It’s been two years since Nvidia launched its redesigned Shield Android TV box, and it looks like we’re in for another update. An Amazon listing for a new Shield appeared briefly earlier today but has since been taken down. The device doesn’t look much different, but it has better HDR support, a new remote, and a faster processor.
The Nvidia Shield first launched in 2015 as one of the earliest devices running Google’s Android TV platform. The Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip was among the most powerful ARM designs available at the time, and Nvidia leveraged that to port games like Doom 3, Borderlands 2, and Resident Evil 5 to the Shield hardware. The newly leaked Shield will have a Tegra X1+, which Nvidia hasn’t talked about before. Sticking with the X1 naming scheme suggests this will be a slightly faster version of the existing hardware. While it’s no longer the fastest or most efficient architecture, the Tegra X1 in the Shield can compensate with higher clock speeds as it’s always plugged into power. The listing says the new chip is “up to 25 percent faster.”
According to the Amazon listing, this device is a “pro” variant of the new Shield. The existing console comes in regular and pro variants, with the latter being noticeably larger to accommodate a 500GB hard drive. The new Shield Pro is the size of the smaller current-gen unit. However, it might only have 16GB of storage with the understanding users will add more via USB. The “pro” name suggests there will be another console, perhaps one that is substantially smaller.
The port setup on the new Shield is identical to the current model — there’s an HDMI, USB 3.0, Ethernet, and power. The listing includes mention of Dolby Vision HDR, which many would consider a step up from the HDR10 support in the current Shield.
Perhaps the most radical change this time is the remote, which looks almost nothing like the current Shield’s bundled unit. The remote is shaped a bit like a Toblerone candy bar, and it has more buttons than the minimalist remote for the older Shields. There’s even a dedicated button for Netflix and (thankfully) physical volume controls instead of the inaccurate touch slider.
Amazon listed the device for $ 199, which is $ 20 more than the current version. That’s not unreasonable if you care about the Dolby Vision support or new remote. However, the functionality probably won’t be dramatically different — this is still Android TV after all.