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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Review

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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Testing:

On paper, the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is quite the beast, but how does that actually translate to performance? There are a lot of Android devices on the market, and luckily there are some popular benchmark apps to help us compare devices.

First up, we have a popular tool you'll likely all be familiar with: CPU-Z. While not a benchmark per se, it does provide us a good look at some system specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It should be noted that the reason CPU-Z shows a screen resolution of 1200x1824 is because it's measuring the usable resolution by the app. So no need to worry that we're being gypped; the full resolution is indeed 1200x1920 (or 1920x1200 in landscape) when accounting for the menu bars.

Next up is our first true benchmark, and yet another tool you'll likely be familiar with: Futermark's 3DMark. For mobile devices, 3DMark includes three benchmarks: Ice Storm, for mainstream mobile devices; Ice Storm Extreme, for high performance mobile devices; and Ice Storm Unlimited, "for chip-to-chip comparisons of the hardware inside your device without vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result."

Unsurprisingly, when I ran Ice Storm, I got a score of "Maxed out!" with a message that: "This test is too light for your device. Try running Extreme instead." So then I ran Ice Storm Extreme and once again got a score of "Maxed out!" with the message that: "This test is too light for your device. Try running Unlimited instead." It's great to see the SHIELD Tablet is beyond a mere "high performance mobile device," so moving on to the Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, we finally get some real scores.

 

 

 

My top overall score was 30942, while the device average is 30794. That handily beat every other Android device in 3DMark's "Device Channel", only losing out to six Intel-powered Windows devices, which isn't really all that surprising. We can debate all day which mobile platform is best, but if you already have your heart set on an Android device, the SHIELD Tablet is the clear winner in this gaming-centric benchmark.

Next up we have some CPU benching with yet another tool that should be familiar to frequent OCC visitors: Geekbench 3.

 

 

The Tegra K1-equipped SHIELD Tablet once again reigns supreme, scoring 1147 in the Single-Core test and 3585 in the Multi-Core test. And it's not even a contest! The Samsung Galaxy S 5 is a distant second in both tests, with a 938 and 2836, respectively.

Now we come to our only mobile-specific benchmark that you may not be familiar with because it doesn't have a PC equivalent. Developed by Qualcomm, Vellamo is a "suite of system-level benchmarks for devices based on Android 4.0 forward." The Vellamo app consists of three primary chapters: The Browser Chapter evaluates mobile web browser performance; the Metal Chapter measures the CPU subsystem performance of mobile processors; and the Multicore Chapter, which is technically in beta, measures the synergy of multiple CPU cores.

 

 

 

It's almost not even fair how powerful the SHIELD Tablet is compared to its brethren. It completely rocks the Chrome Browser test with a score of 4856, annihilating second place HTC One's score of 2878. The standard Browser test scores just 2937, but still beats second place LGE LG G3's score of 2758 – not that there's any reason to run that over Chrome. When it comes to the CPU prowess, the SHIELD Tablet scored 1751 in the Metal test, beating second place OnePlus One's score of 1653. In the Multicore test, it scored a whopping 2431, dominating second place HTC One's score of 1869. Just as we've seen with the previous benchmarks, the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is the clear Android performance leader.

Last, but certainly not least, is Futuremark's PCMark. As of the time of this writing, the Android version of PCMark is in beta testing, so the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as they may differ by the time the application is officially launched. There is currently only one benchmark, Work Benchmark, but it consists of two tests: Work Performance and Work Battery Life. The latter requires your device to have at least an 80% charge and loops the Work Benchmark until the device drains to 20%.

 

 

As you can see above, when I ran the Work Performance test on its own, the tablet attained an overall score of 5041, held back a little by its Writing score of all things. Still, PCMark proclaims: "This is one of the most powerful devices around and everything seems to be working normally." I agree. It's also nice to see that the temperature remained constant at around 30 °C. When I ran the Work Battery Life test, my Work Performance score was only 4799, but more importantly the tablet lasted nearly six hours, with the temperature only raising slightly over time. As that's only bringing the device down to 20% and not a full drain, we can extrapolate that the device has a battery life of roughly 7.5 hours under constant moderate, non-gaming usage. Not too shabby if all you want to do is watch some movies during a commute.




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