Despite selling itself as a games machine, Nvidia’s Shield TV is the best Android TV box around. Not only does it include far more power than you typically get in no-brand hardware, it runs as a Plex server – so you can stream your media around the house and around the world.
In fact, that’s why I bought mine. As a result, the Nvidia Shield controller doesn’t really get a whole lot of use. But will the gamepad work with your PC? Depending on your setup, probably – though there are some drawbacks.
Using the Nvidia Shield controller with a PC – what’s missing?
First of all, if you use the Shield Controller on PC, it’s wired only. Yes, it works wirelessly with the Shield, but Nvidia is quite clear: it won’t work with your PC, no matter how much you cross your fingers and wish. It’s not a Bluetooth controller, y’see, as Nvidia has instead opted to use Wi-Fi Direct.
Secondly, while all the buttons including the trackpad are supported, the headphone jack and microphone won’t work. Hardly a deal-breaker, but better forewarned anyway.
Finally, you need the GeForce Experience software installed. That’s free to download, but you need to have a GeForce graphics processor for it to function, so your laptop may well be out of contention. An enterprising developer has made a workaround to this, but it only seems to work with the 2016 controller for now.
How to use the Nvidia Shield controller with a PC
If you meet the criteria above, it should just work. Take a micro-USB cable, plug one end into your PC and the other end into the controller and it should be immediately detected, as it was for me.
However, if you still find it’s not working, then you’ve probably missed off an important step: you need to go into the Shield TV options and ‘forget this device’. Otherwise your controller will still be operating the Shield – as I found when I went upstairs to investigate, and discovered it playing Netflix to an empty room.