Nvidia Shield Tablet Review and Gaming Performance: My Thoughts and Impressions

Posted by B. Johnson
Nvidia Shield Tablet Review and Gaming Performance: My Thoughts and ImpressionsHi guys, welcome back!

A couple of weeks ago, i’ve just showed you one tablet that has an amazing gaming performance. As a matter of fact, that tablet has the best gaming performance on the market today.

And that’s not shocking given that this tablet is powered by NVIDIA’s latest and greatest mobile chipset – Tegra K1, which is a quad-core processor with a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU.

That tablet is made by Xiaomi and called Xiaomi Mi Pad, a 7.9-inch tablet which interestingly comes with some similar hardware specifications just like the iPad mini.

From the same exact screen resolution, the same 4:3 aspect ratio, the same ppi, the same looking simple rounded-icon-based UI and it even looks exactly just like the iPad mini 2 in terms of design.

Nvidia Shield Tablet benchmarks and gaming performance

As far as the gaming performance goes, it’s not shocking to see how this Xiaomi tablet really excels on that sector perfectly well.

In fact, there are many console-quality games that are officially ported exclusively by the original developers to Tegra K1 tablets like this Xiaomi Mi Pad – from Trine 2 on PS3, Half Life on PC (I don't remember its series), Unreal Engine 4 demos and other console-quality games.

Besides Xiaomi Mi Pad, today i want to show you another tablet – a new-released tablet – that is also powered by that NVIDIA’s latest processor.

This one is actually made by NVIDIA itself and interestingly, this tablet still inherits some of the key features found on its predecessor - Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme -, like the stylus, the stock Android, the speaker grilles on the left and right sides in landscape mode and some other more.

As a matter of fact, this NVIDIA’s tablet i’m about to show you today actually still looks the same with Tegra Note – although this new tablet now has much better back cover design with NVIDIA logo engraved on the center position.

Okay then, without further ado, this one is called NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, an 8-inch tablet sporting the 1080p resolution and of course Tegra K1 processor.

Well, if you’re interested to know more about this NVIDIA’s tablet, especially its gaming performance (which obviously is great, in fact, the best on the market to date) and what games that would work perfectly on this device, then here you go, my personal review of Nvidia SHIELD.

Introduction

As you might know already (or not), a couple of months ago, NVIDIA unveiled its very latest and greatest mobile chipset to world.

And that was called Tegra K1, a super powerful processor shipping with a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU inside.

This of course made people really amazed and excited especially with the possibility of console-quality gaming to arrive on mobile devices like smartphone or tablet in the near future.


And that’s actually the thing that NVIDIA wants to laser-target through its Tegra K1 processor, building the bridge for console-quality games to the mobile devices like tablet.

At the announcement of that processor, NVIDIA showed off some of the ability – especially in graphical environment – of its Tegra K1 and not to mention some of the games that later can be found on all Tegra K1 tablets on the market in the future like Trine 2 (which is a ported game from PS3), Half Life (also the ported version from PC if i’m not mistaken) and a couple of other demos of EPIC’s latest game engine – Unreal Engine 4 (which looks mind blowing on a mobile device like tablet).

However, the journey of NVIDIA to conquer the smartphone and tablet markets will not be an easy one because this company has some mixed track record regarding the up-and-down sales of its Tegra mobile chipsets in the past.

Not to mention, its previous Tegra 4 has also been plagued by many issues which make many tablet manufacturers avoid this chipset – like overheating issue and the lack of ability outside graphics.

But the good news is, from what i’ve heard lately, there will be many tablet manufacturers that are more than happier to have NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 inside their tablets – like Xiaomi Mi Pad (which has been selling great on the market right now), NVIDIA’s homemade SHIELD tablet (the similar looking device as Tegra Note but with bumped up specs), a rumored Google Nexus 8-inch tablet made by HTC and probably a couple of other brands that will join the Tegra K1 party.

So i believe NVIDIA is going to have a much better luck this year with its latest Tegra K1 chipset.

And that means the possibility console-quality graphics on future mobile games especially tablet games will be much bigger this time.

And that could come to fruition because with this mass-adoption of this Tegra K1 chipset on many tablets this year, it could convince many game developers - especially console game developers - to not be "shy" anymore to implement all the console-quality graphics and visual effects from their console games to the mobile devices in the near future.

Tegra K1 tablets will be more than happier to execute all of these games in buttery smooth performance, even in full highest graphics and visual effects.

