NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 Specs Comparison

Written by B Johnson January 27, 2015
NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 Specs Comparison
Hi guys, welcome back to this site!

Many of tablets out there on the market to date – either they are running Android, iOS or even Windows RT platform – are mostly great as gaming devices, of course the ones with high-grade hardware specs.

(NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 - Specs Comparison)

However, despite being great and powerful to play games, most of these tablets are actually not really ideal as gaming tablets, even the iPads.

Okay, their hardware package may be more than capable to handle even the most graphically demanding games in today’s standards.

However, in order to be good gaming tablets - besides having an adequate gaming performance -, the other important things like touch response on the screen, comfortable design (especially the rear-cover), battery life, sound speaker quality, well-optimized game catalog and some other factors must also be taken into account.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet VS Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 benchmarks and gaming performance

I call all of these as ‘gaming experience’ which consists all of these factors – not just gaming performance.

And that makes it pretty hard to determine whether the tablets have great gaming experience or not because – as you know already – almost all tablets are mostly not pure gaming tablets, even the iPads.

That shows perfectly when these ‘not-pure gaming tablets’ are deployed some console-type games like FPS or third person perspective/shooter games.

And I know quite sure that playing Bioshock game on iPad Air 2 is just not really fun to do with on-screen virtual buttons.

However, there are actually some tablets that are great as gaming tablets. And by ‘great’, i mean they are indeed great for playing games and of course, have all the elements of gaming tablets (or ‘gaming experience, as i mentioned above).

Some of them are Archos GamePad 2 and NVIDIA Shield Tablet. The other tablets are actually also great as gaming tablets, of course when merged with 3rd party gaming controllers.

But something that really attracts me with these 2 devices are actually how they are intended by the manufacturer as pure gaming tablets.

That’s the reason why today, i’m really interested to bring up again this NVIDIA Shield Tablet into my next comparison review. However, in this review, i’m not going to compare this NVIDIA’s slate with another pure gaming tablet.

But the rival for this Tegra K1 tablet is actually made by the manufacturer as a productivity device. The tablet i’m talking about is Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, the LTE model.

Actually, the other main reason why i want to put these 2 tablets into the ring is because one visitor of this website asked me about which one of these devices that can be suitable for him.

So then i thought, this probably could be interesting to compare these 2 tablets and see how they fare against each other, especially in terms of gaming performance and experience as a whole.

Well, if you’re also excited to learn more about these 2 tablets, including my take on their gaming performance, then here you go, my comparison review between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4.


In the whole aspect, i think both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 look really powerful, especially with their hardware specs.

They have their own strengths and also weaknesses. Samsung’s tablet may have a 2.5K display, however, NVIDIA Shield Tablet has a stylus that even is nearly as good as the S-Pen of Samsung GALAXY note tablet, in terms of writing experience.

Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 has good quality cameras. And it goes the same with NVIDIA’s tablet.

Its cameras may not be as great and sharp as the ones found on Samsung’s tablet, but at least, their quality is still good and sharp enough for most of users.

The thing that actually really attracts me with NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely its gaming performance and experience as a whole.

And that’s not really shocking given that this device is originally intended by NVIDIA as a pure gaming tablet. And that’s shown perfectly by its Tegra K1 processor – which is made for gaming -, its great sound quality (thanks to the dual-front-speakers), its great design (that is comfortable for playing games for hours) and of course, its gaming capability that is even capable to handle console-quality games.

Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is on the other side of the road. Unlike NVIDIA Shield Tablet, this Samsung’s device is aimed mostly at productive users – like employees, bosses, students or other productive users.

It may not have the stylus like on NVIDIA’s tablet, but when it comes to software, features, UI and the entire experience, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is definitely more prepared as productivity device.

But the questions remain. Between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4,

Which one that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Which one between these 2 devices that is a much better tablet in the whole aspect?

Are there any other alternatives that are better than these 2 slates?

If you want to know the answers of these questions, be sure to read the rest of this review. :)


Design has always been the center of attention of most people on Samsung’s GALAXY tablets. As a matter of fact, people always compare Samsung devices with iGadgets of Apple, especially in terms of design and build quality.

