clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nvidia Project Shield hands-on preview: Sonic, Hawken and Steam on-the-go

Nvidia announced its own dedicated gaming hardware earlier this week: Project Shield, the Android-based, Tegra 4-powered device that blurs the line between gaming handheld and console. Add in the capability to wirelessly stream games from a PC equipped with a GeForce GTX graphics card and Nvidia has a potentially powerful gaming device on its hands — even if the message about what the Shield is, and who it might be for, seems a tad mixed.

After going hands-on with Project Shield, I felt a bit more positive about Nvidia's chances. Given Nvidia's relative inexperience in creating consumer products like the Shield — no small undertaking — it's surprising how market ready Project Shield currently feels.

In hand, the Shield feels like a quality-built product with a gorgeous, 720p resolution, 5-inch display and a capable gamepad that fans of the Xbox 360's controller will likely appreciate. My initial concerns with the hardware were the Shield's clamshell lid, which felt a touch loose and tricky to pry open, and the D-pad, which required too much force to register inputs.

Project Shield doesn't look like it will supplant the Nintendo 3DS and iPhone as my go-to gaming handhelds, but for Android games built with smart gamepad support, it's likely to find a place.

Get a longer look at Nvidia's Project Shield in our hands-on video above, in which I argue its viability will depend on the available content — but should have also mentioned the handheld's retail price, still an unknown factor.

Project Shield is planned for release in the United States and Canada in Q2 2013.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon