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Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet and controller

Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet and controller

The Shield tablet has an 8-inch, Full HD screen with front facing speakers and two 5MP cameras.

While the past week has played host to a series of leaks and rumours, we're now able to confirm the official specifications of the new Shield tablet, a specialised Android tablet that specifically targets gamers.

The Shield tablet features an 8-inch, Full HD IPS LCD display and a pair of front facing speakers. It's powered by Nvidia's own Tegra K1 system-on-chip, which the company touts as the world's most powerful mobile processor. It comprises 192 CUDA cores, four ARM Cortex A15 processors and a Cortex A9 'shadow' processor to keep things running in standby and low power states. The main cores are clocked at 2.2GHz and the SoC is paired with 2GB of DRAM. The Kepler architecture of the GPU cores mean that the tablet supports DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4.

Nvidia will be launching two SKUs: a 16GB, Wi-Fi only model and a 32GB one with added 4G/LTE connectivity. Both are expandable with up to 128GB of storage via the micro SD slot. Bluetooth 4.0 is also included, as is a pair of 5 megapixel cameras – one front, one rear. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack with microphone support and a mini HDMI output.

The Shield tablet comes in at 126mm x 9.2mm x 221mm (W x D x H) and weighs 390g. For comparison, the current iPad Mini measures 134.7mm x 7.5mm x 200mm and is 341g.

Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet and controller *Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet **NDA 2PM TODAY**
Click to enlarge - An exploded view of the Shield tablet

Nvidia boasts that there are now over 400 Shield-optimised Android games available, all of which can be accessed via the pre-installed Shield Hub app. Furthermore, there are 11 games specifically designed (or redesigned) to run on the Tegra K1, one of which, Trine 2, will come pre-installed on every Shield tablet. The other ten games are Half Life 2, Portal, Anomaly 2, Pure Chess, The Talos Principle, War Thunder, Fluhunter Origins, Dungeon Defenders, Chuck's Challenge 3D and Rochard. Screenshots supplied by Nvidia indicate that they will run at 720p, and the company has promised that more Tegra K1-optimised games are inbound.

That said, the Shield tablet isn't just limited to playing games using its own processing power. It's the world's first tablet with Nvidia's GameStream technology, allowing you to stream and play your own PC games over Wi-Fi or LTE, provided your PC is using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 6XX GPU or later. The new tablet can also be used with the Nvidia GRID cloud gaming beta, though this is sadly limited to just Northern California residents for now. The Shield tablet also has the claim of being the world's first game-casting tablet, as you're able to live-stream your own gameplay via Twitch, including an overlay of your own face thanks to the front-facing camera, should you so desire. Finally, Nvidia will be using the Shield tablet's wireless connectivity to provide regular over-the-air software updates.

Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet and controller *Nvidia officially unveils Shield tablet **NDA 2PM TODAY**
Click to enlarge - Trine 2 will come pre-installed on the Shield tablet, but controllers must be purchased separately

Accompanying the Shield tablet are two optional accessories, the main one being the new Shield wireless controller. This connects to the tablet using Wi-Fi Direct connectivity and features a rechargeable battery, a headset jack, a touch pad, volume control and the ability to use simple voice commands (e.g. “watch Iron man 3”) to control the tablet. The second accessory is a basic stand (also a screen protector) which can support the tablet when you're using a controller to play on it.

The mini HDMI 1.4a output means you can connect your Shied tablet to your TV in Console Mode, and it supports the pairing of up to four controllers on one device meaning that local co-op or competitive play is also an option. Naturally, you can also use this mode to watch TV via Netflix, for example, in Full HD, no less.

