Nvidia Announces New Shield Handheld Priced At $349

American global technology company Nvidia announced at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show their new Shield gaming handheld coming out towards the end of June. The Shield is a portable Android device with a built in 5″ screen displaying 720p, with a controller that looks similar in design to a Xbox 360 controller.   The Nvidia Shield will retail for a hefty $349, and will be available at retailers including GameStop, and at Nvidia.com.  Pre-orders will begin on Monday, May 20th.

The Shield attempts to bring the whole Android gaming experience to the next level.  In addition to the built in gamepad, the Shield features stock Android 4.2.1 on a brand new Tegra 4 processor with 2GB of RAM, mini-HDMI out with 4k video, a GPS chip and tuned bass reflex drivers for audio.

The 5″ screen conveniently folds down for easy storage and mobility, and the grips are covered with soft-touch rubber.  The Shield will come bundled with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II and Expandable: Rearmed, and games including Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and GTA: Vice City can stream directly to the Shield using a PC sharing the same Wi-Fi network.  The Shield also has interchangeable magnetic faceplates that snap in the top of the unit.  Additional faceplates will retail for $20 each.

The Shield’s on-board storage is only 16GB, and Nvidia promises that the 33 watt battery will last four to five hours for Tegra 4 gaming in the worst case with brightness turned all the way up.  The battery will last ten to twelve hours of PC streaming, and twenty plus hours of video playback.

There is some concern about Shield’s compatibility with all Android apps because currently the Shield can only display in landscape mode.  Some apps that will be included with the Shield include Hulu Plus and Twitch.tv.  Nvidia is currently working with Netflix to configure it to display in landscape mode rather than portrait mode which is currently standard for Netflix.

It’ll be interesting to see how Nvidia’s Shield does compared to other gaming platform choices currently available.  The $349 price tag may appear steep for a handheld considering most home consoles are less than this, but considering it’s less than some tablets available, and offers a unique gaming experience on the go, it may end up doing fine. Only time will tell.

What do you think about Nvidia’s Shield handheld?

 More at: http://shield.nvidia.com/