REM

It's a gamepad. It's a tablet. It's a gamblet? Well, technically it's a Shield. That’s right, we got down and dirty with the Nvidia Shield. What did we find? It’s a niche device, that much we knew. But for us, this multitasker is a winner. Hybridized, modular, and highly stylized, the Shield is set to become the only mobile device fit for hardcore gamers. Although this device won’t replace your plethora of gadgets just yet, it has potential. Nvidia figured out a way to pack in a serious GPU with everything needed to support it: a massive replaceable/upgradeable battery, a great controller—and even a fan. Now all they need is games. The Shield features some of the interior complexity common among new-kid-on-the-block electronic devices; we're hopeful the next revision will be simpler. Despite the convoluted interior, the Shield still managed to snag a tidy 6 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

Teardown highlights:

• We love the modularity of this design. When our button mashing gets out of control, we’ll be happy that the button board can be replaced separately from other components.

• In classic iFixit teardown form, we lit magnesium on fire in order to confirm the midframe's material. Can't have too much magnesium fire, if you ask us.

• We were excited to remove the display, but were initially thwarted. Turns out the display is a veritable pain in the tookus to replace, although it's still possible to accomplish. So don't use the Shield as a shield, or go throwing it around a concrete-floored room.

• While they are not quite portable-rave quality, the Shield has some nice, loud, stereo speakers. We made sure to annoy the heck out of the graphic design department with our pre-teardown Sonic tomfoolery.

• We uncovered a cover that apparently does nothing. It's held in place by magnets, so any questionable gentleman can steal it right off your Shield.

• The Shield reportedly has a crazy-long battery life. After some fussing, we were able to remove the three Sanyo battery cells that are responsible for the extended action. The three-cell, 3.7 V, 7350 mAh, rechargeable lithium-ion battery's case should be moderately easy to replace.

• Chips:

  • Nvidia Tegra 4 Quad Core mobile processor
  • Samsung KLMAG2GE2A eMMC
  • AzureWave AW-AH691 wireless module
  • SK Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM (4 ICs for 2 GB total RAM)
  • InvenSense MPU-6050 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer
  • Realtek AL5639 audio microcontroller for mad beats