Only US pricing has been announced thus far: $299 for the 16GB SKU and $399 for the 32GB one. The controller and stand, meanwhile, will set you back $59 and $39 respectively. Availability is slated as July 29 for US and Canada, August 14 for Europe and other regions in autumn this year. Update: The Shield tablet and its accessories are now available to pre-order in the UK. MSRPs for the tablet appear to be £239.99 (16GB Wi-Fi) and £299.99 (32GB LTE), while the controller and cover are £49.99 and £24.99, all inclusive of VAT. We've compiled a handy list of popular etailers below:Has the Shield tablet piqued your interest? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

35 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
ZeDestructor 22nd July 2014, 15:15 Quote
Interesting.. Something to battle the Nexus 7...
Hustler 22nd July 2014, 15:37 Quote
Just how exactly is playing games on it via PC streaming a practical feature when there is no built in control pad like the first one?

..please don't say the stand because that's only of any use when on a hard flat surface..like a desk, which kind of defeats the point of it.

At least with the first one you could sit in a comfortable chair, bed or on the bog whilst taking a dump.
Impatience 22nd July 2014, 15:43 Quote
Maybe they'll make an attachment arm that holds the tablet onto the controller? Although this has a much larger screen than the first.. It'd be almost like holding a netbook for gaming otherwise!

Also, they're planning on releasing this one out the US.. Which is good!
Stelph 22nd July 2014, 15:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Impatience
Maybe they'll make an attachment arm that holds the tablet onto the controller? Although this has a much larger screen than the first.. It'd be almost like holding a netbook for gaming otherwise!

Also, they're planning on releasing this one out the US.. Which is good!


Article says UK pricing isnt announced but the Nvidia site shows it as starting at £239 and the controllers £49.99.

Obviously the UK price includes VAT which the US price doesn't but its a little higher than I was expecting which is a shame, at that price the 32GB 4G version looks a more appealing buy as well as its £299

http://shield.nvidia.co.uk/buy-now/
Dogbert666 22nd July 2014, 16:21 Quote
Yep - article updated with UK pricing :)
[USRF]Obiwan 22nd July 2014, 16:45 Quote
To bad WHDI is not mainstream yet. You could practicly take your wireless keyboard/mice/controller and send signal from you big gaming pc to you 60" screen.
Impatience 22nd July 2014, 16:45 Quote
I wonder if there'll ever be a cross-over with Sony's streaming service for games.. Could be the perfect PS replacement for those exclusives.. And it's portable! ;)
ChaosDefinesOrder 22nd July 2014, 17:03 Quote
I thought DirectX was only available for Windows and Xbox? Does DirectX run on Android?
Corky42 22nd July 2014, 17:08 Quote
I'm struggling to think of a reason why someone would buy this over any other Android tablet, granted I'm no Android expert so maybe someone who knows more than me can detail what makes this so different.
Isn't streaming from a PC to an Android device something you can already do ? Are there no high end Android tablets on the market ?
Gareth Halfacree 22nd July 2014, 17:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I'm struggling to think of a reason why someone would buy this over any other Android tablet, granted I'm no Android expert so maybe someone who knows more than me can detail what makes this so different.
Aside from the WiFi-connected low-latency gamepad (an extra £50) and Nvidia's proprietary game streaming functionality, there's the spec: the Nvidia Tegra TK1 is considerably more powerful than any other tablet chip currently on the market. That's not Nvidia PR talking: I've got a Jetson TK1, based on the same chip, on my desk right now. It's a beast. At £230, the Shield Tablet is cheaper than the Nexus 7 or iPad Mini with Retina Display, and I can tell you now that the K1 chip beats either of those on pure CPU power alone, before developers start taking advantage of Android CUDA support and do exciting things with the 192 Kepler GPU cores.

In summary: why would you buy any other Android tablet over this?
Corky42 22nd July 2014, 18:38 Quote
Well i did say i was no Android expert :D

So hardware wise it's more powerful than your run of the mill Android tablet, and I'm guessing the Steaming that i read about using Limelight is no good because of latency.
Following on from knowing it's a lot more powerful and lower latency, does that mean it could be used as a capable Steam Machine, or do Linux games not run on Android.

