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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller Review

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 29 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

With the Android platform continuing its growth, mobile app and game developers, as well as hardware manufacturers, are all looking to slice themselves off a piece of the pie. NVIDIA, known for their long history in desktop computing, has always seemed highly focused on mobile gaming on Android, going back as far as the release of the Tegra 2 processor which powered the DROID X.

Now, NVIDIA has the Tegra K1 quad-core processor, capable of running PC grade games on mobile devices. Not only are mobile processors stronger than ever, but the hardware game has changed significantly in the past few years, with the company releasing the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller as of this morning.

Both devices broaden the newly-named “SHIELD Family,” which also includes last year’s SHIELD Portable, previously known as just SHIELD. This new tablet and controller are NVIDIA’s commitment to make mobile gaming on Android an experience like you have never had on Android. I’m not sure anyone could have imagined when we all got our first DROID devices back in 2009, that this is where we were headed in terms of mobile gaming. Below, we take a look at NVIDIA’s new Android-powered gaming offerings, putting them to the ultimate Android fanboy gaming test.

This is our SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller review. 

The Good


Specs

Featuring a Tegra K1 processor clocked up to 2.2GHz, 192-core GPU, and 2GB of RAM, the Tegra K1 is essentially unmatched in performance potential among other Android-powered tablets. Built with gamers in mind, NVIDIA has delivered a tablet that can stand up to any type of usage, whether that be PC game streaming, Netflix HD streaming, web browsing, local game playing, and much more. The SHIELD Tablet also features an 8″ Full HD display (1920 x 1200), 5MP front-facing camera, 5MP rear-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage (depending on which model you buy), dual front-facing stereo speakers, microSD slot for up to 128GB of storage, 4G LTE connectivity (available only with compatible model), 19.75 watt hours battery, mini-HDMI out, and runs stock Android 4.4.2 out of the box.

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Hardware / Build Quality

As we saw with last year’s SHIELD Portable, NVIDIA has a knack for making good hardware. The SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller keep this young tradition alive, as NVIDIA is still relatively new to the consumer hardware scene. To me, it seems the company has no problem sparing any expense, concluding with two devices that can stand up to the harshest of treatment. Sure, I wouldn’t drop either of these units off of a building and expect them to survive, but I can easily see the tablet and controller taking a good beating over the course of a couple years.

The SHIELD Tablet is semi-heavy, weighing in at 13.7oz, which makes it feel very durable and sturdy. It reminds me that I would rather have a tablet built for the long haul instead of an insanely light tablet that I constantly feel as if I’m going to snap in half. The SHIELD Controller is made of a hardened plastic, weighing 315 grams. It features console-grade controls, capacitive touch buttons, and an excellent in-hand feel. I would compare it to the SHIELD Portable’s controls, but it is much lighter given that it doesn’t feature a built-in display and a ton of additional hardware inside.

Gaming

Having been built specifically for gamers, there is no doubt that NVIDIA knocked it out of the park with the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller when it comes to gaming. Suitable for hardcore players to the more casual gaming enthusiasts among us, there really isn’t a game that this device can’t handle. Given that the SHIELD Tablet has full access to Google Play, you can use it as you would any other Android-powered tablet, downloading all of your favorite games to play whenever you would like.

Sending your gaming experience over the top is the GRID Beta application and the GameStream platform. With GameStream, owners of a GeForce GTX-powered PC rig can stream their PC games over a WiFi network directly to the SHIELD Tablet, giving you an awesome gaming experience from anywhere in your home. NVIDIA does a great job at making the setup process for the platform as easy as can be, while also making sure to visually “green light” your rig when it is hooked up properly with the correct drivers. Not only can you stream over 100 compatible games to your tablet over WiFi at 60fps in HD, but you can then hook the SHIELD Tablet up to your HDTV in the living room with Console Mode, which allows you to play your PC games at up to 60fps in 1080p right from your couch. It should also be noted that SHIELD Tablet allows for multiple SHIELD Controller devices to be hooked up to it simultaneously, meaning you and your friends can have fun at the same time.

