Why I’m Disappointed with the NVIDIA Shield.

Upon organising n3rdbal3’s big day out at the Eurogamer Expo this weekend made a list of all the things that I really wanted to see, one of them being the NVIDIA Shield. This handheld device has always been on my radar since it was announced in January but when I eventually had the chance to play it, I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

At Eurogamer NVIDIA had four of the handheld consoles on display which had been paired up with four seemingly high powered computers. It was mainly demonstrating the console’s streaming features, probably one of the most attractive features I found the NVIDIA Shield to have besides from the chance to play stuff I’d purchased off of Google Play. It’s just a shame that they chose the game, The Bureau, for people to play on.

As with most games at Eurogamer you’re given a short 10/15 minute demo but the person before me left half way through which was the same thing I did.

First impressions of the device were that it was heavy. For something that you’d be holding in your hand for a prolonged period of time it felt far too heavy and awkward to hold. It was also really hot. Granted I’d just picked up the console a few seconds after someone else had put it down but it was still fairly warm.

In terms of ergonomics I felt that the NVIDIA Shield had none, it was awkward to hold, the thumbsticks were in a similar position to that on the PlayStation’s Dual Shock controllers but a little closer together. The width of the device made it fairly hard to comfortably use the triggers on the back of the device and the small rim of the edge of the device that the screen sits in when it’s folded away made my hands a little sore, even after a few minutes of playing the game.


The screen size felt fairly inadiquate too compared to the size of the controller portion of the console, it also probably didn’t help that the PC that it was streaming from also had the a screen showing the same as what was on the console – this made it easy to just watch was was on the monitor rather than the device itself.

The NVIDIA Shield also has a full touch screen, something which wasn’t currently being utilised with the current game of choice which I felt unfairly represented the device. Perhaps if other consoles were set up to demonstrate the devices mobile gaming capabilities I would have been able to provide a more in-depth analysis on how it performed.

The console’s performed as a streaming device did actually impress me, probably the only thing that did so. I found the game had no lag between the what was on the monitor and on the device which was impressive but I feel that for someone with a computer like mine that isn’t too powerful it may struggle a little to stay as smooth as it did.

Overall I think the NVIDIA Shield needs a bit of work before it could really become a sought after hand held gaming console and PC game streaming system. I sadly found it uncomfortable and awkward to hold that’ll only get worse with prolonged gaming.

In my opinion what we all saw at Eurogamer could be a completely different experience what we get at home with the varied hardware that everyone has and for the £300 price tag I’m sure you’re getting a top-notch mobile gaming system that’ll flawlessly play resource heavy games like GTA III, Asphalt 9, and Dead Trigger, but for something that relies on your PC’s hardware for it’s other main feature, streaming, it could be very hit-or-miss.

  • elitemark7

    Finally a truly honest review! I also feel the same way. it is heavy (but not hot, it never got even warm at all). and oh boy, typing this comment on this device is so hard and awkward. Perhaps I should switch and use my smartphone instead and start over typing this comment. I also never planned to keep this device. I bought it on launch day, kept it a month looking for good reasons or review to open this this thing, but all signs point to how it is lacking good AAA android titles. plus playing PC games on this device looks gimmicky. And the reason I ended keeping this device is that I forgot to return it to the store. Tegra 4… lol what an overhyped bs of the year. using it to emulate ps1 is still not as smooth as how I would have hoped for (not much improvements vs tegra 2 anyway) ( playing ps1 titles using fpse on shield is still pretty ugly, oxymoron intended).

    • Hey there, thanks for the comment. I had hoped the shield would have been much better than it was, but sadly I was really disappointed. I’m also pleased that I’m not the only one who had complaints about the weight. It really surprised me!

      I think the heat was due to the extended use by several different people, something I expected with the device, but it was only around an hour into the event which worried me a little.

  • Joe colbourne

    I have owned the Nvidia shield for 2 months and have spent hours playing it and the weight has never been an issue and it has never gotten hot. I thought it was heavy when I first got it, but once you actually spend time playing it, the weight is a non issue as it is well balanced and quite comfortable to hold. I play my shield hours at a time without issue. I have never experienced any heat from my shield even after hours of use.

    I think if you owned one and used it for a period of time you would have a completely different view of the shield. Everyone I know that actually owns one, loves it. It is the best handheld gaming device I have personally ever owned, certainly the best android device.

    • Hey Joe!