Sorry for so many question but i did say i know little of Android :o
Xir 22nd July 2014, 19:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
the K1 chip beats either of those on pure CPU power alone, before developers start taking advantage of Android CUDA support and do exciting things with the 192 Kepler GPU cores.

In summary: why would you buy any other Android tablet over this?

What happends if this one starts all it's cores at once? Recharge every two hours or so?
Gareth Halfacree 22nd July 2014, 20:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
So hardware wise it's more powerful than your run of the mill Android tablet, and I'm guessing the Steaming that i read about using Limelight is no good because of latency.
Following on from knowing it's a lot more powerful and lower latency, does that mean it could be used as a capable Steam Machine, or do Linux games not run on Android.
SteamOS doesn't run on ARM chips (yet), and games written for Linux would need porting to Android (same as software written for Windows 8 needs porting to Windows RT, if you like.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
What happends if this one starts all it's cores at once? Recharge every two hours or so?
I can't see at-a-glance if anybody knows how big the battery is, but I can make some logical guesses. The current Nexus 7 has a 3,950mAh battery; its predecessor had a larger 4,325mAh unit. Let's say the Nvidia Shield Tablet has a 4,150mAh battery. Running the CUDA particle simulations on the Jetson, I couldn't make it draw more than around 7W; running a highly intensive financial calculation that stressed both CPU and GPU cores I got that to 14W. The tablet will be more heavily optimised, though, and won't have the wastefulness of an AC-DC converter in the mix. Let's say heavy load will be no more than 7W. Simple maths suggests the battery will be drained from full in just over half an hour.

EDIT: Concentrating so hard on typing on my bizarre new keyboard, I completely effed up the above - comparing amp-hours to wattage. Ignore all that, it's bollocks. Using Corky's 19.75Wh figure from below, a 7W load should run for nearly four hours - a much better runtime!
Corky42 22nd July 2014, 20:54 Quote
The Nvidia Shield web site says it has 19.75 Watt Hours, not that i know what that means in real terms.
Some reviews i have read say it will last for 10 hours of HD video playback, and another claims Nvidia said we'll get around 3-5 hours of high-end gaming.
rollo 22nd July 2014, 22:55 Quote
Depends if has access to andriod store gareth to answer the question of would you buy another andriod tablet.

If it does not then yes I would buy another tablet.

If the shield hub is the only place to download apps then you would need to want it specifically to game on.

There 11 designed for games would not make me stump up the price thats for sure. DD on tablet never really worked on an Ipad properly the game was super scaled down compared to the pc version of the same game that it was basically 2 different games.

Are we going to get the full scale PC version for tablets now that would be something.

Corkys posted watt hrs would measure up to the 3-5hrs of playback of high end gaming. Depends if thats streamed or played though. Streaming will not use alot of power id imagine.
forum_user 22nd July 2014, 23:06 Quote
Hmm, if it won't allow me to play Steam tablet enabled games away from home then I'm not interested.
XXAOSICXX 23rd July 2014, 09:21 Quote
I really, really do not see the market for this :/

The controller+tablet idea sounds great but in reality is highly situational. I have a Sony Tablet S + PS3 controller and the inconvenience of needing to stand the tablet up to play anything really does kinda defeat the object of it being a tablet, i.e. a handheld device, since I'm not, ya know, holding it in my hands.

The streaming-from-your-Nvidia-enabled-gaming-PC idea sounds great too - except having recently built a pretty powerful SteamBox and wrangled with in-home streaming from my main gaming rig, I can tell you now that streaming over Wi-Fi is an experience from hell if you actually value being able to see what you're telling your character/whatever to do in realtime as you're pressing the buttons on your controller. In the end I actually ran Cat5e throughout my house and pulled out an old gigabit switch in order to get the games to stream smoothly and not look hideous - and that's just at 720p over a LAN! The idea that you're gonna be out and about with your tablet streaming games from home over Wi-Fi/WAN is simply not realistic.

