Overall and Final Verdict
Having used both of the previous Nvidia’s Shield TVs, I knew about what to expect when it came to gaming performance and as a media player which I have been doing for years now. That said, I do have to point out that it is crazy that the Shield TV and Tegra X1 with its Maxwell powered GPU is still the Android TV box to beat 5 years later. A big part of me wants to see some more competition, just to push Nvidia to bring out a new updated version with a newer generation GPU. But combining that performance with their GeForce NOW service gives a lot of options as long as you have a good internet connection.
The updated design is a crazy one, given that the last two models both had that angular styling who would have thought they would make one that looks like a toilet paper roll tube. It does mean you can hide the system behind your TV now but on the flip side, the smaller size also did mean they ran out of room for USB ports which were a really big loss. Especially for me because I use my Shield TV as a SmartThings hub. The smaller size also managed to drop the big wall wart for power as well and the new Tegra X1+ did offer a touch higher performance in some tests with the higher GPU clock speed but I did see weird numbers in other tests as well.
The other big hardware change was with the remote and considering they cost $30 I may have to get one or two more for my other Shield TVs. Push-button volume controls and a power button alone are worth the upgrade. But it is also thicker and easier to hold. I do wish it had a flat bottom though to perfect it. The buttons are backlit which is a nice addition as well.
On the software side, nothing is noticeably different from the previous models. But this is still the easier to navigate Android TV box and Nvidia isn’t pumping it full of ads. They have also proven to be great with updates over the past 5 years as well, keeping it on the latest versions of Android and constantly innovating. I’m not 100% sold on the ram dropping from 3 GB to 2GB and the capacity cutting in half as well. They really expect you to add a MicroSD card to store all of those big PC and Console titles that they have added over the years like Tomb Raider, multiple GTAs, Half-Life and other Valve games, and one of my favorites NBA Jam.
At $149.99 the 2019 Shield TV is cheaper than the MSRP of the 2017 version at its launch. But with the lowered RAM and DRAM capacity that also accounts for some of that reduction. When Apple which is known for having higher prices has their 32 4K Apple TV model at $179 is looking like a deal you know the pricing is a little high. But this is still the best Android TV option if you just want it to work, especially if the graphics performance is important to you along with all of the work Nvidia has put in on the gaming side. Don’t forget you can still stream right from your Nvidia powered PC as well.
Live Pricing: HERE