NVIDIA SHIELD ReviewClayMeow - November 29, 2013
Price: $299 16GB
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NVIDIA SHIELD Introduction:
When I saw the NVIDIA SHIELD at NVIDIA's Montreal Press Event, and specifically the newly released Console Mode, I proclaimed it to be the death of the Ouya. But that was under a controlled environment, set up by experienced NVIDIA engineers. Now that I've had some personal time with the device in my own home, do I still make that claim? Well you will just have to keep reading – you didn't think I'd actually spoil the surprise in the first paragraph, did you?
The NVIDIA SHIELD is a handheld Android gaming device, released on July 31, 2013. Since I typically review games and not hardware, you'll have to forgive me for not having professional photography equipment, but hopefully I faked it well enough.
NVIDIA SHIELD Closer Look:
While most buyers will likely purchase their SHIELD online, it is nice to see that NVIDIA still cares about presentation. The front of the predominantly black box features an almost life-size graphic (I measured) of an open SHIELD, proudly displaying a game in action. There's no mistaking this for anything but a gaming device. In the top left corner is "SHIELD" while the NVIDIA logo is in the top right. The back of the box features a closed SHIELD that is actually life-size, or pretty damn close to it. Across the top is a simple, yet bold statement in silver lettering: "Take Android Gaming to the Next Level."
You may have noticed the small green rectangles toward the bottom of both the front and back of the box. Yes, they wrap around to each other across the left side of the box, with the SHIELD name inside it and a small, black line-art icon of the device. While the box has thus far been pretty sparse on details, the right side fixes all that with the features, specifications, copyright, and barcodes. NVIDIA chose to highlight three features, including the powerful Tegra 4 processor, the integrated "console-grade" controller, and access to over 700,000 apps, movies, and games through GooglePlay. Curiously, there's no mention of PC game streaming, which is arguably one of SHIELD's greatest features. There's also no mention of Console Mode, but that's understandable since it was just released. Maybe NVIDIA will start slapping stickers on the box for the new features.
The top of the box is the nice bright green NVIDIA color we've come to know and love, with another tag line under the NVIDIA logo: "Inspired by Gamers. Built by NVIDIA." Flipping over to the bottom, a simple little plastic tab invites you to OPEN it – but not before you slice open the clear tape at the sides and slide off the outer sleeve.
Upon sliding off the outer sleeve, the only new image you'll see is a green-filled SHIELD icon. Get used to it because you'll be seeing that a lot. Finally listening to the OPEN tab, flipping up the top of the box reveals the SHIELD, on display like it's perched on its throne. Though it's a bit hard to make out in the image, the top lid has molded black cardboard inside to keep the SHIELD from jostling during transport. It also has a plethora of small, circular foam pieces to keep it nice and secure and prevent scratching. You may have also noticed that there is a green box inside the outer black box. I assume it is glued together, but I didn't want to tear it apart and ruin its nice construction.
Removing the SHIELD and the black cardboard it sits upon reveals a black envelope with that green SHIELD logo prominently displayed. Inside, you'll find the Registration and Warranty booklet, along with a Quick Start Guide that doubles as a poster on the reverse side, showing the basic functionality of the SHIELD's multitude of buttons. Beneath the envelope sits the only two accessories it comes packaged with: an AC adapter and USB charging cable. But these aren't your ordinary adapter and cable – NVIDIA once again adds its flair for design and craftsmanship. The top of the adapter has a silver metallic-like plate with the NVIDIA logo across it. The rest of the adapter is mostly a brushed black plastic, but with glossy black trapezoids on the sides. The USB cable looks like your standard micro-USB to USB cable, but the ends have that green SHIELD icon on them. Simple, but a nice touch.
The packaging and accessories are certainly well designed and constructed, but that's not what you care about. Now onto the SHIELD itself.