NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Archos GamePad 2: Tablet Battle

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on January 22, 2015 | 0 comments
NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Archos GamePad 2: Tablet BattleHi guys, welcome back!

Across the gaming tablet market, i think it’s still pretty rare to see the tablets that are really pure gaming tablets.

I think this market is still vague to determine whether this market really exists because many of flagship tablets on the market right now are mostly great gaming tablets, despite not being made purely as gaming devices.

iPad Air or iPad mini Retina can both be great gaming tablets because they have all what it takes to be great gaming devices – like the performance, graphic power, healthy ecosystem for game developers, huge support from developers, long lasting battery life for gaming, comfortable design for playing games (thin and light in weight), and many more.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Archos GamePad 2 benchmarks and gaming performance

It goes the same with other high-end devices like Samsung GALAXY tablets (Tab Pro/Tab S, etc), Sony Xperia Z2, LG G Pad 8.3, Google Nexus 7, Xiaomi Mi Pad, Google Nexus 9/10, and even Kindle Fire HDX series – especially given that these tablets also have all the ‘elements’ that make them great gaming tablets, just like iPads.

However, despite all that, i think this gaming tablet category is still pretty vague because these devices are not purely intended as gaming tablets.

That’s why today i want to bring up 2 interesting tablets that i think deserve more to be called as real gaming tablets. They are NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2.

Yes, you heard it right, today, i want to keep the engine going by giving you the comparison review between these 2 tablets.

I think this can be quite interesting to see especially on their gaming experience as a whole given that both devices are really made for gaming.

Well, if you really want to know more about my comparison of these tablets, including my scrutiny on their gaming performance, then here you go, my comparison review between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2.

Introduction

We can certainly tell from the first sight that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is purely intended by NVIDIA as a gaming tablet. And that’s not that hard to guess especially if you’ve been intensively following the tech industry for quite a while.

Well, that’s because NVIDIA has always been known as the graphic chipset maker that mostly focuses its products – GeForce GTX series or Tegra processors – as gaming chipsets.

So no wonder if this company – in all of its announcements – always shows off the capability of its graphic cards especially in handling games.

And that’s the goal that NVIDIA still wants to continue on tablet market.

However, besides delivering Tegra processors to tablet manufacturers, this GPU maker apparently also has huge interest to jump to the same bandwagon of its partners – the tablet market.

Through its NVIDIA Shield Tablet, it’s really clear for us to see how NVIDIA is really serious to bring this tablet market to the next level.

As a gaming tablet, it’s very obvious that NVIDIA Shield Tablet really excels for that matter.

And that’s thanks to its Tegra K1 processor that’s able to deliver the graphical performance as today's desktops/PCs -, plus the gaming controller made by NVIDIA specifically for this device.

But interestingly, besides great as a gaming tablet, NVIDIA Shield Tablet can also be awesome as a note device and even painting canvas, thanks to its amazing stylus – which according to many reviews is as great as the S-Pen of Samsung GALAXY Note tablet.

However, there is still one device that could hold back NVIDIA Shield Tablet from being the best gaming tablet on the market.

And weirdly, it’s coming from Archos, a company mostly known for its tablets. That tablet is Archos GamePad 2, a 7-inch tablet powered by Mali-400 MP4 GPU.

However, unlike NVIDIA Shield Tablet that comes with a separate physical gaming controller, this Archos GamePad 2 interestingly also has that physical gaming controller, but not separately, it’s actually part of its body.

Yes – that’s true, Archos GamePad 2 has physical gaming controllers all over the body of the device.

This actually is the thing that makes this tablet stand out compared to most other rivals out there, even the iPads.

So on the left and right areas (in landscape mode), there’s a bunch of physical gaming buttons – like D-Pad, analog sticks, front-facing buttons and even trigger buttons as well. And this really adds a lot of huge point especially to the gaming experience of this device.

As a gaming tablet, of course Archos GamePad 2 is well-prepared on the sector of performance.

