The NVIDIA Shield Tablet is here, and it looks incredible


NVIDIA today made its new 8-inch Shield Tablet official following a series of leaks that revealed its design and specifications early. At $299, it’s the first device to offer NVIDIA’s own next-generation Tegra K1 processor, and with the help of the Shield wireless controller, it wants to go head to head with the consoles in your living room.

The Shield Tablet isn’t just another Android-powered slate that’s focused on gaming; its ambitions are far greater than that. It wants to be treated like a traditional game console, and it has a special Console Mode that’s activated when you plug the device into your TV via the built-in mini-HDMI connection.

The Shield Tablet also boasts the same game-streaming technology as its predecessor, so not only can you play games built for Android — as well as Shield exclusives — but you can also use it to play games running on your PC remotely. Whether you’re at home or on the go, then, Shield Tablet helps you get your high-performance gaming fix.

It boasts an 8-inch LCD display with a 1920×1200 resolution, 2GB of RAM, a microSD card slot, and 5-megapixel cameras on both the front and back of the device. You’ll also find a set of stereo speakers on the front, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and DirectStylus 2 support.

The Tegra K1 processor that powers the device is a mobile gamer’s dream. Built upon quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 architecture, it supports PC-class gaming technologies like DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.4, and it has an incredible 192-core Kepler graphics processing unit.

That’s the same GPU that “drives the world’s most powerful supercomputers and PC gaming systems,” NVIDIA says. SHIELD doesn’t just want to replace your Nintendo 3DS or your PS Vita, then, but also your Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and just about any other console you might have at home.

Entrance to a Shield setup isn’t cheap, though. The Shield Tablet itself starts at $299 with Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage, while the 32GB model with LTE is $399. The Shield Controller doesn’t come with it, so if you want one of those, that’s an extra $59. Oh, and if you want to play on your TV, you’ll need a mini-HDMI cable, too.

With the PlayStation 4 now available for under $400, and the Nintendo 3DS priced at under $190, the Shield Tablet could have its work cut out — but it’s worth remembering that Shield games are likely to be much better than those on other handheld consoles, and significantly cheaper.