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Quick comparison: Shield Android TV vs. Nexus Player vs. Razer Forge TV

With the introduction of the Shield Android TV from NVIDIA, the previously-available Nexus Player and Razer Forge TV have new competition. Each of these three boxes is making a play for a spot in your entertainment center, and covering a wide range of prices and feature sets, each one is offering up a different value proposition. Here's how each of the available Android TV boxes stack up.

Aligned nicely with the announcement of the new Shield Android TV at $199 (or $299 for extra storage), the Nexus Player has received a significant price drop to $79. Splitting the difference is the Forge TV, which costs $99 without any remote (you'll use your phone instead), or $149 with a game controller.

CategoryShield Android TVNexus PlayerRazer Forge TV
ProcessorTegra X1 quad-coreIntel Atom quad-coreSnapdragon 805 quad-core
GPU256-core Maxwell architecturePowerVR Series 6Adreno 420
RAM3GB1GB2GB
Storage16GB / 500GB
microSD card
8GB16GB
Remote/controllerController included
$49 remote
$59 controllers
Basic remote included
$39 controller
None included (basic)
Controller included (bundle)
$79 controller
Video output4K (UHD)
HDMI 2.0, HDMI-CEC
1080p
HDMI-CEC
1080p
HDMI 1.4
Connectivity802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)
Gigabit ethernet
Bluetooth 4.1
Infrared port
802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)
Bluetooth 4.1
802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)
Gigabit ethernet
Bluetooth 4.1
USB ports2x USB 3.0
Micro USB 2.0
Micro USB 2.0USB 3.0
Surround soundDolby 7.1NoNo
GamingAndroid titles
Grid game streaming
GameStream remote play
Android titlesAndroid titles
Razer Cortex game streaming (soon)
Dimensions130mm x 210mm x 25mm120mm x 120mm x 20mm105mm x 105mm x 17mm
Weight654g235gn/a
Pricing$199 / $299$79$99 / $149

The specs and features align well with the pricing, with the newest box — the Shield Android TV — having the point-by-point advantage in processor, memory and storage. The Forge TV with its Snapdragon 805 processor and 2GB of RAM matches up with flagship phones from earlier this year, while the Atom processor, just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage on the Nexus Player bring up the bottom of the table.

When it comes to connectivity and features, all of the boxes feature the base level of 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 4.1, and the ability to output 1080p video over HDMI. The Forge TV adds to that with a USB 3.0 port for external devices, and a gigabit ethernet jack for those who want it. Going yet another step up, the Shield Android TV has two USB 3.0 ports, an infrared port for remote control, HDMI 2.0 for 4K video output, and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound output.

So which box is right for you? Well, only you can answer that question. The Shield Android TV checks pretty much every box you'd want, while the Nexus Player (opens in new tab) is a surprisingly affordable option and the Forge TV (opens in new tab) lies somewhere in the middle. Between these three Android TV boxes, there's something to be said for each one considering the specs, features and particularly price.

