iPad pro

$800

Apple's new iPad Pro doesn't fit into clear role

When Apple released the iPad in 2010, it sought to fill a niche in the computing industry.

The company perceived — correctly — that there was a need for a device that was larger and more powerful than a smartphone, but more portable and easier to use and manage than a laptop computer. But with iPad sales now flagging, Apple has released the iPad Pro, a new jumbo-size version.

The problem with the iPad Pro is that for many consumers, it doesn't fit into a clear role in their lives or solve their needs. It's too large and unwieldy to fill the role that the original iPad takes. But it's also too underdeveloped and unsatisfying to replace a traditional laptop.

That's not to say that the iPad Pro is a crummy device. In some ways, it's quite a marvel of engineering and design. Despite having a screen nearly the size of a sheet of copy paper and a battery that lasts all day, it's remarkably thin and lightweight. It's less than a millimeter thicker than the iPad Air 2 and it weighs about the same amount as the original iPad.

The screen is beautiful and sharp, and it's superfast. Apple claims that the chip inside the iPad Pro is comparable to those used in regular PCs, and benchmark tests back up that assertion. The problem is that the device's size is just unwieldy. It's no longer really a handheld device.

Also, useful add-ons such as the Pencil stylus are pricey, and it doesn't support multiple logins in iOS.

NVIDIA SHIELD ANDROID TV

$200

A TV streaming box that's built for gamers

The Shield's strength is as a video game console. It's fast and powerful, and it has a good selection of converted PC games. The device also supports Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming-game subscription. Games run on distant servers, yet feel as if they are directly on the Shield.

The Shield uses Google's Android TV streaming service, which offers eight of the 12 leading streaming services but does not include Amazon, iTunes or WatchESPN.

The Shield is expensive for a streaming TV device, but it's cheaper than a game console. It comes with a game controller.

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