The first thing that I noticed, which I already mentioned, is the size. I knew this was going to be small, but it just seems much more cute and pocket-sized than expected. I think that the build quality might lead me to be a bit more impressed with the size. I'm used to the GP32 and the GP2X. They're both nice machines, and I've given them plenty of use. It's just that when you pick one up and compare it to a DS or PSP, they appear somewhat cheaply made. The Wiz doesn't suffer from this. It looks like it should be sold on a shelf right along side of a PSP or a DS.
The next think that I noticed was the weight. Obviously, after seeing the Wiz, you'll want to pick it up and see how it feels in your hands. It's light. It looks like it would weigh more, but they did a good job of keeping this pocket-friendly. My Sony camera, which is smaller and has about the same size screen, is heavier than the Wiz.
As you may have noticed from my pictures, I spent most of my evening messing with the Giana's Return port. It's hard for me to get a new handheld and just look at the games. I want to get my code running on it. Fortunately, it was unexpectedly easy to get the code to run, though, as you will see in the following video, it wasn't optimal. For any of you GP2X developers out there that are thinking about getting a Wiz but aren't sure that you want to port all your old games/apps, all it takes is a simple re-compile to get it running. In some cases, the GP2X binary may even work. After that, you will want to tweak things for the Wiz, but it wouldn't be any fun if it were too simple, would it?
Here is a video of the initial, unoptimized, Wiz port of Giana's Return. I have already sped it up, so don't worry about it looking slow.
Now, I will try to address some of the questions that I got about the Wiz. Of course, take these as my initial impressions. My opinion of things may change by the time I get to do a proper review.
There seems to be a fair ammount of concern about the dpad, mainly because of a post made on the gp32x message boards. From what I can tell, this concern is unwarranted. I have not noticed any problems. I haven't yet set up MAME (or any other emulator) to try any fighting games or whatnot, so I can't discuss quarter-circle moves or anything of the sort. I can say that it feels fine to me, and there is something inside that causes the pad to pivot. When you push down on the left side, the right side goes up. You can also push down on the middle of the dpad, so I can see why there is some confusion. Diagonals seem fine, but (as mentioned) I haven't played much.
The battery seems fine. When I do a proper review, I would like to do some tests to see how long the battery lasts when in use. For now, all I can say is that it's WAY better than when I first got ahold of my GP2X and put alkalines in it. Though, that's not saying much. The Wiz's battery seems good, but it's too early to make any real judgement. The battery indicator, however, seems off. I have to assume that they will change/fix the firmware's battery indicator before the final release. One last thing about the battery is that it has 2 screws holding it in place. I'm not sure why this matters to people, but it is a question that I received. On one hand, it seems like an odd design decision, but on the other hand I'm not sure I'd want to remove it anyway.
There's been some question about "diagonal tearing" on the screen. In my opinion, this is mainly an issue that homebrew developers are concerned about at the moment. Most of my use of the game was with Giana's Return, and in the game, I haven't noticed any problems. I have noticed what I assume to be the "diagonal tearing" issue when there are screen changes. For example, when the user chooses a menu item that starts the game, the screen changes from menu to game. Then, your eyes might notice a diagonal during the screen shift. I don't want to dwell on this too much because I believe that it will get fixed in the future and programmers can code around it if it becomes a problem for them.
Another question was about dead pixels. I don't have any dead pixels. Though, in the interest of honesty, I must mention that I did notice what seemed to be a sort of stuck pixel. There was a pixel that seemed to have the blue stuck on. It was only noticeable at all when the screen would change to black, otherwise I couldn't see any problem at all. The interesting thing is that it went away. I can't explain it, but I've heard of LCDs having such things before. Now, I don't notice any problems at all on the screen.
I do, however, notice fingerprints. If you've got OCD and you can't handle finger smudges on your handheld game, then the Wiz might cause you to curl up in the fetal position and find your happy place.
Since I received this unit, I've been hit with some bad news about the Wiz. GPH has pushed their launch date back yet again. This time it's only pushed back a couple of weeks. It's great news for the consumer that these test units are in the hands of reviews and developers. That means that they're close to a final product. Obviously, they're not as close as they previously thought, because the launch has been pushed back to the first or second week of May. I'm told that Play-Asia's Wiz pre-orders will be sent out right away on the launch date. Of course Play-Asia can't ship them until GPH supplies them. GPH is making a great product here, and they must need a bit more time to make sure it's done right.