Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Nvidia Shield Tablet Review Roundup: Worth the Hype?

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 11 comments

We didn't expect this year's newest gaming console to take the form of an 8-inch tablet, but the Nvidia Shield Tablet is here and it's surprisingly versatile. The follow up to last year's Shield Portable, this $300 slate packs a beefy Tegra K1 processor, integrated Twitch streaming and has the ability to play and stream a massive library of both Android and PC games. Now that this portable gaming powerhouse is officially on the market, here's what the critics have to say.

Laptop Mag

Laptop Mag's Shield Tablet Review

On our sister site Laptop Mag, our own Sherri Smith gave the Shield Tablet four out of five stars. Smith praised the tablet's elegant design and top-notch performance, while criticizing the device's steep price tag and somewhat bulky controller.

MORE: 15 Best PC Games Right Now

Pros

"It was love at first touch. The Shield Tablet's rear panel is swathed in a black, luxurious soft touch finish that's as nice to look at as it is to caress."

"Running and gunning aliens in N.O.V.A 3 was smooth as silk. But I was really impressed when I started streaming Half-Life 2. There was nary a jaggie or stutter in sight as I swung my trusty wrench."

Cons

"Someone at Nvidia took the phrase, 'go big or go home' a little too seriously. The $60 Shield Wireless Controller is absolutely massive."

Gizmodo

Gizmodo's Eric Limer gave the Shield Tablet a glowing recommendation, stressing that the high-performance slate has lots to offer for both serious gamers and everyday users.

Pros

"As an Android gaming device, the Shield tablet is the best thing out there full stop. Between the K1 processor, the standard tablet form factor, and the particularly good controller support, it beats the pants off the Ouya, the Fire TV, and the original Shield clamshell in functionality and horsepower no matter how you game. "

Cons

"Battery life is not great. 3-ish hours of K1 gaming isn't bad, but six and a half hours of video is weak."

"The Shield tab gets obnoxiously hot when you put it to work. "

GameSpot

GameSpot's Mark Walton had mixed feelings on the Shield Tablet. The reviewer praised the slate's beefy specs, but lamented the controller and had an inconsistent experience with the tablet's much-touted Twitch streaming feature.

Pros

"With the Tegra K1 chip on board, the Shield Tablet flies through Android. Apps load quickly, scrolling is buttery smooth, and video streaming with the likes of Netflix is stutter-free."

Cons

On Twitch streaming: "Most notable was the performance hit, which caused the frame rate to drop dramatically in both games. Things got worse in Half Life 2, where the game actually crashed consistently at a certain point while streaming, and only by reloading the game, playing past that point, and then reactivating Twitch could we get past it."

SlashGear

Chris Burns of SlashGear gave a highly positive review of the Shield Tablet, commending its Tegra K1 performance, stylus functionality and PC game streaming feature.

MORE: 20 Best Android Games 

Pros

"Android gaming has never looked better than it does here with the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet running on Tegra K1."

"Streaming a PC game to NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is seamless - ready for prime-time and easy enough to accomplish that anyone can do it."

Cons

"Sometimes streaming from NVIDIA GRID [the company's cloud service] looks excellent, sometimes it looks less-than-perfect."

Android Central

Android Central's Andrew Martonik seems mostly sold on the Shield Tablet, complimenting the slate's rich speakers and nifty Twitch streaming capabilities. However, he found the tablet to be bulkier than competitors and felt that it might be a bit too expensive for some.

Pros

"Front-facing stereo speakers just make sense on a media-focused tablet such as this, and the pair included in the Shield Tablet sound fantastic."

"...if you have the right conditions it's quite amazing to be able to livestream your gameplay, a video from your front-facing camera and your commentary through your microphone, all at once from a tablet with no additional hardware."

Cons

"At a hefty 390g (0.86lb), this 8-inch tablet is rather dense, and it's heavier than all of its competitors by a good margin — the Nexus 7 (2013) is just 290g, while the 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S weighs 294g."

"Unfortunately, the Shield Tablet may prove to be a tad too much of an investment for some potential buyers. While it's great on its own, the Shield Tablet really only shines as a complete package when you add the $39 Shield Tablet Cover and $59 Wireless Controller."

Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. When he's not writing about games, PCs and iOS, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and onGoogle+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+

Discuss
Add a comment
Ask a Category Expert
React To This Article

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

  • 3 Hide
    RoxasForTheWin , July 29, 2014 12:26 PM
    Still waiting for a shield portable 2
  • 0 Hide
    dstarr3 , July 29, 2014 12:36 PM
    I kind of failed to see the point of this since I first heard about it. I was skeptical at first about the handheld Shield, but then when I saw how competent the streaming from PC was, it made all the sense in the world to me and I love it. But, I love it because it's handheld. This obviously isn't. It just seems cumbersome. I feel like if I'm supposed to prop up this big screen somewhere for gaming on a device capable of other things besides, I may as well just get a laptop for not that much more money. Steam's in-home streaming is just as good, so that makes this tablet kind of... just... I don't know who wants this or how you're supposed to use it.

