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Is Nvidia's Shield worth $300? We debate the math

Brad Chacos and Jared Newman | June 24, 2013
You gotta hand it to Nvidia: While most manufacturers are responding to the PC market's slowdown by curling into a fetal position and mewling about a savior that always seems to be right around the corner, Nvidia is actively seizing the future by unleashing a torrent of products that shake things up and are actually fun, too.

You gotta hand it to Nvidia: While most manufacturers are responding to the PC market's slowdown by curling into a fetal position and mewling about a savior that always seems to be right around the corner, Nvidia is actively seizing the future by unleashing a torrent of products that shake things up and are actually fun, too.

And if any device sums up Nvidia's forward-thinking philosophy to a T, it's the Shield. Team Green's gaming handheld is basically a nexus for all things Nvidia, packing a Tegra 4 processor that will no doubt be able to play even the most demanding Android games with aplomb.

What, that's not good enough for you? The Shield can also connect to a remote GeForce GRID server or to a computer running a modern GeForce GTX 600-series or 700-series graphics card to deliver a full-fidelity stream of your favorite PC game straight to the handheld. Yup, with the Shield, you'll be able to play in a full 64-player Battlefield match from the comfort of your couch...or your bathtub. Glorious!

Sounds wonderful, right? But then there's the price. Oh, geez, the price: Even after a prelaunch discount, Nvidia plans to sell the Shield for $300 when it goes on sale next week.

Sure, the Shield packs a ton of versatility, but whew--that's a lot of cash. Is it money well spent? PCWorld senior writer Brad Chacos and contributing writer Jared Newman, who both spent time playing with the Shield at various trade shows over the past few months, make the case for and against Nvidia's nifty new handheld.

Jared: The Nvidia Shield is worth every penny

Allow me to get personal for a moment: I have a wife. She does not play video games, and so her tolerance for my hogging the television to play video games is finite. But because we love each other very much (seriously!), she would also prefer that I not spend the duration of a given evening hiding in my office, playing PC games by my lonesome.

The Nvidia Shield presents a solution: We get to keep each other company in the living room, and I get to play games like Borderlands 2 and Skyrim from the comfort of my couch. Everybody wins.

The ability to play Android games is more than just icing. I've been testing a Moga Pro controller lately, and I've already spent many evenings enjoying classic-game emulators and playing controller-supported Android games on my HTC One. The whole concept of Android-based gaming has its detractors, but I'm not one of them. For quick, snack-size gaming, Android is wonderful, and being able to dig into a full PC game is the total package.

 

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