Top positive review
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Sleek and capable streaming device. VERY FAST!
on January 16, 2017
I Just received my Nvidia shield in the mail, the SHIELD TV not the PRO.
Whats' in the box?
NVIDIA SHIELD TV
Charging Cable (for controller)
What's not in the box?
HDMI cable - This is rather annoying, but most people will have another one laying around somewhere.
Initial build quality impressions: 4/5
Unit does not have a very substantial feeling to it, feels rather lightweight and a little flimsy. Both the remote and gamepad have a good feel in my hands and I enjoy holding them. For what it is the build quality is adequate though, just don’t drop it.
Getting started: 4.5/5
Upon starting the unit you will need to setup the unit with your Google account. This can be either done using the controller or using your android smartphone / tablet. The latter, did not work for me. I received an error that something went wrong and the setup aborted on my phone. No big deal, the on screen setup is rather painless. After the setup the device will download a rather large (1.07GB) software package and then ask to restart. Upon restart the SHIELD will take you to it's main app screen.
The main interface is very clean and very fast. Apps are laid out in the traditional tile orientation with menus being very easy to navigate.
HDR Test: 4/5
One of the major reasons I purchased this is the HDR support that it offers over other boxes. So, first thing I did was sign into my Amazon Prime Instant Video account and fire up an episode of "Mozart in the Jungle". As soon as the video launched the TV switched over to HDR settings and I was good to go.
Amazon: HDR is working.
Youtube: HDR NOT working: Attempted to play "The World in HDR" TV is not switching to HDR settings
Netflix: Update 1/16/2016: HDR is now working. You need to update the Netflix app via the "Google Play Store" on the main dashboard in order to have HDR work.
Internal Storage: 3.5/5
The base version has 16GB of internal storage, which is realistically 11GB after allocation. Time will tell if this will suffice for my needs. It should be noted that a MICRO SD CAN NOT be used with the base version, that slot is only on the pro version. It did allow me to connect a 128GB USB flash drive to be used as additional internal storage.
I tested a few Android games that I bought previously from the Google Play Store. I played Final Fantasy and Goat Simulator. Both games mapped controls as if you were playing on a console and it translates well to the SHIELD. I did not try any kind of game streaming yet as I don't have access to any content at this time.
I've gotten a few questions on emulation and gamepad input lag so I did some testing on a few different emulators. So far I've tested MUPEN64, Snes9x+, ePSXe, MD.Emu and NES.Emu. In all instances the software automatically mapped the NVIDIA Gamepad to appropriate buttons. All of the games I tested ran very smoothly, with a little bit of situational lag on the N64 Emu, but this was with settings maxed. I noticed absolutely no input lag from the gamepad and everything felt very responsive. It's possible people who are very sensitive to input lag may feel differently, YMMV.
The game pad is almost the exact same size as my XBOX ONE S controller with a button layout a little closer to a Sony DUALSHOCK controller, with the D-Pad being above the left stick. The game pad battery does not come fully charged so I suggest plugging it in and charging it after unboxing if you want to use it.
The remote is not chargeable and does not use a traditional AA/AAA battery. It instead uses 2 "CR 2032" flat cell batteries that are claimed to last about a year. To change the batteries you need to use a fine point (pen etc.) to press in the small button on the bottom of the remote, the battery tray should then eject.
UPDATE 1/21/2017: Like many of the other reviewers my remote is completely worthless now. Initially I did not notice any issues with it, but lately it is either lagging severely or not responding at all. Hopefully this can be resolved with software updates, if not NVIDIA is going to need to replace all of the remotes. My current remote version is 1.03.
UPDATE 2/19/2017: Android TV 5.1 and remote firmware v1.05 both had a rollout on my device on 2/18/2017. The combination of these updates seems to have greatly improved the functionality of the remote. Aside from the initial lag when you "wake" the remote, it seems to be completely lag free now. Thank you NVIDIA for resolving this issue that has plagued so many of us.
Voice Search: 3.5/5
Voice search so far seems very nice, but as far as I can tell it doesn't find programs on Prime Video from the home screen. If I say "The Man in High Castle" it will pull up a review and a cast list, but no option to watch on Amazon. But if I search "X-Files" It will show up as available to watch on "Netflix" and I can watch it. The voice search is supposed to get more support at a later date with the addition of Google Home features.
In order for the SHIELD to appear on your network, you need to update the PLEX server first and enable the device in the "Storage and Reset" menu. For some reason I was unable to update PLEX server in the "Google Play" app on the device and I had to manually push it from the google play store on my PC.
UPDATE 1/17/17: I've recently been having issues with the other PCs in my house not being able to see the shield on the network. This is making it so I can't drop files directly on the shield. This initially worked when I got it set up, but is no longer. What I've been doing as a workaround is putting files into a shared folder I named "SHIELD TRANSFER" and pulling the files over using the free app "ES FILE EXPLORER". It's inconvenient, but it works. This will become more of an issue if I decide to host media on the shield and attempt to watch it on other devices. This issue may be isolated to my network.
UPDATE 1/18.17: I did some digging and got the drive to finally show on the network (hopefully for good). This is from Nvidia’s site, I suggest you give it a try if you’re having issues like I was:
“To immediately connect to your SHIELD, type “\\SHIELD” into the Windows Explorer address bar. If you changed your device name (found in Settings > About on your SHIELD), replace “SHIELD” with your device name (without any spaces). Alternatively, you can type your SHIELD’s IP address into the Windows Explorer address bar: \\192.168.1.X (find your IP address on the “Access SHIELD folders on PC” page).
You can also permanently map your SHIELD as a network drive by right-clicking on “Network” in File Explorer and selecting “Map Network Drive”. Select an unused Drive letter. In the Folder field, type your IP address and the folder path to map. Example: “\\192.168.1.5\internal”. Select “Reconnect at logon” and then Click “Finish”.”
Complaints: I feel that the omission of an IR sensor and MICRO SD slot on the base version of the SHIELD to be a poor decision. Most people are not comfortable spending an extra $100 for features that were standard in the previous version of this device. I'm also annoyed to a lesser extent by the lack of an HDMI cable. The remote in it's current state is worthless and needs to be resolved either by replacement or a patch.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5
After having a few days getting the device mostly set up for my use, I must say I’ve very pleased with the unit overall. It’s hands down the fastest streaming device I’ve ever used, much faster than my XBOX ONE S and ROKU 3. The ability to use the device as network storage makes transferring files and media between PC and SHIELD very easy. Although the SHIELD TV unit itself and the controller function very well, the remote is completely worthless. The device is almost perfect if they can get the remote issues resolved.
UPDATE 2/19/2017: Recent firmware updates with Android TV 5.1 and remote firmware 1.05 have resolved the previous issues with the remote. The only nagging issue I am having is the shield network storage "unmounting" itself whenever the device restarts, which makes it a hassle to transfer content on the fly without having to first re-mount the device. If there is a fix for this I would love to know..