It’s powered by a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor, but the highlight here on this sector is actually its GPU – Mali-400 MP4 GPU, which is known to have powerful graphical performance and even able to handle games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4 or NOVA 3 in full highest graphics.

So with this powerful set of hardware, plus the physical gaming controller, there’s no doubt that playing games on this device is more awesome even than on the iPads because the controller is there on the device.

You don’t need any 3rd party gaming controller anymore with this device, because its physical gaming controller works great on this tablet.

But the questions remain, with all of these great gaming experience and performance of both devices,

which one between NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Archos GamePad 2 that deserves to be the best pure gaming tablet in this review?

Is it worth it to buy any of these devices especially for playing heavy games?

Do these tablets deserve to be positioned alongside other flagship rivals on today’s tablet market?

You're gonna get the answers of these questions in my final conclusion of this review. So be sure to keep reading!

Design

In terms of design, i think both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2 have their own characteristic and identity especially compared to other regular Android tablets out there on the market.

However, between these 2 tablets, in my opinion, the one that really stands out on this design department is definitely Archos GamePad 2 especially because there’s no other tablets on the market right now that have the design concept that Archos brings on this device.

But of course, PS Vita is not a tablet and it’s not even using a large 7-inch screen just like the one found on Archos GamePad 2. So i think it’s irrelevant to compare between these 2 different devices.

But even so, both Archos GamePad 2 and PS Vita have similarity when it comes to design.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
Archos GamePad 2
Archos GamePad 2
This Archos tablet actually kind of reminds me with PlayStation Vita because they both are touchscreen devices and they also have the same physical gaming buttons on the left and right sides in landscape mode.

They have all the physical buttons on the front, the analog sticks, the trigger buttons, the D-Pad and many more. This is actually the reason why i really like Archos GamePad 2 a lot.

It may not have the same monster specs of NVIDIA Shield Tablet, but with this type of gaming design, i think it will definitely add a lot of points especially to its gaming experience as a whole.

Besides, the hardware specs of this device are actually not too shabby at all, especially for handling the latest most graphics intense games like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed Most Wanted and many more. But we’ll get more on that later.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA Shield Tablet – as you know already – takes some design cues from HTC’s flagship smartphone, HTC One, especially with those speaker grilles on the front side of the device.

But this is actually a good thing for this tablet because with these speaker grilles – according to many reviews on YouTube -, the sound quality of this tablet is really good, it’s very loud and clear, making the experience of watching movies or playing games more realistic compared to other tablets, even the iPads.

Between these 2 tablets, i think this is pretty hard to determine which one of them that has the better design compared to other. Both tablets look great and work great for gaming.

I mean, even though NVIDIA Shield Tablet doesn’t have physical gaming buttons just like Archos tablet, but it still has its gaming controller that NVIDIA releases officially for this device.

It goes the same with Archos GamePad 2. It has complete set of physical gaming buttons all over the place and i think this could the killer feature on this device, which cannot be found on other tablets out there.

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Nvidia ShieldArchos Gamepad 2
No SIM, No GPRS
Released 2014, July
390 g (Weight)
DirectStylus 2
8.0 inchCapacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 16M colors (~283 ppi pixel density)
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
ULP GeForce Kepler 192-core GPU
2 GB RAM
Dual bass reflex port audio enhancement
microSD card slot for up to 128GB
Internal 16 GB
microUSB
5 MP rear-facing camera
5 MP front-facing camera with HDR
No Radio
Java MIDP emulator
19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery
    7-inch 1280 x 800 pixels IPS capacitive display
    Android 4.2, "Jelly Bean"
    1.6GHz Quad-core A9 Processor •
    Quad-core GPU Mali 400 MP4
    8GB/16GB
    micro SD up to 64GB formatted to FAT32
    2GB RAM
    Front-facing camera
    USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol
    Dual band WiFi
    Bluetooth
    Gaming Controls
    Two analogue thumb-sticks
    Directional pad
    6 front facing buttons
    4 shoulder buttons
    Built-in stereo speakers
    G-sensor
    HDMI output (Mini HDMI / HDMI cable sold separately)

    As gaming tablets, i think both tablets are really well prepared on the sector of hardware.