MORE: Discuss Shield Android TV | Discuss the Nexus Player

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

54 Comments
  • Is the USB on Nvidia Shield useful? Can I run roms off it for my emulators? If not it's a no sale.
  • Yes emulators work just fine. I use Mupen64 on my Shield TV and Nexus Player. Also some apps need to be installed from play.google.com since they aren't in the TV version of google play. I did that for GTS San Andreas and it works perfectly. I also have a shield tablet so I own most of the good nvidia games anyway which is nice. I have the 500gb on order but I bought the 16gb one first to make sure I liked it. Nvidias X1 blows my K1 away which I didn't think would be noticeable but it is after owning my ST LTE for a long time now. The game pad is the same as the tablets but it has the updated lollipop buttons instead of the KitKat ones. It has native volume controls band a mouse touch pad on it. I sold my Xbone because I'm not a hard core gamer plus this doesn't freeze and lag like my Xbone did. I would buy another Nvidia console over A PS or Xbox any day for my needs.
  • also I forgot the USB 3.0 pets ports work well and find my external Samsung EVO Pro SSD. This console is a beast for laid back gamers or people who like older PC games/android games.
  • You can use the USB ports for anything you want. Keyboards, USB drives, joysticks, hard drives, web cams, whatever.
  • If it had HDMI passthrough, I would be buying this and recommending it to my family and friends too. That and webcam support were the only two things keeping me from getting an Android TV device.
  • I'm asking because I had Android TV and you couldn't access roms from a USB stick. I was wondering if this device was the same.
  • You can when you get the M update later this year. M preview allows you to format and use a USB HDD as native storage.
  • The Shield if far and away the best offered thus far. I have already Pre-Ordered the 500GB model.
  • I'm not sure why anyone would need the 500GB Model. You stream the GRID games Right?
  • You still need to pay for the service. But I'm assuming it will mostly be used for native android games.
  • Yeah, I'm a little confused about this as well. 500gb isn't nearly enough to host a complete media library, so usb or network volumes are kind of a given anyway. And with usb 3 and Gb ethernet, I doubt there's a latency issue on reads... I've been rocking Nexi the last few years so I don't have experience with the new SD card behaviors, is it not possible to use external storage for large Android game components? That's pretty much the only use case I can see for larger internal storage.
  • Android full featured games are big. And I'm assuming NVIDIA plans on getting more bigger PC and console ports brought over to the Shield. More storage > less. But the USB and microSD can be used for game and app storage on both models anyways. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah Grid games are totally streaming. But local Android apps and games still need to be installed. And some larger Android games can push 1.5GB or more each. Thankfully you can have quite a few moved to an SD card. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So, i bought the 16gb Shield but only because I'm assuming that i can install apps from the play store on an external device, can someone please confirm that? Thanks!
  • M has the ability to format external storage and use it to expand the internal storage. You don't want to do this with a USB drive you plan on using for anything else though, it's going to expect to keep it and use it all the time. So there's no reason to waste $100 on 500gb of storage. I bet many of us have an old usb HDD lying around that should do the job.
  • That extra $100 also gets your Borderlands The Prequal free and you still get the $30 Play credit so it is worth every penny. I'm not a big Borderlands fan but even then its worth the money. Am external drive is clunky and takes up more space. I prefer a sleek package where I don't have to worry about more cables and an occupied port that I could use for other things.
  • You think just like me! I just picked up a Nexus Player through the Sling promo and it gets the job done in terms of Kodi and streaming media from my NAS drive. This Shield Android TV is tempting but I will weigh my options in a few more months since I'm not really all into games to pick up another console. I'm busy enough with my PS4 that I still have a couple games I haven't even open up yet hehe. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It probably uses a slim 500gb laptop hard drive that you can buy and install yourself for <$40
  • According to PCPer review, external storage does work for app installs. There might be a setting for it. Be sure to check your device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You can install an sdcard and use it for games. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks Andrew.
    Shield it is then. Galaxy Note 4 {Sprint Lollipop}
    Galaxy S III {FreedomPop 4.3}
    LG G2 {Sprint 4.4.2}
  • Did they add Netflix to the Razer Forge TV yet?
  • I didnt see it on my Forge TV when i had it.. i returned it
  • Except it doesn't seem like you can play send 4K through the Forge TV, so it still shouldn't work Posted via a mystical object I found in a dark and scary forest
  • I have tested all 3 devices.. There is no comparison.. The Shield crushes them. The only thing that is still annoying is Google Play movies will not play in surround sound.. PCM stereo only.. Netflix works just fine in SS.
  • Do any of these support surround sound formats like dts, Dolby Digital Plus, dts-HD MA, etc? I'm looking for a replacement for my WDTV and need to be able to play my DVD/BD backups.
  • Shield TV is spec'd for Dolby 7.1 output Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am not sure whether this is a Google Play movies thing or Shield's problem, I can't get my Chromecast to do surround sound as well only PCM, and Netflix works just fine through Chromecast.
