Nvidia's Shield K1 was a go-anywhere gaming machine very much under the same roof as the Nintendo Switch and a very capable one at that. In fact, if rumors are to be true, Nvidia also recently canned an ultra-portable updated version of the Shield, which was dubbed as the Verge, because of how close it was to the Switch in functionality and, as we subsequently learned, Nvidia hardware is also inside the Switch.
Switch vs Shield K1
So, the question now is, why is it worth comparing the two? Well, while we have yet to properly place the Switch through its paces, we do know some of its limiting factors - namely, a meager launch lineup and a seemingly high price tag: $300 USD for the console alone.
Contrast that with the Shield K1, which can buy up for less than $200 USD, saving you $100 compared to the Switch, and there could very well be a battle in store between the two.
The Nintendo Switch and the Shield K1 are meant to be about pick-up-and-play gaming, so it is expected that their power potential is going to be similar. The Shield K1 is quite the powerhouse; a quad-core Tegra K1 chip delivers 2.2GHz of processing power, paired with 2GB of RAM and it's definitely speedy.
Nintendo, of course, is famously shy about releasing hard specs. Most evidence suggests that the chip in the Switch is a custom Tegra unit, while tests clock its CPU speeds at a little more than 1GHz. More intriguingly, it seems that graphics performance drops whenever the console is in tablet mode, rather than when docked.
Nintendo faithful and fans might say that it's not an equal benchmark, as Switch games will be platform-specific and will, therefore, run better on the fixed hardware, and the titles that have been tried during its official unveil certainly ran fluidly.
But we're talking about bang for your buck modular consoles here, and if that's being the case, the NVIDIA Shield K1 is the definite winner.