If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for NVIDIA to finally give us a Project SHIELD release date, today is the day you can begin to relax. Kind of – while we don’t have the shipping date yet, NVIDIA has announced that pre-orders will begin on May 20th. How much damage will it do to your wallet? Admittedly, not as much as I would have thought: $349. That’s not cheap in the handheld gaming market, but this isn’t an ordinary handheld.
With this announcement, NVIDIA has officially dropped the “Project” from its name, so it becomes just “SHIELD”. It’s going to be shipping with the company’s latest and greatest SoC, Tegra 4, featuring 72 GPU cores, 4 CPU cores and 2GB of memory. The gamepad has dual analog sticks, a full-sized D-pad, left and right analog triggers, bumpers and traditional A B X Y buttons.
These and other specs can be noted below:
- Tegra 4 – The world’s fastest mobile processor delivers rich graphics and unbeatable performance thanks to 72 GPU cores, four CPU cores and 2GB of RAM
- Console-grade controller – Precise control thanks to dual analog joysticks, a full-sized D-Pad, left and right analog triggers, full-sized bumpers and A/B/X/Y buttons
- Multi-touch display – 5-inch, 720p retinal multi-touch display for high-fidelity visuals
- Integrated speakers – Custom, bass reflex, tuned port audio system – we think this is SHIELD’s sleeper feature
- Wi-Fi – 802.11n 2X2 MIMO game-speed Wi-Fi for game streaming
- Pure Android – Latest Android Jelly Bean operating system from Google, for access to Android games and apps
- There’s more – We put into SHIELD everything we would want in a premium mobile gaming device: 16 GB memory, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a mini-HDMI output, micro-USB 2.0, a microSD storage slot, a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack. See the full spec sheet, here.
Given the recent release of 802.11ac products, it’s a little unfortunate we don’t see support for that here, but when prices need to be kept low, this isn’t exactly a surprise or something I can disagree with.
While tablet gaming isn’t new, even with a gamepad, this form-factor certainly is. And with the added ability to stream certain games from your PC via Steam – NVIDIA certainly has a killer-app that others will have a tough time emulating.