Nvidia's Shield Android-Based Console Finally Arrives

Great news for Nvidia fans waiting on the edge of their seat for the Android-based Shield handheld gaming console: it's finally here.

Nvidia said on Tuesday night that it's currently shipping units to customers who already pre-purchased the device. New orders can now be placed on Nvidia's website, Newegg, or at a Shield Experience Center in a handful of GameStop, Microcenter and Canada Computer locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The final list of specs, as revealed in our extensive 13 page review, shows that Shield weighs around 1.3 pounds and measures 158 mm (W) x 135 mm (D) x 57 mm (H). It's powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC featuring four Cortex-A15 cores and a fifth "battery-saver" Cortex-A15 core clocked up to 1.9 GHz. The flip-up display contains a 5 inch multi-touch panel with a 1280 x 720 resolution (293.7 ppi).

Nvidia's new handheld also has a dual-channel LPDDR3/DDR3-L controller taking charge of 2 GB of LPDDR3-1800 memory. There's only 16 GB of internal storage, so gamers will have to be weary of packing this Android device full of Gameloft titles at once. There's a microSD card slot on the back, but don't expect to offload apps onto the additional storage: Google nuked that "app2sd" ability a few updates back.

The wireless component is provided by Broadcom, offering dual-band Wireless N connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. The device also provides a mini-HDMI port for sending video to an HDTV, and a micro-USB 2.0 port for charging the 28.8 Wh battery. The built-in gamepad itself provides dual analog joysticks, a D-pad, left and right analog triggers, left and right bumper buttons, the typical A/B/X/Y button setup, and buttons for volume, start and so on.

"How do you get a guy who games almost exclusively on a PC to care about a handheld running Android? Start by telling him he can play some of his favorite PC titles on it," Chris writes in his review.

Agreed. Not only is Shield a hot portable Android gaming console with full access to Google Play games (unlike some blocky Kickstarter project), but it's capable of streaming PC games from a rig using a Kepler-based desktop GPU – mobile versions are not supported at this time. The company's GeForce Experience software sits between the PC and Shield, and is responsible for picking the right game settings for each compatible title.

For now there are only twenty-one PC games optimized for Shield including Borderlands 2, Skyrim, Dead Island: Riptide, Half-Life 2, Dishonored and many others. Currently the PC streaming aspect is in beta, so Shield owners will need to expect a few glitches and bugs for now.

Nvidia said there are already a number of Shield-optimized games on Google Play including Riptide GP2, Chuck’s Challenge 3D, Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin, and Arma Tactics. These can be easily accessed in the company's Tegra Zone app, or simply by performing a "Tegra" search on Google Play. All Tegra-optimized games should look especially hot on Nvidia's new Tegra 4-powered toy.

So what's our final verdict on Shield? We've covered this device for the last seven months, drooling over the ability to stream PC games and play our Android favorites on one handheld device. However you'll just have to read the review to find out.

  • Cazalan
    Why exactly would I want to stream a game from my PC with a 30" monitor to a handheld with a 5" screen?
  • slomo4sho
    And no one cared....
  • Cy-Kill
    'There's a microSD card slot on the back, but don't expect to offload apps onto the additional storage: Google nuked that "app2sd" ability a few updates back.'

    Why does Google hate microSD expansion, has anyone figured out why Google removed it, they really should bring it back to Android, and stop the hate for microSD!
  • You would play on a 5" screen because you can move to another room and play in bed or on the toilet also you won't have the noise problem that many people have with their PCs
  • notsleep
    1.3 lbs is too heavy for my taste. it really needs to ship with 128 gb or 256 gb internal storage. 16 gb storage is just not enough for a gaming device. especially when the 'app2sd' got nuked in android.
  • IndignantSkeptic
    I can think of a much better solution than Nvidia Shield but I'm happy that it will at least motivate more developers to put joypad controls in their games. Touch-Screen or mouse controls are completely unacceptable for certain types of games and should be removed.
  • beoza
    @ notsleep 1.3lbs is a tad heavy but to me it's acceptable. I do agree that 16GB of storage is not enough, it should be either 32 or 64 to start and have higher priced models with 128 - 256GB of storage. I might consider one of these just to play emulated console games on, just because it's portable, and I can play my favorite classic SNES games on it like Final Fantasy II and III (FF6), Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana!
  • g00fysmiley
    I think there are a few reasons that google hates SD cards.

    1. they want you to use thier cloud storage via google drive more advertising money fo rthem

    2. user experience sd cards just are not as fast as acessing its own info, that is one reason apple does not offer this function on IOS and i agree it is not great for runing or installing apps, but for media storage sd cards are fine.

    I agree 16 gigs is not alot, but -256 gigs of storage in a device like this would add alot to the price... that said I am surprised they don't offer different vertions with different amoutns of storage/price points

  • Draven35
    Once some GRID gaming services get out in the public, the Shield will likely support them , too