The one feature which really blew me away was Stream to Twitch. While playing any game on your tablet, NVIDIA has built in the ability to livestream any gameplay to Twitch, for everyone to watch. So, you are streaming your PC game to the SHIELD Tablet using GameStream, streaming your gameplay up to Twitch for people to enjoy, and you can then also overlay a video of yourself using the tablet’s front-facing 5MP camera at the same time. It’s just like all of the gaming pros that you watch on YouTube and Twitch, minus the pain of setting all of the hardware up. To livestream, make sure you are signed in to Twitch on the tablet, pull down the notification shade, hit “Share,” then select “Broadcast to Twitch.” I livestreamed a little Granny Smith and Batman Arkham Origins (PC version) to test it out, and I came away very impressed with how easy it was to set up and control. If you enjoy watching a few YouTubers as I do that livestream their gameplay and commentary over it, you will have a blast trying it out for yourself.

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In addition, if you live in a supported area, don’t forget about the GRID Beta application. With GRID Beta, NVIDIA gives you access to multiple PC titles, without the need to buy anything. Games are streamed directly to your device over the cloud, meaning that you can get a lot of usage out of your SHIELD Controller, playing games such as Borderlands, Dead Island, Red Faction: Armageddon, Darksiders 2, and Alan Wake American Nightmare. Given that you have a decent router, gameplay streams phenomenally with no lag at all. This is most apparent when playing the racing game GRID, which calls for precise controls or you will end up going off of a cliff. Lag-free gameplay is thanks to the WiFi Direct connectivity between the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller, which is a much more powerful option for gamers over Bluetooth, with a direct data rate of 24Mbps versus Bluetooth’s 3Mbps.

To wrap this section up, I want to emphasize that NVIDIA does a great job at showcasing compatible games for the SHIELD Tablet paired with the SHIELD Controller, while also making players aware of Tegra exclusive titles that are available. While we don’t always agree with the “Tegra exclusive” game plan from NVIDIA and publishers, you might as well take full advantage of it if you own a compatible device. Owners of a compatible device can browse games through the Shop section of SHIELD Hub, which is an app downloaded from Google Play. Inside SHIELD Hub, you can see detailed descriptions for each game, including whether a title features full Controller support, “controller required” support, or partial controller support.

SHIELD TabletDisplays

Display

The SHIELD Tablet features an 8″ Full HD display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. Unlike the issues I had with SHIELD Portable last year, with its 5″ 720p display, the SHIELD Tablet features a gorgeous panel, capable of reproducing all of the stunning graphics that you would see on your HD computer monitor while playing games. That fact is important, given that streaming PC games to the Tablet is such a big selling point of the device. The overall size is quite nice as well; not too small like a Nexus 7, and not too big like a 10.1″ display. The 8″ allows for clear visuals, as well as an ultra portable experience. The display can get very bright, as well as extremely dark. It might actually get lower on the brightness scale than any other tablet I have seen to this date. This is good for me when I am laying in bed and don’t want to be blinded by a backlit display.

SHIELD Tablet - 1Macro

Macros for fun.

Battery

Given that I have only had the tablet for less than a week, and that time was spent constantly streaming content, I can only give a partial review of the battery life for the SHIELD Tablet. However, even though it was a short time, I came away very impressed with how long this tablet can stay alive while gaming and outputting Full HD content to my HDTV in Console Mode. Since last Wednesday morning, I have charged the device twice, but it never got lower than 15%, and I used the Tablet each day for a solid amount of time. I played local games from Google Play, streamed over GRID Beta, and used GameStream to play Batman Arkham Origins while livestreaming to Twitch. I never ran into any battery issues during this time. To me, that is most impressive.

As for the SHIELD Controller, I still have yet to plug that device into the wall for charging, since I haven’t needed to yet. Given that I haven’t needed to, and all you do is plug in a microUSB to charge it, I can give the SHIELD Controller a solid A+ in the battery department.

Once I have spent more time with the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller, using them as I would during a regular time (and not a reviewing period), I will report back with my findings if I feel the need to. For now, you can expect no type of battery issues from either device.

Software

There is no doubt that NVIDIA loves Android. Why else would they ship their hardware running stock Android, coupled with minor proprietary tweaks? Android as an OS is a strong mobile gaming platform, with NVIDIA only looking to make it stronger, while also capitalizing on it a bit. While keeping all baked-in applications to a minimum, the ones that NVIDIA does include are quite useful, including all of the SHIELD applications, a free copy of Trine 2, handwriting software for DirectStylus 2.0 (which we get into below), and the built-in Twitch integration. The software on SHIELD Tablet is an awesome package, full of value, which is also easy to navigate since it is stock Android. Everyone knows we are quite fond of stock Android, but there are certain companies that add in functional tweaks – such as Motorola – which make stock Android even better. NVIDIA has done that on the SHIELD Tablet. For that, we congratulate NVIDIA with a heartfelt golf clap.

