When shopping for an NVIDIA SHIELD device, it's important to consider the different benefits each one provides. We break down the features to help you choose between the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and Portable and see which device best suits your lifestyle.
Let's start with discussing how the two entertainment devices are similar. Both the SHIELD Tablet and Portable use an Android operating system, but only the tablet has been upgraded to the latest version (Lollipop 5.0), which means better overall performance. Both SHIELDs can play Android games optimized for Tegra video processors and feature the ability to stream PC games from desktop systems that have recent NVIDIA GeForce video cards or the NVIDIA Grid service. The two devices also feature touch screen displays, micro SD memory card slots, can be hooked up to HDTVs using an HDMI cable, and have nice, loud, front facing stereo speakers built-in.
With a built-in controller and flip-up screen, the SHIELD Portable is clearly designed for mobile gaming, while the Shield Tablet is a full-featured Android tablet that can handle advanced games. The Shield Tablet includes 5 MP HDR cameras on both its front and back, sports the latest Tegra K1 processor, and is the only tablet that can stream directly to Twitch. Furthermore, the SHIELD Tablet comes with a stylus for jotting notes and drawing.
There are two versions of the SHIELD Tablet. The 16 GB WiFi only version goes for $299, while the 32 GB model with cellular LTE capabilities can be picked up for $399.
There's only one version of the SHIELD Portable, which has 16 GB of internal memory and doesn't have built-in cellular support, but with a retail price of $199, it's the most affordable of the SHIELD devices.
The SHIELD Tablet's 8-inch 1920x1200 multi-touch HD display is considerably larger than the SHIELD Portable's 5-inch 1280x720 screen. Go with the tablet if you prefer watching videos at full 1080p resolution, and the SHIELD Portable if gaming is your primary use and functions like watching movies, checking email, or social media are all secondary.
Measuring 8.8x5.0x0.36 inches and weighing just 13.7 ounces with the ability to lay flat, the Shield Tablet is much easier to pack and carry around than the SHIELD Portable (which weighs 20.4oz). However, the one thing to keep in mind is that you'll probably want to use the Shield Controller if you want to play non-touch games on the SHIELD Tablet, which is about the same size as the SHIELD Portable. You'll also need a place to set up the tablet, while the SHIELD Portable is self-contained. It all fits in your hands and can be quickly packed away.
Customization and Accessories
The NVIDIA SHIELD Portable features interchangeable covers decorations called Armors, which come in different colors and styles like carbon fiber. A carrying case can also be picked up separately, which lets you charge the Portable without having to take it out.
About the only accessory available for the SHIELD Tablet besides the SHIELD Controllers (which is also compatible with the SHIELD Portable) is a cover that comes in a single color. But what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in functionality. So, you have to decide for yourself how important personalization is.
The NVIDIA SHIELD Portable is designed to compete with handheld gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS or the PlayStation Vita. However, being able to play Android games and stream PC games gives the Shield Portable an extra edge. In many ways, it's almost like having an Android phone affixed to a game controller. You can check your mail, update your social media status, or watch movies from services from Netflix if you want to.
If you're interested in an excellent tablet, it's hard to beat the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. It's affordable, fully featured, and comes with a stylus included. Its larger screen is great for movies and everyday activities like email, taking photos and video, or surfing the internet. Not to mention, the tablet is the only device that offers a model that has cellular LTE capabilities, and it can stream games being played on it straight to Twitch.
No matter which you decide on, you still end up for a fantastic device for gaming and more.