1. the tall guy's Avatar
    NVIDIA Shield Android TV - Set-top box meets game console.

    NVIDIA Shield Android TV Review-main.jpg

    The Pros
    • The NVIDIA Shield Android TV offers excellent hardware for gaming.
    • It works with 4K streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.
    • It offers Google’s voice search from the remote control / controller.
    • Comes with expandable storage and lots of ports.
    • Despite being over a year old, it still offers the very best in hardware.

    The Cons
    • Android TV apps are poor.
    • More expensive than its competition.

    Full Specs
    • Processor: NVIDIA® Tegra® X1 processor with a 256-core GPU and 3 GB RAM
    • Video Features: 4K Ultra HD ready / 4K playback at 60 FPS (VP9, H265, H264) 4K capture at 30 FPS (H264, H265) Supports: MPEG-2/ MPEG-4/ Xvid/ DivX/ WMV9/ ASF/ AVI/ MKV/ MOV/ M2TS/ MPEG-TS/ H.263/ H.264/ H.265/ VC-1/ VP8/ VP9
    • Audio: 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192 kHz over HDMI and USB High-resolution audio up-sample to 24-bit/192 kHz over USB Supports: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, WAVE, AMR, OGG Vorbis, FLAC, PCM, WMA, WMA-Pro, WMA-Lossless, DD+/DTS (pass-through), DTS-HD MA (pass-through), Dolby TrueHD (pass-through)
    • Storage: 16 GB and 500 GB (Note: portion of storage occupied by system software) Expandable with microSD card or USB drive.
    • Wireless: 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.1/BLE
    • Interfaces: Gigabit Ethernet / HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 / Two USB 3.0 (Type A) / Micro-USB 2.0 / MicroSD slot / IR receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)
    • Weight and size: Weight: 23 oz / 654 g | Height: 1.0 in / 2 5mm Width: 8.3 in / 210 mm | Depth: 5.1 in / 130 mm
    • Operating System: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) powered by Android TV and Google Cast
    • Gaming Features: NVIDIA GeForce Now™ game streaming service / NVIDIA Share / NVIDIA GameStream™

    NVIDIA Shield Android TV Review-ports.jpg

    In the box
    Inside the box you’ll find the Android TV box, a Shield controller, AC adapter with US / EU / UK pins, HDMI cable and a USB cable.

    Pre Installed Apps
    • Netflix / YouTube / VUDU / Plex / Photos & Videos
    • Google Play Store / GP Movies & TV / GP Music

    The Review

    The first thing that strikes when unboxing the NVIDIA Shield is how nice it looks, its sharp with a mixture of metal and plastic, it feels heavy and premium in the hand and is completely black. Some say the device is a bit on the large size, but for what it offers I’m surprised it fits into such a compact device. The device is stealthy, with the only colour coming from the LED light once you power the device up. A bright green LED light bleeds out of the top, giving the impression you’re getting a glimpse into the Shields powerful soul. If you prefer the total stealth look, the LED light can be turned off in the settings. This can be useful when watching TV or a movie and you don’t want to be distracted by the light. I haven’t turned it off and I haven’t reduced its brightness as I think it looks too cool.

    NVIDIA Shield Android TV Review-light.jpg

    Once you have the device plugged in and all your cables in the relevant ports, it's time to find the power button! This might sound like a straightforward task, but it’s not the easiest power button to find. On the bottom right hand corner, you’ll find a small NVIDIA logo, which is also a capacitive power button. Capacitive buttons are a theme throughout the NVIDIA shield experience, the controller and remote contain similar stealth like buttons (more on that soon)

    One thing that makes the NVIDIA shield stand out from the competition is its array of ports. I found myself using the dual USB 3.0 ports to charge my phone and controller accessory. There is also a Micro USB port / slot for when you want to add more storage or transfer files to the box. At the front you’ll find the IR receiver, which also works well with universal remote controls. Within the NVIDIA shield you’ll even find a setup wizard for adding such accessories.