    And this is really important because any gaming device should have powerful set of hardware – from processor, RAM, big battery capacity and the most importantly, the GPU because this is the one that takes an integral part of how games will perform on the device.

    The good thing is, both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2 have what it takes to be good gaming tablets.

    However, if compared between these 2 devices, it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely more superior – far more superior – than Archos GamePad 2.

    In fact, this NVIDIA’s tablet is currently one of the best gaming tablets on the market right now.

    It has NVIDIA’s latest and greatest Tegra K1 processor, 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB of RAM, 1080p display (1920x1200 pixels) and many more.

    Not to mention, it’s also equipped with 5MP cameras front and back (which take great shots by the way) and the most importantly, the stylus.

    On the other hand, as a gaming tablet, i think Archos GamePad 2 is good, but not the best especially for today’s standards.

    It may have a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, Mali-400 MP4 GPU and 720p display - which are capable to execute heavy games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3 or Asphalt 8: Airborne in full highest graphics (as seen reviews on YouTube).

    However, for the next-gen games released in 2015, i don’t think this tablet will still be capable anymore to handle the future games in full highest graphics, especially the big ones.

    So in terms of overall specs, i think it’s quite clear that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely the one that takes the crown here, especially given that this device has the processor that’s capable to deliver the same graphical performance as today’s desktops/PCs.

    And that’s already hard to compete with old-gen hardware inside Archos’s tablet.

    Screen

    The superiority of NVIDIA Shield Tablet on the sector of specs apparently still continues to the display department.

    If Archos GamePad 2 is good enough with its 720p resolution on 7-inch display, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet is so much even better with 1080p resolution on a slightly larger 8.0-inch display.

    So as a result, the display of NVIDIA Shield Tablet looks much sharper and more crisp compared to Archos tablet.

    And this really adds up a lot of points on the gaming experience of this device because certainly, playing games on 1080p display is more pleasing than on 720p display – although 720p resolution already looks sharp for a 7-inch tablet.

    Besides great for playing games, the sharper 1080p display of NVIDIA Shield Tablet will also be as great for other things – like watching HD movies (even 1080p movies), reading books/magazines, browsing the web, checking out photos or editing documents.

    Text looks really crisp and readable even from far distance, image looks sharp and everything on the screen just looks really great on this device.

    User Interface

    On software side, both tablets actually share the same stock vanilla Android UI. However, given that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a much newer device than Archos tablet, so no wonder if it comes with the newer build of Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

    And the good news is, NVIDIA just released the official Android 5.0 Lollipop update for this device a couple of weeks ago.

    So there will be a complete overhaul made on the entire aspect of its UI, which is now based on “Material Design” that Google just unveiled at Android L’s announcement.

    Meanwhile, Archos GamePad 2 comes with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. I don’t know if this device will get its “Lollipop” in the near future.

    But with that Android 4.2 software build, you can still get all the great goodies like Google Now, Project Butter, PhotoSphere, and many more.

    The good thing is this device uses the stock Android UI, making its performance much faster and smoother especially when playing games, plus more efficient with the use of RAM and battery.

    Back to Top
    As mentioned above, even though Archos GamePad 2 is equipped with the set of hardware that’s capable to execute any latest graphics intense games in full highest graphics, this Archos tablet is still nothing compared to what NVIDIA Shield Tablet has inside its machine.

    But this is not very surprising especially given that this device was released long time before the NVIDIA Shield Tablet made its first debut this year.

    But the good thing is, the hardware specs of Archos GamePad 2 are still adequate to handle today’s games in 2014.

