For the most part, the new model is the same 8 inch tablet with an NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, HDMI output, and a DirectStylus. But the new model has 32GB of storage instead of 16GB and since it supports AT&T and T-Mobile’s 4G networks you can connect to the internet from nearly anywhere in the US.
You can also stream games from your home PC over the internet to just about anywhere… just don’t expect amazing performance when using NVIDIA’s GameStream technology over 4G.
GameStream lets you stream a game installed on your PC over a network to your NVIDIA Shield handheld game console or NVIDIA Shield Tablet. The device in your hands acts as a display and a game controller — but the game itself is actually running on your PC.
This lets you play Windows games that wouldn’t otherwise be available on an Android tablet, as well as titles that require more CPU or graphics processing power than you’re likely to get on a mobile device.
With a WiFi-only Shield device you can stream games from a PC with a supported NVIDIA graphics card over your home network and while I haven’t tested this myself, I hear the results are pretty good. Streaming over 4G takes a few more steps though.
Basically your PC has to send the game data to your home router which then beams it out to the internet where your Shield Tablet LTE picks it up. Gizmodo’s Sean Hollister reports that during an hour of game play he never lost his connection… but the games he was playing included visual glitches from data compression and sometimes suffered from a bit of lag.
Streaming games over an LTE network is also probably a pretty good way to burn through your data cap.
So you can use NVIDA’s new LTE-capable tablet to stream PC games over the internet even when you’re not at home. But you’ll probably get a better experience if you just use the LTE connection to surf the web and run other internet-connected apps on the go.
In other words, you might want to just save $100 and get the WiFi-only version of the tablet and stick to playing Android games on the go and PC games when you’re connected to your home network.
But it’s kind of remarkable that it’s even possible to play high-end PC games on a $400 device by streaming them over a cellular network.