How NVIDIA Shield Tablet is blowing Samsung NOTE 8 out of the water

Written by B Johnson April 03, 2017
NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 - Specs Comparison
Hi guys, welcome back to this site!

For the past couple of weeks, i’ve been showing you guys a lot of comparison reviews of a wide range tablets - from pure gaming tablets, media-consumption devices, note-taking slates or productivity-related machines.

Of course, most of these guys – if not all of them - are really great in terms of gaming performance, which make them great gaming tablets.

(NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 - Specs Comparison)

However, from all of those tablets, i think NVIDIA Shield Tablet has been one on my favorite in those reviews, even compared to the toughest rival – iPad mini Retina.

The reason is actually simple. And that is because NVIDIA Shield Tablet is not just an amazing machine for playing games, but it’s really impressive in many other ways.

I mean, it has good quality camera, its display looks really sharp, it has good sound quality, it has huge support from even console/PC game developers, its software is the simple and efficient stock Android version and the most importantly, it has an AMAZING and IMPRESSIVE stylus that even matches the writing and drawing experience of Samsung GALAXY note series.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 benchmarks and gaming performance

So with all of these facts presented in your FACE (i’m just kidding! Lol), it’s just really hard for me to not recommend this ‘guy’ (or girl?) to you, especially if you’re into mobile gaming and you also love taking notes (or drawing some funny pictures to your photos maybe?).

Yes, it’s true - NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a truly amazing all-around tablet.

This is the reason why today, for the several times, i’m going to write another comparison reviews involving this NVIDIA Shield Tablet with other challenger from other brand.

This time around, however, i’m gonna put the same category device just like this NVIDIA’s tablet.

Nope, it’s not a pure gaming tablet, but the tablet that i’m really excited to put in the same ring with NVIDIA Shield Tablet is no other than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

Well, if you’re also interested as I am to know more about the comparison between these 2 devices and see how they fare against each other in this review, including my take on their gaming experience and performance, then here you go, my comparison review between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Note 8.


Around the note-taking tablet market, there’s no single doubt that Samsung with its GALAXY Note tablet series has been literally untouchable by the same category rivals.

Not only does this tablet series have huge loyal fans all across the world, but they are also really great in the whole aspect, especially in note-taking experience.

And that’s not really shocking because Samsung has been in this segmented market for quite so long and certainly it has gained years of experience in this device category, which shapes up this company as an ‘expert’ in note tablet market.

And that’s shown perfectly on one of the devices in GALAXY Note series – Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

However, despite being the king in note device category, this Korean-manufacturer actually has one really tough challenger.

And it’s not Apple or LG (its own neighbor), but interestingly, it’s NVIDIA, the manufacturer known mostly for its graphics card lineup or GPU on wide range of computer devices and tablets.

This Jen Hsun Huang-led manufacturer actually already had one challenger for Samsung GALAXY note tablets around 3 years ago – powered by Tegra 4.

That tablet was NVIDIA Tegra Note, which then used as a reference device for other tablet manufacturers/NVIDIA’s partners to help them design the same exact device with their own branding – like HP with HP Slate7 Extreme or EVGA with EVGA Note, etc.

NVIDIA Tegra Note is actually an impressive quality tablet, especially as a note-taking device. The most impressive thing about this tablet is, besides great as a note tablet, this Tegra Note is also amazing to do many other things – like taking photos, recording videos, editing documents and of course playing games – thanks to its Tegra 4 processor and the beast 72-core GPU.

Last year in 2014, NVIDIA was back again with the same exact purpose. And that was to make another tough challenger for Samsung GALAXY Note series with more powerful gaming performance.

The second-gen NVIDIA Shield Tablet was then launched by this company as ‘the successor of the predecessor’ (hey, it rhymes!).

As it turned out, apparently NVIDIA really totally nailed it again this time with this tablet. Just like the previous-gen Tegra Note, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is also really impressive in a lot of ways, either for taking notes, drawing pictures, capturing photos, recording videos, editing documents and of course, playing games.

In fact, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is so much better than Tegra Note simply because it brings some bumped up specs here and there on the hardware and software.

But the questions remain, with all of the high-grade specs, impressive stylus experience and great gaming performance found on both devices,

Which one between NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that is a much better tablet in the whole aspect?

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

You'll find out more about my final conclusion of this comparison review at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!


Samsung GALAXY Note 8 was released in 2013, a few months after the real flagship Samsung GALAXY Note 2 made its first debut on the market. So in terms of design, this 8-inch tablet basically takes some inspirations or design cues from its flagship sibling.

