NVIDIA Shield.

It's coming this June for $349, and we've got your first look at the refined NVIDIA Shield with stock Android

Easily two of the more exciting announcements to come out of CES 2013 this past January were the Tegra 4 mobile processor and graphics platform from NVIDIA, and its "Project Shield" handheld Android gaming controller. Combining some of the most powerful mobile processing graphics available with a traditional gaming controller -- and a 5-inch, 720p display for good measure -- we finally had the potential for some real console-style gaming on Android.

The big question, of course, would be the price. Today, that's been answered. Shield -- having dropped its "project" designation -- will retail for $349, a bit lower than what many of us here had expected. But "we're not selling Shield at a loss," NVIDIA told us from its headquarters in Santa Clara.

However the math works out, what you get is a highly capable mobile gaming system that in fact can best consoles in some areas.

We got a new look at NVIDIA Shield, with its refined hardware and expanded gaming roster. 

The changes to Shield from the prototypes we've used a few times the past few months are subtle, but important. The dual analog sticks have more rubber on top, for better grip, and NVIDIA's scooped some more plastic from the well in which they sit, the better to position your thumbs in. The D-pad has been redesigned (NVIDIA made clear what we saw in January was more of a placeholder), and the hinge has been made more robust. The triggers on the underside of Shield have had some work done as well.

It's still a bit of a novelty to see active cooling in a mobile device, but the air intake (in the front) and exhaust ('round back) are as stylish as they are functional, and they've been redesigned a bit, too, it seems.

Shield runs Android 4.2.1 at the moment. It's conceivable it could see Android 4.2.2 by the time it launches in June, but NVIDIA didn't seem to be too concerned about that, and neither are we. The major functionality -- gaming -- is all there. Shield runs "stock" Android, but NVIDIA's TegraZone curated app space is downright beautiful. Some thought was put into that UI. From there, you can play your Shield-optimized games, purchase new ones, and (if you have the proper NVIDIA graphics card on your PC), use Shield to control games being played on a PC gaming rig. The latter feature will launch in beta. We've used it twice now, and it's surprisingly lag-free, though it does have the occasional connection hiccup.

Shield will come preloaded with a couple of games -- Sonic 4 Episode II, running at a ridiculous 60 frames per second, and Expendable: Rearmed.

We'll have lots more from Shield as it gets closer to launch.

 

Reader comments

A new look at the newly official NVIDIA Shield [video]

37 Comments

there is no way i could see myself paying $350 for this when i can get a PS3/4 or Xbox360/new Xbox with massive storage for the same price. but i guess that is because i am not a mobile gamer at all.

The MOGA Pro is one of the best purchases I've made for my Galaxy Note 2. Now I have a ton of NES, SNES, MAME, Neo Geo, and Genesis games to play.

I'll be putting it to good use next month when I'm standing in those 2+ hour long lines at E3. :)

Exactly. The one thing this does have over the MOGA Pro though is that battery life is much better on this (bigger chassis bigger battery I'm guessing). Joystiq quoted a 4-5 hours for Tegra optimized games and 10 hours for other games and just general usage. They also said you can get 20 hours of streaming video which is ridiculous IMO. Ah well. I'm cheap.

My goodness does Android Central have a huge thing for this product or what? Is this like the fourth article in a row about this product that in my opinion is not going to go anywhere? Enough already with this. How about articles on Android phones? I think that is what 95% of the people come to this site for.

Just my opinion. Flame away!

Wait 5 minutes. Folks come to this site to get the best Android news. We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't cover as much Android stuff as we possibly could. 

I for one, am excited to see something different, even if it's not for everyone.

I totally understand one maybe even two articles. My point was 4 articles in a row all about this product that as another poster called a footnote in Android history. Just seems that the level of coverage is over the top for a product like this.

I see your point though that this is Android News and not just phone news and that is my personal bias because if it doesn't have to do with phones or tablets or Glass, I am not very interested at all. I own that.

Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site Phil and here's hoping there is some good Google Glass news coming our way this week.

you can always set your phone or browser or whatever to only display phone information if you want...or tablet information by clicking on the variable options under "headllines"

and its not like they are pushing Shield in here in place of other android news. i guarantee if the Nexus6 leaked out right now, you would get all the info. give it a rest, you will get your information one way or another. AC has you covered :)

Hmm the website name must be different for you, says ANDROID central for me, not ANDROID PHONE central.

If your a big android fan you would probably at least a tad bit interested in anything new happening with android.

I'm not interested in this particular device, but it is still an ANDROID device and helps to forward the Android agenda so I think it's very relevant.

That's generous IMO. I have no idea what the target audience for this is. Their streaming gaming technology is the same thing Splash uses with their 10 dollar tegra app, so there is nothing new there.

A phone is vastly better suited for this than an all in one device. A phone can be detached from the controller to play touch screen only games...imagine doing that with this.

