UPDATED: Nvidia launches Project Shield Android games console (hands-on)

This tiny Tegra 4 powered console can push 4K video and PC games to your TV. Boom.

Nvidia has surprised Android gaming geeks with the Shield, a new console-controller hybrid that comes packing the new Tegra 4 processor. The new Nvidia Android device is capable of pushing 4K video to a 4K capable TV and combines a touchscreen with buttons, d-pads and joysticks in a palm-sized clamshell form factor.

With five to ten hours of gameplay (or 24 hours of hi-def video) and audio skills that should help Shield to sound as satisfyingly bass-filled as a Beats Audio laptop, Shield also rocks HDMI, microUSB and a microSD slot with a 3.5mm audio jack for on-the-go TegraZone gaming.

Pushing the dedicated Shield button when hooked up to your TV switches between pure Android and the Tegra gaming set-up. There's also a PC mode alongside 'games' and 'TegraZone' in this section which we're excited about.

That means your souped up gaming machine can stream proper games, including your Steam catalogue (let's say Assassin's Creed III) to Shield to play on your TV using the Shield as the controller.

Controller commands are sent to the PC, the PC renders the scene and streams it back – gaming heaven – and the Shield's display will also show you what's going on. Looks like bad news for Ouya but good news for gamers everywhere.

The Shield handheld will also come with customisable 'tags' which you can switch to personalise your machine – nice touch Nvidia. But frankly we're more excited about playing Steam games on our TV with the Shield as a controller. Nvidia didn't name a price for Shield but we'll let you know when it does – all we know is that we should look out for Project Shield in Q2 of 2013 i.e. before the summer.

UPDATE: We've now had a bit of hands-on time with Project Shield – using a wired connection at the moment but Nvidia says it will be wireless at launch. The console itself has a really nice weight in the hand and we like the placement of the buttons and joysticks, not to mention the funky interchangeable 'shields' on top. The UI is simple and easy to navigate too and Jelly Bean worked very nicely indeed.

In the demo, there was zero lag between the racing game on the Shield and on the PC it was running on so we have high hopes for testing it out with our Steam catalogue.

Nvidia also mentioned that it's been working with games devs to optimise Android games for Project Shield's controller and that we should expect second screen action on the console's 5in 720p screen itself such as a spectator mode for boxing games. At the moment for most games, Project Shield displays the game on both the console and the TV you've hooked it up to.

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