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Updates from NVIDIA

Just like the SHIELD Portable, OS updates for the SHIELD Tablet are sent straight from NVIDIA, and the company is awesome in terms of turnaround time. With the SHIELD Portable, large Android updates took 4-6 weeks to be pushed out to all users, with NVIDIA expecting the same update times with the SHIELD Tablet. Quick update times are important for Android users, as it makes us feel like our devices are very important to the company which makes them. If a company releases an Android device, only to let it die with no updates after a year, then you should know not to buy a device from that company again. The SHIELD Portable is still receiving updates from NVIDIA, bringing more features, and of course, the latest versions of Android. If NVIDIA treats the SHIELD Tablet as they did the SHIELD Portable (which they will), buyers can expect a long updating life from their tablet.

DirectStylus 2.0

Before I dive deep into DirectStylus 2.0 talk, please make yourself aware that I am not an artist. I can draw a solid stick figure, and maybe a dog and cat, but that’s about it. With that said, I am the last person you want to explain the benefits of having a stylus coupled with this tablet, but I will try my best.

Built into SHIELD Tablet are a few apps which will help you get the most out of your stylus usage, these are NVIDIA Dabbler, Write, Evernote, and JusWrite. My favorite is NVIDIA Dabbler, which is basically a full painting studio inside of your tablet. Dabbler is the world’s first GPU accelerated 3D Painting application, which features gravity simulation, dynamic lighting controls, smart shape recognition, color mixing, and a ton more. As I mentioned, I can’t possibly explain these features in depth, but NVIDIA’s video on the software can give you a great look at it. Given that I had fun drawing my favorite Cartoon Network character (Clarence) with Dabbler, I can say that I actually had fun using DirectStylus 2.0.

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Dual Front-facing Speakers

The SHIELD Tablet comes with dual front-facing speakers, capable of awesome audio output. While playing my games, bumping my heavy metal tunes, and watching Netflix content, the speakers were always delivering good sounds for my ears to take in. While I noticed that they are not the loudest speakers, but are still plenty loud, and the sounds that are created by the speakers are clear, full, and controlled. At no point were there signs of peaking or crackling, something which I would find unacceptable for a luxury device such as this. Given that I consume a ton of content that requires good speakers every day of the week on my devices, it is nice to see that NVIDIA put special thought into the design (front-facing) and overall audio quality outputted by the SHIELD Tablet.

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Pricing and Availability 

The SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller are available through NVIDIA’s own website, starting July 29. The Tablet with WiFi + 16GB of storage can be purchased for just $299, while the 4G LTE + 32GB model is listed at $399. They can also be purchased through Amazon and other select retail locations. The SHIELD Controller is priced at $59, and the SHIELD Cover/Stand is priced at $39. To me, these prices are very reasonable, considering the functionality and power you are getting. Not only are you getting an awesome tablet, but you are opening yourself up to a ton of great content to consume from GRID Beta, GameStream, NVIDIA Dabbler, and Twitch.

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Camera

While I don’t think insane mobile photography was exactly what NVIDIA was looking to accomplish in creating the SHIELD Tablet, they didn’t do that bad of a job. The SHIELD Tablet features two shooters, one rear-facing 5MP and one front-facing 5MP. The front-facing shooter looks very good when livestreaming to Twitch, but besides that, I never have much use for a front facing camera. Maybe the occasional Snapchat, but I use my phone for that. The rear camera is not the best shooter I have seen on a tablet, but since it is a tablet, it gets the job done just fine.

The only downer is that instead of Google’s camera application, NVIDIA partnered with Camera Awesome to have their application preinstalled on the SHIELD Tablet, which I don’t really care for. Camera Awesome tends to be a bit bloated in my opinion, so I would rather have a plain point-and-shoot experience, especially since this is just a tablet. Regardless of software used, the pictures come out looking fine as long you can find some decent lighting and an object that stands still, unlike my dogs.

Photos below are unedited, but have been resized.

