- Editor's Rating
- Excellent display
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Long battery life
- Not a large selection of compatible games available
- Too big to carry in a pocket
- Price is high considering limitations
Quick TakeThe Nvidia Shield offers great performance with a stunning display to boot, but it might not be enough for users to hand over $300 considering its sparse offerings for compatible games.
The Nvidia Shield is an Android-based handheld gaming device that resembles a console controller with a 5-inch screen that is magnetically attached. When first glancing at the Shield, it takes on the design of a traditional console controller sans buttons. It has a black plastic exterior with silver metal shield in the middle. The silver shield is the attached display and when flipped up, all the traditional buttons of a gaming console are revealed. Brighthand noted the shield is heavy, but feels good in the hand. It is well constructed and solidly built, weighing in at almost 1.3 pounds. Brighthand found the device comfortable to hold even during long gaming sessions.
Brighthand called the 5-inch display with 293 dpi resolution “simply stunning and absolutely beautiful.” The display is multi-touch capable and “extremely responsive.” Brighthand also noted there was no pixilation or ghosting on the screen, which looks “much better, and brighter,” than that of the Sony PlayStation Vita. Under the display lid, users will find two analog joysticks, a d-pad, a/b/x/y buttons, volume control, play, home and back buttons as well as a Shield button that automatically takes users to Shield-enhanced games. The back of the Shield features left and right triggers and bumpers, a microSD card slot, HDMI, miniUSB charging port and headphone jack. Brighthand noted that the buttons feel “good and clicky” and the analog joysticks and trigger buttons work well also.
When it comes to performance, Brighthand noted the Shield completed every task requested instantaneously, including switching between Shield-enhanced games and the standard Android functions of the device. The Shield runs Android 4.0 Jelly Bean and comes with the standard suite of apps, which Brighthand noted “work perfectly and look great.” Users can interact with apps using both the touch display and joysticks. The device comes preloaded with two games; Sonic 4: Episode II and Expendable: Rearmed. Other free and pay-for games are available, although Brighthand noted it would be nice to see a larger selection of Shield-enhanced games available.
Users can also play regular Android games on the device, but they are only compatible in portrait mode – not landscape. Google Music is also included and Brighthand found the sound quality to be “absolutely fantastic,” although once the lid of the device is closed the music shuts off. One thing the device can not do, is take pictures, as it is lacking any front or rear facing camera. Brighthand was impressed with the device’s battery life, noting “playing Shield games for more than two hours a day with the volume at full blast barely impacted the batter meter at all.” Reviewers at Brighthand used the device regularly for a full week without having to recharge it.
Overall, Brighthand called the Nvidia Shield “an excellent portable gaming device,” but noted it might have a difficult time finding its audience. Brighthand was impressed with the portable gaming experience offered by the device, selection of dedicated buttons, and excellent battery life, sound and display quality. Brighthand did note some limitations in the weight and lack of pocketablity of the device, as well as its ability to play Android games only in portrait modes. While Brighthand noted the Shield “would be perfect for a hardcore gamer first, second or third,” it also suggested users evaluate their needs since the device is priced at $299 at the time of the review.