Both of these media players offer a lot but which one is best for you? This head to head between the NVIDIA Shield and Fire TV should help you decide.
A lot depends on what you want to do with either of these boxes. Both offer similar services but they have different specs designed for them.
In this article I will look at the pros and cons for each and hopefully you can decide which one fits the bill for you. Obviously budget will come into that too.
Let's get to it.
Head-To-Head: Shield vs Fire
The first thing that strikes you is the difference in size. The Shield is more than twice the size of the Fire TV so if you are struggling for space it's worth keeping this in mind.
9.6" x 8.4" x 4"
4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7"
Then you have the huge difference in price. The Shield is more than double the price of the Fire TV. Amazon Fire TV is more within people's budget under $100 but it's all relative.
The good thing about the Shield TV is it's power and flexibility. However, it's built for gaming and this is why it is shipped with a gaming console.
The Shield TV - $199.99
Fire TV - $89.99
Both of these devices offer 4K resolution but you obviously need a TV that is compatible. All of Amazon's 4K content is included in an Amazon Prime subscription so you can take advantage of this on either device.
Both devices support H.265 video compression @ 60fps but you will need a good internet speed to stream 4K content. This resolution is 4 times better than the old 1080p High Definition.
Memory and Storage
The Fire TV comes with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. That's not a lot but the storage is expandable up to 200GB using a SD card.
The Shield TV is loaded with 3GB of RAM and onboard storage of 16GB. The Shield Pro has internal storage of 500GB but will cost you $100 more to buy that device. The other Shield TV is expandable up to 128GB.
The 3GB of RAM offers a better performance for gaming and NVIDIA reckon performance is up to 4 x faster than the Amazon Fire TV. That's a big statement.
Both have Dual Band WiFi and Ethernet port. However, the Fire TV doesn't have Gigabit Ethernet so you are restricted to 100M. The Shield does come with 1000M Gigabit Ethernet which gives faster download speeds.
If you are streaming online it makes sense to use the Ethernet but not everyone can connect directly to their router for one reason or another so wireless connectivity may be the only option.
This is where the Shield TV wins hands down. The Tegra X1 processor is bullt for gaming and streaming. The Fire TV is running the MediaTek Quad Core CPU up to 2GHz which is still decent.
The Shield is now shipped with a remote control. However, both remotes offer the same and are not ideal for a good UX. A wireless keyboard with trackpad is pretty much a necessity these days.
I use a Microsoft wireless keyboard and it really improves the functionality especially if you are performing any searches on various apps. You can check out my recommendations if you are looking for a good HTPC keyboard.
The Shield is now powered by Android 7.0 Nougat which has delivered a new improved interface. The gaming interface is much easier to use now compared to the old Shield Hub app.
Both devices can access Amazon Video if you have a Prime membership. You can also use other apps like Netflix with a paid membership.
So which one should you buy?
A lot depends on the usage and your budget. In my opinion the Shield is a far superior box and when it comes to gaming it blows the Fire TV out of the water.
However, if you are only planning to use a TV box to stream media content then you may want to consider the Fire TV. It's a lot cheaper and if you have other Amazon devices you may want to keep the compatibility.
It'a worth noting that Amazon will be bringing out a new Fire TV soon so you may want to wait until that is available.
You can still use other devices to stream live TV and video on demand. Any Android TV box can do this and if you want to use it for free TV apps like Kodi or Mobdro you can pick up a decent box with good specs for under $100.
Check out all my reviews for boxes below $100 below.
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