The new $199 Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 is an affordable high-performance Android tablet for gamers


Nvidia has just announced the new Shield Tablet K1. The gaming-centric slab shares many of its characteristics with the original Shield Tablet, but this time around, Nvidia has trimmed out the fat and came back with a much more aggressive price. The 16GB Wi-Fi only version of the Shield Tablet K1, which is the only version that the company announced so far, will only set you back $199. That's $100 cheaper than the 16GB version of the original Shield Tablet, which makes the Shield Tablet K1 a much more interesting proposition overall.

A few months ago when we took a look at the best tablets for mobile gaming, we pointed out to the Nvidia Shield Tablet as one of the best solutions from the Android camp. Nvidia's first foray in the tablet market ticked a lot of the same boxes as your typical high-end Android tablet but also integrated several bells and whistles designed specifically for an enhanced gaming experience. 

Among these gaming features, the ability to stream games from the NVIDIA Grid cloud network or from a PC with a compatible GeForce graphics card is what made the Nvidia Shield Tablet unique in a sea of similar-looking and similarly equipped Android tablets. The new Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 retains all of these features.

As the name suggests, the Shield Tablet K1 is powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1, the same SoC that stood at heart of the original Shield Tablet. The chip integrates a 2.2GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and a 192-core GeForce Kepler GPU, and remains to this day one of the most powerful mobile SoCs in Android benchmarks and video gaming tests. 

The resolution of the 8-inch IPS display, 1920 by 1200 pixels, is high enough to ensure a good pixel density (283) but low enough that Tegra K1 can keep the performance in check during 3D intensive games.

Compared to the original Shield Tablet, the K1 iteration only brings minor design changes. Chief among these tweaks is the removal of the pen slot from the tablet's chassis. The new Tablet K1 is compatible with the ShieldDirect Stylus 2, but the pen is no longer included in the price of the tablet. Furthermore, the Shield Tablet K1 will also ship without a charger or an adapter. These are all cost-cutting measures, but many customers will probably appreciate the reduced price that accompanies them.

Speaking of accessories, the ShieldDirect Stylus 2 is priced at $19.99, the optional magnetic keyboard cover will set you back an extra $39.99. The Shield Controller, the gamepad that you can use to transform the Shield Tablet K1 in an Android-powered gaming console, is priced at $59.99. 

On the software side, the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 ships with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Seeing as 6.0 Marshmallow has been around for about a month now, many would have expected to see it pre-loaded on any new tablets. As such, we're hoping that an update is around the corner.

Update: Nvidia has announced that the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for the Shield Tablet K1 will arrive just in time for the holidays.

What do you guys think of the new Nvidia Shield Tablet K1?

source: Nvidia

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