Nvidia first got into the gamer tech game with its own 4k hi-res smart TV, piggybacking off an established tradition of manufacturing and producing GPUs and mobile chips. But after its Nvidia Shield recall fiasco, in which the company asked customers who had purchased the gaming-optimized tablets between July 2014 and July 2015 to submit a claim for a replacement device due to overheating (or, in the worst-case scenario, a potential all-out fire hazard), Nvidia's update needed to be a solid steal.

After the official release of the upgraded Shield Tablet K1 on Nov. 17, the global tech company brought it to Pepcom in New York City to let the device get the hands-on treatment. But despite the word "upgrade" used in the device's marketing campaign and a word and a letter tacked on to the end of the tablet's name, not much else seems to differ it from its predecessor, with the exception of its $199 price tag. 

Like the original version of the tablet, the 8-inch Android is more or less boasted of as a high-performing tablet for high-end games by its manufacturer. Aesthetically, the only difference I noticed was the K1's matte finish and the lack of a physical home button, and feature-wise, it was the lack of the original Shield's stylus. 

While the tablet is smaller than most—the Apple iPad mini is only .1-inches shorter—the K1 is also a bit clunkier, weighing in at about 370.5 grams, or about .82 pounds. When I picked it up, the bulk was almost a slight shock—and it wasn't because of my weak(ish) arms.

Despite this, what the Shield K1 might lose in appearance, it makes up for in its lightning-fast speed, thanks to its quick interface, smooth screen transitions and, as expected, excellent GPU-oriented power—unsurprising, considering Nvidia's production history. Also a plus is its compatibility with Nvidia's game controller. With the device's affordable price, the tablet is more or less the cream of the crop for gamers looking for a bargain.

And as for the threat of a contentious battery? While the K1 has about the same battery life as its earlier 1.0 version, so far, it looks like there's nothing to worry about.

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