Monday, 8 March 2010

GP2X Wiz- The ultimate in mobile entertainment

The GP2X Wiz, just a toy for those now getting on trying frantically to hold onto their youth, an expensive toy or a useful gadget.

Well I know for a fact that the wife will simply say an expensive toy, but when you take a look beyond what is being advertised as a gaming console you will find a very versatile and small machine.

OK so let's get it's main selling point out of the way: retro gaming. The Wiz is designed to run emulators of whichever console you wish, there are literally thousands of these so whether you wish to play your favourite games from the Arcade, NES, SNES, Megadrive (Gensis in US), Master system, Amiga, Spectrum, C64, Atari 2600, Neo Geo, GAmeboy, Atari Lynx, this list could go on and on, there is something here for any gamer. There are also a few games designed for the Wiz but as most users are wanting to play their downloaded games then what makes anybody think that they will actually want to purchase more when there are millions available for free on the web.

I sampled a few of these emulators very briefly, they are available from around the web. But I tested MAME4ALL and pocketSNES in depth. Both of which played the games very well, MAME was absolutely fantastic, with almost no loss of quality compared to my desktop PC. PocketSNES is still in it's early stages, the initial one I downloaded played platform games well, but racing and sports were very jerky and resulted in bad screen flicker. However another version has been released with PocketSNES and PocketSNESfast, this really is a major improvement on it's predecessor. The web is full of roms so any games you want are only a search engine away.

This actually causes a slight legal issue with the Wiz: roms are not always legal as many are still subject to copyright laws.

Well this machine is a winner with the gaming side, but what about anything else. The Wiz runs a variety of media; sound, video, flash, pictures and ebooks.

The Wiz plays both ogg and mp3 files with the onboard sound player; the quality is quite good, it is clear as long as you are in front of the Wiz thanks to two front speakers but it also comes with a connection to plug in either headphones or speakers, whichever you choose.

On the video front avi files run well, I have not gotten any other types working, but I have not tried this extensively. The quality of the video playback is good, not fantastic, for those of us who regularly watch shows on the ipod the quality is not as good. The one advantage over the ipod is the timing; my ipod regularly has audio and video out of sync but this has not been a factor with the Wiz. Another advantage of supporting avi files is that it is the most common type of video file in my collection, no more converting files and wasting computer time making the video files MP4 with a specific size; a real time saver.

The pictures are as you expect, good quality, but I don't use this feature much as I tend to view pictures through an entirely larger output. I have read a few ebooks on the Wiz, the default setting is a black background with white text. This can be off-putting for a lot of new users but it worth keeping; by the time you read a lot of pages it is a much easier on your eyes than the traditional black and white due to the Wiz's bright screen.

Being a user from a Linux background I have no desire to test the flash player, flash is a real pain in the neck to configure on most Linux systems so I try and avoid it wherever possible. Other useful features include a calander, calculator and a planner.

The onboard storage is tiny, you really do need an SD card from the start. You have the option of moving the data onto the card directly or with it remaining in the Wiz via the USB connection. I do highly recommend the direct method as using the Wiz's lead really does slow down the transfer. On the rather annoying side the Wiz does not come with a charger. The USB lead charges when it is connected to a PC, but this is not so handy for a holiday. I purchased a USB-Plug charger for a couple of quid and this has worked without any issues.

Overall if you only use the Wiz as a gaming tool, then you are wasting a brilliant machine. The whole point of this is that it is a complete entertainment unit. Ideal for holidays and journeys. The cost may seem a bit steep at first (£130) but the only additional costs thereafter are SD cards and electricity to charge it. When compared to the price of a DS + games, ebook reader and an Ipod then you are making a huge saving.


  1. I too have the Wiz. However, I prefer my older GP2X. It has a bigger screen, better (louder) sound. I still can't get used to the Wiz being too small for my adult hands. I do like the better battery life and the ability to store the stylus in the unit itself (something the GP2X missed). I paid about $150USD for my Wiz and $180USD for my GP2X. Both are fine hand-helds. I looking at the Pandora for my next toy. :)

  2. Yeah the pandora does look cool. If the Pandora can do more than the Wiz then I will consider purchasing it. I must admit that I simply love the versitility of the Wiz as an entertainment device, I never had the GP2X so I cannot compare the two.