NVIDIA Shield Tablet first impressions

August 13, 2014
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The NVIDIA Shield, a stock Android handheld gaming console on which you can play Android and PC games, was introduced at CES last year.¬†The new¬†addition to the Shield family, announced back in July, takes on a more traditional look, coming in the form of an 8-inch tablet. Powered by NVIDIA’s latest Tegra K1 processor, the successor to the NVIDIA Shield is certainly a gaming powerhouse and we can’t wait to run it through its paces.

But before we dive into a more comprehensive review, here’s our first impressions about the NVIDIA Shield Tablet!

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Before we get started, we have to mention that there is a Shield wireless controller as well, to take full advantage of the gaming experience afforded by the many PC and Android gaming titles available. Unfortunately, we don’t have our hands on this controller just yet, as it is either back-ordered or completely sold out across the internet. That said, after we do pick one up, there will be a followup video on the controller and the gaming experience while using it.

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Unboxing the Shield Tablet is a standard affair. Opening the box shows you the tablet in all its glory, and found underneath are the wall charging unit, a microUSB cable, and an information booklet. The tablet itself features a minimalistic look akin to the Nexus 7 (2013), especially when you consider the Shield logo on the back that is also placed in a landscape orientation. The soft touch plastic material on the back is a little fingerprint-friendly and does get smudged, but is still very attractive nonetheless.

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The tablet is quite heavy, and comes with sizeable bezels around the display, which doesn’t look that bad, but we would have preferred thinner bezels all around. It’s definitely not that big of a deal, especially when you consider the front-facing speakers available for a good audio experience. Along with the front-facing speakers, you also have speakers along the sides, and at the bottom, that really allows for an immersive experience.

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The Shield Tablet also comes with a stylus, that is nestled into the top right corner of the device. The stylus itself is a little different, as you’ll notice that it doesn’t come with a standard rounded tip, but instead features a brush design. This design makes it quite pleasant to use, and the stylus itself is easy to hold and works well for the most part. Along the same side as the stylus are the power button and the volume rocker, as well as the microSD card slot.

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The NVIDIA Shield Tablet features an 8-inch IPS LCD display, with a 1920 x 1200 resolution. The display offers decent colour reproduction, but overall, it’s quite standard fare, with nothing in particular that makes it stand out. But, it is what is found under¬†the hood that makes this tablet special. As mentioned earlier, the latest addition to the Shield family comes in a more traditional tablet form factor, that definitely makes more sense for a lot of Android users out there, compared to the more niche audience of the original Shield. I’ve already downloaded and played a bunch of games, including Trine 2, that comes pre-installed, Riptide GP 2, and GTA – San Andreas. Other games I’m looking at playing, that will also feature in some upcoming videos to showcase performance, are Dead Trigger 2, Anomaly 2, and GT Racing 2.

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As far as my initial impressions on the performance goes, there have been no issues with lag or slow down while gaming, and of course, going through the elements of stock Android 4.4 Kitkat has been an absolute breeze as well. The Tegra K1 processor has been doing a great job thus far, and I’ve had no problem running either native applications or games. Game streaming is something we’ll dive into after we get the wireless controller, as it is necessary to get a fully-optimized experience when streaming games from a¬†PC equipped with an¬†NVIDIA card.

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Apart from gaming, I’ve also been able to binge watch shows on Netflix on the tablet, without feeling the need to switch over to a bigger screen. The speaker setup really allows for a great audio experience, and once I got into the episodes, I couldn’t find any reason to turn it off and look for a different way to watch the show.

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Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you great coverage of the NVIDIA Shield Tablet, including a few videos to showcase its gaming prowess, and of course, a detailed and comprehensive review!

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