  • The issue is Google.. They say that the movies have surround sound but none of the devices i have tested will output DD or any digital audio.. Tested play movies on Chromecast streaming from Nexus 6 (with surround sound checked in the settings), Forge TV, Nexus Player and the Razer Shield.. It is 100% googles issue. I called them the other day about it and they have a ticket in for an engineer to see why its not working on any of their devices. I doubt anything will come of it.. If you buy a movie and play it on the apple tv it instantly switches to digital surround Also to note netflix etc all play in dd just fine..
  • How does the Fire TV compare to these android tv boxes? Posted via Android Central App
  • It doesn't, at all!
  • Haha lmao! First off, the Fire TV isn't even an Android TV so done deal! Posted via the Android Central App
  • 300 dollars for an android console? I'd rather spend up a few dollars to get a fully fledged console from Sony or Microsoft at that point.
  • Valid, that's why I'm waiting cause I'm still having fun with my PS4. MKX baby! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah the 500gb model doesn't make much sense. Think most will be happy with 16GB for $199, and maybe down the road snag an sdcard for cheap for some more storage. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Andrew, just an FYI, you have the spec slightly off for the Shield. You have the X1 listed as a quad-core. It's a quad A57 + Quad A53, but it's not the standard Big.Little setup as phones/tablets usually have. All 8 cores are active and visible to the OS. Unlike a phone or tablet, the Shield doesn't have to worry as much about thermal headroom and power consumption.
  • Buy the 200 dollar version. I own a PS4 while the specification is superior to Shield TV the media functionality is really lacking (currently), Not to mention you can't play 4K contents due to hardware limitation.
  • If I bought a forge TV, could I use a game controller for the nexus player on the forge tv? They're cheaper than the Razer ones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes. Nexus Player gamepads work on all 3 systems via Bluetooth. Razer Serval works on all 3 via Bluetooth, and should work on all 3 via USB connection. Shield Gamepad works only on the Shield via WiFi Direct, possibly works on all 3 via USB connection.
  • The shield game pad works amazing.. Way better than the bluetooth counterparts
  • Is there really a point in buying the Forge TV? it doesnt have a remote control and you cant buy one separately (no, using your phone is not a suitable replacement) , the price in between the Nexus Player and the shield TV, the controller bumps it's price pretty close to the SHIELD TV, which is exponentially more powerful. and on top of all this, there is some severe app incompatibilities, such as Netflix. I wanted to like the Forge TV when it was announced, it's a shame it is just not compelling at all. a gaming company such as razer should have put in an SoC thats great for gaming, maybe they go Tegra K1 because it was announced before X1 was available, the K1 still kicks ass. and as we all know, Razer isnt worried about charing more for stuff. make a remote, a decent remote, heck rip off the nvidia or nexus player remote, just give it a damn remote. there just really doesnt seem to be a reason to buy the Forge TV over the Nexus Player or Shield TV
  • When the Forge was announced, it was trumped as a more gaming-centric alternative to the Nexus Player, to be released around the same time (original press release stated a Fall 2014 release). However, I see zero point to it today. In terms of hardware, despite the best efforts of some Snapdragon fanboys, the CPU/GPU is not noticably more powerful than the Atom/PVR in the Nexus (I'd argue that the Snapdragon is slightly inferior, but that is simply an unsubstantiated opinion right now). The hardware benefits of the Razer are the ethernet port, full USB port, double internal storage, and the 2GB of RAM. The lack of an included remote, or even a remote option is a hindrance for many. The lack of remote and lack of app compatibility makes this an inferior streamer (today) compared to the cheaper Nexus. And as a gaming machine, it's comparable to the Nexus, but far weaker than the Shield. I think that those who want to primarily stream should get the Nexus, and those who want to do semi-serious gaming while streaming should get the Shield. I see no market for the Forge TV.
  • i bought one and returned it a week later
  • Not a bad deal for $200. I got a zotac pico PC last year for that price. It's not as graphically powerful, but it's full windows PC and it streams steam games like they're native.
  • Zotac Pico is pretty much just an Intel Compute Stick with extra USB port, I think 200 is quite a bit considering the spec. Also running full Windows on a TV is a con as you really need a keyboard/mouse/trackpad to make it remotely useable whereas with Android TV you can control the whole experience through a TV remote by HDMI-CEC
  • With the Shield are you limited to just the Play Store or can you also install and use the Amazon App Store and Humble Bundle?
  • I have not see the option to install the amazon app store at all. Its not regular android. Its android TV
  • Sounds like the tagline at the end of a commercial for a new product: "Its not regular android. Its android TV"
  • 4k support.. Are we talking full hardware hevc decoding?
  • On paper both the Nvidia and razor devices both have hardware capable of hevc decoding and encoding. The Intel based Nexus player doesn't. Having not used any of these devices I can't comment on the true capabilities of each device.
  • Little more googling and yes its hevc hardware decoding.. Ordering now.. http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/NVIDIA-SHIELD-Set-top-Powere...
  • Shield. AC App via Nexus 5
  • the forge has 4k for one and netflix use aptoid duh you can sideload anything and kodi torrents etc plus has google play ouya didnt and has the ouya games ya got and can use steam what more ya want the snapdragon is awesome even can play gameloft games or minecraft pocket ed shield is limited for sideload hacks
  • o yeah and as far as no remote for forge you can use your regular tv remote phone app witch has voice ya just talk to it and 3rd party remotes the controller is better then shield why it cost more console quality plus nexus 1 gig or ram lol please smh