Back in 2015, Nvidia broke the mould with their Shield, a set-top box packing Android TV and some top of the range specs. In 2017, Nvidia released a refreshed version, no microSD slot, the same Tegra X1 system-on-chip but with a new Shield Experience Upgrade, the remote control is now bundled, allow with a revamped controller with an always-on-mic.
Unboxing included the Nvidia shield which is tiny now at 160mm long. The remote and controller come in the box. These have always on mics and weren’t included with the original 2015 release, you had to pay extra. The remote is small and compact, it has the swipe volume controls, which can take a little getting used to. The controller has a geometric design, which looks like it shouldn’t work, but is really comfortable.
Once plugged in, it took around 30 seconds to boot. Set up was a breeze with the Shield taking you through the steps to get it connected to the wifi. The Shield experience hasn’t changed that much, with the apps on the top row and individual rows for the compatible apps you install. A nice addition is the Play Next row, which tracks what I have been watching and offers me a quick way to continue watching it, or the next episode.
I have seen and used Android TV on other devices, but Nvidia has utilised it just right and is so easy to use. For example, the system can have as many rows as I want turned on and it will run just as smooth as it would with one.
NVIDIA SHIELD Specs:
- Operating System: Android 8.0
- ChromeCast support: Yes
- Dimensions: 98 x 159 x 25.93 mm
- Weight: 250g
- Free-to-Air tuner: No
- CPU: NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor
- RAM: 3GB
- ROM: 16GB expandable via USB
- Voice: Yes via Google Assistant
- 4K: Yes
- HDR: Yes
- Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0b w/ HDCP 2.2 and CEC
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 ac, 2×2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1
Playing 4K movies from a USB stick all play
- High Bitrate 4K Sample 140MB/s – Pass
- 4K H265 60fps – Pass
- 2160p 4K Youtube Video – Pass
- Netflix 4K Pass
- Amazon Prime 4K – Pass
Meanwhile, Geforce Now has all their games to play for free. I did have to plug it into the Ethernet in order to get the best experience, after that it worked really well. For instance playing games like Tombraider stream over my network with no issues. Above all, the 4K Google Chromecast built into the Shield is one of the best benefits I have found. For example, it allows me to cast and share my screen, including 4k videos taken on my mobile.
Overall I think this is the must-have TV box to have in your home. Gamers and TV bingers will love this because it’s powerful and future proof. After that please check our other digital home reviews.