Nvidia Shield final production build shown at E3, we go hands-on

From the amount of green-coloured lights on Nvidia's stand at the 2013 E3 gaming expo you'd be forgiven for thinking that the final build of its Shield portable games console is also green. But, fortunately, it's not. Previously we've only seen the clam-shell-shaped device - which, when closed, reminds us a little of the ship from the 1986 classic Flight Of The Navigator - at the Consumer Electronics Show where, despite better lighting conditions, the pre-production build quality wasn't final.

It's mid 2013 and the final build Shield - originally known as "Project Shield" - models are ready to be shipped to customers over in the USA. For now there will be no Shield in the UK until Nvidia sees how well its project flies or falls.

The differences between the pre-production and final build models are subtle, but worthy of a mention. First up the dual thumbsticks have raised points at each of the up, down, left and right positions and both sticks are embedded in a deeper well to the centre of the device. The pre-production build had smoother thumbsticks with less height away from the body for them to rise out of.

The casing is now formed of a tougher plastic. But it's still just plastic, lacking the higher-spec build of many current smartphones, for example. Of course more exuberant materials would increase the price, and at $349 (£222) Shield isn't exactly budget as it stands.

Close Shield and the exterior screen tag is a rather mute grey instead of the flashier green-splash logo that we were shown in the pre-production version. As we mentioned in our initial preview piece, these panels are interchangeable so it is possible to jazz up the device to suit your personal tastes.

Also rejigged is the all-caps "Nvidia" branding on the front portion of the device - this still resides to the front but is now on the underside of the unit, while the "Shield" branding appears on the flip side, facing outwards. Makes sense to us.

The 5-inch touchscreen Android-OS all-in-one portable is powered by Tegra 4 and access to top games via Steam and Tegra Zone mean the likes of Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Rayman or stacks of other high-calibre titles are available. Google Play also acts as the portal to thousands of oft indie-produced Android games for a cut price too.

So there you have it - Shield takes on subtle adjustments to quality, design and branding and now looks and feels like a more complete unit. But it is a pricey bit of kit all things considered.

For more detailed information about Shield and what it can do, take a peek at our CES preview: Nvidia Shield preview



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