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My Next Handheld: Pandora or GP2X Wiz?

First off, if you've never ventured into the land of consoles beyond what Nintendo and Sony offer, let me tell you - it's worth a look.

Currently, I'm trying to decide which non-mainstream handheld console I want between the Pandora and GP2X Wiz. I've had my eye on the Gamepark handhelds for years now but just never took the dive. I sold my PSP 3000 unit recently since there wasn't much in the way of running homebrew emulators on it yet. I kind of get burned out on the gaming thing after going at it for a while, but the GP2X Wiz and the Pandora have a certain appeal to them in that they're open source and they pretty much do everything you have to hack other well-known consoles to do.


Pandora



Honestly, this is the one I'm leaning towards at the moment. It's being peddled as running a PS1 emulator, Firefox 3, and Quake 3 Arena with no problems at all. That'd be pretty awesome to have in a handheld device! I know the iPod Touch can run Q3A really smoothly, but good luck compiling your own install (I've only seen videos of it running well). Anyway, check out the Pandora's specs:

Texas Instruments OMAP3530 System-on-Chip with Cortex-A8 at 600MHz
256MB DDR-333 SDRAM
512MB NAND FLASH memory
IVA2+ audio and video processor (based on the TMS320C64x+ DSP Core at 430MHz) using Texas Instruments's DaVinci technology
ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar microprocessor core
PowerVR SGX 530 (110 MHz) OpenGL ES 2.0 compliant 3D hardware
Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR (3Mbit/s) (Class 2, +4dBm)
800x480 resolution touchscreen LCD, 4.3" widescreen, 16.7 million colors (300 cd/m2 brightness, 450:1 contrast ratio)
Dual analog nubs; 15mm diameter, concave, 2.5mm travel from centre
Full gamepad controls plus shoulder buttons
Dual SDHC card slots (currently supporting up to 32GB of storage each, supports SDIO)
Headphone output up to 150mW/channel into 16 ohms, 99dB SNR
TV output (composite and S-Video)
Internal microphone plus ability to connect external microphone through headset
43 button QWERTY and numeric keypad
USB 2.0 OTG port (480Mb/s) with capability to charge the Pandora
USB 2.0 HOST port (480Mb/s) capable of providing standard 500mA current to attached devices
Externally accessible UART for hardware hacking and debugging
Brick prevention with integrated bootloader for safe code experimentation
Runs the Linux kernel (2.6.x)
4000mAH rechargeable lithium polymer battery
Estimated 8.5-10+ hour battery life for games, 10+ hour battery life for video and general applications, and theoretically 100+ hours for music playback (with backlight off and maximum power management)
Dimensions: 140x83x27mm (5.51x3.27x1.06 in)
Weight: 335g


Information Source: Wikipedia


It looks like an awesome machine and it has a massive community backing, so I don't think it'll end up being abandonware. The only thing holding me back is its fairly hefty price tag of $330. I can do a lot with $330 that has nothing at all to do with the Pandora, so I'm having a rough time justifying it in my mind. Having said that, though, it does kind of blur some of the lines between being a UMPC and a handheld game console - thus making its price much more justifiable in my mind.


GP2X Wiz



The GP2X Wiz really sounds appealing with its ~$180 price tag. One of its most attractive features to me is its built-in support of flash via Flash Player 8 w/Action Script 2.0 support. Kongregate, anyone? Also, it runs emulators for just about every older console, has its own games and also has a fairly large community backing. Oh, and it comes with a game called, "Snake on Dope." How the hell can you pass up something that comes preloaded with a game called, "Snake on Dope!?" Not to mention, there would certainly be no shortage of corny, ridiculous puns due to the name of the system. "Hey, Stephen! I see you had a choice and decided to take a Wiz! *TEE HEE HEE!*"

Anyway, here are the specs for it:

Chipset: MagicEyes Pollux (533MHz) System-on-a-Chip (ARMv5 ARM926EJ core)
CPU: 533MHz ARM9 3D Accelerator
NAND Flash Memory: 1 GB
RAM: SDRAM 64 MB
Operating System: GNU/Linux-based OS
Storage: SD Card (with SDHC support)
Connection to PC: USB 2.0 High Speed
USB Host: USB 2.0
Power: Internal 2000mAh Lithium Polymer Battery (approx. 7 hours game/video playback)
Display: 320×240 2.8 inch AMOLED Touch Screen
Microphone Input
Physical size: 121 mm (4.8") wide, 61 mm (2.4") high, 18 mm (0.7") deep
Weight: 98 g (without battery), 136 g (with battery)
3D Acceleration and TV Out
Chipset supports OpenGL ES 1.1
133M Texel/sec, 1.33M Polygon/sec


Information Source: Wikipedia

So, they both offer their own unique spin on things and thus both have a certain appeal to me... an appeal that makes me want BOTH of them. Mwah ha ha... I suppose if/when I ever actually make the move to nab one of these, I'll post my thoughts on it/them here. Do any of you have either one of these? If so, what do you think about it/them?

-Stephen

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous23:51

    I'd go with the wiz. Its much smaller, thus making it more portable. The pandora is in a price range of a netbook with a pc controller, so I really dont see a point in that. Plus, the wiz has a VERY large community backing it up and it can now run ps1 emulators. I think the choice is clear!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous16:36

    I think the wiz is better to go to now, that is, until we find out if the pandora is going to be delayed again, or if it is actually coming this time.

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