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One of the biggest selling points of games consoles is their plug and play nature. Game goes in, console comes on, happy gamer. No safe mode, no updating drivers, no viruses and definitely no boot disks to free up 600k of base memory.
However, there is always the type of person that enjoys a good challenge, and the game itself doesn’t provide enough. For this sort of person, the GP2X is perfect as it is a lot more than a gaming platform - it’s a multifunctional entertainment device with more flexibility than a Russian gymnast.
From the outside, the GP2X looks like a fairly typical handheld gaming device. It’s not as sleek as the PSP, but perhaps shares more in common with the Sega Game Gear. There is a joystick on the left, accompanied by four buttons on the right - A,B,X and Y. At the top of the player are the L and R shoulder buttons, as seen on the PSP. Naturally there are the traditional start and select buttons as well as volume control. Headphone output is complemented by internal stereo speakers.
The device is powered by two AA batteries, although should you want to use it for prolonged periods of time in a single place, you can power it with a 3.3V DC adapter. At the very top of the device is an SD card slot, which you’ll need to populate as there is only 64MB of NAND memory onboard.
Connecting to the device is done via a USB 2.0 connection, although I found it to be particularly slow at transferring. You may have better luck using a card reader.
At the very base of the device is the “EXT” connection. This is where things get a little interesting. For a few quid more you can buy a cable for outputting to a Television - nice! But you can also use this for connecting to extra storage (hard drives for instance). I’ve even briefly read about using this to convert the device in to a fully fledged PC or router.
The screen resolution is 320 x 240 which I assume is connected via an analogue interface due to the occasional diagonal lines I see running across the screen - pixel clock issues perhaps? Although there is fine tuning for this, you don’t expect to see this in a modern device.
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