Every once in a while I test something that blows my socks off. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does you kind of know you’re in for something special right from the very beginning.
This is what happened when I tested the NVIDIA Shield TV, an Android TV box that has a HUGE amount of features built into it. The NVIDIA Shield TV looks immense, like a slab-computer from a downed-UFO, and it comes with both an Xbox-style controller for gaming and a TV remote.
Pitched as the ultimate alternative to an Apple TV, Xbox, PS4 and everything else in between, the NVIDIA Shield TV has BIG aspirations for your living room. But does it deliver the goods where it counts?
Let’s start of with how it looks and what you get in the box.
NVIDIA Shield TV Review – Design & What’s In The Box
You get A LOT of gear for the price – a gamepad, a TV remote, a re-designed box, and some cables. Everything is presented beautifully inside NVIDIA’s white and green shipping container and laid out in a simple manner inside.
Setup is simple too; simply plug it into the mains, attach an HDMI cable from the NVIDIA Shield TV to your TV, and power it on. That’s literally it. From here, you go through the menu and set up your account and applications you want to use.
The unit itself is 40% slimmer than its predecessor, measuring 159mm wide, 98mm deep and 26mm tall at its chunkiest corner. As I said, it looks like something scavenged from an alien spaceship, with its unique angles and quirky design. I love the way the NVIDIA Shield TV looks and I also like that, thanks to its smaller size, it can now be secreted away inside a TV cabinet very easily.
NVIDIA has also altered the design of its Xbox-style controller too; it now features a very eye-catching asymmetric matte-black chassis and harsh angular lines that really make it pop. These new attributes also aid grip, which is a nice bonus. On top of this, the battery life is now up around the 60 hour mark, so you can literally game until you drop.
The remote for the NVIDIA Shield TV now runs on two removable CR2032 cells and these, once installed, should last for about 12 months, meaning you can install and simply forget about them. Best of all, though, NVIDIA no longer charges £35 for this remote – it comes as standard.
NVIDIA Shield TV Review – Games & Apps
Because the NVIDIA Shield TV runs on Android, you have a wealth of applications and games at your disposal – too many to name here. And these titles run brilliantly, making the NVIDIA Shield TV a great little unit for casual gaming.
However, where the NVIDIA Shield TV really comes into its own is its ability to stream PC games, thanks to the inclusion of Nvidia GeForce Now, which features a myriad of titles from Ubisoft and Square Enix.
You can stream games in 4K too via the $8 a month service, and the results are very impressive, providing you have a decent internet connection – 100Mbits/sec for full 4K fidelity or 25Mbits/sec for 1080p/60fps games streaming.
I’m not a massive gamer, to be honest, but I had an absolute blast testing this aspect of the NVIDIA Shield TV out. It’s not going to replace your PS4 or Xbox anytime soon, but it represents a great option for those interested in doing a bit of gaming here and there outside the main two console options.
NVIDIA Shield TV Review – TV Options
And then there are ALL the TV options. The NVIDIA Shield TV outputs everything in (up to) 4K HDR, and Amazon, iPlayer, and Netflix are ALL supported out the box.
It also features proper Google Cast functionality, so you can send things from your phone and/or tablet to it and it’ll run on your HDTV. Basically, it does everything you could wish for in this regard. And if you use Kodi, you can also set that up on the NVIDIA Shield TV too.
NVIDIA Shield TV Review – Verdict
I love the NVIDIA Shield TV. It has everything and more that you could possibly want from an Android TV box. The design, the features, the gaming elements, and ALL the TV options combine to make it one hell of a proposition.
If you have a 4K TV, like gaming, and want tons of options when it comes to content and streaming, you really do need one of these in your life. The gaming aspect is huge too, as you can play games for a very small cost at your leisure. For me, as someone that seldom games, this is a great little USP.
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