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2017 NVIDIA Shield TV (2nd Gen) Review

by : Tomi Adebayo on : 27 Apr 2017 15:10

SHIELD TV 2 ReviewSHIELD TV 2 Review

The second generation NVIDIA Shield TV is smaller, offers all the great things we loved about the first generation plus more. NVIDIA has refined it to be even more than just an Android TV box, it’s set to be an all-round home entertainment box.

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To the naked eyes, the new Shield is significantly smaller than its predecessor, but don’t be fooled as it’s just as powerful if not more powerful than the outgoing version. With its miniature size also brings some missing ports, but not too much to write home about.

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With the same design DNA, it won’t come as too much shock, in fact, I welcome the new controller which comes in the box and they’ve also updated the remote control so you no longer have to charge it via USB every other few days. In the older Shield, you had to pay extra for the remote control.

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One thing I did like about the older remote, however, is that it felt a little solid and premium and the new one feels more plastic. The new remote also features an IR blaster so you can use with other devices and the controller also. The older controller can feel awkward in hand, but with the new one, it’s more aligned with the likes of an Xbox and PS4 controllers.

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There’s a stand missing in the box which is a strange choice for NVIDIA – you will have to pay an extra £20 in the UK.

NVIDIA Shield TV 2 – What’s new?

You still get an HDMI port which also supports HDR, Ethernet port and no more microSD card support, but with two USB 3.0 ports present, you can always connect an external SSD or HDD drive with all your media on there.

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Under the hood, it’s still running the same specs, so you get a Tegra X1 processor, 3GB of RAM, 4K support, and 16GB of built-in storage space – there’s also a Pro version like before with a bigger storage capacity coming later.

With the same internals and just a design update, it’s hard to offer this to current Shield users as you can still gain access to the latest software that supports Google Assistant via OTA software update, so there really isn’t really a reason to upgrade.

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The new Shield comes with the latest Android nougat 7.0 and a refined software with some new applications. With the new software, you have to multitask via a double-tap on the home button which is more Android-like, should you be an Android user already.

It’s just as powerful as ever; you can stream in 4K and it’s HDR ready. You can also stream games via and NVIDIA graphics card ready PC which is pretty cool.

NVIDIA Shield TV 2 – Media consumption powerhouse

The new Shield TV box is a media powerhouse, it’s not only all about gaming but you can also stream movies in 4K HDR 60fps with Dolby Atmos support. Amazon Prime Instant Video has also been added which opens up your Shield box to 4K Amazon TV shows and movies. NVIDIA also demoed YouTube 360 which allows you to watch 360-degree videos with the Shield remote controller acting as a tool to navigate the content.

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The new Shield TV controller is actually pretty cool, it’s smaller that the previous one, features a dual haptic feedback, physical buttons and as mentioned earlier, you can even control your TV using the built-in IR blaster. The remote controller packs a mic for Google Assistant interaction and voice control, headphone jack and volume controls.

There’s a reason the Shield TV 2 is probably the best on the market and that’s because it offers so much more than just being a gaming TV box; you can install Kodi and other media servers like Plex to access your own content, attach an extra storage, 4K HDR streaming, Amazon Prime Instant, Netflix, and the star of the show, Google Assistant.

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With Google Assistant AI baked in, you can use it to control the box using voice, for example, you can say “Ok Google, play Prison Break on Netflix” and it does the rest for you. You can take it a step further and attach a dongle to your Shield TV box, connect it to your smart home devices, and before you know it, you can even use it to control your home.

NVIDIA demonstrated it in action being used to turn everything added off when leaving the home using voice and turning them back on when you get in – now that’s cool! it means you won’t have to spend extra on the likes of Amazon Echo or Echo dot and Google Home.

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Content UI is now easier to navigate

Nvidia Games is now where all game contents are placed no matter where they are located; it makes it easier to find games where it’s on GeForce Now, an Android title, Steam or via GameStream. There’s also a ‘My Library’ section now and as the name suggests, it gives you access to everything you own, again, across all of the platforms.

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With a refined software, you simply get access to more applications, gaming titles and even Ubisoft games and if you own any games on UPlay, you can stream it to your Shield TV.

It sounds amazing, what’s not to like?

Overall, NVIDIA’s new Shield TV box is hands down the most powerful Android TV box on the market right now. It’s packed with powerful specs, it’s sexy, so compact that you can even take it with you on holiday if you want to, supports so many media apps like VLC, Plex, Kodi etc, you can stream games including 4K HDR ready ones.

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If I was to knit-pick, the cons would be that it doesn’t fully offer a Google Play store, but just a selection of Android TV apps. Out of the box, some Google Assistant features aren’t ready, for example, its always listening mode, and when you use it to search for TV shows, for example, by saying “OK Google, play Prison Break” it returns search results when it could just simply link me to my Netflix account and play it there.

No doubt there will be updates to perfect its Google Assistant features, but time will tell. If you own the current Shield TV, there’s actually no need to upgrade and if you buy the new one, your old accessories are compatible also. Current users should just wait for what’s next and simply update their current software.

Tomi Adebayo

I write about all things tech!

Topics: Technology