Nvidia Shield Android TV Console Review

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What’s In The Box?

The packaging for the $199 16GB Shield Android TV device includes just about everything you need to get started. In addition to the Shield, you get a hand-held Shield Controller, a power adapter, one HDMI cable, and a USB 3.0 cable that can be used for charging external devices or connecting the Shield to a computer for development or advanced configuration like side-loading apps.

For this review, Nvidia also provided us with two optional accessories; the Shield Stand and the Shield Remote.

The main Shield unit is 8.25 x 5.25 x ¾ inches in size and unit comes in at just under 1.5lbs. Except for the fan, there are no other moving parts inside the small case. Looks-wise, the Shield resembles something coming out from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as the black exterior design of the case is comprised of triangular shapes formed into a rectangular object. Because of its thin shape, the Shield cannot stand upright by itself, so without the Shield Stand, the device will pretty much have to sit in a horizontal position.

The Shield is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra X1 mobile processor. Announced earlier this year, the Maxwell-powered Tegra X1 is the 20nm successor to the Tegra K1 SoC. Designed with mobile gaming in mind, the 256 CUDA core Tegra X1 boasts a memory clock of 1600MHz (LPDDR4), memory bandwidth that runs at 25.6GB/s, and 256KB of L2 cache.

The Shield also comes with 3GB of built-in system memory, 16GB of internal storage and an additional microSD slot that can support up to 2TB of additional microSD SDXC card storage.

For networking, the Shield covers both wired and wireless environments. For wired, the Shield can run at Gigabit Ethernet, a network speed that some of its 100Mbps speed competitors, like the Apple TV, Roku 3 and Fire TV, don’t have. For wireless, the Shield uses the current 802.11ac spec with 2x2 MIMO, which increases Wi-Fi throughput when connected to similarly configured router. Like most AC-class network adapters, the Shield is backward-compatible to earlier standards like 802.11n.

The Shield can be powered on by pressing its touch-sensitive, capacitive power button — shaped like the NVIDIA logo — on the “upper” part of its case cover. Next to the button is the IR receiver, which can be used by other IR controlling devices, such as a Logitech’s line of universal remote controls.

All of the Shield’s input ports lie along the device’s rear panel, including its microSD slot, a microUSB 2.0 port, two full-sized USB 3.0 ports, its Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port and the main input for the included 19V power adapter.

The included Shield Controller isn’t new. Originally paired with the Shield Tablet, the Controller somewhat resembles gaming console remotes of the past, and connects to the Shield wirelessly. Powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery, the Remote can be charged via its micro-USB port, delivering up to 40 hours of battery life. Alongside its familiar gaming button layout, the Controller also has a built-in microphone for in-game chat and voice search, and a stereo headset jack for personal listening.

The optional Shield Remote is the elegantly styled, lighter weight counterpart to the 0.75lb Controller — about 0.5lbs. lighter, weighing in at just about a quarter of a pound. Lacking any gaming buttons and other related hardware, the Remote is trimmed down, but still includes a dedicated headset jack and built-in microphone for voice commands. Also different from the Controller, the Remote communicates with the Shield over Bluetooth, allowing cross room or cross hall communication that even works through walls. Rechargeable via USB, the Remote can hold its charge for up to 4 weeks of normal use.

  • jasonelmore
    keep the shield devices coming nvidia! that gpu score.. can't wait to see it in their tablet next month.
  • Per Wigren
    FINALLY a review that tests GameStream. I can't believe how there can be so many reviews out there and just about no one that bothers to try this rather major feature, considering it's produced by Nvidia and comes with a gamepad... Thank you!

    The result is rather discouraging, however. Did you use it at 1920x1080 at 60 FPS? Was the game set to that resolution on the PC as well?
  • Valld
    Nice review, just a few mistakes in the specifications:

    1. There are moving parts inside - the cooling fan, clearly visible on the photo
    2. Bluetooth version is 4.1/BLE, not 2.1
    3. Micro SD card slot supports cards up to 128Gb, not 2Tb
  • Dunofrey
    One more correction, the shield pro has a 500 gb hybrid drive not a 200 gb drive.
  • Eggz
    Interesting! People with HTPCs will be looking for something given that Windows 10 won't have Windows Media Center any more.

    I think that creates an open market, and I'm curious to see whether Ceton will hire some programmers to come up with a piece of software that supports all of the WMC functionality, and whether they or anyone else will solve the OnDemand functionality issue that's now exclusive to cable boxes.
  • Zepid
    What a shit review. No codec information, no playback benchmarks for local media. No information as to if you can mount USB storage to be readable natively by Android apps (as in can I plug in a USB HDD and see it without doing anything in say... VLC). Because Android TV doesn't support this by default without a root or custom ROM, I assume Nvidia has this feature enabled but ZERO REVIEWERS have bothered mentioning it.
  • clonazepam
    Where's the gamepad review? Stream Dark Souls I/II to the thing and really hammer on the d-pad with weapon swaps / item use, and report back. Thanks! :)

    "Git gud casul."
  • Emanuel Elmo
    I made this correction before and nobody seems to have corrected it.

    The $299.99 model of the shield comes with a 500GB HDD and NOT a 200GB HDD.

    I will say this again that it can be confirmed off of the Nvidia website.
  • thrus
    Something that bugged me early in the article since your internet was only 23Mbps you couldn't reliably stream 4k from Netflix, but the gigabit port make HD work fine. If the port was all that mattered it far exceeded the recommended 25Mbps for 4k as well. The gig port had nothing to do with your streaming, heck an old 100Mbps port would be 4 fold the required throughput for 4k. keep the specs in the specs section and don't try to shoehorn them in where they are irreverent.
  • deppman
    I have the 500GB Shield. The Talos Principle can be set to 1080p rendering and it looks and performs very well. I'm not sure why it defaults to 720p rendering. The Wi-Fi results in less lags and hiccups than the Shield Tablet, so game streaming is better nearly glitch-free IF your network isn't busy. Video streaming is flawless, and even Chromecast improves. Also, Google just released 600 more TV apps, so selection is greatly improved. Now if I could only install a browser.