As a second-gen Tegra Note tablet, then it’s really obvious to see that Nvidia SHIELD Tablet brings some bumped up specs here and there on the hardware – like a bigger 8-inch display (from 7-inch display), the 1080p resolution (from 720p on predecessor), much newer Android version, Tegra K1 quad-core processor of course (from Tegra 4 on predecessor), much bigger 2GB RAM (from 1GB on previous-gen model) and some other sectors that get upgraded to a higher level.

But the questions remain, with all of these goodies and powerful gaming performance, does Nvidia SHIELD Tablet have what it takes to be the best gaming tablet on the market?

Is this tablet going to be an iPad mini killer?

Is it worth it to buy this tablet or upgrade to this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet if you already own the Tegra Note 7 or HP Slate 7 Extreme?

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  • No SIM
  • Released 2014, July
  • 390 g (Weight)
  • DirectStylus 2
  • 8.0 inchCapacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 16M colors (~283 ppi pixel density)
  • Dual bass reflex port audio enhancement
  • microSD Memory Card slot for up to 128GB
  • Internal 16 GB
  • 2 GB RAM
  • No GPRS
  • No EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11
  • Bluetooth
  • microUSB
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera (2592 ? 1944 pixels) autofocus touch focus, HDR
  • 5 MP front-facing camera with HDR
  • Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
  • ULP GeForce Kepler 192-core GPU
  • HTML5 Browser
  • No Radio
  • GPS
  • Java MIDP emulator
  • HDMI port
  • 19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery
Given that NVIDIA intended this SHIELD tablet originally as a pure gaming tablet, then it’s a must for this manufacturer to equip this tablet with some powerful internals inside in order to ensure its powerful performance especially on graphics department.

And that what happens exactly on this tablet as Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is powered by an extremely powerful Tegra K1 processor – which is a quad-core -, accompanied with 2GB of RAM and 192-core Kepler GPU, making it the top in its class.

Meanwhile, on the screen sector, NVIDIA finally decides to up its game by bringing a full HD 1080p display on this slate, which is a ‘perfect match’ for its Tegra K1 processor.

This screen actually is a huge upgrade from the ‘only’ 720p display found on the predecessor – Tegra Note.

Besides on the screen and performance sectors, NVIDIA also puts the focus to upgrade the other parts of Nvidia SHIELD Tablet, like its front-facing camera that is now 5MP – as opposed to the VGA on Tegra Note -, Android 4.4.2 Kitkat out of the box and a much improved stylus along with its pre-loaded apps.

However, for the most part, this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet actually is still similar with the predecessor – from its overall design, its 2 front-speaker grilles, pure stock Android UI, stylus-related apps and pretty much everything on this tablet is still ‘on the same page’ with the predecessor.


Screen

It actually has been predicted by many people that NVIDIA will finally jump to the 1080p display on Nvidia SHIELD Tablet, which is a huge upgrade from the ‘only’ 720p display on the predecessor – Tegra Note.

The great thing is, this tablet is now taken care by a really powerful Tegra K1 processor, which is more than adequate to handle this type of display.

And thanks to this mobile chipset, along with its 192-core GPU, this tablet is capable to execute all the pixels presented on its 1080p display without squeezing a lot of power from its processor, thus saving more energy from its processor, especially when used for doing some basic simple tasks.

However, according to reviews that i've seen lately on YouTube, when this tablet turns into a pure gaming tablet and is tasked with some heavy intense 3D games, its battery starts draining really quickly to just around 2 – 3 hours when playing some heavy games.

And that is a bummer given that most tablet gamers out there really demand a gaming device that’s not only capable to deliver a great gaming performance to them, but also the gaming device that could last in long long hours especially for heavy intense gaming.

This is probably due to the full HD 1080p display on this device, which gives such a heavy burden to its processor, thus squeezing a lot of juice from its battery.

But i heard from one in-depth video review on YouTube, the battery life on this tablet can be improved if you set the brightness level of the screen to medium or even low.

It may not be such a ground breaking advice, but at least, you can earn your long hours of gaming experience from this device, right?

User Interface

The good thing is – similar just like Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme - this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet also comes pre-installed with stock Android UI with entirely standard build straightly from Google, without some heavy customizations just like we’re familiar to see on Sony Xperia or Samsung GALAXY tablets.

