Yes, it is true. I think the Nvidia Shield sucks!

To be 4K or not to be

First of, resolution ! I have plugged the shield on 3 different TV :

  • a 720p one ;
  • a 1080p TV;
  • a 4K TV.

On the 720p TV, the Shield can only work at 1080p which means non native resolution and big visible pixels.

On the 1080p TV, the Shield will only work a 4K resolution with reduced refresh rate (24Hz)… which sucks cause you can spot the big pixels from your couch and refresh rate make it looks “slow” or laggy.

Here is a picture of a 1080p TV with 4K resolution at 60Hz, not definitely not usable :

Shield 4K 60Hz

Now, same 1080p TV but 4K @ 24hz :

Shield 4K @ 24Hz

On the 4K, it works as it is supposed to. But honestly, sitting on your couch a few meters away, it is hard to tell the difference between a 4K Shield TV vs a Raspberry Pi 2 1080p setup.

Without a 4K display, you will get worse graphics for 5 times the price of a rpi2. So, yes the Nvidia Shield sucks with non native 4K displays.

The gamepad is… well not for gamers

Gamepad is pretty big, fat an heavier than any other gamepad. Holding it in your hands for a long time will be exhausting.

Let’s compare sizes on a picture :

gamepafs

Now about the weight :

  • Shield gamepad : 315g
  • Xbox 360 PC pad : 250g (310g with the whole cable)
  • PS4 : 220g
  • PS3: 195g

Please note that weights have been rounded to the next upper value. The gamepad alone is heavier than the old gen Xbox 360 pad with its cable… and lot fatter to as the picture attests.

Once again again, the Nvidia Shield sucks as it makes you lift weights while you should be playing.

Gaming platform… not so much

I am not sure what people are supposed to do with a Shield. Media Center ? Not really when you have Android TV stick and/or ChromeCast devices that are way cheaper, plug and play and run Kodi.

I believe the Shield should be good gaming platform, but no the Nvidia shield sucks at gaming too.

Android games ? No thanks, they work OK, but again if you want to play Android game buy a stick or an Ouya console. A part from a very short list of titles, you’ll be able to play the same games.

Geforce Game-Stream ? Well, maybe, but not today. This point could be pretty interesting. It allows you to stream almost any game from your running PC to your TV / couch setup. After playing with a it a little, I have to say that it is far from perfect. Some games don’t play along, and it lags quite often, I used wired networking only. Actually, this point is not that bad, it kinda works. However, for the tech knowhow there is a free implementation called Moonlight and it happens to work OK on a $40 RPI2. Moonlight is not as good as Geforce Game-Stream, but is playable most of the time.

Nvidia Geforce Now, for about ten bucks a month, you can rent games and play them on your shield without having to use a computer. Everything from the game is “calculated” on Nvidia cloud servers and you just stream it to your couch. However, you’ll need the very HIGH bandwith (we are talking about 50Mbit/s for 1080p @ 60Hz as per official requirements) in order to be able to play any game. Moreover, most recent games can’t really be rented but have to be completely bought.. and you’ll sometimes get a key for your regular PC but not always. If you have a gaming computer, it is still better to buy the regular game and stream it thanks to Geforce Game-Stream.

Last but not least, playing old console games. I have already started a serie about retrogaming. The Shield can allow you to run emulators, however the good emulators (.emu from Robert Broglia) are not free. They are around $5 each… and there is not many frontend, or they are not very nice looking. A “frontend” allows you to have a nice looking and consistent experience : all emulator are accessible from the same menu with a nice GUI. This is far more entertaining than the Android’s way offered by the Shield.

A nice emulation frontend, Recalbox :

Android emulators :

Yeah, Nvidia shield sucks…really

And I am really disappointed to say so. I bought it during a the black Friday and I was really hoping to find a great device, since I read many great reviews, but I am actually really disappointed. I am sending it back to Amazon. I’ll keep using the RPI2 with Recalbox. As for a media center solution, you could still use a regular Kodi installation with the right add-ons for streaming, as per our Kodi Beginner’s Guide.

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I agree,I had an amazon fire tv,and used it primarily for Kodi,emulators and sone video file playback,bought this thing hoping I’d see some major improvements since the price was so much more exoensive.very disappointed,it lacks polish and provides almost no noticeable improvements.the remote really sucks.it also freezes much more frequently than Anazon Fire TV.sadly I cannot return it anymore.
    Nvidia Shield TV = overrated,over priced piece of junk.