It has that rounded rectangular looking design all over the side – which makes it look and feel quite chubby - and of course, its entire body is dominated by plastic polycarbonate material, which actually still continues even on the last-gen GALAXY devices.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield Tablet
Samsung GALAXY Note 8
Samsung GALAXY Note 8
On the other hand, just like Samsung GALAXY Note 8, NVIDIA’s tablet actually is also still inspired by the previous-gen tablet from NVIDIA. And that is no other than NVIDIA Tegra Note.

As a matter of fact, put its display size aside, the entire design of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is not a huge departure from the predecessor.

So it has that ‘modern futuristic’ looking design all over the place (especially with metallic gray coating), dark black layer around the side of the screen and of course, the most importantly, the dual-front-speaker grilles all over the right and left areas in landscape mode.

Between these 2 tablets, of course i have to side on NVIDIA’s tablet simply because it looks more modern and has the ‘tech’ looking design, compared to Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that is really prominent with its chubby rectangular design, which i kind of hate it actually.

I also love the dual-speaker grilles found on the front-side of NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

According to reviews, not only do these speaker grilles make the sound quality great, but they also give much better experience to users especially when playing games or watching movies.

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Nvidia ShieldSamsung GALAXY Note 8

Released July 2014
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 Memory 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
19.75 Wh Li-Ion battery
    Released April 2013
    8.0 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels (~189 ppi pixel density)
    Exynos 4412Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
    Mali-400MP GPU
    2 GB RAM
    Android OS 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
    5 MP rear-facing camera, autofocus
    1.3 MP front-facing camera
    MicroSD card slot for up to 64 GB
    16/32 GB Internal storage
    No Radio
    Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery

    As note-taking tablets, of course both NVIDIA and Samsung put the focus mostly on the writing and drawing experience on the stylus of their tablets.

    And impressively, they did a really great job on that part. You’re probably not so surprised to see how great the quality of S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note 8, given that Samsung already has years of experience in note tablet market.

    However, something really amazing is actually found on its contender – NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    So just like the S-pen on Note 8, the stylus or called DirectStylus2 on NVIDIA Shield Tablet impressively is also really great in terms of writing and drawing experience.

    And that’s shown perfectly on how its stylus is capable to not only take simple notes or draw funny pictures on your photos, but also you can literally create some beautiful paintings out of it (of course if you have the skill to do that!).

    So with that being said, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet can be considered as an equal challenger for Samsung GALAXY Note 8 in note tablet market.

    But that’s actually not the only thing that makes NVIDIA Shield Tablet impressive. There’s more.

    And the most prominent strength found on this device is definitely its powerful graphical performance – thanks to the staggering 192-core GPU found on its Tegra K1 processor.

    Compared to the Mali-400 and Exynos 4412 quad-core processor on Samsung GALAXY Note 8, it’s just no-brainer that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is more superior than Samsung’s note device.

    NVIDIA Shield Tablet comes with some of the best high-grade specs in today’s standards.

    It has an 8-inch display sporting the full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution, a quad-core Tegra K1 processor, a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB of RAM, 5MP cameras front and back sans LED flash, microSD card slot for up to 128GB, Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, 6700mAh battery, the DirectStylus and some other standard features.

    I think its microSD card slot is one of the best selling points on this tablet, of course besides its amazing gaming performance and stylus.

    Not to mention, this tablet also ships with NVIDIA Shield gaming controller (sold separately though).

    On the other hand, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 looks humble in terms of spec sheet, compared to NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    It comes with the same 8-inch display but sporting lower 720p resolution, a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor, 2GB of RAM, Mali 400MP GPU, 5MP camera on the back, 1.3MP camera on the front, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, microSD card slot for up to 32GB, 4600mAh battery and of course the S-Pen.

    Not to mention, there are also some standard features, including the 3G connectivity.


    As far as the display is concerned, i think it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is more superior than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 in terms of sharpness.

    And that’s because its 8-inch screen is sporting the full HD 1920x1200 pixel resolution, as opposed to the 1280x800 pixel resolution crammed on the 8-inch display of Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    So reading books are browsing the web are definitely more pleasing to do on NVIDIA’s tablet than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 simply because its display looks much sharper and clearer from far distance (or without doing the pinch-to-zoom gesture).

    However, the great thing about Samsung is, this manufacturer has been known for its years of experience in developing its own display along with all of its technology.