    Archos GamePad 2 is powered by a quad-core Cortex A9 processor, coupled with 2GB of RAM and the most importantly, Mali-400 MP4 GPU to handle the graphics-related tasks.

    With this type of specs, as seen on some reviews on YouTube, this Archos GamePad 2 is more than capable to handle latest games like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne or NOVA 3 in buttery smooth performance and amazingly in full highest graphics.

    On the other hand, NVIDIA Shield Tablet looks far more superior with its quad-core Tegra K1 processor, accompanied with 2GB of RAM and a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU.

    So it’s no brainer that this tablet is more than adequate to handle games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5 or GTA San Andreas smoothly in full highest graphics.

    As a matter of fact, according to console/PC game makers and Unreal Engine developers, Tegra K1 tablets like NVIDIA Shield Tablet is able to deliver the same graphical performance as today’s desktops.

    Not only that, based on some benchmark tests held by some tech sites, this Tegra K1 processor also managed to beat iPads with over 3 times graphical performance as Apple’s A7 chipset (with PowerVR G6430 GPU).

    And this is just too far amazing compared to Archos gaming device.

    Besides powerful in gaming performance, there are also some other things that make the gaming experience of NVIDIA Shield Tablet better.

    First of all, its sound quality is really great, thanks to the dual-speaker grilles on the front side. In fact, according to some reviews on YouTube, the sound quality of this tablet is really amazing, it’s very loud and clear.

    This of course makes the gaming experience of this device more realistic than on other tablets that have their speaker grilles on the rear or side area.

    As a Tegra K1 tablet, there’s also an advantage found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    And that has something to do with games. So thanks to its Tegra K1 processor, there are many games that have been well-optimized specifically for Tegra K1 tablets like NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    And they are available on a place called Tegra Zone (but has been changed to NVIDIA Hub or something) built by NVIDIA.

    So games on this device will have more detailed graphics and advanced visual effects compared to other games on non-Tegra-K1 tablets.

    No to mention, thanks to NVIDIA’s close relationship with Activision, Ubisoft, EA and many giant game developers, the future games for Tegra K1 tablets like NVIDIA Shield Tablet will have console-quality graphics and visual effects.

    And this has been proved by the release of Trine 2 and Half Life 2, which actually are ported from PS3 and PC specifically for Tegra K1 devices.

    This really contradicts with Archos GamePad 2. It may have the awesome physical gaming controller and buttons all over it.

    Plus, it’s also capable to handle today’s graphically demanding games perfectly.

    However, in the near future, or in 2015, this tablet will not look good anymore especially in terms of gaming performance.

    So between these NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2, i think it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA’s tablet is far better gaming tablet than Archos tablet.

    It may not have the physical gaming buttons all over its body, however, thanks to NVIDIA’s decision to release the official gaming controller – which looks like Xbox controller – specifically for this device, then the gaming experience of this tablet in the whole aspect is just much better than what Archos GamePad 2 has to offer to users.

    Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Archos GamePad 2, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

    Cameras

    The other thing that makes me really impressed with NVIDIA Shield Tablet is also its cameras.

    NVIDIA may not be known for its camera department, however, i think it’s amazing to see a gaming tablet like this apparently is also great on the sector of cameras.

    This is actually not surprising for me because the predecessor – Tegra Note – is also pretty impressive with its cameras, especially the rear one.

    So basically, if you decide to buy NVIDIA Shield Tablet, not only will you get a decent tablet with powerful gaming performance and amazing stylus, but also a tablet that takes great and sharp pictures.

    And i believe its stylus will be really useful especially to add more creativity to the photos you’ve taken with this tablet.

    However, the story is very different with Archos GamePad 2 tablet.

    Unlike NVIDIA Shield Tablet, this Archos’ gaming device is not equipped with a rear-facing camera, only the front-facing one. So if you happen to love photography, you’ll be left disappointed with this device.

    But this is expected to happen because Archos GamePad 2 is a pure gaming tablet, focused only as a gaming device, especially with its physical gaming buttons.

