Nvidia Tegra X1, 8-core 64-bit ARM CPU (4x A57 2MB L2, 4x A53 512KB L2)
NVIDIA Maxwell 256-core GPU
16GB (plus microSD expansion)
802.11ac, 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet
25mm × 210mm x 120mm
2X USB 3.0 ports, USB 2.0 micro USB port, HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP 2.2, infrared
£149.99 ($199) with Shield controller. Stand is £24.99 ($29.99), remote is £39.99 ($49.99)
The Nvidia Shield is almost certainly more important to Google than it is to Nvidia. After the failure of Google TV—in part thanks to its lacklustre UI and poor developer support—its follow-up Android TV needed to do better. Unfortunately, that hasn't quite happened. Sure, Google's own Nexus Player is fine piece of hardware, and Razer's Forge TV has its charms, but neither sport the flagship specs, nor the feature set of Nvidia's sleek black box. There's no doubt that the Shield is the best Android TV device money can buy, but like all Android TV devices, it comes with a few compromises.
But let's start with the good stuff. Where the Nexus Player sported an odd, if largely inoffensive hockey puck design, the Shield is a thing of beauty. It's slightly bigger in terms of footprint than your typical smart TV box at 25mm in height, 210mm in length, and 120mm in depth, but its sleek design made up of sharp angles and a subtle LED light strip just looks darn cool. The mix of glossy and matt plastics helps with the aesthetics too, although, like seemingly all consumer electronics these days, it's a magnet for fingerprints. Fortunately, with the Shield placed under a TV, you likely won't be handling it all that often.
The Shield can be positioned horizontally or vertically, but it's a wee bit wobbly in its vertical position unless you purchase a separate stand for a substantial £24.99. One word of advice if you do take the plunge, though: Nvidia has used some sort of black magic to create what might just be the stickiest rubber coating in existence and applied it to the bottom of the stand. More often than not it simply wouldn't budge from the surface it was on when I needed to move it, and I ended up having to pry it up with a fish slice.