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Tuesday 23 September 2014

NVIDIA Shield Tablet - mobile gaming gets serious

Published 23/07/2014 | 14:48

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NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Shield Controller
NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Shield Controller
The Shield wireless controller
The Shield wireless controller

NVIDIA are set to cause waves as they announce two new pieces of hardware for the mobile gaming arena: the Shield Tablet and Shield Controller.

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The Shield Tablet is one of the first 8" tablets designed specifically for gamers. With that in mind, you'd expect a powerful device and NVIDIA's inclusion of their Tegra® K1 192 core Kepler GPU shouldn't disappoint.

Where a design compromise is required, the decision always falls on the side of the gamer. The tablet is no unwieldy monster, but certain features increase its size above that of many premium tablets, such as the iPad Air. Front facing speakers give better audio when the player is facing the screen, but this adds to the dimensions at each end. Another feature adding to the size is support for 32GB microSD cards, near essential when the size of some games is taken into account.

A nice feature is the choice of a 5MP front camera, designed for players who want to stream their game to Twitch.TV

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet

The 16GB Wi-Fi version comes in at a mid-range £239.99. A few possible cutting edge features, such as a 4k display, were left out to keep it away from the top end of the market and avoiding straying in to the console price range.

The Shield Tablet offers players a number of different ways to play.

  • Android games can be played on the tablet in the regular way or combined with the optional Shield Controller.
  • PC games can be streamed to the tablet, providing a compatible GeForce card is installed and your router is fast enough.
  • Console Mode has the tablet connected to a TV screen, with up to four controllers wirelessly connected.
  • Players can also play on the tablet and live stream to Twitch.tv.
  • A small number of PC games (16) can be streamed from the cloud, though this number is sure to rise.

A nice feature that may be forgotten is the addition of the GPU-accelerated NVIDIA DirectStylus 2, which will hopefully allow doodlers and artists alike to accurately draw directly on the tablet.

The Shield wireless controller
The Shield wireless controller

The optional controller is another bit of kit designed specifically for the gamer on the go. Both Android and console games are supported by the addition of a built-in touchpad and dedicated buttons to aid navigating Android menus. An integrated mic and voice control could prove interesting, though voice control often takes issue with our Irish  A Wi-Fi Direct connection should reduce lag, essential for those split-second head shots.

A final verdict will have to wait for bench-testing and a hands-on review, but the NVIDIA Shield Tablet is looking like another great addition to a gamer's kit.

 

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