But impressively, Samsung is now more than prepared for that kind of scrutiny. Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is one of its devices that probably could change the perception from public regarding Samsung’s devices in the future.

So exactly similar with Samsung GALAXY Note 3 phablet, this 8.4-inch tablet takes some design cues from that flagship device from Samsung, especially on the rear side.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4
Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4
The most noticeable similarities are of course the same ‘fake’ elements like faux leather case, fake metal trim, fake stitching and not to mention, sharper looking corners all over the side.

I personally really like the design approach that Samsung adopts on this device. I like the fact that it has that faux leather pattern on its back – which makes it look and feel premium, despite not using aluminum material just like iPad -.

And i also love how each corner of this tablet now is made sharper less rectangular by Samsung, as opposed to the old-gen GALAXY devices that mostly have bulky and full-rounded corners.

On the other hand with Samsung’s tablet, NVIDIA Shield Tablet looks entirely different. In terms of design, this NVIDIA tablet is actually not a huge departure from the previous-gen Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme.

In fact, they almost look identical – especially on the front side – with 2 areas for dual-speaker grilles and 2 layer colors (metallic gray and black) around the side of the screen. This actually kind of reminds me with HTC’s flagship smartphone – HTC One M8 -, which also adopts the same design concept and of course, the dual-speaker grilles.

However, these dual speakers are not just there for nothing. The manufacturer actually puts these speaker grilles on the front side area in order to improve the sound speaker quality of this device. And turns out, it really works really impressively.

According to most reviews i’ve seen on YouTube, not only do these dual-speaker grilles produce loud and clear sound quality to this tablet, but they amazingly also make the experience of playing games or watching movies more realistic than on any other tablets.

Between the 2, i think both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 are really impressive in terms of design. I like the sharp looking less-rectangular design on Samsung’s device, while i also like the modern accent found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

They look really elegant, premium and in fact, deserve to be positioned alongside other flagship rivals across the market, even the iPads.

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Nvidia ShieldSamsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 3G LTE

Released July 2014
390 g (Weight)
DirectStylus 2
8.0 inchCapacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 16M colors (~283 ppi pixel density)
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra K1 Chipset
ULP GeForce Kepler 192-core GPU
Dual bass reflex port audio enhancement
microSD card slot for up to 128GB
Internal 16 GB
5 MP rear-facing camera HDR
5 MP front-facing camera with HDR
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
HTML5 Browser
No Radio
Java MIDP emulator
HDMI port
19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery

    LTE (Micro-SIM)
    Released March 2014
    335 g (Weight)
    8.4 inch Super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1600 x 2560 pixels, (~359 ppi pixel density)
    Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
    Adreno 330 GPU
    2 GB RAM
    microSD card slot for up to 64 GB
    16/32 GB Internal storage
    GPRS, HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps
    Wi-Fi 802.11
    Bluetooth. GPS, Infrared port, microUSB v2.0
    8 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash
    2 MP front-facing camera (1080p@30fps video recording)
    Android OS 4.4 KitKat Samsung TouchWiz UI
    No Radio
    Java MIDP emulator
    Non-removable Li-Ion 4800 mAh battery

    Both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 are released by each manufacturer in entirely different category, with NVIDIA’s device being a note-taking tablet, while Samsung’s tablet of course going to the productivity tablet market specifically.

    However, both devices impressively are also good, even great as gaming devices. And that’s shown perfectly on their powerful high-grade hardware specs.

    NVIDIA Shield Tablet is prominent with its Tegra K1 quad-core processor, 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB of RAM, a full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution on its 8.0-inch display, DirectStylus 2, 5MP cameras on both sides, Android 4.4 KitKat (upgradeable to Lollipop), microSD card slot for up to 128GB, 19.75Wh battery and some other standard features.

    Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is also impressive with its 2.5K resolution on its 8.4-inch display (2560x1600 pixels), a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 330 GPU, 8MP and 2MP cameras back and front with Led flash, Samsung Magazine UI, Android 4.4. Kitkat, microSD card for up to 64GB, 4800mAh battery and also some other standard features.

    Between these 2 devices, i think it’s pretty obvious that both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 are pretty equal in terms of spec sheet. I mean, each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses.

