Handy in the Bed: Nvidia Shield Portable

Hey everyone!

Hope this article is finding you all in good spirits.  With no celebrations around the corner, I think it is time to get into something fun as local as the hard drive.  Really, it is more about the hardware at this point, and since I don’t do hardware reviews, this will be a general observation of what I have experienced thus far.

Looking at the Nvidia Shield Portable, I had a heavy debate as to whether I would even consider this for the gaming front.  Pricewise, I couldn’t be convinced to spend 200 dollars (plus the 150 for a proper network upgrade) just to extend my PC’s playing capability to the bedroom.  Well, thanks to GameStop (I honestly never thought I would say that), I was able to get it for 127 over the holidays.

In terms of comparing it to its bigger, but younger brother, the Nvidia Shield Tablet, I would have honestly preferred the tablet just due to its bigger screen, and general tablet uses, but the change in price tag is what sent me in the Shield’s direction.  Also, (other than the holiday deal) I would have had to purchase a separate controller for the tablet, adding another 50 to the price tag.  So, now that the expenditure out of the way…

So, going over the basics, it is a touchscreen with a controller attached.  It’s OS is Android KitKat.  It has little CPU fans that pull from the front to the rear of the controller.  It uses the Tegra 4 processor, and the recent release of Tegra X1 may very well be the reason for the temporary drop in price.

I found that when playing, this is ideal for when you are ready to go to bed.  The controller is a bit heavy long term, but if you are enjoying the game, you may find yourself up to the light of dawn, ignoring the pain in your wrists.  It’s ability to stream about 15 feet with a closet in the way was overall pretty smooth with the occasional hiccup every 5 to 10 minutes.  The hiccup wasn’t by any means game breaking, and barely distracting.

The biggest pro, compared to its bigger brother is the attachment of the controller to its screen.  It is a true portable in this sense.  However, game streaming is limited to local.  Nevertheless, if you are willing to use Nvidia GRID, you could  take advantage of lots of pc games through the streaming service from Nvidia.  Perhaps that will be worth a review, but I vacation so little, and I can’t justify the needed streaming through other wifi means in territories that aren’t my home.  When I am out the door, a good book or my PSP 3000 will suffice.

So, the only need is local, but for a relaxed state.  It is ideal for lying on my back to enjoy what games are available.  Despite the excellent design, I will say its biggest setback is the size of the screen.  Running at 720p, it isn’t a bad little touchscreen, but if you are playing a game with heavy details and a minimap (Shadow of Mordor comes to mind), then you are going to have some struggles with perceiving everything that happens on screen.

So, in the end, should you go for this device?  If you already have what is required, have a ridiculous backlog of Steam games, are a high powered PC enthusiast, and don’t care much for its limitation outside of your home, then this would be ideal, especially at $130, which is less than a lot of the portable game machines out there.  While I lay down next to my wife as she watches Netflix, I get to let loose on games that have long awaited my presence from many seasons back.

In the future, when reviewing games, expect my discussion about this Nvidia Shield Portable to be introduced for each one.  If you wish to see a general list of what is supported, go here.

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See you on the other side, folks.

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