We attended an NVIDIA event in Mumbai yesterday, the contents of which we cannot reveal till May 31. After the event, we got to check out the NVIDIA Shield (a.k.a Project Shield) for a short while. Here are our first impressions:
While the NVIDIA Shield unit we got our hands on was a pre-production one, it still gave us a good idea of the final production model.
Shield has very good build quality, even though most parts were made of plastic. The ergonomics are spot on, except for the spacing between the buttons on the rear side of the controller. However, an NVIDIA representative told us that this was going to change in the final production model. The dual sticks were quite well built and the four-way directional pad and buttons on the right are quite responsive. The Shield does not weigh much and hopefully you shouldn't feel fatigued even after hours of gaming.
The 5-inch screen looks quite vivid. There was hardly any lag while we were trying out games such as Grand Theft Auto, Dead Trigger 3, and the likes. The Tegra 4 processor ensures that the graphics looked quite pleasing on the screen and although the screen is reflective, it doesn't really affect game play much.
We were told that NVIDIA is still working on porting touch only games on the Shield's physical controls. You can still play games such as Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja on the Shield's 5-inch touchscreen. So while there are no Shield-specific games planned in the near future, NVIDIA reps told us that all the TegraZone games are playable on the Shield.
The sad news is that the Shield will be selling only in the USA for now. The NVIDIA reps did not commit on any India launch date in the near future. In the US it will be selling for $349 for the 16GB version.