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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Review

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NVIDIA SHIELD Wireless Controller Closer Look:

Even though the primary purpose of this review is to analyze the SHIELD Tablet, the SHIELD Wireless Controller is much more photogenic. The controller has a very similar aesthetic and layout to the SHIELD Portable, but with some notable differences. The most obvious is the lack of a lid and attached screen, but let's take a closer look and discover all the nuances.

For the most part, the SHIELD Wireless Controller borrows a lot from an Xbox 360 controller, though like the Portable, features parallel analog sticks more akin to PlayStation's DualShock controllers. Nevertheless, it does use XInput like an Xbox 360, and via a recent update, can indeed be used as a PC controller in any game that supports that. Looking at the face of the controller, you see the parallel dual-analog sticks, the single-piece directional pad, and the ABXY face buttons, just as you'd expect. But in between the left and right sides of the controller are something you're probably not used to.

 

 

 

Up at the top is an NVIDIA button, which is used to turn the controller on or off, or used to access the SHIELD Hub app when on and connected to a compatible device. It is surrounded by a brushed-silver section containing three touch-controls: Back, which is not only used to return to a previous screen, but can also be held down to begin recording or broadcasting gameplay; Start, which can be held to access GameStream, GRID, and Gamepad Mapper; and Home, which can be tapped to go to the Android home screen, double-tapped to view Recently Used Apps, and held to open Google Now with voice search support.

 

Below that is another triangular, brushed-silver section. The top portion is a touchpad, which can be used to move the cursor on the screen. It's also physically clickable so you can make selections. Below the touch pad portion is the volume controls, with "SHIELD" etched in and flanked by minus and plus signs.

 

Looking at the top of the controller, you can see your typical left and right bumpers and analog triggers. In between, you'll find the controller's only ports: micro-USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack. While the controller shipped with a USB to micro-USB cable, an AC adapter was not included. Thankfully, you can use the AC adapter provided with the Tablet or Portable to charge the controller, and odds are you wouldn't purchase a controller without owning one of those devices. The only time this could be an issue is if you purchase two to four controllers for local co-op use in Console Mode, in which case you wouldn’t be able to charge them all simultaneously using a wall outlet. I would have liked to see an AC adapter included, but you can always charge them by connecting it to a computer, so it's not a deal-breaker by any means.

 

 

The bottom of the device is nothing special, though you can see the ergonomic contour. You also get a glimpse of the etched silver NVIDIA logo at the bottom of the controller, which you may have glimpsed in earlier photos as well.

 

For comparison, I pulled out my SHIELD Portable and placed it next to the SHIELD Wireless Controller. As you can see, the controller is unsurprisingly smaller (and also weighs a lot less). And of course I couldn't end this section without the money shot – all three SHIELD devices together like one big happy family.

 




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