Review: Nyko Shield Dock

Docks are a hard commodity to come by for almost any portable device; even top of the line popular smartphones.  Even when you do find one, it is usually a piece of crap that still requires you navigate your device onto a plug of some sort.  It seems there is always something to dislike about any dock you find – if nothing else, the price.

Nyko is a leading manufacturer of third party accessories.  They make everything from controllers to charging stations to oddball peripherals.  I love their Playpad Pro controller (reviewed here) and I’ve purchased tons of their stuff in the past.  When I found out that Nyko produced a Shield Portable TV Dock, I jumped on it immediately.

This is what you get in the box

This is what you get in the box

Why a dock?  Well, in most cases it is for convenient charging, video out and other features.  If you’re lucky, the charging uses Pogo pin contact technology so you never really plug anything – saving wear and tear on the port.  If you’re REALLY lucky, it offers you HDMI out so you can use your device on a TV or monitor to watch movies or play games.  Sometimes it is just handy for propping up the device for easier hands free viewing.

The Shield Portable already has HDMI out (although it is a mini HDMI port; you probably don’t have that cable laying around) and it acts as its own stand.  Charging is just a standard microUSB plug.

Again, why a dock?

The Basics

Dongle installed

Dongle installed

The Nyko Shield TV Dock comes to you from the official Nyko website for the low cost of $20 + shipping.  The website said the product was unavailable, yet it still allowed me to add it to the cart.  A quick support email to Nyko (and a very speedy reply) assured me that the page was in error; they have the Dock in stock  so go ahead and order it.

Unlike some of the weird knock offs of this dock you might find on eBay this comes delivered in a full retail package.

Inside the box, you’ll find two pieces of plastic (essentially); the base and a dongle.  A quick start fold out is included but is really pointless.

There are no cables in the box – nor is there a charger.  You will use the charger provided with the Shield Portable to plug the base in.

The dongle plugs into the back of the Shield Portable; directly into the miniHDMI and microUSB port and adds very little weight or bulk to the Shield unit itself.

Once you plug the base into some juice and insert the dongle on the Shield charging is as easy as dropping the Shield on the base.  A light on the front of the base shows the unit is charging.

Advanced Look

The back of the dock

The back of the dock

Look, it’s a charging station – but there are a few things worth pointing out.

The charging is done through a pogo pin like connection.  They always line up and you don’t have to be precise when putting the Shield on the charger.

A real bonus here is that the dock converts the miniHDMI to a full-sized HDMI port – meaning that if you take this thing to your buddy’s house or on the road you can use a standard HDMI cable.  Very convenient.  This totally rocks as a “TV dock”; leave the dock plugged into the HDMI port on the TV and when you’re ready for Console Mode, just drop the Shield on the dock.  Sounds great, right?  Not having to plug a cable in AND having the unit charge while playing is a huge plus for those that want to play on the big screen.

For those of you wondering if the Shield Portable with the dongle installed still fits in the official NVidia Shield carrying case – the answer is yes.  It’s snug, but it fits.

The Dark Side

It covers the headphone jack

It covers the headphone jack

No product is perfect and the Nyko Shield TV Dock is no exception.

First off, the dongle covers the headphone jack on the back of the Shield.  The jack is NOT passed through either, so there is no external headphone jack on the dock.  It the product’s defense, it IS called a TV Dock and the HDMI out takes care of audio.

Second, the charging light doesn’t show if the unit is charging or charged.  If the Shield is in the dock, the green light comes on.  It isn’t a deal breaker, but it must be noted.

Finally, it would have been nice to have an option to get it with a charger.  If you leave the dock by the TV, you really have to leave your charger there too – which means you’ll drop your Shield off there to charge it and that might not be convenient for everyone.

I should note that the pogo pin style connection must be considered fragile.  I mean, you’re probably not jostling the base around while it’s plugged into the TV, but if you need to access the touch screen and you lift up on the Shield, you may get interference or disconnection.  Again, not a deal killer – but responsible journalism compels me to mention it.

Update: I’ve been told by many visitors that the dock doesn’t allow proper OTG through the adapter – meaning you cannot keep the Portable on the dock, output to HDMI and use a wired ethernet (via OTG) at the same time.

Final Words

The Shield Portable is home

The Shield Portable is home

If you own a Shield Portable, you should seriously consider this.  Charging is a breeze now instead of a chore and I’m much more willing to use my Shield on the TV if all I have to do is drop it in a cradle.  The price is right, the features are right and third party accessories for Shield are sparse enough without us failing to support those companies that ARE supporting our fun little device.

Note: this is an older review moved over from our older sister site, Green Robot Gamer.

6 Responses to Review: Nyko Shield Dock

  1. kyleruggles says:

    Photo links are missing 🙁

  2. Worth noting, these are back in stock and down from $34.99 to $9.99, just bagged myself a 2nd and 3rd one after using my original for years. (Bedroom, living room and man cave shield docks 🙂 )

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