Nvidia Shield Portable 2 prototype turns up in a Canadian pawn shop

The Nvidia Shield Portable (originally released as simply the Nvidia Shield) is an Android-powered portable gaming device that looks basically like an Xbox 360 controller with a five-inch LCD screen stuck to it. The handheld debuted in 2013 and was actually pretty okay—powerful, but a little too bulky for gaming on the move. After its release and failure to catch fire commercially, Nvidia moved to a conventional tablet design, but not before whipping up at least one prototype for a planned, but never released, Shield Portable 2—which for some reason was recently discovered in a pawn shop in Canada. 

The discovery was initially shared on the Nvidia subreddit by user FwrigginRwootbeer, who also posted images of the unit and its specs to Imgur. He didn't say where exactly he stumbled across it—"in a small Canadian city" is the only location provided—but explained that he owned the original Shield portable, and knew that a second version hadn't been released. Curiosity got the better of him, so he traded his old Shield to help pay for this one, and then went to work trying to figure out what it is and where it came from. 

"It has a front camera, screen looks better and is brighter, I think it adjusts to light, feels even more solid then the original, better magnet setup for the top piece, shuts down instantly instead of a couple of seconds like the original," he wrote in his initial post. "Better middle button layout then original, middle buttons are also like a touch pad more than a physical button." 

The unit's provenance was effectively verified by Android Police, which said that the pictures and specs posted by FwrigginRwootbeer match a 2016 FCC filing for a new Shield Portable that came to public attention earlier this year. So unless this is all a very elaborate hoax, this is the real deal: A functioning prototype for a handheld that never was. 

FwrigginRwootbeer, by the way, said he's looking to get rid of the unit, because he's not a rare hardware collector and would rather have something more appropriate for everyday use. You might want to get a move on if you're interested—he's already got people making offers.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.