Hands on with the GP2X Wiz


Our GP2X Wiz finally arrived and, although we've literally only had this Linux-powered handheld in our grubby mitts for an hour, we wanted to give you our first impressions. You may recall the original GP2X, a Korean-manufactured portable media player and retro gaming box - well, the GP2X Wiz bumps it up a few notches in power and design.

The GP2X Wiz is smaller and faster than the original GP2X.

For the specs, the Wiz now has a 533MHz ARM CPU (up from 200MHz on the original) and 1GB of flash (up from 64MB). Most importantly for us, the fiddly little thumbstick-D-pad oddity of the GP2X has been replaced by a proper, normal, what-everyone-on-the-planet-expects cross-shaped pad. Given that the GP2X and its Wiz successor are targeted at retro gaming and emulation, a proper D-pad is a must. Annoyingly, the buttons on the right are also shaped like a D-pad (but they are separate buttons, as opposed to being joined in the middle), which makes them a bit too close together for our tastes.

The buttons on the right are shaped like a D-pad, but are actually just normal buttons. They're a bit close together for our tastes.

So we're glad the main D-pad is sorted out - and we're impressed by the build quality and sparklingly bright touchscreen too, which remains clear and bright even at wide viewing angles. The Wiz is more compact than its predecessor and feels a lot more robust in the hands. Still, the placing of the shoulder buttons isn't ideal, inset by a centimetre from the sides on top of the unit, and demanding some rather unnatural finger-bending to reach.

On the software side, the chunky icon based interface provides access to a bunch of games, including Animatch (Bejeweled/match three clone), Space Varments (mindless screen-tapping gremlin-killing larks), Snake on Dope (Drug-addled Snake clone) and Square Tower Defense (you guessed it, a Tower Defense clone.) Nothing inspiring, but let's face it: these games are just here to make the device look like a legitimate standalone games machine that definitely doesn't require you to rip-off copyrighted software, no sirree.

The touchscreen remains viewable even at very sharp angles.

There's also a collection of Flash games which are entirely in Korean so we can't make head nor tail of them. They are, however, outrageously cute and have the most toe-tappingly catchy soundtracks you will ever, ever hear. Fact.

It's not clear how much the Wiz is meant to be backward compatible with the original GP2X - we've tried a SNES emulator and a Megadrive/Genesis emulator but they just froze up the machine. Still, the developer behind MAME4ALL has shown it ported to the Wiz already, so there's hope that the full library of software will eventually run. We've also discovered an annoying bug in which the machine's audio volume level is reset at certain points, eg when changing screens in games. You can't even change the volume using the hardware buttons in the main interface screen. Rage!

But that can easily be fixed by a firmware upgrade, so we're not too fussed about that now. Ultimately this kind of device stands or falls based on developer support, so unless you've got a serious case of hardware lust you're probably best waiting for developers to port their apps to the Wiz. In the meantime, we'll try to get some emulators running and post an update if we have any success...

Shoulder buttons aside, this is a real design improvement.

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Your comments

GP2X Wiz vs Pandora

Looks great, but how does it compare to the pandora (which I haven't looked at recently but when it was announced it was going to be the gaming system for old consoles and computers)

Looking good

Well another one to add too my collection of GamePark / GamePark Holding machines!
I've been waiting for this one for a while now, all I have to do is buy it without the wife noticing!
Whats the Media player like?
Are codecs better supported?


Awesome !

What about the screen tearing issues that I've been hearing about ? Do they exist, and are they noticeable ?

very awesome

I will be receiving mine in 24 hours.

I don't know if they fixed the "screen tearing" but I have noticed it in on line videos of the wiz. It does not seem to appear all the time, and it seems to happen when a large part of the screen changes quickly, like a near-instant or instant change, like when a large information screen/window disappears, or when fading-in/out, half of it disappears slightly before the other half does, with the halves divided diagonally between the bottom left and top right edges of the screen.

Good news is, in videos I've seen of the wiz showing video playback, the tearing does not appear. This is good because if it is a defect that affects everything that is displayed, it would be worst during video playback. My theory is that if a specific software being run on the wiz shows more of the "tearing" it may not be using the wiz's display hardware in the proper or ideal way. This could be the case with early ports of games/apps designed for the earlier Gp2x's. Hopefully once certain apps are fully adapted to the wiz, the tearing won't appear at all.

Screen tearing is definitely software

I have a Wiz, and PicoDrive (genesis/MD emu) has no tearing at all. It looks great.

When it does happen in other emulators, it's not all that big a deal. It's not like it makes a game unplayable, and it's not something that's always visible. It just sort of flashes a diagonal tear and then it's gone.

Considering the Wiz emulates NeoGeo, MAME, and even PSX, I'm willing to take a little screen tearing (until software fixes it for each emulator) in exchange for a lot of emulation potential. With the hardware present, it probably won't be long before the Wiz is emulating N64.

Video playback hasn't shown tearing in mine, as yet.

I got a wiz, the problem is:

I got a wiz, the problem is: where are the GAMES? Ok, lots of emulators, wich is cool, but it really needs more original native games to justify it... otherwise people will get a PSP wich is able to run almost the same emulators and much more native games.
I'm not saying wiz is bad, it's a great peace of hardware! And the idea behind it is great! But it really needs more investment and incentive to get more native games. Where is the Wiz Store? And where is the Wiz wi-fi adapter?


@ Tom hahaha i'm in that

@ Tom

hahaha i'm in that same position! dont they just hate us tinkering guys, gotta have that shiny thing though!

Very cool, for this little size!

My Wiz works very great, the only problem is sometimes, that there isnt that much software (emulators) that I want to have for it ^^ but anyway, the power of this small computer is amazing and I am still happy, that I bought it ;)

I like it.. but

I like my new GP2X Wiz, but it is just a little small for my hands. I am have big hands (I wear a xl Mechanix glove for example) and the tiny size of the console tends to hurt my hands after a while. It is just from holding it in such a unnatural, cramped position and isn't the biggest deal in the world. All of the emulation works great, save states just like PC emulators, speakers are plenty loud, great screen. It does actually tend to lag a little when running some MAME and PSX games. I am too chicken to overclock it yet.

do not understand

some mame,gba,snes and ps1 games do not work at all. what is the problem?


answer me as soon as posible,please.

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