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Amount of Onboard Storage

The only real gripe I think anyone can have over the SHIELD Tablet is the amount of onboard storage that the WiFi-only model comes with. 16GB really isn’t all that much, especially when you consider that NVIDIA wants you to load this bad boy up with games and content. However, the tablet does feature a microSD slot for an additional 128GB of storage, but we all know that playing games from the microSD can sometimes be a bit hit and miss. From what I saw, after powering on the tablet, you are given about 12GB of storage to play with, which should be enough for a few big 1.5GB+ games from Google Play. Keep in mind, the SHIELD Tablet does come preloaded with Trine 2, which weighs in around 1.75GB on its own out of the box. With that said, this storage issue should really only matter to people who buy the $299 WiFi-only model, as I would assume that someone would never need to fill a tablet with 32GB of games. That’s just me, though.

SHIELD Controller


I wanted to give SHIELD Controller its own little section, given that it is its own little device. However, without a SHIELD Tablet, I don’t know how much fun a controller all by itself would be. Regardless, SHIELD Controller is a well constructed piece of hardware, featuring full console-grade triggers, bumpers, joysticks, capacitive buttons, a full volume rocker and a D-pad. I would compare it to the game controller that you can buy with the Fire TV, but much, much better. It is kind of small, easily handled with two hands, and you get the sense that you can really wrap your hand around it.

With the Controller, while playing PC games (or regular Android games, for that matter), you can hook up a full headset through the 3.5mm headphone jack, which also supports chat audio. If you play Call of Duty or a genre of game that requires a headset to chat with other players, you will know what I am referring to. When not using a headset, users can press the NVIDIA button and use Google Now, with voice commands such as “Open Netflix,” “Watch Godzilla,” and much more.

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Going back to battery talk, the SHIELD Controller is marketed as able to deliver up to 8 hours of gaming, taking less than 5 hours to go from completely drained to charged. Since the battery is not removable, all you do is plug the controller into the wall, which means you don’t have to worry about losing any parts since you are not removing anything.

All in all, the SHIELD Controller is a sweet little piece of hardware, perfectly paired with the SHIELD Tablet, but we do sort of wish that it was priced at $49.99 instead of $59.99. With a slightly lower price, people might be tempted to purchase more for multiplayer use cases.

Videos


Gallery


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The Verdict


I think it speaks volumes that the SHIELD Tablet is the first device I have reviewed where I didn’t think anything belonged in a “Not-so-Good” section. During my time with the unit, I didn’t come across a single gripe or pain point, which seems so rare these days. There is always something that I don’t care for in a device, but the SHIELD Tablet simply delivers exactly what it was made to, with no gimmicks and no bullsh*t.

To me, NVIDIA priced the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller as “affordable luxury” devices, meaning that you can get an insanely premium experience for the same price you would have with a watered-down Android experience from a competitor device. While I would normally always recommend a Nexus tablet over any other, the SHIELD Tablet will now replace Google’s offering in the recommendation category, given that you really get so much more value for your money.

The SHIELD Tablet coupled with the SHIELD Controller is the ultimate gaming package for Android lovers. All you have to do now is go buy one and see for yourself.

Amazon Links:  SHIELD Tablet ($299) | SHIELD Controller ($59.99) | SHIELD Cover ($39.99)

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller Review is a post from: Droid Life

Nvidia launches Tegra K1-powered Shield tablet, starting at $299      

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Shield Tablet Family Controoler Portable NVIDIA Tegra K1

Following an exhaustive leak last week, Nvidia has today made official the new Shield tablet, an 8-inch device powered by the Tegra K1 processor, targeted primarily at gamers.

The Shield tablet follows the Shield handheld console, released at CES last year, and packs some of the same gaming features, including GameStream technology, which works with select Nvidia GPUs and, in limited beta, with Nvidia’s cloud streaming service.

The Shield features an 8-inch Full HD IPS LCD display and comes with a built-in stylus that works with Nvidia’s new DirectStylus 2 tech, which includes “a new capability where pigment and paint mix and bleed physically, in real time, and the palette is naturally illuminated in 3D as the user adjusts the light source.”

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The Tegra K1 SoC features 192 Kepler-based GPU cores that support some desktop class graphics features, such as tessellation, and a quad-core Cortex A15 processor spinning at 2.2GHz, as well as 2GB of RAM. The device comes in two versions, one with Wi-Fi only and 16GB of built-in storage, and one with LTE and 32GB of storage. Both options feature an expansion card for up to 128GB of additional storage space.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet Tegra K1 GPU Benchmarks OpenGL ES 3.1

The dual front speakers with dual bass reflex enclosure should provide a rich soundtrack to your gaming exploits. Speaking of which, Nvidia boasts over 400 games that are optimized for the Shield at launch, though you will naturally be able to load up any app or game from the Play Store.

