- Sleek design
- Compact size
- Smooth performance
- Google Cast support
- Ease of use
- MicroSD expansion
- 4K support
- PC streaming


- Limited Android game selection
- Android TV still needs polishing

Our Rating
Bottom Line

If you are on the lookout for a nice set-top box with an emphasis on gaming (and you are willing to deal with Android TV being a bit immature), the NVIDIA Shield is definitely a product you need to look at. This product won't come without its downsides, but it's definitely your best bet.

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Nvidia Shield Android TV-1

A plethora of set-top boxes has been introduced to the market, offering so many options we don’t even know how to handle them. Of course, here at Android Authority we have a very special spot in our hearts for Android TV devices, and today we are taking a look at what could be the best one.

Editor's Choice Update 2015We know it’s hard to make a decision on the right smart TV device to get. Are you into gaming? If so, you may be looking for a set-top box which provides a good media and content experience, yet has the power to handle your gaming needs. NVIDIA has an answer to your prayers, and it comes in the amazing form of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV. Let’s take a look at it and see if it’s worth your cash! Plus, we’ve given it our Editor’s Choice Award for its stellar performance and robust feature set.

See it on Amazon

Nvidia Shield Android TV-14


The NVIDIA Shield is arguably the most powerful set-top box in the market, as it was made with gaming in mind. This is why it only makes sense that the unit looks and feels a bit like a miniaturized gaming console. I mean, this won’t compare to the size you find in giants like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

The NVIDIA Shield Android TV can easily blend into the rest of your home entertainment system. The device’s aesthetics are not too flashy, but it definitely has a good look and serves its purpose. We are sure it will be easy to find a good spot for it.

It only takes a second of looking around the unit to see this is a very well-endowed Android TV device. The console is adorned by a fun green light bar that turns on when the device is powered on. Flip the device around and you can find a bevy of ports that will leave you desiring nothing. There are 2 USB 3.0 ports, a microUSB port, an ethernet LAN port, HDMI and microSD card slot.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-13

The bundle includes a single controller, which can be used for navigating, controlling media and, of course, gaming. NVIDIA is one of the gaming kings in the industry, so you can be sure they didn’t skimp out on this gaming pad’s quality. It offers comfort for long hours of gaming and a matte finish that allows for a great grip.

The gaming pad comes with your standard D-pad and four main buttons (X, Y, A and B). Below these are the two thumb sticks, which happen to be made of rubber and are very comfortable to operate. The center of the controller displays back, home, play/pause and an NVIDIA button. There’s a couple shoulder buttons on the top, as well as a microUSB port for charging and a 3.5 mm headset jack for private listening. Oh, and we can’t forget that handy volume button under the thumb sticks.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-3

Not convinced with the controller? Even if you love it, using a gaming accessory for controlling a media device can get pretty uncomfortable. It’s a bit of an overkill, and that is why NVIDIA offers an optional remote with very simple controls, a mic for voice actions and even a 3.5 mm headset jack for listening to your content. It’s small and discrete, but it does cost extra (more on that to come).

Just in case you don’t like your set-top boxes laying flat, you can also purchase a stand that props the device up vertically. It blends in amazingly well with the design and gives the NVIDIA Shield Android TV’s look another angle (literally).

Nvidia Shield Android TV-23


Making a gaming set-top box without pristine performance would be unforgivable. This thing needs to perform to the tee, and we are glad to report we found no problems with it. The NVIDIA Shield Android TV can handle any game title you throw at it. Even the most graphically intensive games run without a single stutter, lag or delay.

We tested it with some of the most graphically intensive games around, including Asphalt 8, Skyforce, Modern Combat 5 and Dead Trigger 2. We never found a single issue. Just in case you were wondering, we never saw any problems with the way the device handles the software and UI, either.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-22

The device sure isn’t at the level of the PS4 or Xbox One in terms of graphics, but I would say it’s on par with the last-generation consoles. It’s definitely one of the top performers in the Android TV ecosystem. By the way, this little guy does support 4K resolutions, which also puts it above the competition.


Much of this amazing performance can be credited to the powerful specs hidden inside this beast. It’s an NVIDIA product, so it obviously features an NVIDIA X1 processor that makes this little guy scream. Other specs include 3 GB of RAM, 7.1/5.1 surround sound support, 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz /5 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1/BLE.

You get a couple options in terms of storage, and the difference between them is immense. The base version comes with 16 GB of internal storage, while the “Pro” iteration comes with 500 GB of memory. It’s amazingly simple to upgrade via microSD, though, which is definitely recommended if you go for the 16 GB model.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-11


The NVIDIA Shield is essentially an Android TV on steroids, so the software is nearly identical to what you find in the competition. The build is based on Android 5.1 and you get access to all the applications you know and love. This includes Google services like the Google Play Store, Play Music, YouTube and more. You can also download third-party apps like Hulu and Netflix.

Android TV is sleek and simple to use, with large tiles and good imagery. The fact that it uses voice search also makes finding your content a breeze. Is the platform perfect? Definitely not. The following downsides may not be NVIDIA’s fault, but they are factors that will definitely affect people’s perception of the Shield Android TV.

I find the recommendations section to be random and not very helpful. It simply seemed like it wasn’t tailored for my tastes. Furthermore, app selection is still limited on Android TV – especially in the gaming section, which is what this specific product is all about. There’s plenty of Android games and apps out there, but only a handful have been tailored to work well with the large screen experience


Thankfully NVIDIA has blessed the tiny console with some of its own gaming capabilities, which take the Shield Android TV to a whole other level. NVIDIA has baked Grid streaming straight into the device, allowing it to stream PC games from your personal computer.