And this is perfect for this tablet because by using this light-weight stock Android UI without any heavy bloatwares from the manufacturer, this tablet will be more than happier to perform fast and smoothly without causing too much stress to its Tegra K1 processor, thus making its battery life last much longer especially for doing some basic simple tasks.

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When it comes to performance, there should be no question asked anymore because this tablet will be a beast and amazing on that sector.

As a matter of fact, this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet along with Xiaomi Mi Pad (with Tegra K1 as well) probably are 2 of the best performing tablets on the market to date.

They handle any heavy graphics-related tasks “professionally” and there is just no lag or stutter found on these 2 devices.

And that’s not so shocking especially for tech geeks because Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is powered by one of the best – No, the best mobile processor on the market today.

Yup, that’s right - the best mobile processor on the market right now.

And it’s basically proved by how this Tegra K1 – according to many benchmark tests – manages to top all the mobile chipsets on the market and it’s capable to deliver 3 times of graphical performance as iPad Air (with its A7 chip and PowerVR G6430 GPU).

And more impressively, this NVIDIA’s latest mobile processor is also believed could deliver the same graphics performance as today’s desktop. Can you believe that?

So basically, with this type of performance, this tablet will be more than happier to execute any tasks that you want to throw on this device in buttery smooth performance – even the heavy ones like watching full HD videos, browsing heavy web pages, reading HD contents like books or magazines, editing heavy office documents, playing 3D games or just simply checking emails.

And thanks to its beast processor, you don’t need to worry anymore if you want to deploy some heavy live wallpaper on the homescreen because you can do it perfectly on this device without causing any lag when it's operating.

It goes the same with the gaming performance of this tablet.

With the powerful internals like Tegra K1 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz per core, 192-core of Kepler GPU and 2GB of RAM, not only do the games look great on this tablet, but they will also have huge improvements of graphics and visual effects that just cannot be found on other non-Tegra-K1 tablets out there.

And that is the main selling point of this device – and that is to deliver a way better gaming experience to the users than on other tablets.

And that’s true because one of the most graphically demanding games on Google Play Store – Modern Combat 5 – looks more detailed in terms of graphics and it has some of elements or visual effects that are only well-optimized on Tegra-K1 tablets.

So if you’re currently looking for a great gaming tablet – possibly the best gaming tablet on the market right now -, don’t hesitate to buy this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet because this tablet will perfectly accommodate your hobby of gaming and there is just no other better offering than this NVIDIA’s homemade device on the market right now.

However, you can also switch your target to Xiaomi MI Pad given that this Xiaomi’s tablet is also equipped with Tegra K1 processor, 2GB of RAM along with the staggering 192-core GPU of Tegra K1.

Not to mention, this tablet is also sporting a much higher-resolution display (1536x2048 pixels) than the one found on Nvidia SHIELD Tablet (1920x1200 pixels).



Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Nvidia SHIELD Tablet, including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Battery Life

Let’s face the fact here. Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is a great gaming tablet. In fact, it is the best gaming tablet on the market right now – along with Xiaomi Mi Pad.

There’s just no equal competition to these 2 powerful devices – with the exception if the next-gen Google-HTC Nexus tablet will also be using Tegra K1 processor -.

Even the iPad Air that Apple always brags about for its gaming performance, is just not on par with this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet.

Although iPad Air may be superior in terms of game catalog and huge support from game developers, but in terms of gaming performance, graphics power, game engine and visual effect goodies, then NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and Xiaomi Mi Pad have no equal competition right now.

However, there is still one downside that probably could prevent this NVIDIA’s tablet from being the best gaming tablet on the market.

If the previous-gen Tegra 4 was plagued with overheating issue, then this Tegra K1 is plagued with battery life issue.

According to some video reviews i’ve seen on YouTube, this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet surprisingly is only capable to survive in around 2 to 3 hours when used to play high performing games intensively.

So if you’re planning to buy this tablet for playing some latest and heavy games like Modern Combat 5, Trine 2 or other PS3/PS ported titles, you must accept the fact that this tablet could only accommodate your hobby for short hours of battery life.

This is probably due to the Tegra K1 – which is really power hungry with its 192-core GPU – and its full HD display – which causes a lot of power-squeezing activity on its processor.

However, i heard that, in order to tackle the weak battery life on this device, you can either set the brightness of the screen to the low OR you can also set the graphics of the game you’re playing to medium or even the lower level, not in full highest graphics.

