Two weeks ago at Google I/O, Nvidia’s Shield Android TV platform was finally available. First introduced at GDC, the basic package included the Shield controller and the device itself, which contained only 16 GB of flash storage. However, Nvidia came out with another version called the Shield Pro, and it’s available now.
If placed side-by-side, both devices look identical, but the Shield Pro has two notable differences from its younger brother. The first is storage. Whereas the basic Shield only has 16 GB of internal storage, the Shield Pro a 500 GB hard drive for storage. We still don’t know why Nvidia choose such a huge gap in storage capacities between the two units, but if you don’t want to deal with continually deleting other apps on Shield to make space for games, the Shield Pro should have more than enough space.
The second perk comes as a free title. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is the latest in the popular series. While others have to pay $29.99 to buy it from the Google Play store, it comes free with the Shield Pro. However, your Shield games library doesn’t have to be comprised only of games from the Google Play store. Nvidia also added its GRID game streaming service to Shield, so players can stream a variety of titles from Nvidia’s servers.
The service is free until the end of June, when it will become a subscription-based service. The basic package will provide 720p and 30 fps game streaming, while a premium subscription will give you access to 1080p and 60 fps gameplay.
The Shield Pro would cost you $299.99, $100 more than the basic package. However, we're asking Nvidia for more detailed specs on storage, specifically the hard drive used and its speed in the Shield Pro, because the selected hard drive might not actually be worth the extra $100.
A 500 GB hard drive shouldn't add over $100 to the cost of the device, and it likely won't improve performance, so what are you really paying for? Is Nvidia just throwing in the original cost of the "free" game that comes with the Shield Pro?
Regardless, it's good to know that both Shields take SDXC cards up to 2 TB as a form of storage, so that could also be the best route instead of buying the Shield Pro.
Update, 6/12/2015, 11:50am PDT: Nvidia provided a few more details about the hard drive in the Shield Pro. The 500 GB hard drive is a 2.5-inch hybrid drive with a speed of 5400 RPM and 8 GB of flash memory. However, the company didn't tell us which storage brand was used for the Shield Pro.