Nvidia Offering Two Shield Bundles This Friday Only

Looking for a great Christmas gift for your favorite gamer this holiday season? Then take a look at Nvidia's SHIELD, which will be offered in two bundles this Friday only. One consists of a tablet and the other features a controller-like form factor. Pricing will start at $199.

Nvidia plans to offer the SHIELD Portable handheld console for $199, which will be packed with a glossy black plate (the original is silver) and a carrying case. The company doesn't offer additional games in this bundle, but the console does provide access to Nvidia's GRID game streaming service. Titles include Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2, Dead Island, LEGO Batman 2 as well as 16 additional titles that can be played for free until July 2015.

Nvidia will also offer the SHIELD Tablet bundle for $399. Unlike the SHIELD Portable version, this model will come packed with the tablet, a SHIELD Controller and three games by Valve Software: Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2 and Portal. This bundle will include the GRID game streaming service as well.

So which bundle is better? That depends on your budget. Both are based on Android and provide access to Google Play, Gmail and more Google services. The SHIELD Portable has a built-in 5-inch screen and Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor, whereas the tablet has an 8-inch screen and the newer Nvidia Tegra K1. Both are capable of streaming titles from a gamer's Kepler-based desktop.

Are these bundles a great deal? Look at it this way: the glossy black armor costs $19.99 by itself and the carrying case costs $39.99. Thus, you're essentially getting the black plate and carrying case for free one day only. Meanwhile, the SHIELD Tablet bundle has over $488 worth of goodies, as by itself, the SHIELD Controller costs $59.99 and the software, aka the Green Box Bundle, costs $29.97.

That said, they're both great solutions. There are a number of available Android games that take advantage of the Tegra chips' capabilities, such as HORN, Dead Trigger, The Conduit HD, N.O.V.A. 3 and loads more. Consumers looking for an all-in-one console may be better off with the SHIELD Portable, while those wanting to do more than gaming should go with the SHIELD Tablet.

Remember, these two bundles will only be offered on Friday, so get those clicking fingers ready!

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.