If you are considering picking up a new new NVIDIA SHIELD then one thing you will want to take into consideration is the fact that there is no microSD card slot on offer. This is one of the fundamental changes between the new model and the old model and does mean that you have lost the ability to make use of external microSD card storage. However, that is not really an issue to be honest. As the new SHIELD does come with adoptable storage and that does mean that you can use a USB drive exactly like you would use a microSD card.
In fact, the whole process is super easy with the new SHIELD and you will literally be able to make use of USB external storage in no time. Once you plug a USB drive into one of the USB slots on the back of the SHIELD, the console will immediately recognize the attached USB and ask you what you would like to do with it.
Of course, if you do only want to view the contents of the USB stick and not use it as a storage base, you can just select the “browse” option. However, if you want to adopt the USB drive as your storage then simply hit “setup as device storage”. At which point the system will inform you that the USB drive does need to be formatted.
So if you are not using a new and unused USB drive, you will want to make sure everything on the USB drive is saved elsewhere. As the formatting process will delete the contents and render the USB drive solely compatible with the SHIELD. Although you can reverse this process at a later time, it does mean that while it is being used as your SHIELD’s storage, it can only be used with the SHIELD. Once the formatting is complete, you will be advised that the USB storage is now acting as your device’s storage and the SHIELD will then offer you the opportunity to move all your existing device data directly over to the USB drive.
If you don’t want to do this right now, you don't have to and can manually activate it at a later time. Although, you should probably get this out of the way now and especially considering the process does only take a matter of seconds.
Once done, everything will be up and running and if you head to your SHIELD’s settings and look under “Storage” you will see the new USB drive listed as one of your device storage options.
Likewise, all of the apps and data that have been migrated over to your storage.
One point to note though, it is highly recommended that you buy the right sort of USB drive to make the best of this feature. So you will definitely want to be picking up a USB 3.0 drive. In fact, NVIDIA does specifically list a number of flash drives which they state “are recommended for best performance”. NVIDIA explains that the difference is that other drives could result in slower system or gaming performance. With that in mind, the recommended drives NVIDIA suggest for the new SHIELD include the Samsung BAR METAL 128GB drive (costs $40.99), the SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB flash drive (costs $27.95), the SanDisk Ultra 128GB flash drive (costs $27.95), the PNY Turbo 64GB flash drive (costs $17.60), and the Corsair Flash Voyager Slider X1 128GB flash drive (costs $32.00).
And that is about it. So while there is no microSD card access on the new SHIELD, it is not actually that much of a big deal. Yes, the SHIELD does not look quite as tidy with a USB drive inserted as it would with a microSD card, but in return for the absence of the microSD card slot, you are getting a console which is significantly smaller than the previous model. So overall, it is a nice trade-off. Not to mention, if you really do care about heaving enough storage then NVIDIA is releasing an updated version of the SHIELD Pro which not only comes with 500GB internal storage, but also still comes with a microSD card slot. Although, that version will cost you an extra $100 as it is priced at $299 to buy, compared to the standard SHIELD price of $199.99. For those interested though, you can pre-order the SHIELD Pro now and it is due to go on sale (or be shipped) starting Jan. 30.