If you’ve been following Project SHIELD since its unveiling and have been excited as we are for its arrival, you’ll get a kick out of this morning’s news. NVIDIA has announced that the device is no longer considered a “project” — it’s full-on SHIELD, baby, and it’s just about ready to be shipped to those willing to drop a little cash on it.
Shipping this June to pre-orderers in the United States and Canada, the NVIDIA Shield has been given a price tag of $349.99, and will be available at retailers Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers. For that, you’re getting a Tegra 4 powered device which also houses a 5-inch 720p HD display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with an expansion bay, HDMI out, Android 4.2.1 or greater (it might be upgraded before it launches) and more.
The gaming handheld will ship with two games on board, and will come pre-loaded with NVIDIA Tegra Zone to help you find more games optimized for the device’s powerful Tegra 4 chipset. There’s also access to the Google Play Store, so any apps or games you want are as freely available as they would be on an Android phone or tablet.
According to an NVIDIA spokesperson, the engineers have been hard at work tweaking SHIELD after receiving key feedback by those who’ve tried it. To be more specific, the complaints of slightly muddy button controls and loose triggers have been addressed, as well as the hinge that didn’t initially give folks much confidence in its quality and durability. The result is a tighter, more solid feeling device that not only looks like it’s worth $350, but feels like it, as well.
NVIDIA also mentioned its Steam-powered streaming games functionality, GRID, that would allow you to stream GeForce GTX-enabled games to your handset over your wireless network. The mobile silicon vendor notes that the service is still considered beta, but not because there will be any missing functionality. The beta tag will serve as a reminder that not all games and router combinations have been fully.
That said, a good 15-20 games and a nice selection of routers have proven to work quite solidly, and NVIDIA says some other big picture games and any 802.11n dual-band WiFi routers might work (but nothing is promised). We weren’t able to get a full list of games that have been tested just yet, but those details will make their way to the forefront in due time. The list will continue to be updated after the device has launched, of course, so if your favorite game isn’t officially supported now that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.
SHIELD will ship in WiFi-only flavors, but NVIDIA wasn’t shy in letting us know that 3G and 4G equipped models would get major consideration down the line. That isn’t a promise of anything to come, but if you aren’t comfortable owning a SHIELD without any cellular radios there’s good reason to hold out hope.
The SHIELD will be available alongside a couple of different accessories: a $40 carrying case and $20 custom lids in your choice of carbon black or glossy black. Aside from being able to house the SHIELD itself, the carrying case will have room for an extra lid, and features a wrist-strap for easy carrying and access to the device’s charging port while it’s inside.
Those who signed up to be notified of the device’s arrival at SHIELD’s official website will be able to pre-order the device starting this morning, while the rest of the general public won’t get a shot until May 20th. Head to NVIDIA’s site at the source link for more information, and see if this powerful handheld is compelling enough to consider throwing your hard-earned dollars at ahead of its official launch next month.