    So you have no right to complaint over its lack of rear-facing camera.

    Battery Life

    NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with 19.75Wh battery capacity, while Archos GamePad 2 is powered by a Lithium Polymer battery, but i don’t know about the exact capacity of its battery.

    According to some reviews i’ve seen on YouTube, the battery life of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is relatively good.

    It could last all day long especially when used for doing some basic daily tasks – like watching videos, browsing the web, reading contents, listening to music, editing documents, using the stylus and of course playing games.

    Unfortunately, its battery life could drop drastically to just around 3 to 4 hours when used for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen – like watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row.

    The same probably could happen on Archos GamePad 2 as well. It could survive in one solid day – on a full charge – when doing some basic stuff.

    But its battery would drain faster when deployed with some heavy graphics intense games.

    As for NVIDIA Shield Tablet, i really hope with the update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, it could really help make this tablet last much even longer, especially for gaming because that’s the main reason why NVIDIA builds this device in the first place, right?

    My Personal Opinions

    So in conclusion, as gaming tablets, i think both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Archos GamePad 2 are great gaming devices. No doubt about that.

    They are capable to handle the latest graphics intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4 or NOVA 3 in smooth buttery performance, plus in full highest graphics.

    However, if pitted side-by-side with NVIDIA Shield Tablet, it’s no-brainer that NVIDIA’s tablet is far more superior than Archos GamePad 2, especially in terms of gaming experience as a whole.

    It may not have the same physical gaming buttons on Archos tablet, however, with the separate gaming controller that NVIDIA releases officially for this tablet, i believe that’s more than enough to make NVIDIA Shield Tablet a better gaming tablet than Archos GamePad 2.

    I mean, besides that separate gaming controller, this NVIDIA’s tablet also has many other things that makes it a great gaming tablet – like its great sound quality, modern-looking and comfortable design for gaming, huge support from game developers (even console game makers), Tegra K1 well-optimized games and of course, a monster processor and GPU (which is as powerful as the graphical performance of today’s desktops/PCs).

    But that’s not all about how superior this NVIDIA’s tablet really is. There’s more. And that is its stylus and its writing experience.

    So according to many reviews on YouTube, the stylus of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is really amazing, even as amazing as the S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note.

    With this stylus, not only can you take simple notes or draw pictures, but also, you can literally create some beautiful paintings out of it.

    So its touch response is really smooth and realistic, every result of the stylus will be registered in real time on-the-fly to the screen, plus, its thickness can also be controlled according to your pressure of the stylus to the screen (similar just like writing with a real pen or felt-tip marker).

    Not to mention, there’s also the technology on this device (thanks to N-trig for that!) that prevents your palm from being registered when using the stylus. So long story short, the stylus of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is awesome!

    That’s why in the whole aspect between these 2 tablets, in my opinion, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a much better all-around device than Archos GamePad 2.

    I’m not saying that Archos tablet is a mediocre tablet. Well, that’s so wrong about that because Archos GamePad 2 is still a decent quality tablet, even as a pure gaming device.

    Its hardware specs are powerful and adequate to handle today’s games, it also has good sound quality and the most importantly, its physical gaming controller really makes NVIDIA Shield Tablet crippled if there’s no physical gaming controller from NVIDIA.

    However, the near future – which is about to arrive -, this Archos GamePad 2 will not look so good anymore especially in terms of gaming performance.

    And i don’t think this tablet will still be capable anymore to handle the next-gen console-quality games in 2015, especially in full highest graphics.

    And this is something that can only be found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet, given that its processor is specifically made by NVIDIA to handle next-gen games, even in the next 2 years ahead.

    So bottom line, in this final comparison review, i think it’s quite obvious that i have to go with NVIDIA Shield Tablet as the one that is a better gaming tablet. In fact, this NVIDIA’s homemade is also a better tablet than Archos GamePad 2 in the whole aspect.

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

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