The NVIDIA Shield TV is seriously the best Android TV box there is at the moment. It looks sexy, comes in a larger storage Pro version, supports 4K streaming, great for casual gaming and you can event take it on your travels.
CES 2017 is only a couple of weeks away and there are some rumours already about a new version coming out, but how can NVIDIA top what’s already great?
The Shield is a result of a good software (OS) and hardware coming together for a good user experience.
What does it look like and what’s underneath?
Powered by NVIDIA’s own Tegra X1 processor with a 256-core GPU and 3 GB of RAM, it runs super smooth and during my time with it, experienced no lag at all, whether playing games or just scrolling through the menu.
The only time you may experience lag is when streaming on a slow internet connection and that is not down to the Shield. Elsewhere, the Shield is compact, weighing just 654g.
It’s lightweight making it easy to carry with you anywhere, even on holiday. It’s only 25 mm high and 210 mm wide by 130 mm deep. The first thing I said to the guys at NVIDIA is that I’d love to take it away on trips with me.
Android users will straight away get used to its user interface as it’s powered by Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Android TV and Google Cast. What that means is you can download games, apps and using Google Cast, you can stream or cast tabs from Google Chrome on your laptop.
NVIDIA fans will also be happy as they didn’t just design the Shield to be just another Android box, but you get a wealth of features using its built-in NVIDIA GeForce NOW game streaming service, NVIDIA Share and NVIDIA GameStream.
Other apps loaded out of the box includes Netflix, Google Play Store, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, Photos & Videos and PLEX.
The box comes with a rechargeable controller, but you can also buy the sleek remote control which is also rechargeable, uses Bluetooth and has a built-in microphone for voice control. Its battery lasts about 4 weeks depending on usage but when you always can charge it when not in use.
Although the Shield is WiFi ready, there’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port for those who doesn’t want to risk streaming issues that may occur over a wireless internet connection.
There’s one HDMI port which will also support 4K UHD TVs, two USB 3.0 ports, a micro-USB 2.0 port for charging your controls and the basic version has 16GB of storage but can be expanded with a microSD too. If you need a bigger storage space, then you can opt for the Pro version which offers a whopping 500GB capacity.
If you have a Logitech Harmony control setup already, good news, there’s an IR receiver built-in to complete your setup.
NVIDIA Shield TV Verdict
If you need something that does everything and an entertainment hub, then the Shield is perfect. You can play games, whether it’s downloaded or streamed, watch 4K content via Netflix (hopefully they release more 4K content) and more. As it runs on Android, you can also expect a wider range of apps available to play with beyond what we could include in a review. Oh, and it’s portable enough to take with you travelling.