NVIDIA SHIELD 2015 & 2017: Which Do You Buy? Do You Upgrade?

There has been a lot of talk recently on whether you should get the NVIDIA SHIELD 2017 Android TV or the NVIDIA SHIELD 2015 Android TV, due to the lack of perceived differences between the two models. First off, if you do not own either console, then you will probably have to get the SHIELD 2017 as the 2015 version is now largely discontinued. While you will likely find some stock in some places or a refurbished unit for sale, the difference in price between those units and the newer version is likely negligible. While some could argue that there is not much upgrade value in the newer model over the older model, NVIDIA were smart enough to make sure the launch price of the newer model was the same price as the older model. So unless you find a new version of the older SHIELD for $99 or thereabouts, you are better going with the newer model regardless. As even at $99, there is the issue of the SHIELD Remote. The remote control does not come packaged with the older SHIELD, while it does with the newer SHIELD. As the remote comes with a $49.99 retail value, even if you do manage to find the SHIELD 2015 for $99, once you add on the cost of the SHIELD Remote, you are creeping close to the SHIELD 2017 retail price once again. Especially, if you take advantage of this deal.

So the real question is whether you should upgrade to the SHIELD 2017 from the SHIELD 2015 and in fairness, this is a much harder question to answer in a soundbite. On one hand, new is new and that does always play a role in the decision-making process. While the internals are not that drastically different, if you do want the newest hardware (inside and out) then the SHIELD 2017 is the only way to go. Then there is the whole size thing. Providing you are not opting for the SHIELD Pro 2017, then the form factor of the new SHIELD is certainly more accommodating than the older SHIELD. It is not just smaller, but is far neater and fits into your home set up much better. It looks and feels far more modern and simply, more 2017. As a result of cable and TV companies now starting to see the value in cord cutting and opting for app-based versions of their services, people are starting to cut down on the number of additional TV-related units they have in their home. The SHIELD 2017 adds to that mantra nicely by also reducing the space it requires. This is a more minimalist design and one which will fit much better with the more minimalist TV aficionado's setup. To put the size into perspective, the new SHIELD is not that much larger than the SHIELD Controller.

Speaking of which, regardless of whether you upgrade to the new SHIELD from the old SHIELD, you should certainly be buying the new SHIELD Controller. This is where the obvious differences between the two units lie and in every respect the new SHIELD Controller is better than the old SHIELD Controller. It looks better, it feels lighter and is certainly more gamer-oriented with its new design. The button arrangement has been changed and while there is a learning curve involved when moving from one controller to the other (you will keep pressing the home button when meaning to turn up the volume at first), the new Controller just looks, feels and works, so much better. That said, to pick up the new SHIELD Controller as a standalone purchase, you are currently looking at $59.99. A pretty hefty sum for the Controller alone and especially when it comes packaged in the box with the new SHIELD and the SHIELD Remote.

While any of these reasons on their own are not necessarily reasons to upgrade from the NVIDIA SHIELD 2015 to the SHIELD 2017, they do provide examples of why you might want to consider upgrading. After all, not everything has to be about a better processor or more RAM and especially when the earlier device was already the most capable Android TV device on the market. Sometimes there are other reasons to upgrade. For instance, if you already own the NVIDIA SHIELD 2015 but did not pick up the SHIELD Remote due to it being an additional purchase, then you are effectively getting $100 worth of accessories by picking up the new SHIELD, before you even factor in the actual new SHIELD console. As these accessories are cross compatible, if you have more than one TV at home, then picking up the new SHIELD (while still owning the old SHIELD) has its merits. You will be able to make use of a SHIELD with each TV and have the latest SHIELD Remote and the new redesigned SHIELD Controller and both will work seamlessly with both SHIELD units.

Of course, if you already own two NVIDIA SHIELD 2015 units, then that’s another story altogether.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]