One of the more interesting products that came out this year was the NVIDIA Shield Tablet. At around $400 it was pretty pricey even though, at that price, you could get it with a WAN option which few seemed to actually want (having multiple data plans has always been an issue for many). This is a tablet designed for games so the $400 price range seemed reasonable, dropping the price to $200 and stripping out some of the things that most didn’t seem to use or want (the stylus and LTE support) makes this more of a screaming deal.
Often it is all about value and for $200, at least for now, there is no better deal I’m aware of in a tablet.
Let’s talk about what you get.
The $200 Shield
You get a new battery, the first generation product had some battery issues which aren’t in this product, and you get a 1920x1200 display which will show HD games and movies at full native resolution. This is an 8” tablet which makes it generally better for reading and hand held movie watching, it has an HDMI port if you want to use it to feed a TV, say one in a hotel room, and there is an optional controller if you want to use it as more of a native game machine. The controller is wireless and very fast and the tablet will support multiple controllers. The tablet has an SD slot for memory expansion allowing you to expand the available storage significantly (you’d think all tablets would have storage expansion options like this but they don’t).
Using the Product
My experience with the product has made this one of favorite tablets for the year. The big advantage is the ability to play streamed games from their GeForce Now gaming service. It works kind of like Netflix does for movies and it is unique in the market. These are PC level games and as long as you have a decent network connection you can play them off your tablet and even connect the tablet to your TV for an even better gaming experience.
In effect this is a $200 gaming tablet and you’d expect it to excel at games and it does. You can even stream games off your PC but you’ll likely play more Android based games than anything else and you won’t see any of the more typical lag and performance problems you run into with low cost tablets on this one.
The Ideal “Keep The Kids Out Of Your Hair” Product
If I were to really think about this tablet this is the ideal “keep the kids occupied” product. It isn’t too expensive so that you are worried it will get broken or stolen. It has a huge library of available games for it. It is also good at HD video and can be plugged into a TV to keep kids occupied in the hotel when you are out and less likely to get into trouble, and it should be ideal on a road trip because it provides plenty of variety and entertainment for them to stay out of your hair in the back seat. And for $200 two of them, one for each kid if you have two, plus a set of headphones isn’t over the top expensive and a hell of a lot cheaper than having an accident while you are trying to settle fights in the back seat.
Granted if you have more than 2 kids the $49 Kindle tablets that Amazon is selling this year might be more financially acceptable.
Wrapping Up: It’s A Steal
At $400 fully loaded it was hard to justify the Shield tablet for most but at $200 even though this lacks features you’d likely never use this is a screaming deal. This time of year I’m looking for screaming deals and a $200 tablet that is still current and not that much different than a $400 tablet on the market a few months ago is such a deal particularly if it is great for gaming.
I’ll look for more deals as Black Friday gets closer, but for now, a $200 gaming tablet at near half price is worth taking note of.