Game King-II: A full review
Herein lies the very first (as far as I know) ever review of the elusive Game King-II personal media player game system gadget thingy.
I’ll step through the feature list as it appeared on Geeks.com (and exactly how it appeared on any other site selling this thing), and then I’ll list some things that I didn’t know before buying. Finally, I’ll weight in with the verdict: should you buy this?
1 GB memory – SD Card slot: supports up to 2 GB SD Card. True. There is 1 gig built-in and 1 SD slot that I tested with a 2gb card. You can switch “modes” between Flash and SD Card and there’s an “explorer” mode too, so using the expansion space is not difficult.
Game: supports 16-bit GB/GBC (Game Boy) games, 8-bit NES games. Kinda true. Saying “16-bit GB/GBC” is wrong, because the Gameboy is 8-bit. However, the Game King-II is also able to emulate SNES ROMs, which is not mentioned anywhere on Geeks.com or in the hilarious instruction manual (more on that later). I could probably write a whole post on the emulation features alone, so I will. The only other information I know at this time is that it does not emulate Sega Genesis or Game Gear games.
Built-in camera. True. It can take pictures at 320×240, 640×480, 1280×960, and 2560×1920. So, around 4.9 megapixels. However, don’t get too excited, it’s not a great camera. The 2560×1920 mode might actually be some sort of software enhanced 2x version of the 1280×960, which means that it’s actually a 1.2 megapixel camera. Also, there’s no flash.
USB Interface. True, but not all that exciting. It functions as a perfectly usuable flash drive, which I guess not all MP3 players do, even today.
2.3-inch color TFT screen (320 x 240). I don’t know what TFT mean (beyond the acronym–Thin Film Transistor), but it’s a very nice looking screen. There’s a nice picture of seashells as a default wallpaper on loading, and it really impressed me right off the bat.
Video Format: AVI. True! It comes with a CD that has a “VideoConversion” program which will convert your video files to whatever codec this thing uses at the appropriate resolution. The program is very nifty, so far it’s worked on WMV, MPG, and even FLV files right off of YouTube and Google Video. The video plays nicely.
Audio Support: MP3, WMA, WAV, ADPCM, AMR. I haven’t tried anything except MP3, but I don’t really care about those other formats. I know it also plays WAV files, because that’s the format it records sound in.
Picture Support: JPEG, BMP, GIF. Does not play animated GIFs. Not even the first frame. Just sends you right back to the file listing.
FM Radio. Doesn’t support AM radio, which is kinda weak. Does support “Japan band”, which is 76.0 to 90.0 FM. It can do seek and presets. I think it uses the headphones for an antenna, and also sounds like it downsamples the output for whatever reason, but otherwise functions adequately.
E-Book: support TXT format files. Yep. Pretty much.
Built-in microphone for recording (stored as WAV file). Records at 32kbps. I didn’t see any way to increase the quality.
There were also some things that I think are pretty important that are left out of the description.
Battery. Yes, it has a battery. This might seem obvious, but it is conspicuous by its absence in the Geeks.com description. According to the instruction manual, it is an “1100mAh Build-in Lion Battery”. I don’t see anyway to easily replace it, and good luck finding a replacement anyway. Take good care of the battery, is my advice to you.
Speaker(s). It has at least one speaker built-in to the thing. I say “at least one” because I think the other “speaker hole” is where the microphone is. So, having a speaker is kinda a double-edged sword. You can share the audio easily with others. But be careful when fiddling around with it if you are in an environment where a sudden burst of sound would cause embarrasment.
Size. This thing is really quit tiny. According to the book, it’s 4.6in x 2.5in x 0.66in (119mm x 64mm x 17mm), but it’s rounded on the ends. By comparison, a standard iPod is 4.1in x 2.4in x 0.43in. So, very comparable in size, and would probably fit in an iPod sized MP3 case okay (though I wouldn’t recommend it).
Weight. It’s not heavy at all. According to the book, it’s about 2.88oz (80g), compared to an iPod Nano at 1.41oz (a standard iPod weighs a bit more, but also has 40-80 times the storage capacity).
Hilarious Engrish user’s manual. I really get a kick out of these types of things, so it’s a bonus gift in my book. I can certainly imagine that the casual user would be extremely upset with the obtuse and downright nonsensical language in this book, but I find it a delight. I will probably post about it later, but here are some gems from the “Precautions” section early in book which certainly set the tone:
- A. Do not use the device in extremely thermal, cold, dusty and watery circumstance
- C. Prevent the device from colliding with hard objects
- D. Turn the power off before push in or pull out the SD card
- L. Turn the power off before inserting or pulling out the SD card ( game card)
Yes, there are actually two almost identical precautionary points.
Anyway, here’s the verdict: buy! This is a very qualified “buy” rating, because the Game King-II certainly isn’t for everyone. If you have a deep love of obscure gadgets, emulation, fiddling around, and you are budget-minded, this is the perfect MP3 player (and then some) for you. If you need a practical, fashionable, reliably supported device, this is not for you.
My coworker told me that the only reason I bought this thing was to make blog posts about it, and I think he’s on to something. I’ve already mentioned two future posts that I could write about this thing. So, stay tuned for future information about the Game King-II. Or, as the Game King-II itself would say, “please waiting…”