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NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Review

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NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Testing:

The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is a powerhouse on paper with all the bells and whistles one could hope for from such a device, but how does it actually perform? Before we get to some real-world usage scenarios, it's only natural that we run some benchmarks. Due to the limitations of the Android TV platform, at first I thought I would be unable to run the same benchmarks I ran on the tablet because they're simply not available from the store. However, I was able to download the APK files from my computer on to a USB drive and install them manually. Unfortunately, unsupported apps typically mean they are built with touchscreens in mind and not controllers. This means that the only way they are actually functional on the SHIELD Android TV is by connecting a mouse. Thankfully that is something NVIDIA supports and something I was successfully able to accomplish with relative ease.

Before we get to those benchmarks, there are, thankfully, a few benchmarks that are compatible and native to Android TV, so we'll start with those. But first, let's take a look at some detailed specs courtesy of AIDA64:

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing unexpected, so let's move on to an actual benchmark program: GFXBench 3.1 OpenGL. GFXBench runs a series of high- and low-level tests using various versions of OpenGL to provide an idea of an Android device's graphical processing prowess. First, let's check out the high-level tests:

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the screenshots above, the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV pretty much kills the competition in every high-level test, sometimes nearly doubling its nearest competitor. In fact, the only time it lost was in the 1080p Manhattan Offscreen ES 3.0 test, where it was slightly bested by a Tegra X1 reference board.

Now let's take a look at the low-level tests:

 

 

 

 

The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV did not fare as well in the low-level tests, winning in only three of the six tests. That being said, it did absolutely dominate in the two Texturing tests.

The final two tests in GFXBench are for Render Quality:

 

 

The results of the Render Quality tests are quite baffling. It performed amongst the top of the pack in the high precision Render Quality benchmark, but scored shockingly low in the medium precision version. I wish I could offer up an explanation, but alas, I have none. I ran the benchmark multiple times and got similar results each time.

Now it's time to get to the benchmarks that required me to hook up a mouse, and they should be very familiar to anyone who frequents our site. First up is FutureMark's 3DMark, and there are actually two FutureMark Android benchmark programs now: Ice Storm and Sling Shot. The first one should be familiar from the tablet review, so let's start with that one. Since Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme are easily "Maxed out!", I am just presenting Ice Storm Unlimited:

 

 

 

Unsurprisingly, the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is fairly dominant, only losing to a couple Surface Pro 3 tablet computers running Intel Core processors and Windows 8 – not really a fair comparison, yet it still comes close! When we filter the results to just Android and iOS, you can see just how dominant the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is in the true mobile market. For mine specifically, I scored 45976, compared to the 30942 I scored with the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. It looks like the new Tegra X1 is quite powerful!

Now let's take a look at the newest 3DMark Android benchmark, Sling Shot, which consists of four tests: Sling Shot using ES 3.1; Sling Shot Unlimited using ES 3.1; Sling Shot using ES 3.0; and Sling Shot Unlimited using ES 3.0. They will be presented in the aforementioned order.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, what can I say? The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV was the clear winner in all four tests. Nothing even came close to touching it.

Last, but not least, we have FutureMark's PCMark, which consists of a Work Benchmark. Sure, an Android TV device isn't exactly going to be used for "work," but hey, I wanted to run it just for shits and giggles:

 

 

Despite not being a work device, the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV absolutely dominates the tests with a score of 6669, nearly 800 points higher than its nearest competitor, the HTC Nexus 9. And while you may not be using it for work, these results still show you just how powerful the Tegra X1 processor is.




  1. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Closer Look: Accessories
  3. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Closer Look: Initial Setup
  4. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV: Specifications & Features
  5. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Testing: Benchmarks
  6. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Testing: Actual Use
  7. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV: Conclusion
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