PROS / The Nvidia Shield allows you to remotely wake up your home computer and play games from anywhere in the world.
CONS / The handheld's touchscreen is clunky when playing Android games, and you have to own a GeForce graphics card to stream from your PC.
VERDICT / While most handheld game consoles offer unique mobile experiences, the Nvidia Shield lets you play your PC games on a mobile device.
The Nvidia Shield aims to offer an experience that no other handheld game console can: mobile streaming of your PC games. It features a 5-inch HD touchscreen, incredibly powerful components and a six-hour battery life. In order to take advantage of the handheld PC console, you have to own a computer with a GeForce graphics card. Still, if you're looking for a device that plays mobile PC games, the Nvidia Shield has the most robust options and the best value, making it the winner of our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
The Nvidia Shield is a powerhouse for portable games. It has an HD touchscreen, 2GB of RAM and a quad-core processor. On its own, this handheld PC console is as powerful as some budget computers. All this power is necessary for streaming high-quality PC games from your home computer to the handheld. As long as you have a computer with a GeForce graphics card, you can remotely turn on your PC and start streaming any of the 100-plus PC games that were optimized for the Shield.
If you don't want to play PC games, it also works as an Android gaming console, so you can use the touchscreen to play "Angry Birds" or any Android app. Finally, it has an HDMI port that allows you to plug into a TV and play your PC games on a big screen.
Our only major issue with the Shield is its reliance on the GeForce line of graphics cards for remote streaming. Unless you have a compatible computer, you can't play high-quality portable games, and the clunky design makes it a poor choice for Android gaming.
Although the Nvidia Shield isn't the heaviest handheld console we reviewed, for its size, it feels like a brick. Its battery lasts at least six hours when streaming PC games, and it includes a built-in microphone. Unfortunately, it lacks front- or rear-facing cameras, and while Skype is available as an Android app, you're better off using your smartphone or tablet for that. The Shield only plays digital downloads, but it has 16GB of built-in storage, and you can use a MicroSD card for more storage if you need it.
Since the Nvidia Shield runs on Android, you can download and use nearly any Android app without any problems. This means that you can stream movies and TV shows through Netflix and Hulu Plus, and you can watch YouTube videos. You can download and play movies and music on the device. While we did not like the touchscreen, it is a nice option for using these apps.
Help & Support
Nvidia supports the Shield with several support options. If you want quick help, you can browse the FAQs or the user forums. When you need additional help, customer support representatives are available by email and live chat.
The Nvidia Shield is one of the only handheld PC consoles, and if you have the right components to fully utilize it, it gives you the option to stream high-end PC games from anywhere in the world. It has a lot of interesting features for PC gaming, but as an Android device, it cannot compete with the ease of use or comfort of smartphones and tablets. Still, the Nvidia Shield is the only handheld console that lets you remotely access your home computer and stream your PC games from anywhere in the world.