Nvidia Shield, portable game console, reviewed

Nvidia's Shield is the chipmaker's big push into an already well-stocked portable gaming field. Sony and Nintendo sell millions of handsets, yet their lunch's been conspicuously eaten by Apple's iPhone, and other touchscreen smartphones and tablets, in the last few years.

Resembling a large game controller with a flip-out screen, the $299 monster will win no awards for pocketability, prettiness or pricing. With beefy specs, traditional controls and a versatile, open cut of Android, though, it has a strong appeal to serious gamers—it can even control games streamed live from your PC. What did reviewers make of it?

Sean Hollister, at The Verge, gives it 7.8 out of 10.

I’m hoping the dearth of good Android controller games will be short-lived. Still, it’s chicken and egg: and most game developers won’t dedicate time and effort to building for physical controllers when the iPad and iPhone audience is the most lucrative. The Shield is a capable device for $299, but honestly the $229 Nexus 7 is a better short-term bet.

Sherri L. Smith at Laptop Magazine awards 4/5

The Nvidia Shield takes mobile gaming in an exciting new direction with a powerful Tegra 4 processor, a slew of high-quality games and the ability to wirelessly stream PC titles.

David Hinkle at Joystiq didn't like it.

It's nowhere near as portable as competing devices. It doesn't fit in your pocket and it weighs a lot more than a tablet. ... The Nvidia Shield is an interesting gadget, and I'm sure it will attract a segment of impassioned devotees, but its viability in the handheld space is questionable. PC streaming is the Shield's chief advantage over other handhelds, but I'm not sure how many PC enthusiasts are keen to trade their high-resolution monitors for a tiny 720p touch screen.

Scott Lowe at IGN gave it 6.8 out of 10.

It's expertly crafted with high-end components and a comfortable, responsive control scheme — albeit with a bulky, uninspired design. The Shield's biggest challenges, however, are content and cost. There are simply too few compelling gameplay experiences on Android to justify a $300 dedicated handheld, and while the PC streaming feature shows promise, it's in dire need of performance and stability enhancements.

Ben Gilbert, at Engadget, thinks its a strange, hard sell.

Let's not kid ourselves: there's one major competitor against the Shield. It's $50 less, similarly powerful and has a much, much better selection of mobile games. Sony's PlayStation Vita isn't a great multimedia device, but it is a very good gaming device.

Shield [Nvidia Store]