      I think everything at Eurogamer worked against me. I’m not a huge fan of the game that was being demoed, there was a muddle of wires everywhere, and the heat very well might have been the heat from Mr. Hot Hands who was on the console before me.

      As I said in the post I only really had around ten minutes to play with the console so I do think my opinion may change if I were to play with the device on my own accord.

      For now this is just my own subjective view on the Shield from the very brief time I’ve had to play with the machine. Perhaps I’ll take a more in depth look in the future and write a more thorough review.

  • elitemark7

    Hey Joe, show us a video of you typing using the screen, in the public, and not look stupid. I bet you can’t do that.

  • Joe Colbourne

    Why would someone buy a Shield to type? It is a gaming device. There are hundreds of other android devices someone can buy to type, but there are no android gaming devices that play games as well as the Shield.

  • Richard Plews

    I brought my Nvidia Shield to Eurogamer, and was appalled at the display they had set up. Nobody really knew of the capabilities of the shield and I had fun letting some of the indie developers play with my shield to recognize how powerful a device it is. As for the weight – you don’t notice it at all, I’ve played through all of Bard’s tale, Riptide 2, and a lot of GTA Vice city without it being an issue – it’s basically modelled on the most comfortable controllers available right now so how could be uncomfortable? As for heat? You don’t get any where your hands actually hold it, and the battery is fantastic if anyone had concerns there.

    As for typing – you can make it work without looking like a tool but… seriously the only time you’ll need to is to find a game in the Play store.

    The Shield has it’s issues, but most of it is around the lack of developers taking Android seriously as a gaming ecosystem. Aaron, if you want a proper go on the Shield, I’ll let you have a crack if you get me a beer. As for streaming? Would have been good if they had a game that was easy to jump in/out of, at home my airport express does a great job of eliminating latency

    • Hey Richard,

      I think you’re right. The setup at Eurogamer didn’t do the console justice at all. I’d be happy to buy you a beer for an actually comfortable hands-on with the console!

      I think what you said basically sums up in fewer words what I thought about the console at Eurogamer. It was displayed poorly and no one was around to show the console as more of an Android based gaming device.

  • Joe

    I always thought that this was a flawed concept. It’s hard to tell what market NVIDIA was trying to target here? Were they trying to target people who want to play a game while taking a dump in the toilet? Maybe, but I personally find that disgusting. However, besides all that,the market alone is incredibly seems very small. This would only attract a small amount of core gamers. I can’t believe people got suckered into this piece of crap. Even more so the upcoming steam machine and xi3 piston are another big waste of money.

    just my 2cents.

  • Bobby

    The only thing I see the Shield lacking is a gamepad mapping software and the ability to move apps to external SD card. Other than that, in my opinion the Shield is the best gaming android device around. I own almost every android tablet & gaming device made and will always end up using the Shield for gaming and other activities. When traveling, there is no need for packing a separate gamepad controller, battery life is excellent and has lasted beyond my 5 hour trips (gaming, watching videos & listening to music), there is no need for packing an external battery pack unless you plan on traveling for longer periods of time. The Shield puts out great sound and rivals that of some laptops, it has always made playing a game or watching a video enjoyable when not using a headset. Quality of the Shield is excellent and as they say, you pay for what you get. The Shield’s weight has not been a problem for me, if you demo the device and feel that it’s heavy then I suggest you go lift some weights and don’t forget to take some protein while your at it. Heat has never been a problem for me and I game on the Shield for hours, the device does get warm though. If heat is a problem for you then I suggest you go to Shaolin Temple and visit Master Yu, he can probably teach you the Iron Palm technique to overcome this problem. Other than that, if you can afford the Shield then buy it, if you can’t then oh well, perhaps you need to find a job, or maybe just maybe mommy or daddy will buy it for you. Nuff said.

  • anon

    Whoever complained about psx emulator on android should try something good instead of that quick cash grab off an open source project that fpse is.
    RetroArch contains, among many others, the best psx emulator for ARM platforms. It’s fully software rendered(gpu is only used for scaling) and it has the ability to render at 2x native. Saying that Tegra4 is a minor imporvement is just silly. In fact, it has better single threaded raw performance than xbox360 or PS3(tested by running emulators written in pure C without any optimizations).
    There’s no doubt that Shield is currently the best portable solution for emulators. Native android games are lacking though. So you’re better off with a 3DS or even Vita.