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Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 review

Sam Loveridge

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Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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  • Shield Snap
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Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Stunning screen
  • Strong game store
  • Robust and sleek design

Cons

  • Fingerprint magnet
  • No cables included

Key Features

  • 8-inch 1920x1200p IPS display
  • 16GB microSD expandable storage
  • 5MP front/back cameras
  • 2.2Ghz quad-core A15 CPU
  • Nvidia Tegra K1 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Manufacturer: Nvidia
  • Review Price: £149.99

What is the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1?

The Nvidia Shield K1 Tablet builds upon the success of the company's dedicated gaming tablet from last year, the Nvidia Shield Tablet.

For 2015, Nvidia has stripped back its initial offering to put forth a model with bucketloads of processing and graphical grunt, numerous gaming-focused features, and all for just £149.

Can the cheaper Shield live up to the expectations set by its forebear? Is it still the ultimate tablet for gamers?

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Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 – Design

I praised the Nvidia Shield Tablet for it’s sleek design and understated looks, and the same can be said about the K1. It uses the same design aesthetics as its predecessor, with clean lines and a strong black colour scheme.

The Shield K1 is basically one big glass panel on the front, with two solid strips at either end that house the speakers and the front-facing camera. On the original model these bookends were finished in a matte-effect metal. In the K1 they're made of rubber, not only making the tablet easier to hold in landscape mode, but also bringing down its overall the cost.

The K1's rear is finished in a soft-touch matte plastic, which extends to the edges of the tablet too. The Shield logo in the centre is in a brushed metal.

Despite the subtle design changes, the Shield Tablet K1 continues to feel like a premium product, with the finish suggesting a price far beyond its £150 RRP.

Related: Best Tablets 2015

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A single speaker grille sits at the K1's base, since all the connectivity options are situated along the top and right-hand side. There’s also a second speaker grille, a micro-USB charging port and a mini-HDMI port for connecting the tablet to your TV. Finally, along that top sits a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The volume rocker, hold button and microSD port can be found on the right of the tablet. The hold button remains tricky to press, since it feels a little too depressed to begin with.

Under the hood sits some seriously powerful hardware, which supports the idea that this is a tablet aimed at gamers.

The Nvidia Tegra K1 runs the show when it comes to graphics, and it's backed up by a beefy 2.2GHz quad-core A15 CPU and 2GB of RAM. In addition, there's 16GB of RAM, which is expandable via microSD card.

Related: Best Android Games 2015

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Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 – Display

The Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 features a stunning 8-inch display with a 1,920 x 1,200p Full HD resolution. It might not have the sparkle and punch of the Super AMOLED displays found in tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 8.0, but the colours are rich and clean, with a white level that makes reading books or surfing websites a delight .

That screen size, resolution and colour reproduction also comes into their own for gaming. The 8-inch size, combined with that rubbery grip, make the Shield Tablet K1 the perfect size for gaming on the go.

I'm also pleased to report that Nvidia seems to have dealt with the brightness issue that affected the original tablet. Previously I found it very difficult to watch dark content in low-light situations, such as on a long plane or car journey. In the K1, however, the black levels appear to have been tweaked so that this isn't a problem, no matter how dark your content.

Related: Best Android Tablets 2015

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Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 – Audio

Although the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 isn’t equipped with Dolby technology or any other audio enhancements, the pair of speakers do well to provide balanced sound.

The tablet does have a dual-bass reflex port to help reduce distortion when operating at high volume levels.

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Steven Clarke

November 17, 2015, 4:22 pm

Hows this compare to the nexus 9? Anyone used both?

MontyMole

November 17, 2015, 8:54 pm

I'd say take the Nvidia at any other time. But! if you have the money you can buy the nexus 9 from Argos right now at half price. Making it the same price as the Shield tab. A real bargain. (and comes with a charger unlike the Nvidia) Performance wise the nexus beats the old Shield tab and this has the same spec as the old one so the nexus should still be better.

Fabio Pelliciari

November 17, 2015, 9:38 pm

no pad :/

Quroopak Lakjam

November 18, 2015, 6:55 am

Major point is it still use the same 16:9 aspect ratio, thank you. And with front facing speaker, It'll be perfect for watching video. Lately, I'm so tired of new android tablets with 4:3 screen.

WHO AM I

December 13, 2015, 9:23 am

I didn't try any of them, but if you look at the specs sheet, you will see:
Same CPU
Same GPU
More pixels at nexus 9, but ppi (pixels per inch) is 2 ppi more at the shield
Camera: 3 million more pixels at nexus 9 (man, are you a photographer?)
Same internal memory (16 GB, even though nexus 9 LTE )
Battery: I don't know how to convert Wh to mAh
HDMI port at the shield, so you can connect it to your TV extremely fast
(much faster than chromecast, that uses WiFi when there is a cable)
Weight: shield: 390g | nexus 9: 425g
Video chat camera (or selfie camera):
shield: 5 million pixels | nexus: 1.6 million pixels
OS: Android Lolipop
Price: (amazon) Nexus 9: 300$ | Nvidia Shield: 200$

ronnnyraygun1

December 24, 2015, 3:46 pm

Apple didn't know what they were doing and went with 4:3. You know, 1980's era aspect ratio. And Samsung trying soooooo hard to be Apple, copied them. And that's where we are today. I refuse to buy any tablets that's 4:3.

TomEver

January 1, 2016, 5:44 pm

4:3 is more usable for work related tasks. People are getting bigger phones and using those for entertainment on the go instead of tablets, so the "work" aspect ratio targets a different audience. There's a reason for the iPad Pro.

Samsung went for 4:3 because they are targeting the same market. The pro market.

Andy White

March 20, 2016, 4:39 pm

But the Nexus doesn't have Gamestream which is the main selling point of the K1. If you want to surf the internet, use pointless apps and upload selfies to icouldntgiveadonalduck.com you could just buy an ipad, nexus, samsung etc. If you want to stream games from your pc or the cloud in glorious 1080p 60fps goodness then this is simply THE tablet to buy!!

Brad Hunt

March 23, 2016, 2:57 am

I really can't see how anyone can post a positive review about this device!! I purchased one because of all the glowing reviews, don't get me wrong when it does work it is glorious. I myself was plagued with the known "miscellaneous battery" drain on Marshmallow. I was told to roll back to Lollipop 5.1.1 and was then presented with a non working SD Card an no WiFi. I really wanted this device to work as promised, Nvidia dropped the ball on this one, luckily Amazon fully refunded me but what a headache!!

Matt Faraday

April 20, 2016, 3:57 pm

16GB RAM. Don't you mean disk space, kinda worrying that a review site doesn't know the difference between ram and disk.

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