point. I'm not saying there's no place for a portable console. I'm saying I'd rather play Android, or 3DS instead of futzing around with the limitations of gamestreaming from a PC.

    Speaking of which: streaming Dora from Netflix... GameStream doesn't work with that. The PC has to be dedicated to the task of gaming.

  • 0 Hide
    gopher1369 , October 30, 2013 7:28 AM
    Hello Cleeve, thanks for replying.


    Quote:

    You miss my point. I'm not saying there's no place for a portable console. I'm saying I'd rather play Android, or 3DS instead of futzing around with the limitations of gamestreaming from a PC.


    You're right, I misunderstood you. I thought you were talking about handheld gaming in general. Apologies.


    Quote:
    Try playing Android games on Shield if you need portability instead of a half-assed and frustrating PC-ish experience without a mouse and keyboard.


    I play most of my games with a 360 controller! Currently playing Darksiders (thanks Humble Bundle). Deadly Premonition and Enslaved have just been released on Steam so they will be my next 2 games. I can't imagine using a KB and mouse for any of them. Does Shield work well for these kinds of games?
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , October 30, 2013 8:05 AM
    Quote:

    I play most of my games with a 360 controller! Currently playing Darksiders (thanks Humble Bundle). Deadly Premonition and Enslaved have just been released on Steam so they will be my next 2 games. I can't imagine using a KB and mouse for any of them. Does Shield work well for these kinds of games?


    Yes, absolutely. If it's a game that uses a 360 controller, it's an ideal Shield candidate. In some cases there are still limitations, you may have to launch with your PC, but if you control it with a game controller exclusively, it's ideal.

    Different strokes for different folks. Granted, my opinion is subjective, hence the word "personally" in my quote. Others may feel differently. But As a PC gamer who prefers a mouse/keyboard combo even for console ports, and only uses a gamepad for racing titles, I will always choose the PC for PC games, and mobile games for a mobile platform *when I'm at home*.

    Should the day come when Nvidia has a cloud-streaming service that works over, say, an LTE connection from my smartphone... well, that'd be a different story altogether. If I'm out of the house, and I don't have direct access to my PC, I may appreciate the Shield's gamestream capabilities more.
  • 0 Hide
    navas22 , November 21, 2013 3:47 AM
    Since it takes at least a GTX650 to enjoy the stream function, I understand better why they come to renew their offer by including a discount for buying a Shield.

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