In addition to cloud streaming and local PC streaming, the Nvidia Shield features Console Mode, which turns the device into a console that gamers can connect to a TV and control with the optional Shield controller accessory.

The Nvidia Shield will become available for pre-order today and will begin shipping in North America on July 9, Europe on August 4, and in other regions this fall. The 16GB/Wi-Fi model will cost $299, while the 32GB/LTE model will go for $399. The optional Shield controller will retail for $59, and Nvidia is also offering a case with a built-in stand for $39.

Show Press Release

NVIDIA Launches World’s First Tablet Built for Gamers

SHIELD Family Expands as World’s Most Advanced Mobile Processor, 192-Core Tegra K1, Serves Up Unmatched Tablet Experience, Amazing Gaming

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — July 22, 2014 — NVIDIA today launched the newest members of the NVIDIA® SHIELDTM family — the SHIELD tablet and the SHIELD wireless controller.

Designed and built by NVIDIA, SHIELD Tablet is the ultimate tablet for gamers, delivering unparalleled gaming performance made possible by the world’s most powerful mobile processor, the NVIDIA Tegra® K1, and frequent software updates that bring new features and improved performance.

The SHIELD tablet is built for gaming, featuring a bright, 8-inch, full HD display, booming front- facing speakers with rich sound, and an optional cover that both protects the screen and can be used as a stand to support the device. To transform the tablet form factor into a serious gaming machine, NVIDIA has built the SHIELD wireless controller, which provides the precision, low latency and ergonomics that serious gamers demand.

The SHIELD tablet offers optional LTE for gamers to take their online gaming anywhere. And to ensure the device delivers the richest gaming experience, NVIDIA will provide regular, over-the- air software updates.

“If you’re a gamer and you use a tablet, the NVIDIA SHIELD tablet was created specifically for you,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer at NVIDIA. “The SHIELD tablet delivers unique gaming capabilities to keep even the most avid gamer deeply immersed, anywhere they play.”

As with the original member of the SHIELD family, the original SHIELD portable, the SHIELD tablet is the portal to compelling content that gamers will love, including over 400 SHIELD- optimized Android games, as well as the ability to wirelessly stream users’ PC gaming libraries.

The SHIELD tablet’s gaming capabilities are powered by its Tegra K1 mobile processor, with a 192-core GPU that taps into the same NVIDIA KeplerTM architecture that drives the most extreme gaming PCs.

String of World Firsts

The SHIELD tablet provides a range of firsts for a tablet:

  • PC Streaming: First to stream games from a PC desktop or notebook, from anywhere in the home – using NVIDIA GameStreamTM technology to stream from systems powered by an NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 6xx series or greater GPU.
  • Cloud Streaming: First to stream PC games from the cloud. Gamers can access the NVIDIA GRIDTM cloud gaming beta, available exclusively to SHIELD owners in Northern California, to instantly stream a library of high-quality PC games, and then save them in the cloud.
  • Twitch and NVIDIA ShadowPlayTM: First to feature Twitch – the leading video platform and community for gamers – which is also integrated with ShadowPlay, an advanced game-capture tool that lets users save and stream their greatest gaming moments. Gamers can stream titles from the SHIELD tablet to friends and foes worldwide. SHIELD Tablet also includes a 5MP front camera to enhance the image of the gamer overlaid on the Twitch gamecast.
  • Console Mode: First to feature NVIDIA Console Mode, which takes your tablet gameplay to your big screen TV. Console Mode transforms the device into a full living-room gaming and entertainment experience. Gamers can set up their SHIELD wireless controller, sit back on their couch and play Android games, browse the web and watch their favorite movies — all in native 1080p HD.

Controller for Serious Gamers, with Ultra-Low Latency Wi-Fi

The SHIELD wireless controller is the most advanced device of its kind, allowing gamers to boost performance with ultra-low latency Wi-Fi Direct connectivity with up to four wireless controllers to game along with friends. It is the first precision controller designed for both PC gaming and Android, and features a gaming headset jack, built-in touch pad, volume control and revolutionary voice command and search.

