The Nvidia Shield is easily one of the most exciting gadgets of CES 2013 - and not just because this is the first piece of hardware from the graphics giant. This ambitious gaming device combines Android with a Tegra 4 processor inside a 5-inch portable console. The Shield offers console-grade controllers and easy access to Tegra Zone for playing mobile games, plus the ability to stream the latest PC games.
Don't think of this as a concept. Nvidia says the Shield should ship during Q2 2013, though it will likely have a different name by the time it hits the market.
Although Nvidia experienced a few hiccups during its live demo, the Shield successfully streamed Need for Speed from a PC to a 4K television, delivering an awesome amount of eye candy. (You'll need a PC with the latest Nvidia GPU.) Nvidia also says you'll be able to access nearly 2,000 games via Valve's Steam service, including "Assassin's Creed III." That played silky smooth.
The Nvidia Shield sports a 5-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixel) display and a first-of-its-kind bass reflex audio system that promises to outperform the latest HP Beats Audio laptop. You should expect 5 to 10 hours of gameplay on a charge (depending on the games) along with up to 24 hours of HD video playback. Connectivity options include HDMI, microUSB and microSD. Plus, you'll be able to purchase customizable tags for the lid of the device for personalization.
When you press the shield button you enter game mode, with plenty of high-quality titles available, from "Hawken" (supporting the Unreal 3 engine) to "Real Boxing." It's a cinch to download new games via Tegra Zone. You'll also find four buttons dedicated to gaming, two analog controllers and a pair of bumpers for the ultimate amount of control.
Because the Shield can access the Google Play store, you can download movies and then play them back on your big-screen TV via HDMI. We'd like to see wireless streaming capability as well. However, at least you can play multiplayer games via Wi-Fi.
We hope to go hands-on with the Shield soon, so stayed tuned for our impressions.