Review: The Nvidia Shield K1 Tablet
June 21, 2016
The mobile gaming market is still relatively new in comparison to both the console and PC markets. In its early years it was regarded as a lesser market in terms of gaming experiences, but nowadays there are plenty of immersive games available for mobile devices. Having a device that’s capable of running current mobile games is easy, finding one that runs the games at their highest settings while maintaining an acceptable level of performance is another story.
The K1 is a tablet designed with gamers in mind. The company behind the tablet, Nvidia, has a long history in the PC gaming market, and has produced some of the best graphics cards that PC gaming has seen. I’m pleased to say that Nvidia’s reputation holds up in the mobile market as well.
Priced at $199.99, the K1 sits right in the middle of the tablet market. There are plenty of options well below its price point, and there are some powerhouses that cost more than three times its asking price. Lets take a look at what specs the tablet offers for the $199.99 asking price.
For $199.99 the K1 delivers some impressive specs. I haven’t encountered a mobile game that doesn’t run smoothly on it yet. Being able to deliver solid performance at 1080p in mobile games is no small feat, especially for a mid-range tablet. The tablet’s dedicated gpu, processor, and 2GB of RAM are a great combination for even the most demanding mobile games.
Hearthstone serves as an excellent example of the K1’s power. The Android port of Hearthstone is notorious for being unoptimized and a real pain to run on tablets. Playing the game on my K1 was almost as enjoyable as playing it at 4K on my PC. The game looked crisp and ran with only a few minor hiccups. Loading times are a tad longer on the K1 as well, but overall I was extremely satisfied with the results.
Besides running mobile games smoothly, the K1 can also be used for quite a few other gaming features. If you have a PC with an Nvidia graphics card the K1 is able to stream your PC games to the tablet. Full PC games can also be streamed from Nvidia’s cloud service, this option will cost you though. Mobile games can even be streamed from the tablet to Twitch, complete with a webcam box in a corner of your choosing. The tablet really is designed for gamers.
As you can tell, the majority of my experiences with the K1 have been pretty positive. There are a few minor issues I’d like to adress though, the first being the tablet’s battery life. Playing games on the tablet brings the battery life down quite a bit. You’ll be getting around six hours of battery when you play games. This isn’t horrible, but an external power bank will be needed if you’re going to be out and about for a while. Secondly, the speaker areas on the tablet are covered in a soft plastic. These areas are very prone to picking up and holding dust, lint, and the occasional crumb or two. I feel like a hard plastic covering would be better suited for those areas. That’s it, just two complaints.
The K1 is by far the best gaming tablet that you can pick up for $200.00 or less. I was surprised by the amount of power that Nvidia was able to cram into eight inches of tablet. I would highly recommend the K1 to anyone that’s in the market for a gaming tablet or just a tablet in general. Props to Nvidia on this one!