    • I have had a shield for a year now. No problems on 1080 tv or 4k tv. Game streaming is great , NY grandson would rather play shield than his ps4. And the guys comment about controller being 80 100 grams heavier, we’ll I can’t tell the difference so if he can tell he is holding 100 grams heavier with 2 hands he must be sensitive. He propably is sensitive toward his rpi2 , must be selling them, lol. RPI2 nowhere compares to the processor speed , ram and 500gb internal storage. Which most of us know that these smaller android boxes with 16gb runs out of space when u start putting kodi , spmc or retro on them. I would never use a different box ever . Only shield and when new shield comes out I will be first in line to get

  2. Thanks for your comment. I am “glad” to hear it. Not glad that you are unsatisfied with your purchase but somehow glad we share the same point of view.

    I really don’t like the Nvidia Shield, and totally agree when you say they are overrated. I don’t get all the hype about it everywhere, and all the very good reviews.

  3. I bought one 16GB model, came with an extra gamepad. Had to bring it back next day, it tried to update and afterwards it would not do anything. Returned it for another POS. This one updated fine, gamepad and remote work very well. Connected to WiFi AC woohoo!!!! nope. Disconnect after hang after failure. On off, on….off. Drop down to WiFi N , much better. Have to reboot it now and then.

    Other than a few issues, it does use Kodi very well compared to my HTPC. Games I had no issue with gamepad. Surfing no issue with remote.

    Is it better than my older MinX box? Lets just say it did not wow me like it should have. I really would look at other set top boxes if you are looking into buying one of these. Maybe the 2nd gen of these POS boxes will be better?

  4. I am also very annoyed with myself for believing the hype around this box….and as for Android TV it is a long way from being useful or finished and 40 pounds sterling for a remote control which at best is crap is beyond belief

    • Hi Ronnie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What I have been using for the past months is a Raspberry Pi 3. I have quite happy with it. The price / performance ratio is really good.
      Compared to the Nvidia Shield, the RPI3 will stay “alive” all the time (power consumption is pretty low), which has the big advantage of being always reachable by other software. In my case, it means that as soon as new episode I want is available for download, it will download it no my Nas and then the NAS will notify the RPI3. Then I just have to turn on my TV and I’ll be greeted with the latest downloaded media.

      On the “geek” side, the RPI3 is also a “real” computer, compared to the Nvidia Shield which is Android based (like a smartphone). IN the end, it means you can almost whatever you can think of with it. I am currently playing old console games on it (with a great controller, the PS3 one wireless), thanks to Retropie.
      In a few words : endless possibilities for a small price tag. You can keep it simple and only use Kodi / OpenElec, or make a very advanced use of it with a little more work.

      I’ll probably add a RPI3 section to this side and share guides / ideas to play with our Pis.

  5. It’s awesame macine with litle changes 🙂
    With FullAndroid on it and Droidmote, you can do everything on it, play touchscreen games etc..
    I have this for now about a half year and i buy a nother one some day 🙂

  6. I’m running a shield through wifi on 5ghz 4ghz etc etc and never have any issues, people just need to know how to use them. The only thing I fine frustrating is the locked down os which means you have to sideload software. Buffering is never an issue for me when gaming or watching live tv, and like I said I’m using wifi which is supposed to be a no no. I do agree partly with the remote being a little big, but I don’t find it uncomfortable like the writer said.

  7. Thanks for your comment Tom. I am glad you are happy with the Shield and don’t share 100% my point of view.

    I can be a bit -coughs- extremis. Even more when it comes to non open source software and high tech gizmos. 😉

  8. I’ve got a Pi2, Pi3, and a Shield TV. The shield TV rocks N64 emulation. a Pi3 struggles even when using low res settings and even that doesn’t work on some games such as Re-Volt. I’ve been using Kodi on the shield for over a year now and have had zero issues out of it. I bought the Shield TV right after it launched. I will agree though that Recalbox is a better experience than anything i’ve tried on the Shield so far for other emulation such as SNES, NES, Genesis, etc. Even PSX is pretty good. But that could just be my unwillingness to really sit down and take a look at RetroArch, Hyperspin, and all the settings, configurations, etc. on the Shield at the moment as i’ve been really working on my Raspberry Pi stuff as of late.

    I like the Shield controller quite a bit. The only way it could get better is if I could find a way to turn an original Xbox “Duke” controller into a wireless one. I love those things. I don’t have huge hands but they just work better for me than the S or the later 360 controllers, ergonomically. My only regret with the Shield is that I should have bought the 500gb version instead I cheaped out and got the 16gb.

    And honestly I don’t really use the shield’s best features such as the game streaming, Steam games, etc. But as far as a piece of gear goes it’s extremely capable. I just wish there was a little more development for it.

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