    Samsung’s tablet may have a 2.5K display, however, NVIDIA Shield Tablet still has a more powerful Tegra K1 processor, bigger microSD card slot support and stylus.

    It goes the same with Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, it may not have the stylus or powerful processor, but its cameras are more superior in terms of quality, especially thanks to LED flash.


    For the past few years, display has always been one of the strongest points on many Samsung devices, especially the flagship models. The most prominent superiority of this manufacturer on this department is of course its huge inventory of 2.5K screens for all of its flagship devices.

    Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is no exception. Given its flagship badge, of course Samsung will treat this device well especially on the sector of display.

    It sports 2560x1600 pixel resolution on its small 8.4-inch Super Clear display, as opposed to the ‘only’ full HD 1920x1200 pixel display on NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    So when it comes to sharpness, on paper, it’s definitely Samsung’s tablet that comes out as the winner here against NVIDIA Shield Tablet. However, it’s actually not just on paper, but also in the real life implementation.

    So thanks to Samsung’s years of experience and expertise in developing its own display along with its technology, the display on Samsung’s devices is mostly great in terms of overall quality.

    It has great viewing angle, amazing color reproduction and the saturation of the colors also look almost perfect (although some people call it as overly saturated display, especially on Super AMOLED screen).

    And that’s what happens exactly on the screen of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4. Even though the colors on this screen is not as outstanding as on other Samsung devices with Super AMOLED display (like Samsung GALAXY Tab S series), the screen of this tablet still looks gorgeous and in fact, more superior than the so called “Retina” display of iPads.

    So it looks insanely sharp (obviously) and vibrant, the colors look well-saturated, text looks readable even from far distance, image looks crisp and everything just looks gorgeous.

    In terms of sharpness and color saturation, the full HD display on NVIDIA Shield Tablet may not be on the same level with the screen on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4.

    However, having the full HD resolution on a small 8.0-inch display actually still produces an eye-pleasing experience to most of users.

    In fact, it still looks sharp and crisp, the colors look realistic 'less-saturated' and overall, its quality is more than good enough actually for many users.

    But of course, when pitted side-by-side with Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, it’s just no-brainer if NVIDIA Shield Tablet is not on par especially in terms of sharpness and color saturation.

    User Interface

    Besides being 2 entirely different category tablets, both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 are actually very different as well on the sector of software.

    NVIDIA Shield Tablet – as you probably know already – has been really consistent with the use of stock vanilla Android UI, the same one found on, say, Nexus devices.

    So there’s not much to write home about especially on the features or pre-loaded apps because it looks and works just the same with the standard stock Android UI.

    However, as an NVIDIA-branded tablet, of course, there are something that make it slightly different than the original stock Android UI, for example like the addition of NVIDIA’s pre-loaded apps, such as: NVIDIA Game Hub and some other new added features and tasks related to the stylus on this tablet, like lasso app, note-taking app, paintbrush-alike app and many other more.

    This really contradicts with Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 that comes with an entirely different UI than its usual TouchWiz UI.

    So if TouchWiz UI still inherits a lot of standard stock Android elements like standard homescreen layout, widget element, app drawer and some other more, then the Magazine UI on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 probably is a complete overhaul of TouchWiz UI.

    So on this new entirely UI, the standard design layout of TouchWiz UI has been reshaped by Samsung in Live-Tile-based homescreen – slightly similar with the Live Tiles on Metro UI of Windows-powered devices.

    So the Android widgets that you’re familiar to see on regular Android tablets have been reshaped entirely into Live-Tile-based widget.

    You can also set the Live Tiles with some other interesting stuff like news feed, Twitter updates, emails, calendar and many more.

    Personally, i really like the Magazine UI on this device. Not only does it look way different than the standard UI, but also it offers a lot of cool new stuff that probably can be handy in the long term, especially for productive people like employees, bosses or students.

    I think it would be great if Samsung also equipped this tablet with the S-Pen, it would make its functionality more enhanced especially given that this device is intended as “Pro” productivity device, right?

