Nvidia’s Shield boasts big biceps but too small where it counts

So Nvidia announced its Shield Tablet, an 8-inch, 1920×1200 display with two front-facing speakers priced at $300.  But the real cost is $400 as you’ll want to get the $60 controller and $40 kickstand cover; both specifically made for Shield.

What’s special about this tablet is that it has a beastly Tegra K1 processor, which on paper destroys the iPad Air and other Android tablets.  As you might have guessed, this is a tablet made for gaming.

Should you get it?  I guess if you like games and in the market for a small Android tablet…sure?  The price is fair for what it can do.  The endorsement is not ringing however because I’m not sure what problem this solves — most high end tablets today are plenty powerful for games — and because I think the 8-inch screen size is just too small for a gaming tablet.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.36.58 AM

The Shield Tablet is a monster in terms of graphics performance, sure.  Do we really need the power though?  You can purchase any new, high end tablet today and be confident it’ll play games well.

Even if you get past that, you have to ask why the 8-inch screen?  Games look MUCH better on a 10-inch display.  The only scenario where an 8-inch tablet is preferable is digital book reading so you can recline while reading with one hand; for everything else and especially for media consumption, bigger is better (as long it doesn’t cross a weight threshold).

8-inches just seems too small (ha, that’s what she said), especially if Nvidia expects people to be playing from a distance with a controller like the poor kid below:

shield

Can the dude see anything on that tiny screen three feet away from his eyes?  Little bullets he must dodge?  The amount of HP left for his character?  The small treasure chest partially hidden behind the bushes?  Doesn’t seem like an optimal gaming experience to me.

What I do like about the Shield is Nvidia Grid, which is like PlayStation Now in that users can stream games over the cloud on-demand.  However, this is currently only available in North California as a beta.  Now that can be a game changer.

Here’s Nvidia’s promotional video in full:

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