    NVIDIA Shield Android TV Review-logo.jpg

    With the NVIDIA shield box, you will also receive the game controller. For a small fee there is also a remote control you can buy – I would highly recommend the remote control. Although you can do more with the game controller I found it a tad big and intrusive when simply trying to launch a movie or watch some TV. The remote control is sleek and light in the hand, it has a brushed metal finish and it just compliments the TV box so well. It has a voice search button, back button, home button and a round capacitive button. The remote control also has a unique capacitive volume rocker, simply slight up in the middle of the control to increase the volume and slight down to decrease. I really enjoyed using this control, but as I mentioned above, the game controller can do much more and it’s free with the device (a big plus). The game controller has a home button, Back button, volume buttons (not capacitive), D-Pad, joystick and voice search button. Although both controls can navigate throughout the TV box without issues, I found the game controller easier to use when scrolling through apps, web pages etc. The game controller also is the preferred controller when playing games (obviously). I’m not a big video game player, I own an Xbox 360 – swapping between both controllers was easy and effortless. The only issue I found with the game controller is the use of the capacitive buttons. On the remote control it is implemented well, it compliments the control well, but on the game controller I feel like physical buttons throughout would have been better. When playing a game and having to jump between physical buttons to capacitive buttons, it took my brain a while to learn and adjust to the different pressures required when pressing the buttons. One feature I loved was that both controllers come with a headphone jack, which is really cool when you want to keep things quiet (sleeping wife / baby and asphalt 8 come to mind) both controllers are connected wirelessly and can also be used with the supplied cables.

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    Navigating through the TV box is easy and simple to use. All your apps are arranged into groups like games / apps which makes it easy for you to locate what you’re looking for. Suggested content from Google Play / Netflix / YouTube can be found at the top of the display in a card like fashion, which is fun to scroll through. Android TV is easy to understand, it didn’t take long for me to feel like I had been using Android TV for months. You have all the necessary settings you would find on any Android phone or tablet. It also comes with Google cast built in, so you can easily cast movies / pictures / music from your phone / tablet to the TV Box. Voice search is a joy to use, it’s accurate and I found myself using it a lot more often that I thought I would. My experience with navigating through the different screens, launching apps, voice search, settings menu came with zero lag (thanks to the processor on board). Android TV apps don’t have the best of selection, but whenever I ran into a situation where the TV couldn’t find an app, I would simply launch it on my phone and cast it to the TV. You can launch 4K video content on the NVIDIA shield, which is more evidence of future proofing with this device, however I don’t have a 4K TV so I can’t properly comment on this section.

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    Where this TV box stands out from the competition is its gaming facility. You can find games from the Play Store and from GeForce Now, which is a streaming option offered from NVIDIA. There are games for all occasions from the Play Store and they all play exceptionally well. From Pac Man to Asphalt 8 – I didn’t find any issues launching games or playing them. In the play store there are a ton of games for free as well as paid games. GeForce Now is NVIDIA’s game streaming service, which offers a decent amount of top tier games that you can pay for via monthly subscription fee of £7 or a one off upfront fee. Depending on your internet connection, you can stream games in 720p or 1080p. Before you commit to buying the game, NVIDIA will run a test to determine if you can launch the game successfully. Similar to the Play Store, the games on GeForce Now worked flawlessly with no lag or display issues. Even games at 720p look great. The game list is small, but it’s ever growing. For me, someone who doesn’t play a lot of video games, the option to stream a game every now and then for £7 a month is a good option to have. It’s the gaming version of Netflix. If you’re a serious gamer, this device isn’t for you, but if you’re like me and enjoy picking up a controller and playing something random every now and then, the NVIDIA shield won't fail you.

    Bottom line
    When it comes to competition, there isn’t much competing with the NVIDIA shield; however this hasn’t stopped NVIDIA from building a future proof, powerful Android TV box. With the Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM, there isn’t much this device can’t cope with. If you’re looking for a device that can become your complete entertainment package, while offering you a gaming experience at the same time, this device is a must.

    The Tall Guy!
    RumoredNow, Rob Phillips and Nifta like this.
    09-15-2016 09:24 AM

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