    So even if NVIDIA Shield Tablet is superior in terms of sharpness, the display of Samsung GALAXY Note 8 actually still looks pretty sharp and gorgeous, especially with more popping out colors and great viewing angle.

    In simple words, the display of Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still good enough for most of the users.

    User Interface

    Samsung GALAXY note series has been really prominent with all of the added features for its S-Pen. Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is no exception.

    Based on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, the whole interface of this tablet is layered by Samsung’s usual TouchWiz UI along with some new goodies related to the stylus experience of its S-Pen.

    So besides all the usual S-Pen pre-loaded apps – like note-taking apps, drawing app, etc – there will be also some new features and tasks that are tailored to the entire system of its platform.

    That really contradicts with the UI of NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

    This NVIDIA’s homemade device may also have some pre-loaded apps for its DirectStylus – like note-taking app, Paintbrush-alike app, etc - along with the features and tasks all over the system – such as lasso feature, etc.

    However, unlike the fully-customized TouchWiz UI on Samsung GALAXY Note 8, the UI of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is actually the standard stock version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

    So there will be no significant overhaul made by NVIDIA on the entire experience of this UI. In simple words, it is the standard Android UI that Google Android released for all tablet manufacturers.

    But even so, i think the UIs of both tablets are still great equally.

    Okay, the stock Android UI of NVIDIA Shield Tablet may not be well-optimized specifically for note-taking experience – as opposed to the TouchWiz UI on Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that is made for its S-Pen -.

    However, the overall writing and drawing experience on NVIDIA is still considered as great, especially given the fact that NVIDIA’s is a new player in note tablet market.

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    NVIDIA Shield Tablet is originally intended by NVIDIA as a pure gaming tablet, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is more prominent as a note-taking device.

    So when pitted side-by-side against each other, it’s just no-brainer that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is far more superior than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 especially in terms of gaming and graphical performance. And that can be seen perfectly on its processor and GPU.

    NVIDIA Shield Tablet is powered by a quad-core 32-bit Tegra K1 processor, accompanied with a staggering 192-core Kepler GPU and 2GB of RAM, which are way more powerful than the Exynos 4412 quad-core processor and Mali-400MP GPU found inside Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    So for playing games, NVIDIA Shield Tablet is more ideal than Samsung’s note device. And the fact that NVIDIA also releases the Shield gaming controller for this tablet, really makes it a far better gaming device than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    In terms of gaming performance, however, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually still pretty good on the department. It’s still capable to execute some of the latest graphically demanding games like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, NOVA 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted or GTA Vice City – all run smoothly even in full highest graphics.

    Meanwhile, NVIDIA Shield Tablet looks more promising as a gaming tablet because it’s not only capable to handle the aforementioned games above, but it also has all the graphical power even to handle some next-gen games with console-quality graphics and visual effects – like Half Life 2, Trine 2 and Oddworld Stranger's Wrath, which are actually games ported from PC, PS3 and Xbox classic respectively.

    Besides more powerful in gaming performance, the other things that make NVIDIA Shield Tablet more ideal for playing games than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely its better sound quality.

    And this happens thanks to the dual-speaker-grilles found on the front side of the device, which according to many reviews really make the sound speaker much louder and clearer.

    Not to mention, NVIDIA has also been known for its partnership with many famous PC/console game developers.

    And this has been proved by the willingness of many developers to port their popular titles specifically to Tegra K1 tablets like NVIDIA Shield Tablet. Last i heard, there is one awesome game called Oddworld Stranger's Wrath that gets ported to Tegra K1.

    So this has proved that NVIDIA Shield Tablet will have much brighter future in gaming industry than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    So bottom line, if you’re looking for a pure gaming tablet that has an amazing stylus experience, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely your best shot here. -


    Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is one of the Samsung’s flagship devices in 2013. And almost all of Samsung’s flagship tablets have great quality cameras.

    So as a flagship device of Samsung, there’s no single doubt that this tablet is really superior in terms of camera quality.

    As a matter of fact, if you’re into photography, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely a great choice for you. So its cameras – especially the rear 5MP one - are capable to take decent quality photos and videos.

    And thanks to its S-Pen, you can also do a lot of creative stuff with your photos.

    That goes the same with NVIDIA Shield Tablet. Just like Samsung GALAXY Note 8, you can also create some funny stuff on your photos with its DirectStylus.

