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The Nvidia Shield, a five-inch portable Android game console, will cost $349 and be available for pre-orders on May 20.  The portable gaming console will be able for purchase at Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, Canada Computers, and Nvidia.com.  However, if you can’t wait until May 20 to order one, you can actually pre-order one today if you sign up on Nvidia’s “notify me” page.  Go ahead.

If you don’t recall the Shield, it was announced back at CES in January, and really was the surprise of the show.  The Nvidia Shield sports stock Android 4.2.1 on a brand-new Tegra 4 processor with 2GB of RAM, and a sharp 720p display, tuned bass reflex drivers for audio, a GPS chip, and a mini-HDMI output that outputs 4K video (can you say awesome?).

And if Android gaming isn’t your cup of tea, if you have a PC with a compatible GeForce graphics card, the Shield system lets you stream games over Wi-Fi right to the device. This means playing popular games, including games from Steam, without having to sit at your desk.  However, The Verge is noting that you may want to slightly lower your expectations when it comes to streaming games from your PC to the Shield.

In their tests, playing Borderlands 2 worked great in their brief test, but the game’s animations didn’t feel as fluid as on PC, and several times Nvidia had difficulty getting the Shield and PC to stay connected.  Additionally, the setup also requires an approved simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi router to function well, and doesn’t yet work with all games: only a limited selection of Steam Big Picture mode and GeForce Experience titles are good to go as of today, though engineers told The Verge that the buttons and sticks should theoretically just work with any PC game that supports an Xbox controller.

Other things of note, the storage capacity of the device has been bumped down from 32GB to 16GB and the Shield only works in landscape orientation.  However, apparently Nvidia is working on that very issue with developers, including Netflix, whose Android app currently only lets you sign into an account in portrait mode.  So that may be resolved sooner rather than later.

The Nvidia Shield could potentially be a very promising portable gaming device once all the kinks are ironed out.  Do you want one?


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