Under its tiny hood is a custom 72-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU coupled with a Tegra 4 processor. The hood itself is actually a 5 inch 720p screen, which sits atop an integrated controller which has a distinct Xbox controller look to it, with dual joysticks, rounded d-pad, the coloured/lettered buttons and shoulder/trigger buttons. The screen itself is a multi-touch screen, enabling some of the more popular android games to be easily played if they do not port well to console play – Cut the Rope or Angry Birds shouldn’t be too much hassle then! At the top of the controller, at the foot of the screen, are the stereo speakers which blast out sound enough to drown out the most nagging or partners or parents.
Whilst Project Shield is designed only to play Android games, with a version of Jelly Bean as the OS, it really comes to the fore when you have the right gaming PC setup at home. Inside is 802.11.n 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (new, high band width wifi in layman’s terms), that allow you to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX machine straight to the handheld unit. In addition to this, it also allows you to bypass the 5in screen and have it output to a TV.
Although the build quality is solid and it certainly looks like a good device to have on the go, with its fold-flat screen for protection, it looks like the love child of an Alienware laptop and an Xbox 360 controller. This reminds me of the predator-alien hybrid from AvP and sometimes hybrids don’t work!
No price guide has been released, but NVIDIA have stated that it wil be priced accordingly with the top Android devices out there, so expectedly something above £350 without a shadow of a doubt. Launching in Q2 2013, this has the potential to be a game changer in realising portable PC gaming – after all, why seek to replicate power in a small device when streaming capabilities mean you can reach in to your powerhouse PC and use that? This will almost definitely only appeal to hardcore gamers that already have a quality stationary set-up at home.
So, would you compare this to the Razer Edge? I can see you might, as you’d really only want to choose one or the other, however the choice you make will ultimately depend on what you have at home and what you want to be playing when you’re not there! It’s like trying to decide which console is the best, a relative minefield that simply comes down to taste.