updated 10:42 am EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Nvidia Shield Tablet retains game-streaming functionality of original device
Nvidia has finally launched a new gaming tablet in the Shield product line, following a number of leaks. The successor to the Shield controller and the Tegra Note 7, the Shield Tablet effectively separates the display and controller elements of the original Shield, with an accompanying wireless controller allowing it to be used in a similar manner as a portable console.
The main tablet consists of an 8-inch 1920x1200 display, which can take advantage of stylus input with Nvidia's DirectStylus 2 technology. Inside is a Tegra K1 processor with 192 dedicated graphics cores, and by using the same Kepler architecture, it is capable of using the same APIs as desktop-bound graphics cards, along with 2GB of RAM, LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, a microSD card slot, and 16GB and 32GB options for storage capacity. . Accompanying the stereo speakers on the front is a 5-megapixel camera, with another similar-specification sensor on the back, and its Mini HDMI 1.4a output lets it display 4K-resolution video on an external screen.
Available separately, the Shield controller is similar in construction to the original's layout, including a directional pad, triggers, shoulder buttons, twin thumbsticks, and other buttons. Nvidia has opted to go for a direct Wi-Fi connection between the controller and the tablet rather than Bluetooth, with up to four controllers able to be connected to each tablet, and while it has a headphone socket for audio playback, it also includes an integrated microphone which can be used to launch apps.
Just as with the original, users can play Android games on the device itself or use Nvidia's GameStream system to stream games from a compatible PC over a local network. Its Twitch integration lets the tablet also stream gameplay to the online streaming service for public viewing, with the software also able to take advantage of microphones and the front camera, saving the need for the player to get extra equipment.
The 16GB Wi-Fi model of the Shield Tablet is available to pre-order now for $299, with a view to shipping on July 29th in the United States and Canada before a global launch. The 32GB LTE model does not appear to be available to pre-order yet, but is priced at $399. The controller costs $59 each, while a separate cover which stands the tablet up as a screen is priced at $39.