Gaming, Movies and More
Alongside the new update, Nvidia have launched The Green Box, a bundle of Valve games that includes Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and Portal. These are great demonstrations of the Shields processing power.
“Leveraging the power of Tegra K1, Half-Life 2: Episode One offers a gaming experience unlike any other on a mobile platform. Some of the key graphics effects that are enabled only for devices powered by Tegra K1 are listed below.” – Nvidia
Tegra K1 Features
- Render to texture shadows (vs blob shadows)
- Flashlight shadow maps
- Bump mapping
- Specular highlights
- Environment mapping
- Motion Blur
- Higher quality texture filtering
There’s no doubt that the Tegra K1 in the Nvidia Shield is a tiny powerhouse for great gaming. Android 5.0 adds support for OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenGL 4.4 and Android Extension Pack (AEP). Combined, these can help the Shield push high-end graphics that put the competition to shame; there’s not a single high-end Android game or app this GPU/CPU combo can’t handle. In fact because of Tegra optimised games, there are quite a few games that can only run on the Shield Tablet.
The GRID gaming service isn’t available in the UK just yet, but Nvidia have tipped their hat that the servers will be online sometime next month. GRID is effectively a massive game streaming service. Nvidia does all the high-end rendering on their end and stream the game to your device with incredibly low latency. There will be twenty games available at launch and these aren’t mobile games, these are fully fledged PC games running at ultra setting. We expect great things from GRID and we will bring you a full report in the coming weeks.
Video playback is pretty decent on the Shield, but the device can be put into console mode via HDMI for both gaming and movies. The added bonus now is that the new update adds 4K video playback in console mode; Netflix 4K anyone?
One major gripe I had about the Shield Tablet in my original review was that I couldn’t connect an ethernet cable via USB and charge the device at the same time. Nvidia has fixed this by adding support for USB Y-Cables. This means that the internal battery isn’t going to limit your play time and you’ll be able to utilize the full power that the Shield Tablet has to offer.