    Back to Top
    Both NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 are actually ideal as gaming devices. Samsung’s device may not be released as a pure gaming tablet, but its processor is Snapdragon 800 along with Adreno 330 GPU, plus 2GB of RAM are more than sufficient for playing today's Android games.

    So basically, with this type of hardware specs, it will scream a lot even when playing the most graphics intense games like Modern Combat 5 or GTA San Andreas, even in full highest graphics.

    It goes the same with NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    Thanks to Tegra K1 quad-core processor, as well as 192-core Kepler GPU and 2GB of RAM, any Android games that you see today on the market, even heavy latest titles like Modern Combat 5, GTA San Andreas or Asphalt 8: Airborne – all can be executed perfectly with no lag whatsoever, even in full highest-graphics setting.

    However, in terms of gaming experience as a whole – as i mentioned at the beginning part of this review – it’s definitely NVIDIA Shield Tablet that is more prepared than Samsung’s device.

    And that’s not shocking because this NVIDIA’s tablet is made by the manufacturer as a pure gaming tablet, besides as a note-taking device.

    The first advantage found on its Tegra K1 processor is its capability to handle console-quality games. And that’s already proved by the arrival of 3 popular console and PC games – Half Life 2, Trine 2 and Oddworld Stranger's Wrath, which both are ported straightly from consoles and PC, even with the same quality graphics and visual effects.

    And this – of course – cannot be found on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4.

    Not to mention, the fact that NVIDIA has a close relationship with many famous console/PC game publishers and developers - like Ubisoft, Activision or EA - will make it easier to convince these game makers to port some of their popular titles specifically to Tegra K1 tablets like NVIDIA Shield Tablet in the future.

    And that’s not it.

    NVIDIA also has a dedicated game/app store called NVIDIA Hub filled with a wide range of games that are well-optimized specifically for Tegra K1 tablets.

    So games on this NVIDIA Hub have more detailed graphics, more advanced visual effects and many other goodies that are not available on other non-Tegra-K1 devices, including the iPads.

    The other things that make NVIDIA Shield Tablet a better gaming tablet than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is of course its good sound quality.

    And this thanks to the dual-speaker grilles found on the front side. According to some reviews on YouTube, the sound that comes out from these speaker grilles is really loud and clear, making the experience of playing games more realistic especially for gamers.

    Not to mention, besides that great and loud sound quality, NVIDIA Shield Tablet also ships with its own gaming controller. And based on some reviews, this gaming controller works really great on this device.

    Anyway, FYI, this gaming controller looks and works similarly like the Project Shield gaming controller, but of course, without 5-inch screen attached on it


    Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is armed with 8MP camera on the back, while the front-side is provided with 2MP camera so users can do selfies (like there’s no other thing to do besides taking selfies, huh?).

    Not to mention, there’s also LED flash found on the back camera, giving you more power to capture photos and videos in low-light condition.

    When it comes to quality, i probably don’t need to talk a lot because Samsung’s flagship devices mostly have great quality cameras, even alongside iPads.

    So if you’re into photography, then your hobby will be accommodated very well on this device. No argue about that.

    So how about the cameras on NVIDIA Shield Tablet? Well, first of all, this tablet is equipped with 5MP cameras on the back and front respectively.

    There’s no LED flash by the way, so if you love taking photos/recording videos at night, there’s probably not much to write home about on its quality.

    And if compared with the cameras – especially the rear camera – of Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, this NVIDIA’s tablet may not be on the same level, in terms of sharpness and quality as well.

    However, according to what i’ve seen on video reviews of this tablet on YouTube, the rear-camera of NVIDIA Shield Tablet tablet actually takes decent quality shots.

    So if you also happen to love photography, you can still count on the camera of this device.

    In fact, thanks to the amazing stylus NVIDIA provides on this tablet, taking photos on this tablet is probably a lot more fun to do than on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 simply because it allows you to do some creative stuff on the photos with that stylus.

    Battery Life

    On the sector of battery, both devices can be considered as pretty equal, especially in moderate use. Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is powered by 4800mAh battery, while NVIDIA Shield Tablet is equipped with a larger 19Wh battery or equal to around 5400mAh (10Wh = 2700mAH if i’m not mistaken).

