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Gizmondo handheld games console

Time for Sony, Nintendo and Tapwave to tremble?

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Review I want to be nice, I really do, and I want to like the Gizmondo, because it's brave for an independent company to try and launch a handheld games device at the same time as Nintendo and Sony are slugging it out for mobile market supremacy. I'll praise the design by Rick Dickinson, the man who brought us the Sinclair Spectrum, I'll rave about of the quality of Flextronics' manufacturing and the carefully created GUI from the Swedish company TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) because the Gizmondo does look great. The body is something you intuitively want to pick up and play with, writes Charlie Brewer.

GizmondoThe combination of the black and the silver styling works, and as for the graphics quality of the 320 x 240pixel, 65,000-colour screen, powered by an Nvidia GoForce 4500 accelerator, well it's great too.

But the simple fact is that almost all other aspects of the device have something wrong with them. As a colleague rather rudely pointed out: "It's like they though of a name and made a product to fit."

The layout looks like a games controller from the next PlayStation. There's a four-way paddle on the left, four classically annotated buttons in a very PS2 configuration on the right, two larger function buttons on the top edge and five quick-keys above the screen. All of the controls work fine in doing what they are meant, but not the five quick-keys. They're too small and stiff and there's simply not enough depression on them. You press and hold but you're never sure that the button has made contact properly. This especially serious considering that the penultimate button to the right is meant to be an Emergency Alarm, activating a GPS tracking system sending the device's location by SMS to up to five pre-set mobile phones.

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