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 :
Now, same 1080p TV but 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 :
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.