This is one of those times. If you have a previous generation NVIDIA Shield TV you totally should buy the new controller. And the reasons are so compelling, I can't think of any use case where you might want to stick to the old controller.

NVIDIA did something that's either crazy or awesome (or a bit of both) with the Shield TV. They offer a new model that's smaller and better looking than the original, but the software that comes with it is also getting pushed to everyone who ever bought one. All the software, including the upcoming debut of Google Assistant for Android TV. That's a good reason to get a new controller even if you never plan to play a single game with it.

The new controller is your gateway to Google Assistant.

The way Assistant will work for the Shield TV centers around the new controller. The microphone can be left in an always-listening state so whenever it hears you say OK Google it goes into an active listening mode and tries to figure out what you said and what it needs to do about it. This is the same way Google Home works. Always listening means it's listening for just the trigger before it does more than monitor the sounds it hears. Once Google Assistant is activated and working the sounds are then processed through the Assistant AI.

The newly revamped controller can stay running and always listening for 14 days between charges. Think of it as a Google Home that's not plugged in, except for 2 hours every fortnight. And it's about half the cost of a Google Home, so if you have a Shield TV it's kind of crazy to not go with it.

What about games‽

If you use your Shield controller to play games, whether you're playing Android games or playing PC games through your Shield TV, you'll like the upgrade here.

The layout hasn't changed. Dual thumbsticks, a D-pad on the left and the four buttons every controller needs on the right are there in just about the same place as you're used to. The new thumbsticks are grippy instead of smooth, the D-Pad is "clickier" and the A B X Y buttons aren't as mushy. The R2 L2 triggers are reworked. And the new body design makes them all more responsive because your hand is slightly repositioned.

It looks funky, but the jagged geodesic pattern isn't jagged at all and feels great when you're holding it.

The Shield controller is built like a bit of a hybrid between the Xbox controller and PlayStation 4 controller. It takes the Xbox controller shape and has the PS4's slimmer but deeper "grips." You get a controller that's easy to hold with three fingers on each side (fingers on bumpers at all times is the only way to play!) without the weird batwing feel because it's shaped like that sweet Xbox controller.

I liked the design of the original so much I use it on my PC for gaming, too. The new model may look like they ruined everything and made a jagged uncomfortable mess with the new geodesic texture but you'll change your mind as soon as you start using it.

I plan on picking up another controller so I can use one with my PC as soon as the GeForce PC suite is updated with full support, which should be very soon.

See at Amazon

NVIDIA Shield Android TV



This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.