Best Stylus

A stylus allows tablet experiences that touch-only tablets can’t match, and the NVIDIA DirectStylusTM 2 technology on the SHIELD tablet is a game-changer. Twice as responsive as its predecessor, DirectStylus 2 technology enables the first GPU-accelerated 3D painting experience, a new capability where pigment and paint mix and bleed physically, in real time, and the palette is naturally illuminated in 3D as the user adjusts the light source.

Aspiring artists can use DirectStylus 2 to capture the attitude of every stroke on the SHIELD tablet, take notes with the integrated apps and handwriting recognition, or get creative with the NVIDIA DabblerTM app’s hyper-realistic watercolor and 3D Paint oil painting.

Dynamic Sound

Ensuring that every game, song and podcast sounds incredibly crisp and clear, NVIDIA PureAudioTM technology delivers dynamic sound through front-facing stereo speakers and a dual-ported bass-reflex enclosure.

Versatile Cover

The sturdy, optional SHIELD tablet cover does more than just protect the tablet. It offers a variety of flexible stand positions to make gaming and entertainment more enjoyable.

Preloaded with NVIDIA SHIELD Hub and Trine 2

The SHIELD tablet comes preloaded with the NVIDIA SHIELD Hub app, the center of the gamer’s SHIELD experience. The app offers one-touch access to over 400 SHIELD-optimized Android game titles, along with Google Play, where gamers can download thousands of apps, including Netflix, Pandora and more.

Also bundled is the popular Frostbyte game Trine 2: Complete Story. Originally a huge hit on PlayStation, Xbox and Steam, the game is now optimized for great gameplay and graphics on the Tegra K1 processor.

Pricing, Availability and Accessories

The SHIELD tablet comes with either Wi-Fi connectivity, or Wi-Fi and LTE. It’s available in 16- and 32GB, with MicroSD (up to 128GB), starting at $299. The SHIELD wireless controller retails for $59. The SHIELD tablet cover retails for $39.

The SHIELD tablet, wireless controller and tablet cover are now available for preorder in the United States, Canada and select European countries. Preorders in the United States are available at shield.nvidia.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, Micro Center, Newegg and Tiger Direct, and in Canada at Canada Computers, Memory Express, NCIX and ThinkGeek.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Controller leaked in full glory

Posted by wicked July - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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NVIDIA is getting ready to announce its new Shield products, but it seems they just can’t stay away from leaksters’ hands. A new set of slides has hit the internet with all the details you could ever ask for. The second-generation Shield launch is rumored to include a Shield Tablet and Shield Controller.

The processor manufacturer was not the most successful at launching the NVIDIA Shield handheld gaming device. This could have triggered their desire to alter the form factor and strategy. Instead of a handheld gaming platform, the new NVIDIA Shield set-up consists of two pieces. The tablet could work as a standalone device, designed for both gaming and daily tasks. Meanwhile, the controller will be available when you are ready for game time.

Let’s start by taking a look at the rumored 8-inch pad. The NVIDIA Shield Tablet is said to come with 1080p display, a powerful Tegra K1 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16-32 GB of internal storage, 5 MP cameras (both), Bluetooth 4.0 and a microSD slot. There will be WiFi and WiFi+LTE versions, priced at $299 and $399 accordingly.

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The interesting part here is the remote, which is now completely unattached to the Shield gaming device. It’s quite an interesting concept, and we must say it’s not a bad idea. After all, this could make for a much more flexible experience. Having to carry and deal with the controller at all times is simply not the most convenient way to go about things.

The controller will cost only $59 and feature WiFi Direct connectivity, ensuring a strong and speedy connection. It also comes packed with a microphone and all the buttons and joysticks you can expect on a good gaming pad. In essence, it looks much like the controller we saw in the NVIDIA Shield, but unattached and with what looks like a much more ergonomic build.

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Both devices are rumored to go on sale this July 29th, so we probably won’t be waiting much longer for the official announcement. Europeans may have to wait a bit more, though, with a release date rumored to be set on August 14th. The rollout will continue in other markets throughout the Fall.

Do keep in mind these are all rumors and leaks. Nothing is official until it is announced, no matter how credible and consistent the leaks are. We will be sure to let you know all the details as soon as they come!

VIA creates Viega tablet made for tough environments

Posted by wicked July - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

The Android tablet market isn’t actually an ideal marketplace for immediate profit, what with all the major players putting out ginormous numbers of different kinds of tablet devices. VIA, a technology company known for making chips for computer motherboards, isn’t the first place you’d look for a top-of-the-line tablet – but what they have is the VIA Viega, a tablet designed specifically for tough and rugged work environments.

