The life of the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet has had some ups and downs. Josh reviewed it last year, and at the time he found that NVIDIA's tech for game streaming offered an interesting value proposition. Unfortunately, NVIDIA was forced to issue a total recall on the tablets due to overheating concerns earlier this year, and while they shipped replacement devices to consumers, the SHIELD Tablet ended up being removed from sale. This was quite unfortunate, and it left a gap in the Android tablet market that I really haven't seen any vendor fill.

Today NVIDIA is re-introducing the SHIELD Tablet with a new name. It's now called the SHIELD Tablet K1, something I hope implies we will soon see a SHIELD Tablet X1.

While the name is new, we're looking at the exact same tablet that launched last year. I've put the specs in the chart below as a refresher.

SoC NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.2 GHz 4x Cortex A15r3, Kepler 1 SMX GPU)
RAM 2 GB DDR3L-1866
NAND 16GB NAND + microSD
Display 8” 1920x1200 IPS LCD
Camera 5MP rear camera, 1.4 µm pixels, 1/4" CMOS size. 5MP FFC
Diameter / Mass 221 x 126 x 9.2mm, 390 grams
Battery 5197 mAh, 3.8V chemistry (19.75 Whr)
OS Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Other Connectivity 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GLONASS, Mini-HDMI 1.4a
Accessories SHIELD DirectStylus 2 - $19.99
SHIELD Controller - $59.99
SHIELD Tablet K1 Cover - $39.99
Price $199

The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 still has NVIDIA's Tegra K1 SoC, with four Cortex A15 cores and the incredibly fast single SMX Kepler GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB of NAND, with the original 32GB model being dropped. There's still microSD expansion for storing media, and with Android Marshmallow expandable storage will lose much of its third class status on Android which will be helpful.

Of course, the biggest change here beyond the fact that the SHIELD Tablet is being put back on sale is its new price. At $199 it's $100 cheaper than when it first launched, and it makes it one of the only good tablets that you can actually get at that price point with the Nexus 7 having been gone for some time now. NVIDIA's optional accessories are all available as well, and if you plan to use the gaming features of the SHIELD Tablet K1 I would definitely factor the price of the controller into your cost consideration. In any case, it's good to see the SHIELD Tablet K1 back on sale, and at $199 I think it's definitely worth considering if you're looking for a tablet at that price.

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  • Devo2007 - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    From what others are saying, this version omits the stylus and charger/USB cord.
  • Devo2007 - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    There's also no slot for the stylus (which will be available as an accessory)
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    The stylus is available but as a $20 add on.
  • hans_ober - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    Was hoping for Denver instead of A15.

    On the other hand, multi-threaded perf is still very competitive.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    Agreed. When I was looking at 7/8" tablets over the summer the Shield ended up at the top of my list for good performance, a reasonable price, and no WTF mis-features. Then I discovered it had gone out of stock following the recall.

    The price drop makes it a lot more appealing; but does make me wonder if they're flushing inventory to make room for the next generation model.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    i would think this has to do more with the recall and relaunching than it does with a newer updated model..

    The handheld is due for a update however.
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - link


    Agreed. They would have a hard time selling a tablet based on an older SoC at the price it launched at a year ago. Hence, the price drop.

    I'm not so sure Denver is the answers to their woes either as its performance seems very code dependent and inconsistent. It would be nice to see a new K part with newer ARM cores and Maxwell graphics. I'm a little surprised they haven't already released an update with Maxwell given the difference in power efficiency to the Kepler design.
  • syxbit - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    Denver was terrible. THe N9 has extremely inconsistent performance.
    I want an X-1 tablet. OR better yet, Nvidia's new SOC early next year. It won't be long now.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    According to Wikipedia, Parker will feature Denver+Maxwell:
    Nvidia Tegra "Parker" will feature Nvidia’s own custom general-purpose ARMv8-compatible core code-named Project Denver as well as code-named Maxwell graphics processing core with GPGPU support. The chips will be made using FinFET process technology, which likely means that it will be made using TSMC's 16 nm FinFET+ manufacturing process.

    Nvidia Tegra “Parker” is due some time after Nvidia Tegra X1 (Erista).

    CPU: Nvidia Project Denver ARMv8 (64-bit)
    GPU: Maxwell-based
    FinFET transistors

    Are you referring to a different one?
  • hans_ober - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    Wikipedia isn't very accurate when it comes to these things :)

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