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Nvidia jumped the gun today, announcing you can now preorder their handheld Shield console three days earlier than previously publicized.
At $350, Nvidia’s Shield is an interesting gaming device. On the one hand, it’s a bit pricey as an Android gaming device. On the other hand, it’s a nifty mobile console, allowing you to stream compatible PC games from your desktop to the Shield (still in Beta) or to any HDTV via HDMI.
Beyond streaming PC games, you’ll also have access to a “Big Picture” mode for playing compatible Steam titles on your HDTV. The streaming capabilities will require your desktop to have a GTX 650 or higher GPU, a modern CPU (2nd Gen i3 or faster, AMD Athlon II X4 or faster), and a decent router.
In terms of Android gaming, the Shield comes with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean and runs on the latest Tegra 4 processor, so you’ll be able to play Android titles without issues.
Preordering is currently available at 4 retailers, with three in the US. All Shield consoles come bundled with two Android games: Sonic 4 Episode II THD and Expendable: Rearmed.
Neither NewEgg nor GameStop has an advantage in terms of preorder bonuses, but based on their track records, you’ll probably get a more painless experience from NewEgg if you want to order online – plus they usually ship quickly.
As for the actual release date, while some sites have reported a far-too-optimistic June 4th ship date, both GameStop and NewEgg are publicizing the console as a June 30th release. You can safely expect the console to ship sometime in late June.
Those looking for deals probably shouldn’t hold their breath. At the Shield’s current price point, it’s unlikely Nvidia will alter its MSRP soon unless the console is a big flop. Given only select retailers will be carrying this – NewEgg, GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computer – barring a low sales volume, we don’t expect price drops or bonus offers until closer to the holiday season.
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