The Viega is purposefully designed to meet IP65 certification – able to withstand abuse from dust and water, even rain. The tablet is designed to be protected from falls and drops from as high as 6 feet. The glass they used on the tablet is tempered glass, and as such is resistant to shattering. Impressed yet? You should be, because VIA actually thought of ways to make this tablet darned near indestructible.

VIA says that the Viega was made thinking of near-extreme work environments like construction areas, warehouses, factories, and the like. It isn’t actually aimed at regular consumers, although you are free to purchase one if you would like to own an invulnerable tablet. As of the moment, VIA says that there are samples already available for testing.

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Oh, the rest of the specs? Yeah, we almost forgot – and that’s because in this time and season, the Viega’s internal specs are exactly as “ho-hum” as you could imagine. The tablet is powered by a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor with Mali-400 graphics pushing pixels for a 10.1-inch 1280×800 display. It has 1GB of RAM (probably just about good enough), 16GB of storage, all running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The tablet has some leeway in the area of expansion ports – it has 2 micro USB ports and a micro HDMI port. The standard Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity features are also there, and you can add cameras and 3G connectivity as options.

VIA: Liliputing

Samsung Galaxy Tab S may be suffering overheating issues

Posted by wicked July - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Some reports from users are coming in that Samsung’s newest Super AMOLED tablet – the Galaxy Tab S – may be suffering from overheating issues, causing the flimsy plastic back cover to deform because of the heat. Could it be that the newly-launched premium tablet device would now have the potential to ruin Samsung’s day?

The South Korean electronics giant just launched the new tablet in June, hyping on its slim good looks and strong performance via its octa-core Exynos processor, but it seems that those are the main things that are causing this slight(?) problem. Below are pictures of a Samsung Galaxy Tab S, the 8.4-inch variant suffering the said issue. More pics at the source link.

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The user, as told by hi-tech@mail, claims that the tablet – when using graphics and processor-intensive applications such as games – tends to heat up considerably, to the point that after a number of such uses, the thin plastic back cover of the tablet gets deformed (“wavy” was the term most used). The user claims that this was a “day one” problem, with the onboard Exynos processor heating up upon installation and use of some game apps.

Also according to the tech blog, this situation has been monitored and talked about in several tech forums – this is not a lone incident. The user bemoans that while Samsung has knowledge of the situation, it has not responded promptly to the situation. He claims that maybe in the desire to put out a very slim tablet (6.6 mm), Samsung may have disregarded overheating issues. The blog itself contacted Samsung via email and got the response we quote below (translated from the original Russian).

Samsung’s customer satisfaction is our highest priority, so at the moment we are carefully considering this device’s case. Although the deformation on the rear lid is negligible and should not pose a problem for the operation of the tablet, the owner of the tablet can contact the nearest Samsung service center for replacement of the said defective part.

SOURCE: [email protected]

Samsung Galaxy Tab S experiencing overheating issues, resulting in warped back covers

Posted by wicked July - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

We were quite impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, back when we reviewed it, due to its thin and sleek design, solid battery life, and stunning 2560 x 1600 high resolution AMOLED display. Unfortunately though, it looks like Samsung might not have struck the perfect hardware balance with the Galaxy Tab S, as the tablet is reportedly suffering from overheating issues.

Hi-Tech.Mail.Ru is reporting that the Galaxy Tab S’ Exynos 5420 processor, which also powers the Galaxy Note 3, is heating up quite substantially during heavy load. Whilst warm temperatures aren’t completely unusual for mobile devices, the Tab S is heating up so much that it is deforming the back cover of the tablet.

The higher resolution display is likely putting a lot more stress on the Mali-T628 GPU than lower resolution devices would, which could be responsible for the additional heat. Combined with a choice of back cover materials that don’t appear to respond to well to high temperatures, and you are left with a bit of a cosmetic disaster.

You can see a few photos of the warping on the 8.4 inch version of the Galaxy Tab S below. The bumps are not overly noticeable, but the look, and importantly feel, of the tablet has clearly been altered by the heat.

Galaxy Tab S back cover warped  Galaxy Tab S overheating

Samsung has not yet responded to the complaint, so we will be sure to keep our eye out for an official statement. It is unclear, at this point, how widespread the issue is, so if you have noticed overly high levels of heat or a similar back cover issue yourself, please let us know in the comments below.