This is of course a bummer given that this tablet has all the power to be a truly gaming tablet that has the capability to run console-quality games in full highest graphics.

The good news is, this tablet comes pre-installed with stock Android UI, meaning its performance will be blazing fast and the power required to operate this UI will not be that huge to execute by its processor.

So if you’re type of moderate user and will only use this tablet to do some basic stuff – like watching full HD movies, browsing the web or playing some games in moderate use -, then you can expect to see this device stay for all day long, of course on a full charge.

My Personal Opinions

Similar just like my final impression with Xiaomi Mi Pad tablet a couple of weeks ago, I think it’s also really easy for me to just recommend this tablet to you because Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is simply an amazing tablet.

I even have troubles to find the weaknesses or cons about this tablet.

Pretty much everything about this tablet is just amazing. It has a full HD 1080p (1920x1200 pixels) resolution – which looks insanely sharp on its pretty huge 8-inch screen.

And then it has a insanely powerful Tegra K1 processor that still has no equal contender until today.

It has a staggering 192-core of Kepler GPU – which will be more than “happier” to execute any graphics-related task that you throw on this device.

It has a really amazing stylus that you can even use to draw some professional paintings just like the S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note tablet.

I also like the fact that this Nvidia SHIELD Tablet comes pre-installed with stock Android UI, which won’t give such a headache to its Tegra K1 processor and battery life.

And the most importantly, i’m insanely in love with the gaming performance of this device. It’s just a beast for gaming.

It handles all the games on the market today perfectly, smoothly and in full highest-graphics, plus these games will have more detailed graphics and visual effects that just cannot be found on other non-Tegra-K1 tablets out there.

Not to mention - given its powerful processor that even matches the graphical power of today’s desktop -, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet will also get a special privilege by console game developers to receive their ported console titles in upcoming months – not all of them, but possibly some of the popular ones.

So with all of these goodies, not to mention its high-grade specs and stylus, i think it’s hard to not recommend this tablet to you, especially if you’re looking for a perfect all-around tablet for enjoying media contents and even games.

Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is just a perfect device for those stuff.

And the fact that this tablet is also equipped with 5MP cameras front and back – which by the way, are able to take decent quality shots and videos (according to reviews) -, plus it has an amazing quality stylus, then it’s just no other tablet that could be as perfect as this Nvidia SHIELD.

Even Xiaomi Mi Pad or any other upcoming Tegra K1 tablets (rumored Google-HTC Nexus tablet) is still not as great as Nvidia SHIELD, thanks to its great cameras and stylus.

So in conclusion, if you’re currently looking for a great quality tablet that has:
  • amazing gaming performance,
  • fast processor,
  • sharp display,
  • decent quality cameras,
  • great stylus,
  • good sound quality (thanks to its front-facing speaker grilles just like on HTC One M8),
  • huge support from game developers and even console game developers,
  • elegant looking design,
  • stock Android UI and good battery life,
then look no further, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet is a great choice for you.

With this tablet, you can do a lot of things that just cannot be done on most of other tablets.

So to sum this up, i’ll try to answer some of the questions i’ve asked previously above:

Does Nvidia Shield Tablet have what it takes to be a good gaming tablet?

YES, absolutely – thanks to its Tegra K1 quad-core processor, along with its 192-core GPU and 2GB of RAM, Nvidia SHIELD has all what it takes to be a great gaming tablet.

As a matter of fact, this tablet, along with Xiaomi Mi Pad, is probably the best gaming tablet on the market today.

It’s just more than capable to handle any games that you see today across Google Play Store – all in buttery smooth performance and full highest graphics plus visual effects.

Is this tablet still relevant to be positioned alongside other devices on today’s tablet market?

Yes, absolutely – with many high-grade specs and not to mention goodies like decent quality cameras and stylus, Nvidia SHIELD really stacks up against the competition on the market today.

In fact, i believe this tablet has all the elements to be an iPad mini killer, especially when many game developers and even console game makers have ported many of their popular titles to this tablet in the future.

Added with its decent quality cameras, stylus, speaker grilles and elegant design, this tablet has many things that cannot be found on even iPad mini 2.

Is it worth it to buy this tablet?

Yes – this tablet is really worth to buy, even if you’re just looking for a media-consumption device.

The great thing is, you can still get a lot of things from this tablet, like its great quality stylus, decent quality cameras, good sound speaker, great gaming performance and fast experience on this tablet.

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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