    The good thing found on NVIDIA Shield Tablet compared to Samsung’s note tablet is actually on its front-facing camera, which is 5MP as opposed to the ‘only’ 1.3MP front-facing shooter found on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    So for taking selfies, it’s obvious that the front-camera of NVIDIA’s tablet is capable to take much sharper photos than on the Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    Battery Life

    In terms of battery capacity, NVIDIA Shield Tablet probably looks more superior compared to Samsung GALAXY Note 8, simply because – on paper – it comes with a much larger 6700mAh battery as opposed to the smaller 4600mAh battery found inside Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    However, that’s not really shocking for me because NVIDIA’s tablet is sporting a much higher-resolution display than Samsung’s note device (1920x1200 pixels VS 1280x800 pixels), not to mention, the Tegra K1 processor of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is certainly more power-hungry than the Exynos quad-core 4412 processor of Samsung GALAXY Note 8, especially with its staggering 192-core GPU.

    So even with smaller 4600mAh battery, i believe Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still more than capable to deliver an all-day-long battery life to its users, of course in moderate use.

    It actually the same one with NVIDIA Shield Tablet, thanks to its larger 6700mAh, you can totally expect this pure gaming device to stay alive in full solid day on a full 100% charge, also in moderate use.

    However, when things get more intensive especially for watching movies or playing games in longer session – or without resting the screen at all – their battery life would drop drastically to just few hours, say, around 4 to 7 hours and you will be required to always recharge any of these devices twice a day, of course if you are a power user.

    As a matter of fact, according to some reviews on YouTube, the battery life of NVIDIA Shield Tablet could only survive around 2 to 3 hours when deployed with some heavy graphics intense games – or maybe console-quality games like Trine 2 or Half Life 2.

    The solution for this issue is by setting its brightness to the lower level.

    But the good news is, NVIDIA Shield Tablet can now can be upgraded to the latest and greatest Android 5.0 Lollipop.

    And you probably know that on this new build software, Google did a lot of improvements and tweaks especially on its battery life. It may look more advanced with more features, however, it’s now more efficient with the use of memory and battery, especially thanks to the simplicity of “Material Design”.

    So i believe this could really help a lot in making this NVIDIA’s tablet last much longer especially for heavy intense gaming.

    My Personal Opinions

    So my final conclusion of this comparison review is, as note-taking tablet category, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 may be superior than NVIDIA Shield Tablet especially with its TouchWiz experience that has been well-optimized for its S-Pen.

    However, the writing and drawing experience of the stylus of NVIDIA Shield Tablet is actually not too shabby at all. It still comes with many great and useful features tailored on many pre-loaded apps and all over the system.

    Besides, i believe NVIDIA through its app/game market, will push more and more new features and apps especially to improve the stylus experience on this device.

    As gaming tablet category, however, it’s definitely NVIDIA Shield Tablet that has more power compared to Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    I’m not saying that the Mali-400MP GPU and Exynos 4412 quad-core processor of Samsung’s tablet are inferior in terms of performance.

    Well, that would be SO WRONG because with Mali-400 GPU and Exynos 4412 CPU, you can still play some heavy games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4, GTA Vice City or NOVA 3 – all smoothly in full highest graphics.

    However, when compared with the Tegra K1 processor along with its staggering 192-core GPU, it’s just no-brainer that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is far more powerful and way ahead against its rival, especially in graphical performance.

    So this tablet is not only capable to handle the aforementioned games above perfectly, but it also has the power even to ‘execute’ some console-quality games like Half Life 2, Trine 2 and Oddworld Stranger's Wrath, which are ported straightly from consoles and PC..

    Not to mention, in terms of gaming experience as a whole, NVIDIA Shield Tablet also looks far more promising than Samsung GALAXY Note 8 – thanks to its much sharper display, better sound quality, huge support from mobile/console/PC game developers and of course more comfortable design for playing games.

    So bottom line, both of these tablets may be ‘on the same level’ as note-taking devices. However, as gaming tablets, there’s no single doubt that NVIDIA Shield Tablet is just untouchable by Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

    Even so, i think both Samsung GALAXY Note 8 and NVIDIA Shield Tablet are still great tablets equally.

    They are great for taking notes, drawing pictures, browsing the web, reading books, editing documents, taking photos, recording videos, doing selfies and of course, playing games.

    But at the end of the day, the final decision of buying these tablets will come down to your personal preference and needs.

    I mean, if you’re looking for a decent note-taking tablet with powerful gaming performance and high-grade hardware, then NVIDIA Shield Tablet is definitely your destination here.

    But Samsung GALAXY Note 8 can also be a good choice especially if you love its S-Pen and TouchWiz experience on this device. Both devices are still worth buying tablets on the market right now.
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