The only issue is not everyone will be able to enjoy NVIDIA Grid. It has some pretty demanding requirements, as it streams PC games straight from your computer. This means the user needs to have a pretty powerful computer in order to use this feature, and it also needs to have a fairly recent NVIDIA GPU.

Let’s move on to brighter news, though. I did love that the NVIDIA Shield Android TV comes with Google Cast support (which really comes with every Android TV). This makes it super easy to stream content from your smartphone or tablet.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-10

Overall, the software experience while using this device is pretty good. The few issues we found are not really NVIDIA’s fault, and we know Android TV will continue to evolve and improve. It’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for those software updates.

Pricing and final thoughts

Here comes the moment of truth! Should you buy the NVIDIA Shield Android TV or go for a more affordable alternative? Let’s take a look at the price before we dig into that topic.

Customers will need to fork out $199.99 for the 16 GB version. On the other hand you can multiply your internal storage by over 30 times and go for the 500 GB “Pro” edition, which only costs $100 more ($299,99), but it will save you from the hassle of having to worry about running out of storage or getting microSD cards.

The accessories seem to be equally pricey. An extra controller costs $59.99, the metal stand is $29.99 and the remote costs $49.99.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-6

Is this thing cheap? No way. In fact, it’s the most expensive Android TV set-top box around. The difference here is that the NVIDIA Shield Android TV is for the hard-core gamers out there. This is not for someone who simply wants to watch some flicks and stream music. The gaming market is big, demanding and expensive. The price is justifiable.

If you are on the lookout for a nice set-top box with an emphasis on gaming (and you are willing to deal with Android TV being a bit immature), the NVIDIA Shield is definitely going to be your best bet. My only gripe is that most people won’t be able to take advantage of all the awesome features it offers.

Nvidia Shield Android TV-1

Editor's Choice Update 2015Some of its biggest selling points include 4K and NVIDIA Grid support. If you love gaming, have a powerful rig with a robust NVIDIA GPU, and want to enjoy one of the best in class Android TV experiences, then the NVIDIA Shield Android TV is a sure bet. If you’re more of a casual gamer, then there are less expensive options, but if you want to have something that packs a wallop, streams your games, and is quite future proof, then we highly recommend it. Further, we’ve given it our highly coveted Editor’s Choice Award for being a rock solid Android TV device!

Are you buying this bad boy? If so, you can always get them from the official NVIDIA website, or you can head over to Amazon and enjoy your awesome Prime shipping.

See it on Amazon


  • brararsh

    Nexus player does it all for me, at end of the day it’s still a TV and not a game console.

    • Duder12

      But it struggles to run 1080p

      • Scott Ricketts

        Seriously? For $60 I was looking at one for myself. Dammit.

        • brararsh

          It does everything fine for me.. Am not sure what app he is talking about, my Youtube and Netflix run 1080p very well..

          • Duder12

            My coworker has one and not only does it struggle to do 1080p in netflix. it also struggles to cast. His chromecast plays video smoother than his nexus player. Do some reading on the web. Lots of people/reviews are saying this. Hell look at alexguitar’s comment below this… Hes not having the exact same issues but hes certainly having deal breaking issues

    • alexguitar

      I really wanted to like the Nexus player but 8gb of storage without some hack job way to expand memory is a joke. Installed Android M on it thinking that’s solve the problem but it was hit or miss with me. Sometimes it’d recognize the extra storage and sometimes it wouldn’t. Even Netflix randomly stopped working. Sorry I don’t mean to crap all over the Nexus Player I was just venting my frustrations with it. Hopefully the Shield will be more along the lines of what I wanted.

      • Simon

        A USB hard drive/stick/microusb is hack job? I’ve got a 5tb drive hooked up to my router, (which also worked instantly when plugged into the shield, also) that I stream all my content from.

        • alexguitar

          I hooked up my microSD via an OTG cable and it would randomly disconnect. But that’s awesome that you were able to get it to work for you. I returned the Nexus Player and I’m patiently awaiting my Shield.

  • Maxx_75

    There needs to be a benchmarking system for Android TV devices. There are TV’s and the Nexus Player and this. It is getting hard to tell at a glance whether that Sony TV you bought this year can play the new Android TV game. It’s only going to get worse moving forward. Hell someone make a freaking chart !

  • You misunderstood GRID. It’s not the in-ome shtreaming. GRID is a service where the game you play is streamed from a Nvidia Datacenter to your shield console. There is no need for a pc at all.

  • alexguitar

    A little embarrassing that you missed what GRID actually does as far as streaming from their servers and not just your PC.

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  • DDT

    This just shows how bad nvidia is with their GPU’s.
    They claim leading efficiency yet this dedicated gaming console with a 40W power adapter is barely faster than an iPad with an A8X.

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  • Wjdzm

    You guys really should do some reviews on them china-made android tv boxes. While it’s not a big market, chinese knockoff brands are dominating android tv boxes; for the time being. They are not cheap either. Also there are only a handful reviews out there and they are pathetic-amateur reviews.

  • Jarl

    I have only one problem with the shield console: I can’t get one. for reasons unknown (to me anyway) it’s not been released in Europe nor is a release date given. I could import one, but I don’t know if everything will work here.
    it has hdmi, so shouldn’t have pal/ntsc problems?

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  • GRID does server-based streaming, so you don’t need a gaming PC to use it at all. SHIELD Streaming however does need for you to own the title, as well as a PC with a GTX 700 series or higher GPU. Personally, i have a PC with an i5 4690K and a GTX 970. I might save up and get me the bundle, this puppy seems fantastic for couch gaming. Also, not too expensive considering the alternative is a long as hell HDMI cable, which is inconvenient, and also expensive (25′ cable is $125 at the local Best Buy, wtf?)