Review: NVIDIA Shield is the Best Android Game Console Ever?

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By Precious Silva | August 21, 2013 9:45 AM EST

Despite the popularity of the iOS as a gaming platform or interface, Android started becoming increasingly friendlier to gamers. The company has begun catering to gaming fanatics especially with their release of the NVIDIA Shield. Since its release, many responded positively to the console. Is the NVIDIA Shield the best android game console ever? 

Can it give the likes of the Xbox One and the PlayStation a run for their money? 

While Apple is still in the works of creating a true console featuring the iOS, there are several Adnroid-based products out on the market already. This time, the spotlight is on the NVIDIA Shield. Is it the ultimate console, as it was claimed? A rundown of its specs and interface should be helpful. 

Design 

The Shield feels like an Xbox 360 controller, only there is a 5-inch LCD screen included. Despite its smaller orientation compared to other gaming consoles, the device can hardly be considered as pocket sized. It is a beast compared to other similar products. It weighs 579 grams compared to the 336 grams of 3DS XL and 260 grams of the PS Vita. The bigger size is not a problem, as the bigger dimensions account for better comfort. Shield does not strive for portability rather better grip for gamers. 

The device helps prevent hand cramps through its ergonomic design. Many people suffer from cramps and similar injuries when using portable devices for long periods of time. Shield is gentle on the wrists and hands, ensuring long gaming hours without the physical trouble. 

The 5-inch screen flips through a durable hinge guaranteeing smooth movement. Users will not run into any rattles or unnecessary movements. Gaming controls include an 8-way rolling D-pad, twin analogue sticks, two shoulder buttons, four face buttons and two shoulder triggers. They all have excellent designs allowing gamers to maximise their experience. 

The console's back has a rubberised texture ideal for improving grip. Users should be careful about scuffs and marks, as it can easily get those. Without proper care, the device can easily look worn out in no time. The lid features a metal plate with magnets. NVIDIA also allows gamers to customise their consoles to an extent through different accessories. 

Specs 

Shield is the flagship product for NVIDIA's Tegra 4 chipset. The chipset features a 1.9-GHz CPU including a 72-core GeForce GPU. This new processor offers six times the performance of the Tegra 3 system on a chip. Practically speaking, the Shield is extremely fast. It supports any 3D Android title without any trouble. Users will be thrilled to find out they can easily play the "Real Racing 3," "Jet Set Radio," "After Burner Climax" and similar applications. 

Software 

NVIDIA's Shield runs on Android 4.2.1, whereas NVIDIA did not touch the OS. The interface's stock feel will guarantee gamers that the device works well with the Android platform. The OS previously only focused on portable devices like the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7. Nonetheless, the constant updates of the platform emphasise the company's commitment to cater to more platforms including gaming consoles. 

Gaming 

NVIDIA promoted the Shield as an Android-based gaming console, thus the primary objective of the device is to bring an alternative platform for people to play games. As it targets Android users and applications, the device both delivers and disappoints in this regard. The console fits the titles and needs of the users, but it does not cater to as many games as users would prefer. 

Ironically, there are too many games Shield is not compatible with. 

NVIDIA will have to work on its compatibility with programs like "Dead Trigger" and "Grand Theft Auto III." These applications and other similar programs struggle recognising the sticks and buttons of the Shield. Another example, "Real Racing 3," does not provide support for analogue stick control on the Shield. 

On the bright side, these voiced out concerns are likely to be short term. NVIDIA can easily change these components to fit more user preferences and cater better to the market. Some game developers have also expressed their interest and plans on including Shield support in their games. The company needs to work out these fixes, as more competitors are poised to release their products soon.

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