    Of course, on paper, NVIDIA’s tablet may look really superior given its bigger capacity. However, NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with a quad-core Tegra K1 processor along with 192-core Kepler GPU, and these 2 things can be really power hungry especially when deployed with some heavy graphics intense tasks in such long hours.

    Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is also not light-weight with its hardware. It has a super-high-resolution 2.5K display and pretty power-hungry processor, especially with 2.3GHz clock speed (it makes it faster, but it drains a lot of power from its battery).

    But compared to the processor found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet, the Snapdragon 800 processor of Tab Pro 8.4 is probably not as heavy as Tegra K1.

    That can be seen on the NVIDIA Shield Tablet tablet – which according to some reviews – is not really efficient with battery life especially when used to play graphically demanding stuff like games. In fact, it could only survive in 2 – 3 hours for heavy intense 3D games.

    This of course really contradicts with the Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 that could survive much longer even for gaming, probably around 5 to 7 hours.

    But even so, for doing some basic daily stuff in moderate use, i believe both tablets are more than happier to deliver a sufficient battery life in one day especially as media-consumption devices.

    The good news is, i've heard a lot that the latest iteration of Android OS - Android 5.0 Lollipop - brings a lot of improvements especially on battery department.

    So with NVIDIA Shield Tablet getting updated with this latest Android build, i believe its battery life will be much improved especially for playing heavy games.

    My Personal Opinions

    So in my final conclusion of the comparison review between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, i think both devices are really great especially in their own category – NVIDIA Shield Tablet is great as a note-taking device and gaming tablet, while Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is more on the productivity side and media-consumption stuff, but also good for gaming.

    And the fact that they both have their own strengths and weaknesses on each other, also makes these 2 tablets pretty equal in the whole aspect.

    Okay, NVIDIA Shield Tablet may be really superior with its gaming-dedicated Tegra K1 processor and 192-core GPU (that’s able to handle console-quality games) and also its amazing stylus (that even matches the writing and drawing experience of S-Pen).

    However, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 is also really impressive on many sectors, like display (2.5K resolution), cameras, LED flash, battery life or UI and features.

    It goes the same with Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4.

    This tablet may be superior on aforementioned sectors above, however, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is also really good – if not better – on the same departments where Samsung’s tablet is really superior at.

    I mean, its 5MP cameras take decent quality shots, its stock Android UI is good also in features, its full HD display looks sharp and crisp and its battery life is actually pretty good given that it only comes with light-weight stock vanilla Android UI.

    Not to mention, NVIDIA Shield Tablet also has much larger 128GB expandable microSD card slot, as opposed to the only 64GB on Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4.

    Meanwhile, in terms of gaming performance, both tablets can actually be considered as pretty equal because Tegra K1 and Snapdragon 800 are currently 2 of the best mobile processors on the market to date, and they are also flagship high-end quality processors.

    So basically, with these processors along with their GPUs, both of these tablets are more than adequate to handle any Android games that you see today on the market – like GTA San Andreas or Modern Combat 5, even in full highest graphics.

    But of course, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a much better gaming tablet overall because it has a gaming-dedicated processor and GPU (that’s able to play even console-quality games), better sound quality (thanks to dual-speaker grilles), next-gen games with console-quality graphics and visual effects, Shield gaming controller and many other more.

    So with much better gaming experience, i think this puts NVIDIA Shield Tablet on a much higher level than Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4, especially in gaming tablet category.

    I’m not saying that Samsung’s device is not good for gaming. However, this device is not intended as a gaming device by Samsung, so it’s quite obvious that Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 will not be as great as NVIDIA Shield Tablet, in terms of gaming experience as a whole.

    But even so, in overall quality, i think both devices are still impressive – again, equally. They are more than good for watching movies, browsing the web, reading stuff, editing documents, listening to music, checking out photos, taking photos, recording videos and even playing games.

    However, the final decision of buying any of these devices will totally come down to your personal preference or needs.

    I mean, if you’re looking for a great note-taking device that is also outstanding for playing games, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet is no doubt your destination here.

    On the other hand, if you’re in the search for a productivity device that also has impressive gaming performance, then Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 can also be a great option here.
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