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Nvidia Shield Android TV Review

Nvidia has built an impressive set top box here, equipped with a custom Maxwell GPU that is capable of running full PC titles like Half-Life 2 and decoding 4K HEVC sources for Ultra-HD playback on services like Netflix. If you have a 4K TV already and are starving for content, then the Shield TV can help deliver that.

While I do feel that vanilla Android would have worked fine for a smart TV, I understand why Google has placed limitations on Android TV- it does offer a more curated experience and there is far less chance of you downloading a bad app or software that just isn't going to work properly.

Where the Shield TV really shines though is in its gaming features. Nvidia's in-home streaming works really well and allowed me to stream some fairly intense games like Shadow of Mordor and Fallout 4 from my gaming PC to my TV.

However, if you don't have a gaming PC or a Nvidia graphics card, then there is another option for you- GeForce Now. Nvidia's cloud gaming service was bumpy when I first assessed it early last year but some pretty major strides have been made in terms of performance.

GeForce Now is a paid for subscription service but its library of games is fairly extensive and newer titles are available to stream from the cloud though some of these do cost extra. In my testing, I revisited Batman Arkham City specifically as it was arguably the worst performing title on GeForce Now in my original piece, I also tried out The Witcher 3 as an example of a newer game running through the cloud service.

I was delighted to find that Nvidia has since optimised its cloud gaming platform to the point where I could comfortably record gameplay using Shadow Play while running the streamed game with far fewer hiccups, frame hitches and overall lower input lag compared to one year ago. Even loading times have been reduced significantly, bringing an experience that is undoubtedly better than what I find on my Xbox One- it is truly impressive.

Now let's get down to price. The Nvidia Shield 16GB does cost £149.99 here in the UK and while it does come with a gamepad, the optional Shield remote and vertical stand do cost extra. There is also a more expensive 500GB version available. It is expensive but in return you get some stellar gaming features and access to 4K content, which will be particularly important to those who have already invested in 4K TVs.

Pros:

  • Maxwell GPU.
  • Tegra X1 packs plenty of power.
  • 4K playback.
  • GeForce Now has improved.
  • In-home streaming works well.
  • Attractive design.

Cons:

  • Only 16GB of internal storage.
  • Android TV can feel limiting.

KitGuru Says: If you are looking for a set-top box that is capable of 4K playback and streaming PC games then the Shield TV is well worth giving a shot. 

worth buying

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Rating: 8.0.

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2 comments

  1. I bought this device on Black Friday and I still love it and use it every day, to play games and watch movies and series in Netflix and Kodi. I actually prefer streaming over Geforce Now to playing the same games natively on my PS4 nowadays. A highly recommended buy.

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