31 Aug

How does the phrase, “open-source handheld gaming console” make you feel? The better that you feel about that will directly correlate with how much fun you’ll have with the gp2x Wiz from GPH. Comparisons to the current handheld scene should of course be made, given that GPH touts the Wiz as a revolutionary device, which in many ways it is.

The Wiz looking pretty slick.

The Wiz looking pretty slick.

As soon as you open the box the Wiz is there to proudly boast all of its capabilities, from media mangling to SD card support and a touch screen, the Wiz wants you to know that it can take whatever you can dish. For this review, that is precisely what I did; I threw anything and everything at it that the device claimed it could do in a variety of formats. This statement should come with the caveat that I am not an open-source coder, and a lot of the software I ran on the device came straight from their community development website, a place which exponentially increases the usefulness and fun of the handheld.

The good news? The Wiz handles every ROM, application, and piece of software on the community site deftly, and it really opens the possibilities of the console. I feel like this explanation should be longer, but it really boils down to the simple sentence, “it just works.” The community includes support for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux, games, tech demos, development tools, visual novels, emulators, and a bevy of other miscellaneous software to run on it. They all work, and allow you to do some really cool stuff on the handheld. When you finally come to terms with the fact that it does everything it says it can, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store whenever you hop online looking for new things to make your handheld do. I want this to sound like the glowing praise that it is, suffice to say you’ll love the little black and red wonder-box.

There is bad news though, and a lot of it has to do with comparisons to the competition as well. There is no native Wi-fi, or Bluetooth, which is a shame. Thus none of the cool features that come with that (internet browser, automatic updates, online multiplayer, music store support) are supported, however the GPH website promises free firmware updates and support for Bluetooth in the future. Another drawback is that a lot of the coolest parts of owning the Wiz aren’t exactly legal; ROMS and open-source software do tend to cross into that gray territory though. Fortunately the drag-and-drop nature of every single feature means that at the very least maintaining a library of media and software is still relatively easy to do. Additionally, there are no worries about downgrading firmware to support these features, unlike the competition.

Physically, the Wiz feels really solid in hand, it has a good weight (it feels like a GBA) and it’s very portable, with dimensions very similar to an iPhone or iPod Touch, though a bit thicker. The buttons all feel good and smooth to touch, and the shoulder buttons make a satisfying click when pressed. The screen is bright, and responsive to touch as well. All in all, the Wiz never feels cheap or thrown together; the quality is clearly on par with the handheld competition. The amenities we’ve all come to expect are in tow as well, a microphone which records sound at a surprisingly solid fidelity, volume controls, locks, and menu buttons right where you need them. I do wish the Wiz were a bit wider, but it’s never uncomfortable to play for extended sessions. Natively there is only 1GB of storage, but SD card support remedies that, and it’s a solution that I’m fond of because it allows owners to buy storage according to their needs.

In summation, if you are comfortable with the idea of an open-source device, and reel at the possibilities inherent with such a thing, the Wiz is absolutely for you. It’s a dynamo with media playback (only one hi-def movie I put on it wouldn’t play, but a simple format switch solved that) has a good handful of game support, and applications for productivity. There are some silly drawbacks, like no Wi-fi support, but these can be forgiven in light of the ease of use sans them. The games loaded on the device are kind of a bore, but once you get on the community site you’ll find gems left and right. The best part of the Wiz is the community of open-source coders that follow it, and although that means you’ll be dependant on what they make for it, I’d be hard pressed to call that a problem. I imagine that for a coder, this community would offer an even more in-depth reason to be excited. Yes, the Wiz is worth it, and should fit nicely in your pocket alongside whatever else is in there.




ARM9 533MHz, 3D Accelerator



OLED Touch Screen Panel



NAND Flash Memory




2000mAh Lithium-ion Polymer
Video Player
MPEG4, Xvid, Divx AVI
Audio File
Video Resolution
Max 640*480 30fps
Type of File
Lyrics Supported
File Format
JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG and others
File Format
JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG and others
File Format
Other Functions
Flash Light 8.0 Supported
World Time
World Time and Origin Time

2 thoughts on “GP2X Wiz Review”

  1. The thing plays pretty much everything although SNES emulation is a bit slow. I’ve heard that the Dingoo A320 is superior but that’s the kind of thing you’ll only find at a kiosk in downtown Hong Kong. Everything over there is so shady. Probably why this gadget isn’t sold in the US. But the fact that you can just drag and drop movies and TV episodes kicks all sorts of ass. To do the same with a PSP or iPod or something you always have to convert it.

    This begs the question–why hasn’t anyone designed a simple bare-bones handheld that only plays video? Just something that can read any type of file be it common ones like WMV’s or AVI’s or even obscure ones like MKV’s. I’d buy one of those in a flash.

    I know how lots of people like having their handhelds do everything but I do not mind having handheld devices with dedicated purposes.

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