I have to admit, as a die-hard gamer, I'm very tough to please. And the Gizmondo is a curiosity of the modern world.
It lives among the blockbuster Sony PSP and the Nintendo GameBoy and still manages to stands out. And it does so because the Windows Mobile powered Gizmondo offers a few incredible features that the big players in the handheld market can't!
For starters, the Gizmondo ships with a cellular SIM card, which enables wireless messaging. The unit can send and receive normal SMS text messages plus MMS messages, which are best described as embedded pictures and text in a wireless message. And, the Gizmondo includes a digital camera to snap photos that you can include in your MMS messages.
The unit also includes Bluetooth, so that you can wirelessly transfer contacts from your mobile phone. Bluetooth also allows you to play multiplayer games against other nearby Gizmondo owners. And, as the ultimate feature in a gaming device, the Gizmondo includes GPS (Global Positioning System) hardware for location based games and much more.
When you first activate the Gizmondo, you're given a registration code. When you use it to sign up on the Gizmondo web site, you can track the device from any computer. You can also receive wireless SMS alerts if the Gizmondo travels outside of an area you define, or if the user presses the Emergency button.
An entertainment device, the hardcore gamer in me is disappointed to see just over a dozen games for the Gizmondo are currently shipping. However, many more are in the works, including Carmageddon , one of my favorite "old school" PC games. However, in addition to gaming, the Gizmondo also offers to entertain with an MP3 player and a movie player (thanks to Windows Mobile!). And an "Applications" menu provides access to an alarm clock, currency converter and calculator.
All said, the Gizmondo is well designed. The unique half-moon shape feels much better than it looks like it would, and the unit's rubber exterior is comfortable for long gaming sessions. The 320x240 pixel screen is bright and clear, and the unit's speaker is surprisingly loud for gaming and music. My only complaint is that the speaker is mounted directly below the action buttons, so while playing a game you can accidentally distort or even mute the speaker by resting your thumb on it.
The Gizmondo is available in t...