The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is finally here, and it brought along a number of glowing write-ups to keep it company. Writers at leading tech blogs have spent a decent amount of time with the device, which retails for $200 or $300 depending on whether you want 16GB or 500GB of built-in memory, and reports on their experiences were in general quite enthusiastic. Even when compared to other marketplace leaders such as Apple TV and Roku, the new hardware offers standout features and performance.
“For the moment at least,” writes Ganesh T S on Anandtech.com, “NVIDIA pretty much has the 4K set top box to themselves.”
Over at Engadget, Chris Velazco recounted spending parts of the last few days playing games and seeking out a variety of entertainment programs, which the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV was able to find without any difficulty, though previous hardware had floundered when faced with similar requests.
“I’m withholding final judgment for just a little while longer,” Velazco said, “but it feels like the third time for NVIDIA really might be the charm, and that’s saying something.”
Cameron Summerson at Android Police also offered high praise for the system.
“NVIDIA has done a lot to make SHIELD the box for your living room,” Summerson noted. “It’s got audio passthru. It supports Logitech wireless remotes. It can control some TVs. It has audiovisual tweaks that let you control latency for surround sound systems. Really, it has everything a powerful set-top box should have. And then some—like great performance.”
At the same outlet, Michael Crider delved into the gaming experience and came away with mixed impressions while suggesting that for the right sort of gamer—perhaps including himself—the SHIELD is an interesting bit of hardware.
“It gives me the option to sit back and play some quality titles with a traditional controller (I hate playing on touchscreens) on the same box where I’m already streaming movies and music,” he said, “no need to buy multiple boxes to fill up my living room, or spend an extra $400 on a console that’s only going to get touched a couple of times a month.”
If you’re looking for a powerful set-top box with powerful enough hardware to offer compelling gaming options to consumers on a budget, critics seem to agree the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is at least worth a look. There’s also a lot of optimism throughout the early articles, with the writers mentioning that time will likely allow the device to continue improving.