Verizon Adds Tablets to Monthly Edge Payment Plans

Posted by Kellex July - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Yesterday, Verizon added tablets to its monthly device payment plan, also known as Edge.

With tablets on Edge, you are looking at the same deal as you would get with phones – no upgrade fees, full device value split into 20 equal monthly payments, and the option to upgrade once you have owned the device for 30 days and have have paid off 60% of it. As you can see from the screenshot, devices like the new Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet are already included. Verizon also sells the Galaxy Tab 4, G Pad 8.3, Nexus 7 (2013), Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, and all of the iPads. 

If you were looking for a way to get into an LTE-ready tablet that works on Verizon’s network without paying the full cost up front, you now have one.

Via:  Verizon
Cheers W and Michael!

Verizon Adds Tablets to Monthly Edge Payment Plans is a post from: Droid Life

Deal: get a Kindle Fire HDX 7 16GB for $149

Posted by wicked July - 10 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Looking for an Android (well, sort of) tablet on the cheap? Retailer Newegg, through its eBay store, is offering the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX for an attractive $149.

Released in September 2013, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 features a crisp Full HD display featuring quantum dots technology for vivid colors, a powerful Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The tablet features Dolby audio and the battery should be good for up to 11 hours of mixed usage or up to 17 hours of reading. More info in our video review above.

Newegg is offering the Wi-Fi only, 16GB variant, with special offers, meaning that the device will display Amazon ads on the lockscreen. The device is brand new and is covered by a one-year full warranty.

At $80 less than Amazon’s current best price, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is an excellent deal, if you can live with the fact that you don’t get a true Android experience. Even so, this may still be a good choice if you only need a tablet for casual media consumption or as a gift for a less technical relative. Plus, CyanogenMod has recently added support for some Kindle Fires, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see custom ROM builds for the Fire HDX as well.

Head over to eBay for the deal.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet launching on Verizon, pre-orders start July 10

Posted by wicked July - 9 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

sony xperia z2 tablet review (7 of 17)

Sony has announced a new partnership with Verizon, with whom they will launch the Xperia Z2 Tablet exclusively. The Japanese manufacturer’s tablet is hands down among the best in the market. After testing it at MWC, we can say its specs are top-notch, performance is spotless and the experience is pure bliss.

The WiFi version has been available in the USA for a while, but a data-connected iteration hasn’t yet reached the States. The WiFi device is available straight from Sony’s website for $499.99, but what about this Verizon version?

Those looking to get a Verizon-branded Xperia Z2 Tablet may be very happy about this launch. The only issue is that it won’t come cheap. Verizon’s Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet will cost $599.99. This may have been more enticing with a good on-contract offer, but it turns out Verizon is only willing to subsidize $100 off the device.

sony xperia z2 tablet review (12 of 17)

A price of $499.99 after signing a 2-year contract is not the discount of a lifetime. Granted, this is an amazing tablet, but I get the feeling very few of us will think it’s $600-amazing. Those interested will be able to find it in stores on July 17th. You can also put your name to one by pre-ordering it starting tomorrow, July 10th.

This tablet is, as mentioned above, among the best tablets I have used. $599.99 is no small price, though. Very few high-end tablets reach that price point, so we must wonder how good this tablet is. For starters, it is water resistant, which might make it amazing for many of you.

Specs include Android 4.4 KitKat, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 10.1-inch 1920x1200p TRILUMINOS display, 8.1MP/2.2MP cameras and a 6000 mAh battery. The Xperia Z2 Tablet did very well in our review, which you can read to see our in depth investigation and testing on the device.

Who is signing up for a Verizon Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet?

Sony Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3 and HTC One (M7) dropped from Play Store

Posted by wicked July - 9 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

htc one google play edition aa front standing

Google has dropped the amount of Google Play Edition devices down to three from five. Until today’s change, Google had the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3 and HTC One (M7) listed on the Play Store. All three devices were shown as out of inventory for some time before they were removed.

It is currently unknown whether or not we will see new Google Play Edition devices, especially with the rumors of Android Silver. Android Silver was expected to replace the Nexus line however, Dave Burke stated that the Nexus line of devices is essential for Google displaying how they believe Android should run.

“You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think it can or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don’t see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn’t make sense.”

For those who happen to be looking for a Google Play Edition device can still choose between the HTC One (M8), and the Moto G. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is listed as out of inventory on Google’s web store.