Hello everyone! Heres a quick review of the GCW prototype I was so anxiously waiting for. Justin(GCW) was very generous in giving away these prototypes. Thank you. Also, Qbert was kind enough and sent me this unit. It looks just like the one from his original GCW prototype video. He did a great job packing it, shipping it, and communicating tracking information with me. This device came with OpenDingux pre-installed but nothing else. Qbertaddict, Johnnyonflame, Ayla, and Zear have been instrumental in helping me set up the device. I will break down this little review into hardware, software, suggestions for improvement, and overall opinion of the device. This will be a very generalized review.
The size of the unit is small enough to fit in your pocket but large enought to feel comfortable while playing.
Its size is great for retro gaming on the go! The Zero proto feels good in my hands and all buttons are reachable. The button layout is very similar to a SNES controller. The D-pad along with the x, y, a, b, buttons feel like they belong on a higher end device such as a Nintendo DS. Speaking of a NDS, the xyab buttons are of similar size. The Dpad is one solid piece and very comfortable and responsive. The left and right shoulder buttons are nice, feel good, but could be a bit 'clicky.' In fact my left shoulder also 'sticks' every now and then, but this could be due to an old football injury, lol! In all seriousness though, this occured when i would press left button, it would take a split second to pop back up. Still very playable, just annoyed me enough to fix it. I quickly and easily improved this by opening the unit (4 screws), comparing both buttons, and shaving a small sliver of plastic from the left button. I brought this up to other devs but it appears only one other unit has this issue. Aside from that minor, easily corrected issue, all control buttons are very impressive. With the buttons out of the way, this leads me to the lcd screen. The screen GCW chose for this device is, in one word, perfect! The size, brightness, colors, and resolution are awesome for its intended purpose, retro gaming. I will conclude with the analog stick. This is just another great choice in hardware! The stick feels great and works at it should. As far as i know, the Zero is still the only device with true analog! In the short time time Ive had this proto, I cant remember how many times Ive fired up a classic game and gotten that warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling. I truly feel my childhood coming back, thanks to this device.
Luckily, the GCW team chose to go with Open Dingux and with a front end Im already familiar with, Gmenu2x. This made some of my transition very easy and makes the system FLY. Boot up speed is quick and load times are faster than Speedy Gonzales. Also the GCW devs deserve alot of credit for they have made the istallation package system a breeze to use. Its as simple as moving one file into the APPS folder, rebooting, and presto! Like magic, the item is installed! FYI, updates are installed the very same way. Please follow my suggestion and get yourself a program like Filezilla so you can transfer files from your PC to the device via usb. A word of advice, when trying to FTP into the Zero through usb, make sure Zero is "on"! lol! Yes yes, i made this blunder. Its not the proudest moment of my life, but it is what it is. At the moment none of the updated emus/games have been made public, so i tried a few from the a320 OD build. Most are not operational and if they do run, they are playable and run great but with sound artifacts and distortion. Needless to say, i wanted to game, so turned down the sound or muted it all together. This holds true for most a320 apps/emus. The few ones ive gathered from the dev team that are for the Zero, run almost flawless. There might be a small noticeable sound glich before the start of a game but, ive noticed it goes away once gameplay starts. So far, Ive tested emulators, homebrew games, and classic PC ports. Expiriences vary between each one, but again, all the ones supplied by dev team have ended in positive results. These folks have put a great deal of work and effort into this project, and it shows! I cant say this enough, I cant wait to see what else this bad boy can do, play, and emulate.
I dont have much. I know the xy button thing was raised, but thats not really an issue in my opinion. The left button issue I noticed with my proto might only occur to a small number of units. Its easy to fix, so I dont consider it an issue either. The Dev team is planning on making the software public soon, and also planning on releasing instructions on how to set up Zero. So that issues is being worked on. I can really think of any suggestions!
Oh yeah, my proto has no screen cover, its naked like the backend of north-bound mule. lol!
I think its clear that ive fallen in love with this unit. If the SEs or the basic units are anywhere near this prototype, this project will truly be epic. I purchased 2 SE's and I want another, but why? purely selfish reasons!!
From my experiences with the prototype so far, its clear that the GCW units, truly are "built for gamers by gamers!"