In order for any sort of serious gaming to work well on a tablet experience, a controller is a must.
Thankfully, Nvidia has embraced this challenge with its new Shield Tablet, offering both a comfortable controller and the ability to stream full-fledged games such as “Titanfall” as an added bonus.
The tablet itself packs quite a punch, and sports an 8-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel HD display for a crisp and detailed picture.
Underneath the hood, there’s a Tegra K1 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM — all nestled within a solid and streamlined shell. You can preorder the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version right now, and there’s a 32GB version with 4G LTE in the works.
If you’re looking to get the most out of their Shield Tablet, however, you’ll need to pick up the optional Shield wireless controller, which costs $US59.99. The controller is well-designed and features a touch pad, integrated mic for voice commands, and quick access to buttons for controlling volume or navigating the Android operating system.
The Shield controller unlocks the full potential of the tablet, and in hindsight it really should be included. People who are familiar with Android tablets will find themselves right at home: The Shield Tablet runs Android, meaning you can still download apps from the Google Play.But people buying the Shield Tablet will be looking for a rich gaming experience, and that really requires the Shield controller.
The Shield Tablet is extremely flexible regarding how you want to game. You can plug the tablet into your TV and switch to “console mode,” and you can even pair multiple Shield controllers for a true multiplayer experience.
At the end of the day, the Shield Tablet can’t compete with Apple’s iPad Mini as a standalone tablet experience, so there’s no reason Nvidia should even try. Its focus is on offering a true gaming experience, and in that it smokes the competition.
Nvidia’s tablet has something even Apple’s iPad doesn’t have: the ability to play full-fledged games such as “Titanfall,” “Trine 2,” and “BioShock Infinite.”
Nvidia knows that gamers don’t want to play iPad apps, they want to play the same games they play on their PCs and laptops. And while there are plenty of Android apps that can be played on the Shield Tablet, in order to play “Titanfall” or other modern PC games, you’ll need to use Nvidia’s GameStream technology to stream the games from your PC to the tablet.
It’s a lot of work, but for gamers who already have a PC with one of Nvidia’s graphics cards, it’s a no-brainer.
Another unique feature of the Shield Tablet is the ability to easily broadcast both gameplay and video to Twitch. “Stream to Twitch” is an option that lets you utilise the Shield Tablet’s front-facing camera to broadcast both yourself and your gameplay in real time.
The Shield Tablet is hands down the best way to game on a tablet, but only if you’re willing to fully buy into the Nvidia ecosystem. For gamers who already use an Nvidia graphics card, it’s an easy upgrade that lets you easily transition from desk to chair to bed, taking your favourite games with you.
People on the fence should first figure out what they want most out of their tablet. If you want the best tablet experience, Apple’s a safe bet. But for those who want a portable gaming tablet that can be powered by their beefy PC, the Shield Tablet offers all of that in addition to a sleek Android tablet.