Well that was a fast! Today Nvidia has announced the eagerly awaited follow up for their SHIELD portable Android gaming device. Instead of ditching the old SHIELD, the company has decided to expand the product line. The original will live on as the SHIELD Portable while the new flagship device will be titled SHIELD Tablet. Nvidia is also announcing the companion Wifi SHIELD Wireless Controller to be used with either the Tablet or the Portable and beyond.
It’s not the most memorable name. Yet, despite the uninspired nomenclature, SHIELD Tablet will hit the scene toward the end of July with a slew of new features. Most, if not all of the newness address the specific issues we had with the device, such as size, the clicky-clackety controller feel and the dearth of network service beyond the confining WiFi. So lets get down to it. Here are the 5 major changes brought to the table with the SHIELD Tablet.
1. No Way… It’s A Tablet!
Oh my stars and garters… It’s a tablet! This new SHIELD device enjoys a far more travel-friendly form factor. Lugging around a giant controller presented a real hassle for the original SHIELD’s portability. Opting for a more traditional tablet style makes the device more accessible to non-gaming users. It’s less than 0.5-inches thick and weighs less than 1lb.
2. Media-Worthy 8-inch Display
The tiny 5-inch display on the original SHIELD Portable, is too restricting. Playing games directly on the device was not advisable, making a larger secondary display virtually mandatory. The SHIELD Tablet sports an 8-inch full HD display capable of 1900 x 1200 display resolution. This completely destroys the current SHIELD’s paltry 720p resolution across the pretty but reduced 5-inch window.
3. Tegra K1 Under The Hood
We all speculated. Yet now it’s irrefutable in green on black writing. The new SHIELD Tablet is powered by Nvidia’s impressive new Tegra K1 processor. The K1 is the latest in the Tegra line. It’s a 192 core Kepler GPU with 2.2 GHz Quad Core A15 CPU, 2GB RAM. This SoC is like having a full desktop-grade 780 Ti video card on deck to power your tablet gaming experience. In the immotal words of antiquated Nintendo adverts, “Now you’re playing with power.” Check here for more details.
4. LTE Service From AT&T and T-Mobile
SHIELD Tablet will ship in LTE and non-LTE versions (32gb and 16gb storage options). Service providers include AT&T and T-Mobile. The original SHIELD finally received an update to enable remote game streaming. While the function is still in beta, it is out there and available to SHIELD owners. However there are a number of hurdles to navigate to get it to connect to your network at home, while you’re out and about. SHIELD Tablet will be able to connect to you home PC and stream via LTE network service. Sure, it will be pricey unless unlimited data options are available. But you can stream your PC games to the SHIELD Tablet over LTE. So PC, android and GRID cloud gaming are possible any and everywhere you can receive an LTE signal or have WiFi access. That is a major breakthrough for Nvidia and gamers.
5. SHIELD Wireless Controller
Another major change up is the detached controller. The gamepad is not only unhinged. It also connects via WiFi for lower latency and response time. This new controller also works with the current generation SHIELD Portable. Moreover, both SHIELD Tablet and Portable can support up to 4 Shield Wirless Controllers. As mentioned above, the controller being attached to the display on the original SHIELD, was a big turn-off for many potential users. It made it hard to carry on the go and presented a number of issues with the user experience where touch VS thumbstick input methods clashed. This new setup makes SHIELD Tablet a bit more user- and travel-friendly, while also tightening up performance with lower latency WiFi connection instead of Bluetooth.
Availability: The Nvidia SHIELD Tablet will be available July 29th for $299 for the 16GB. The 32GB LTE version will arrive at a later date. Check here for more details and a full spec list.