And let's be honest...if you CAN play Android games off the Play Store, as an avid gamer, you are not going to be satisfied with what is still a very poor offering....I can count the number of games I've played and enjoyed on my various android phones and tablets on one hand...actually strike that...one finger. Carmageddon.

As mentioned above, too, battery life soon becomes a problem, so you need to be plugged in if you're actually gaming for more than a few minutes. So, the ideal place to play games on a Shield is a flat surface - so you can put your tablet on a stand, near a power socket, so you can keep it topped up, over a strong and reliable wi-fi connection on the same LAN as your main gaming PC. I know....I'll sit at my computer desk and stream the games from the PC two feet away! Perfect :D

:/
Corky42 23rd July 2014, 10:40 Quote
Isn't the ability to stream via Wi-Fi dependent on the wireless standard being used ?
ModSquid 23rd July 2014, 15:21 Quote
But can it pla...oh, s0d it.

As a proof of concept/prototype, it's a good idea. As a HIGH-END Android tablet, it's also probably not so bad. As anything else, including a viable gaming replacement, it sounds dung hampers.
Nexxo 23rd July 2014, 15:26 Quote
A high quality TK1 based 8" tablet for £239,--? This has yes written all over it.

This news excites me.
andrew8200m 23rd July 2014, 18:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
I thought DirectX was only available for Windows and Xbox? Does DirectX run on Android?

Android is Linux based the same as Steam OS which can run your steam Games as a steambox so I should imagine coding to get around it isn't that hard
Corky42 23rd July 2014, 19:29 Quote
Can they even claim DirectX support if the DirectX is streaming from a PC ?
DbD 24th July 2014, 16:46 Quote
Lot of hate for what is the fastest android tablet on the market with loads of extra features for decent money. Don't really understand why?

Even if you don't want to game it's still a great device as unlike nexus 7 it does have an SD slot, can play 1080p netfix, it has a stylus, and hdmi out to watch stuff on the big screen if you wish. The fact that it's gpu is significantly more advanced then anything else on the market (including ipad air) and it can also stream games from your pc (allegedly remotely with the beta software) is just more icing on what is already a pretty well iced cake.

The only downside I can see is the basic version only has 16gb of flash which is too little.
forum_user 24th July 2014, 20:19 Quote
Don't know about hate, but if it can run a version of Steam while I am sat in a hotel, and I can play my Steam library (not streamed via home), then I'd be happy. But I don't think that exists yet. So it's a NO from me!
liratheal 24th July 2014, 21:31 Quote
I don't hate it, but I don't see where I'd realistically use it...
Gareth Halfacree 24th July 2014, 23:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_user
Don't know about hate, but if it can run a version of Steam while I am sat in a hotel, and I can play my Steam library (not streamed via home), then I'd be happy. But I don't think that exists yet. So it's a NO from me!
Sounds like you need a Surface Pro.
JohnRogers24 25th July 2014, 16:39 Quote
And there I was expecting the 800 series. :(
forum_user 26th July 2014, 00:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Sounds like you need a Surface Pro.

Gareth do you know if a Surface Pro is good at running Steam?
Gareth Halfacree 26th July 2014, 11:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_user
Gareth do you know if a Surface Pro is good at running Steam?
Haven't a clue - I've never even seen one in the flesh, much less used one. I know it *can* run Steam, but you'll be restricted to games that play nicely with Intel HD integrated graphics.
XXAOSICXX 27th July 2014, 08:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_user
Gareth do you know if a Surface Pro is good at running Steam?
Haven't a clue - I've never even seen one in the flesh, much less used one. I know it *can* run Steam, but you'll be restricted to games that play nicely with Intel HD integrated graphics.

I can only speak of the Surface Pro 1 (original release) from personal experience - so it's likely that the newer models have improvements over it.

