At CES 2017, Nvidia unveiled the newest Shield. An Android TV microconsole that doesn’t look all that dissimilar from the original, and is even still rocking an Tegra X1 SoC (system on a chip) that came equipped with its predecessor. So, what’s the big deal? Is it worth picking up?
On appearance alone, this update has been noticeably downsized to about 40 percent, and dimensionally about as light. It’s currently unknown how they worked their magic beyond the assumption of some of the non-essential internals being reworked. Secondly, the controller itself is further styled with aggressive-looking angles and more functionality, now that the Google Assistant are on both the controller and remote. You can also get the Shield Spot which simply acts as a conduit for “Ok Google” command over a wi-fi network, even adding multiple units around the house for convenience, for $49 each.
You get everything (except the Spot) in the box and even I’ll admit that’s surprising value for money, since the price from the original base model is unchanged. But it’s really about what Nvidia did to improve the user experience and keep the little box appealing as a gaming entertainment machine. The ability to stream 4K/HDR content is probably the biggest plus for the Shield TV, because everything from Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube is support, and according to Jen-Hsun Huang himself, the first platform of its kind to have native resolution for their entire libraries.
It also works for PC games via the Steam app from Valve. All that’s needed is for you connect your PC with it and you’ll be treated to a 4K (or 4K-like) presentation right on your TV — the potential is impressive for sure. This comes from the latest OS update known as Android Nougat (7.0) which also benefits older Shield users with a lot of the same key features, so nobody is left behind.
Our time was fairly brief with the new Shield TV, but we liked the results considering our general consensus on the state of other Android-based entertainment platforms — including all of the prior attempts and promises that have fallen through up till now. However, Nvidia appears to have weathered and survived the storm better than anyone else, and that intrigues us. Wait for the review as soon we make few phone calls for a unit.