Interesting, the image on my 150" wide screen is far from "soft", and the Shield is my only source. Sounds like a media issue...
I'm really happy to finally see an update to the Shield. I am particularly interested in the improved upscaling since you can't set the Shield to 1080p and still get 4k stream sources, and manually changing it back and forth is a pain, so leaving it on 4k and letting it do the upscaling is the best option, but the upscaling wasn't the best out there by any stretch. This checks off a huge item if it works signficantly better.
More speed is always welcome, not that the Shield was slow with the regular Tegra chip. WAY faster than any smart TV or even FireTV or Roku.
I'm interested in the smaller, cheaper unit for my regular TV's, but nervous about heat. The current Shield (non-pro) does not do well if the unit is set vertically against a wall instead of laying horizontal on a shelf. It overheats like crazy and requires almost daily reboots. But I really like the idea of getting rid of the FireTV's in the house because they suck at supporting so many codecs and force my Plex server to transcode. The Shield can play everything direct already, so at this point all I care about is features and better thermal handling. Not having to have a wall wart power cord is a bonus for wall mounted TV's with the electrical behind the TV too... much less bulky and easier to hide the wires.
As for other features it has or anyone thinks it should have, here are my thoughts:
Dolby Vision: I don't care about DV since my main use is on a projector, and now frame by frame dynamic tone mapping pretty much makes DV obsolete. The only upside to DV now is 12 bit color, but frankly a billion colors is good enough for me... I don't need 64 billion, lol. When displays capable of showing all 64 billion colors come out, then I might reconsider.
HDMI 2.1: Sure, it SOUNDS like it would be great to have and be futureproof and all that, but since there is exactly zero media, zero source devices, and few displays that can leverage over 18gbps, that leaves the other features like advanced ARC, and I don't care about those, nor do I believe any of that would be followed well enough to work anyway. As it is, ARC rarely works, even within the same brand, and it's because nobody follows the full standard. As with HDMI2.0 and 2.0b, it took years for manufacturers to follow it enough for everything to work together as well as it does now, and to this day MOST cables that are 2.0b spec still can't do 18gbps, so why does anyone want to jump into a format that will require 48gbps over copper? I have no desire for 4k60 as it is now, and even less for 4k120, and since it will be years or more before 8k media is even available, I am content to wait another decade to make the switch, and by then I might be ready for an upgrade...
Ethernet: I have over 100 4k HDR titles now and I don't think any of them have more than an 80mbps bitrate, so why would having more than 1000mbps be important? I have a 10g network, and I leverage it when moving big files around (I have 64tb of storage and it is almost full already, and moving 64tb to other disks at gigbit speeds is rough), but the fact is, 99.999% of the time I have no use for anything more than gigabit, and in the case of media devices like a shield, no use for anything more than 100mbps. Less than a year ago I upgraded so 2 devices can use 10gbe, and it came at an added cost of around $600, and that is AFTER I pre-wired my house with cat6a shielded cable. How many people would spend hundreds more to get 2.5gbe when the device would NEVER exceed 1gb?
Wireless faster than "a", same thing, if your existing wifi can handle 80mbps, it can already play media faster than the highest bandwidth media, so there is no need for faster in a media player.
Bluetooth: The current BT remote can extend through walls and over 30 feet, so unless your goal is to control your neighbors device, I'm not sure what the point is. If there are features missing in the version of BT that this device has, then I am not aware of it.
Just my 2 cents, but while I have looked forward to a new shield for a while now, the truth is I only wanted a newer model because I wanted the few flaws it has to be perfected. It doesn't sound like the new one is perfect, but it does sound better than what we have, and I will drop some cash to have it...