It's a nice piece of kit which has the architecture to run everything but the actual grunt to run very little that I personally would want to run. If you're looking for a mobile office solution then it's superb - but, as Gareth quite rightly states - graphics performance is a big let down, since Intel HD graphics are poor at anything demanding.

Unfortunately it's another case of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". It's the wrong kit for running Steam/playing games. Half of them WON'T play (there's a reason we all use AMD/NVIDIA GPUs right?) and the other half will play, but with oodles of tasty lag and with the graphics set to super-dooper-low.

Anyway, tablets are lousy for any serious amount of gaming regardless of the platform. The screens are just too small.
Yadda 27th July 2014, 12:11 Quote
I'll buy a bacon buttie for the first company to make a tablet (or portable screen-less device) that supports gaming with the Oculus Rift (or whichever VR thing wins through).
Gareth Halfacree 27th July 2014, 16:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
It's a nice piece of kit which has the architecture to run everything but the actual grunt to run very little that I personally would want to run. If you're looking for a mobile office solution then it's superb - but, as Gareth quite rightly states - graphics performance is a big let down, since Intel HD graphics are poor at anything demanding.
I've played Gone Home on my MacBook Air, which has Intel Graphics HD 5000, and it was pretty good - better, in fact, than its performance on my AMD A10-5800K APU, but I reckon that's down to the Linux port of Gone Home being absolute pish rather than the Intel graphics hardware being particularly awesome. Shows, though that it is possible to game on Intel HD Graphics, even without restricting yourself to Angry Birds and the like.
korhojoa 27th July 2014, 16:07 Quote
I've tried using steam on a Surface Pro 1 and a Lenovo Miix 8.
Surface Pro 1 is my sister's, so didn't have a lot of time to try out games, but it played most of what I tried just fine.
Borderlands 2 seems to play okay on the miix 8, which is surprising to me. It's one of the heaviest games I play so I don't feel limited in what can be done with the tablet.
Battery life isn't terrible either, can game wirelessly for a long time, just needs a good bluetooth controller and it would be awesome (maybe ps4 controller?)

I've also tried in-home streaming of games, I attached a keyboard and mouse to it, plays like I'm on my desktop. I'm not sure how everybody keeps having a bad experience over wireless with the streaming, because here it streams fine at 720p. Maybe people aren't using 802.11n? (I'm using a old single frequency airport expressf at 5ghz)
rollo 27th July 2014, 18:27 Quote
The HD5000 chip in the macbook air is a strong chip though. Anandtech did some benches on launch and it was quicker than alot of the APU stuff out there. Iris pro is even faster.

The main issue is its still restricted to top end chips from Intel that cost alot and only 3 desktop chips offer better than a hd 4600 at the moment. 4570r, 4670r and 4770r.
forum_user 28th July 2014, 00:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
I can only speak of the Surface Pro 1 (original release) from personal experience - so it's likely that the newer models have improvements over it.

It's a nice piece of kit which has the architecture to run everything but the actual grunt to run very little that I personally would want to run. If you're looking for a mobile office solution then it's superb - but, as Gareth quite rightly states - graphics performance is a big let down, since Intel HD graphics are poor at anything demanding.

Unfortunately it's another case of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". It's the wrong kit for running Steam/playing games. Half of them WON'T play (there's a reason we all use AMD/NVIDIA GPUs right?) and the other half will play, but with oodles of tasty lag and with the graphics set to super-dooper-low.

Anyway, tablets are lousy for any serious amount of gaming regardless of the platform. The screens are just too small.

Thanks for taking the time to write out your advice on the Surface Pro!
I spent a long time this morning playing a Dead Trigger 2 and some other more basic games on my iPad Air. I would agree that tablets cannot compete with desktops, but I would not say tablets are bad at gaming. If the games are made for tablets, or enhanced for tablets, then they can often be more accessible and fun than being confined to the location of mouse and keyboard. I am certainly looking forward to seeing a tablet running Steam while I'm sat in Waitrose eating my lunch. But I guess we need game devs to do those enhancements first.
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