Review: GP2X (Hardware)
The successor to the GP32, the GP2X is GamePark Holdings' 2nd handheld capable of playing a variety of media, homebrew games, and emulators.
Developed by GamePark Holdings in South Korea, (The original company, GamePark, had supposedly split apart due to a disagreement in the direction of the GP32), the GP2X is the successor to the GP32, designed to play a variety of media such as videos, music, photos, and games. There are also a range of emulators ported to it, such as PicoDrive, MAME, gPSP, and PocketSNES, amongst many others.
The device runs a Linux-based Operating System, and has an updatable firmware for more features and formats to be supported on the system. An additional positive for this device is that developers may easily develop software for the GP2X, due to it's open architecture.
Unfortunately though, for me, I did not like how the GP2X operated in terms of power. When you're nowhere near a power outlet to plug in an AC adapter, you're having to either pop in 2 AA batteries, or not use the system at all until you can get hold of an external adapter for unlimited power in the system.
And when you do use batteries, the system will not last very long at all... presumably about 10-20 minutes; perhaps half an hour at the most if you're using extremely good batteries. Other than that, I don't have a single problem surrounding the hardware. All the button positioning, and the way I grip the system in my hands were all completely fine for me.
Here are the tech-specs for those interested in what the system is capable of in terms of hardware:
- 200MHz ARM920T 'host' processor
- 200MHz ARM940T 'programmable' coprocessor
- USB Host (1.1)
- Power - 2xAA Batteries / AC Adapter
- 320×240 3.5 inch LCD display (touch-sensitive display for F200 models)
- 64MB SDRAM
- OS - GNU/Linux-based
- SD Card Storage. (SDHC Support in firmware releases 4.0 onwards)
- 64MB NAND Flash storage
F200 Model Hardware Changes
A new model of the GP2X, the GP2X F200, introduced a touch-sensitive screen and a D-Pad to replace the analogue stick the F100 carried. The F200 also had a recolor to white, whereas its F100 counterpart was black only. These seem to be the only hardware changes in the new model, which I am pretty fine with.
The GP2X features an Expansion port at the bottom of the device for uses such as USB host, break-out boxes (for connecting multiple USB devices at the same time), and TV Output.
On the subject of TV Output, this feature allows you to upscale content, such as movies, onto a TV screen at native resolution. Developers may also support TV Output in their own applications, again, for higher resolution output.
Finally, from firmware 3.0.0 onwards - as well as the movie player, music player, photo viewer and e-book reader, you will find multiple pre-installed games in the NAND storage. (I took the liberty of picturing 2 of them further above this page.)
The firmware I am using (latest 4.1.0) includes the following games:
- Ghostpix (Picross puzzle game)
- RuckMan (Pac-Man Clone)
My Opinions on the GP2X
Media-playing aside, the amount of homebrew games and emulators out there already for the GP2X pretty shocked me, probably because of how the console isn't as very well-known and popular as the other handhelds we see today.
In my opinion, I think it is the perfect device for retro gaming, as you can definitely get a feel for the actual console you are emulating!
In fact, I have been a retro nut ever since I got my first GBA back in 2005 which was, coincidentally, the year of the release of the GP2X! As the years went on, I first found out about emulation and consoles that could emulate other consoles, which I found extremely impressive, to say the least!
I had only heard about the GP2X in 2015; 10 years onwards; and trying it out for the first time definitely brought back my decade-old nostalgia of holding a GBA! And to add on to this, I had encountered PicoDrive for the GP2X, which brought back many memories of playing Sonic CD through Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube!
So it definitely goes to show how this console can make a great addition to a retro-gamer's collection!
+ Diverse array of homebrew to already run on the system
+ Definitely serves its purpose as a portable entertainment/media player
- When running on AA batteries, the system dies in almost no time when using generic, everyday batteries
- AC Adapter often gets in the way of your hand while plugged into the system, also creating the risk of it becoming loose and falling out.
out of 10
To sum it up, the GP2X is an exceptional, quality retro-emulation handheld, as well as it's main functionality as a media player. I would've bumped up the score to a 9.X, however as I mentioned in the review, I just wasn't satisfied with how you needed to run the system on AA batteries when you were either out and about, or not able to find an AC adapter, or a power outlet for the said adapter. Other than that; button positioning great, aesthetics great, features great! Overall an impressive retro console!