People don't get the Shield.

The streaming is NOT like Splashtop. Have you seen the videos? It destroys it in performance.

Touch-only games? Sure, those are great. But this thing will incite developers to create games with physical controls. COMPLICATED, high-end games, not just the casual stuff we normally see.

As for hardware...5" 720P for $349 and a Tegra 4 chip? I used to dislike the Tegra series for poor graphics performance...but 72 cores? SEVENTY TWO? That's as much as my older desktop GPU I'm using currently (ENGT240). And its an A15 quad-core CPU.

This thing is a big deal in the hardware department. I won't buy it, but I'm sure some people will and this will definitely kick up game development for Android.

I really like this device and I hope it does well. The problem I see with it is that mobile games just aren't very good. For every 1 infinity blade or dead trigger you get 20+ games that are just crap. Secondly micro transactions are gutting mobile games by making games that just aren't fun to play if you don't pay. I'd rather just pay $5-$10 up front than deal with stamina that stops me from playing for hours or buying in game currency just to buy things i need to keep playing.

You'll probably be able to play just about every console, arcade, and computer game from the early 80's to the mid-90's on this thing. Worth $350? I think so :) Otherwise, you can go get one of those cheap, Chinese pieces of crap for $150-$200 that you'll never be happy with. Or just play on your phone... hope you have a removable battery.

For a guy into gaming and technology, Yeah I'm interested but as a business move I would love to know what Nvidia is thinking launching a hand held game console for $350. It won't sell. Maybe an idiot like my self would buy it but no real sales for a hand held are generated at that price point. Sony proved that starting there Vita hand held system $50-$100 less and it's still struggling and that's a well known console maker. Bad move. Prediction is you'll never get much more to play on this than whats on the google play store and clearly it's capable of much more. Video game companies aren't going to produce for a system that won't sell. Has no brand recognition and and clearly people aren't going to look to purchase $40 enhanced Tegra games for it. So basically what you got is a souped up way of playing your cell phone games for $350.

Easy. Market it to PC gamers to play Steam games. It's thousands of dollars cheaper than a gaming laptop, but with the full power of your desktop PC doing the work. Nobody needs to make games specifically for it, because you can already play almost any PC game on it. Brand recognition won't be a problem with that audience, either, since it's made by what I'd say is probably the most well-known brand name in PC gaming hardware. Running Android is just an extra feature, as far as I'm concerned.

Nope! The analog sticks need to be offset like on the xbox controller for good first person shooter mechanics. The placement of this controllers analog sticks are like the PS3's that we all know isn't great for first person shooters....at least not for me.

Screen is too small, and relatively low res. Not really future-proof. Remove some of that awful bezel and a 6" screen could fit.

Agree on the screen size. It's almost begging for something bigger.

Disagree on the resolution though. 720 looks fine on there to me. Probably was a matter of timing and cost.

I suspect, also, that there is some engineering work that goes into a product like this where maybe they determine that making the bezel smaller might result in the screen being more fragile.

With the way phones and such are going these days to bezels of just milometers, I suspect there's more to it than just chance as to how this device ended up with a "largish" bezel.

I need a new pair of underpants... This thing blows Ouya, GamePoP as well as the One X (international Tegra3) and Nexus 7 out of the water!!!

Totally AWESOME!

I think they built this upside down. Instead of putting everything in the controller they should of put everything in the screen and made it more like the Asus Transformer. it seems like it will be really awkward to use the touch screen at all because of the controller in the way.

I intend to buy one of these as soon as I can afford to. I'm sure it's great for mobile games, but so is my Nexus 4. The real draw is going to be the ability to play my Steam games. I feel like us hardcore PC gamers will be the ones who will really benefit from this product. We've never had a good portable gaming option before this. There are gaming laptops, of course, but they're ridiculously expensive and not as powerful/upgradable as a desktop PC. This way, I can still use my usual hardware to do the heavy lifting, while paying a relatively small price for portability. Playing my favorite games without being stuck at my desk sounds like heaven. The only drawback will be that I'll have to use a controller, like some low-life console gamer. ;)

Hey Mom! Dad! Check this out!! Pretty Cool Huh? Can I get one? "Yeah..Yeah go ahead and grab it.. oh wait better grab one for your brother & sister too so we don't have to listen to them complain.. ok hurry up we want to go over and look at some new tablets..."

A Rich Kid's Toy.. That will get tossed in the corner after 30 days.

Forget that. I bought a $3 micro USB male to USB Female and connected my PS3 controller to my Xperia ZL and VOILA!!!!!! Im playing GTIII, GTA VICE CITY and Sonic as well....
No need for MOGA or this device...
Besides PS4 Will sync with the Xperia Z/ZL devices. I will be able to connect to my PSN, play content, saved games, mini games, chat, and so much more....

SONY FTW