Why Nvidia’s Shield Tablet is a real winner

Nvidia announced an attractive upgraded Shield Tablet this week. I’ve been playing with it for about a week now. They’ve doubled the memory to 32GB and added LTE support for a $100 (£60) increase and this is a decent deal for the money. Android games continue to improve and this tablet now comes close to not only providing a game console like experience but one that is portable, which can be rather handy.

Let’s talk about portable gaming.

Why console gaming isn’t working for mobile

The reason is that the portable game systems and the console game systems are still very different. The mobile systems (PSP and so forth) have tiny screens compared the tablets we’ve been working with, and now even phones are coming out with bigger screens.

Gaming on a tablet is where many of us have shifted but tablets still have very limited gaming performance and, for a lot of games, the on-screen controller capability is very limited, making us wish we could have a real gaming controller to get everything to work.

In effect I think we are looking for something that approaches a full gaming console experience that we can also take with us without lugging a console around.

Tegra tablet refresh

The Shield Tablet has the ability to plug into an HDMI TV, it has the option of a Wi-Fi controller (for low latency), and it will even stream games from your PC if you want to play a game your tablet can’t run. This also makes it easier to move a game from your PC to your TV because you can use your tablet as a bridge. You can use it as a multiplayer console or to stream games from the cloud or your PC.

It has a unique low latency Wi-Fi controller (much better than Bluetooth), and it has a gamepad mapper for games that weren’t designed to work with Shield’s controller.

Playing with the Shield Tablet

I’ve been gaming on the Tegra tablet in its various forms for the better part of a year now and it has a number of benefits. Gameplay is fast and fun, the new Wi-Fi controller is low latency and it sets up very easily (the last time I set one up it auto paired without my even having to touch it).

The tablet is decent for browsing the web and for reading books. It handles all of the other typical tablet tasks well with one exception - it is outstanding with a stylus. Short of a Windows tablet with a stylus this tablet is marvellous if you want to write with a pen on your tablet, or indeed sketch. I’m not much of an artist and I can’t even read my own handwriting, so this feature is largely lost on me, but I can confirm that the accuracy and feel is the best I’ve experienced on an Android tablet and far better than the iPad.

As Nvidia Grid gaming systems move to market, the ability to use the unique Wi-Fi controller could be a game changer, and increasingly you’ll be able to get better than console experiences from this product. Grid is Nvidia’s cloud gaming platform and, assuming you have a strong network, this promises an amazing experience.

One of the things you’ll appreciate is the high quality sound that comes out of this tablet. With two forward mounted speakers and a decent amp you can listen to this without headphones and it isn’t a bad experience. With most other tablets the native sound component sucks.

Read more: Nvidia Shield Tablet: Hands-on preview

Wrapping up

Nvidia has stepped things up with its upgraded Shield Tegra tablet. The LTE capability ensures you can always connect with your games and check for email or browse the web when you are out and about. The extra memory gives you more movie and music capability, and if you look at what Apple and others charge for this kind of upgrade, the $100 (£60) price increase looks to be a bargain. Christmas is coming up and maybe this year the thing you want under the tree is the Shield Tablet. If you get a chance, check it out - you won’t be disappointed.