The NVIDIA Shield Tablet is the second device to bare the "Shield" name from NVIDIA, but is a follow-up successor in spirit to the Tegra Note 7, which wasn't manufactured by NVIDIA but took many of the ideas from the original Shield Portable and put them in a different form factor. The Shield Tablet is most definitely a "Shield" device, though, and has all of the right mojo that puts it squarely in the top range of high-end tablets at announce.
The Shield Tablet is the first device from NVIDIA to use its 2014 flagship processor, the Tegra K1, which packs 192 cores on its GPU and runs at 2.2GHz, providing some pretty serious gaming potential. And that's what the Shield Tablet is all about, particularly when you look at the two first-party accessories offered with the tablet — the Shield Tablet Cover and Shield Wireless Controller. The cover is designed to prop up the tablet at perfect angles for viewing while gaming, and the Wifi Direct-connected controller provides fast control response times and buttons tailored to the tablet's use.
Other specs on the tablet include an 8-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (with an SDcard slot), a built-in stylus, stereo speakers, two 5MP cameras and the option to purchase an LTE-capable variant with 32GB of storage.
On the software side NVIDIA provided the Shield Tablet with a relatively stock build of Android 4.4.2 out of the box, and only made tweaks that were necessary for improving performance and functionality when using the Shield Tablet in various configurations. The Shield Tablet can be run in a traditional tablet mode, but also in a screen mirroring mode to a TV or in what's called "Console Mode" where the screen turns off and you use a TV for the only display. In Console Mode the Shield Tablet is capable of 4K video output, as well as offers an improved lean back experience in the newly-rebranded TegraZone, which is now called the Shield Hub.
The Shield Tablet marks a change for NVIDIA in many ways. With the announcement, the original NVIDIA Shield was renamed to the Shield Portable, and received a software update to bring it in line with the looks and functionality of the Shield Tablet software, including added support for the Shield Wireless Controller and more of the latest GameStream improvements. For the tablet itself, NVIDIA actually committed to a worldwide launch from the beginning as well, something we didn't see from the original Shield or Tegra Note 7.
At launch, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet was offered for $299 in the 16GB Wifi configuration, and $399 in the 32GB LTE version.