    But, y'know, initially the appeal of the handheld Shield was a mystery to me, too, and then it became clear. Maybe this will make sense to me someday, too.
  • 3 Hide
    Chris Droste , July 29, 2014 1:22 PM
    I really want to like this more. 8" screen, true HD display, K1 chip, looks sexy..then my joy is dampened by needing to throw another $100 of accessories on top of it to really make it usable, and the somewhat abbreviated battery life. maybe making the cover standard with purchase could i justify it, but for now, I want to wait and see what other vendors will do with the K1 chip.
  • Add your comment Display all 11 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    JayHW , July 29, 2014 5:18 PM
    Not as powerful as the hyper entails sound familiar? In all seriousness at least its an amazing tablet with massive amounts of graphical power in games. Its probably a great device with using 90% potential.
  • 1 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 29, 2014 5:27 PM
    Where are the benchmarks? People benchmark everything else to death, but nobody took the time to benchmark K1 in a retail product vs other tablets?

    anyone have a link to some reviews WITH benchmarks done BY the review site? Did I miss some? I call these previews without that.
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 29, 2014 8:20 PM
    Quote:
    Where are the benchmarks? People benchmark everything else to death, but nobody took the time to benchmark K1 in a retail product vs other tablets?

    anyone have a link to some reviews WITH benchmarks done BY the review site? Did I miss some? I call these previews without that.

    Anandtech review:
    http://anandtech.com/show/8296/the-nvidia-shield-tablet-review
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 29, 2014 11:13 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Where are the benchmarks? People benchmark everything else to death, but nobody took the time to benchmark K1 in a retail product vs other tablets?

    anyone have a link to some reviews WITH benchmarks done BY the review site? Did I miss some? I call these previews without that.

    Anandtech review:
    http://anandtech.com/show/8296/the-nvidia-shield-tablet-review


    Thanks dragonsqrrl...Didn't know it was up yet. Would have gotten to it eventually but might have been a few days since i read most of the others. I'm wondering if people with wifi/twitch issues are using NV's recommended gamestream ready routers (they have a list), and slash did do some benchmarks just not vs. many devices. The gamespot guy just didn't seem to want to like it (figures though, ZD people kind of dislike NV, Hruska etc always bashing). He acts like there are only 11 games that work (umm, the whole android game library works, many emu stuff also as tested elsewhere running zelda etc). Regarding the comment at gamespot about ethernet maybe he should have read the faq as he seems to suggest it MIGHT work (no, just that you MIGHT want to do it):
    http://shield.nvidia.com/portable-faq/
    Pretty clear on what you need etc, and can charge while doing it with a Y adapter (nice).
    Nothing special needed, just meet the requirements and it works.

    Battery not a problem for me, as I will be plugged in and output to TV 90% of the time. Also note it works with any controller that works on android with btooth so no need to buy the NV one if you're broke though it has a few nice features (audio, no lag etc)

    off to anandtech...
  • -1 Hide
    hannibal , July 30, 2014 5:44 AM
    It is fast as an gaming tablet, but not as fast as I was thinking. Other players will catch up soon when they release their 64bit alternatives. But at this moment this seems to be the best gaming tablet in the market at this moment. The cons is that Microsoft surface pro is better because it can run your normal steam PC games... So much more games and most of them you already own for your gaming PC, so why buy them again?
    If you already have a lot of Android games and/or are moving away from Windows system, then it actually makes sense!
  • 0 Hide
    Mark Spoonauer , July 30, 2014 7:10 AM
    Hi guys, we ran some benchmarks on our Laptop Mag review. Let me know if you're interested in any other results. http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/tablets/nvidia-shield-tablet.aspx
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 30, 2014 3:28 PM
    Quote:
    It is fast as an gaming tablet, but not as fast as I was thinking. Other players will catch up soon when they release their 64bit alternatives. But at this moment this seems to be the best gaming tablet in the market at this moment. The cons is that Microsoft surface pro is better because it can run your normal steam PC games... So much more games and most of them you already own for your gaming PC, so why buy them again?
    If you already have a lot of Android games and/or are moving away from Windows system, then it actually makes sense!


    NV Denver K1 64bit this Nov, first in HTC Nexus 9 probably. I don't see your point, nobody will catch this things GPU on android this year (not S810, which btw is not IN HOUSE like Denver). Why do you think google is choosing it over Qcom for nexus 9?

    RE:Surface Pro being better. It's $730 and it lost ALL gpu benchmarks in anandtech's review (but physx, and even pro 2 & 3 lost gfxbench TrexHD offscreen), and you can already stream PC games to this device multiple ways and get them to the TV. You're not going to run many games on surface pro without turning details off.
    http://anandtech.com/show/8296/the-nvidia-shield-tablet-review/5
    50+% faster in 3dmark Unlimited 1.2 OVERALL than Surface PRO. Only PRO 2 & 3 beat it a few times and that is $800+ for either. In the 3Dmark Unlimited Graphics test it's almost 2x faster than Surface PRO (36688 vs. 19119). Most of the ports haven't sold more than 11mil over their lifespan (Half life2, Trine2, Portal, etc), so with 1.2B android users, there are a good many users who have never played any of them.

    You buy it to play android games too and ones NOT on PC:
    World at Arms (check this game out! WOW)
    Modern Combat 5: Blackout (again, freaking WOW, android at it's best just hit july 23rd!)
    Dungeon Hunter 3 + 4 (gameloft is an awesome DEV, looks like xbox360 games)
    Captain America TWS
    Rival Knights
    Dino Hunter Deadly Shores (2014 game, looks great)
    Ravensword Shadowlonds (excellent)
    Edge of Tomorrow (check out the graphics)
    Eternity Warriors 3 (even 2 looks good) july14 game scores 82 on ios @metacritic
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.glu.ewarriors3
    Looks like a console game right? Not on PC BTW.
    Injustice: Gods Among Us (check out the gameplay, multiplayer too)
    Stilland War HD (adventure rpg, June 30 2014)
    Asphalt 8
    Amazing Spiderman
    RPG Spectral Souls (large tactical RPG)
    Need for Speed Most Wanted
    Hercules (new 2014 slasher)
    Six Guns
    Dead Trigger 2
    Gangstar City
    GT Racing 2
    SoulCraft 2
    Brothers in Arms 2
    300 Seize Your Glory
    Wild Blood (excellent)
    Order & Chaos ONline
    Eternity Warriors 2 (millions of installs)
    Blazing Souls Accelate
    Chaos Rings 1 & 2
    Real Boxing
    Gangstar Vegas
    Bloodsword (very nice!)
    ChoplifterHD fron inexile
    TaintedKeep (for those adventure rpg types)
    Riptide GP2
    Gun Bros 2
    Modern Combat 1-4
    Iron Man 3 (impressive to say the least)
    Frontline Commando
    Nova 3 (nova 1 & 2 aren't bad either)
    Dark Knight Rises:
    Shadowgun (still think tablets gaming sucks?)
    Gangstar Rio
    Bard's Tale (hey, isn't this a CONSOLE game...LOL)
    ArmA2: Firing Range (not as impressive, but this was 2011...LOL)
    Renaissance Blood
    Zombie Driver THD (just updated Aug1 specifically for shield)
    Final Fantasy 3
    Final Fantasy 6
    Asphalt 7
    COD Black Ops Zombie game...Who knew?
    Great Battles Medieval THD (optimized for Tegra2...still looks good)

    Wait until next year at 20nm socs, when EVERYONE has K1 gpu power due to the die shrink. Then 1.2B units sold will be K1 power and everyone will make games for this class of gpu power. The crop of games aimed at those devices will be quite awesome and most won't be ports as 50% of devs are making NEW games for mobile now (only PC tops that at 52%). If you don't need windows apps on the go, Surface Pro's are overpriced purchases, better to just buy a good $900 loaded 17in laptop from HP/Dell with discrete gpu.
  • 0 Hide
    airborne11b , July 31, 2014 8:25 AM
    Quote:
    I kind of failed to see the point of this since I first heard about it. I was skeptical at first about the handheld Shield, but then when I saw how competent the streaming from PC was, it made all the sense in the world to me and I love it. But, I love it because it's handheld. This obviously isn't. It just seems cumbersome. I feel like if I'm supposed to prop up this big screen somewhere for gaming on a device capable of other things besides, I may as well just get a laptop for not that much more money. Steam's in-home streaming is just as good, so that makes this tablet kind of... just... I don't know who wants this or how you're supposed to use it.

    But, y'know, initially the appeal of the handheld Shield was a mystery to me, too, and then it became clear. Maybe this will make sense to me someday, too.


    The point was a bigger screen + customization. You can attach a gamevice or similar device and turn it into a huge wii-u gamepad-esk handheld gaming/streaming mobile beast.

    Or you can take off the attachment and use it like a normal tablet for touch based games or normal tablet uses (something the original portable failed hard at).

    Or you can use the wireless controller while it's propped up on a desk, or hooked into a 70" TV and stream PC games or play android games from the comfort of your couch.

    So, with a controller attachment like STG-ONE or GameVice, you get that mobile all in one feel that the portable had, but you also get a lot more uses out of it.

    Hope this helps.
React To This Article

Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter