Comparing & Contrasting The Wiz & Caanoo


DocBadwrench

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NOTE: Apologies for the repetition. I see that others have asked similar questions. Feel free to reference the appropriate thread if you don't want to waste the effort on yet another noob who discovered your forums. I'm scouring posts now....

Greetings classic gaming fans,

I'm very happy to have found these forums. For many years, I've been quietly watching the development of the GP32 platform. I never bit the bullet and just purchased one because I've been dealing with annoying emulator issues for years, now. Often times, they're less fun, more fiddling, more ditching ROMs that don't work right, and finding out there are no sound effects. The life of a MAME fan sure ain't trouble free.

Anyway, I'm gun-shy about buying yet another piece of hardware that I get frustrated at and discard to my closet. For instance, My Cliq smartphone was originally going to be my mobile platform, but the hardware blows. Additionally, other Androids leave much to be desired, with many hardware & software builds continuing to feel wrong.

However

I'm now convinced that the Caanoo is the machine to beat. I was going to buy a Wiz. They were on sale at ThinkGeek (though, sadly, that's over now), which got me to revisit the platform and see what was up in the last year. What I'd like to do is share my impressions of both platforms so that those of you reading can correct me where I'm wrong. When I'm shelling out almost $200 for a handheld, I want to make sure I've considered the important stuff.

My impressions of the Wiz

  • The screen is smaller, but all pixel rows are visible.
  • The hardware is less robust, but most emulators are rock solid.
  • More computers/consoles are supported at this time.
  • Has a D-pad, which is great for classic MAME, NES, SMS, etc. systems.
  • Has a sturdy feel, though the right-side buttons feel wobbly and somewhat cheap.

My impressions of the Caanoo

  • The screen is larger, but a few pixel rows (on either end) are concealed by the casing.
  • The hardware is more robust, but there hasn't been as much time in development for emulators.
  • No C64 or Amiga emulators (yet), which is a bummer, since I'm an old school fan of both platforms.
  • Has an analog controller, which may be less responsive for classic MAME, NES, SMS, etc. games, but would be much better for N64 and select MAME games (for instance, I love Marble Madness - an analog controller has to be better for that game).
  • Has a more sturdy feel, and buttons are not wobbly.

Where I'm stuck in my purchase

If the analog really is as good as I'm reading, then I won't worry much. My problem is that if I'm going to be playing, say, The Legend of Zelda or Ms. Pac-Man, or games of that ilk, then solid digital controls are a must. The analog pad must be equally useful. I'm willing to 'get used to it' if need be, but sometimes 'get used to it' is a linguistic stand-in for 'it will never actually feel right'. The feeling of control is key, hence my reluctance.

As noted, I want to see a C64 emulator (at least). I'm convinced that will come in time, so I can be patient, but add those two Caanoo deficiencies together and it's even more on the side of the Wiz.

Questions for you

That's right, for you. Great and wize handheld gaming aficionados: Which do I choose? What about my observations sounds wrong? What's right? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards to you all.
 

salimo

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DocBadwrench said:
Where I'm stuck in my purchase

If the analog really is as good as I'm reading, then I won't worry much. My problem is that if I'm going to be playing, say, The Legend of Zelda or Ms. Pac-Man, or games of that ilk, then solid digital controls are a must. The analog pad must be equally useful. I'm willing to 'get used to it' if need be, but sometimes 'get used to it' is a linguistic stand-in for 'it will never actually feel right'. The feeling of control is key, hence my reluctance.

I will help you on the controls!

It does feel a little awkward at first, but you do get used to it.

The analog pad was a problem during fighting games. I found it tricky to do many of the special moves that require a quarter-circle curve (Ken and Ryu's Hadouken). It didn't seem responsive enough. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to move your entire thumb instead of sliding it around and pressing like you would on a d-pad.

Aside from fighting games, it works perfectly for the other games I've played like the Legend of Zelda, SMB and other platformers.

Hope that helps a bit.
 
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DocBadwrench

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whatdaWILLYO said:
I will help you on the controls!

It does feel a little awkward at first, but you do get used to it.

The analog pad was a problem during fighting games. I found it tricky to do many of the special moves that require a quarter-circle curve (Ken and Ryu's Hadouken). It didn't seem responsive enough. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to move your entire thumb instead of sliding it around and pressing like you would on a d-pad.

Aside from fighting games, it works perfectly for the other games I've played like the Legend of Zelda, SMB and other platformers.

Hope that helps a bit.

That surely does! This is doubly helpful because I cannot stand fighting games and so won't need to be doing any double-counterclockwise half-moons while hitting A, B, and praying for death (Death comes quite quickly when I'm playing Street Fighter).

I was heartened to view a YouTube video wherein a few guys illustrate that they can actually play Ms. Pac-Man without constantly missing side lanes. But, then I got all suspicious and wondered just how much practice they got. For my part, I'll have lots of bus-time to perfect the controls, and a five quadrillion ROMs ought to keep me satisfied until an official C64 & Amiga emulator build rears its head.

I was also happy to learn (thanks to these forums) that there are a bunch of modified Wiz programs that I can get working on the Caanoo. So... I'm ordering this thing as soon as its doable.

Thanks Zapf! :)
 
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salimo

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It's definitely a great system!

I have no regrets and the emulators should only get better.
 

RetroVortex

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I play Street fighter on my caanoo! :D
(T Hawk has to be the cheapest git that ever lived though.... >:/)
 

Nintendo

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None of the above, because I choose...

pandora-console-191725.jpg
 

DocBadwrench

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Great choice. Now, one that doesn't cost more than $500 will keep my wife from murdering me. :)
 

SuperMarcoVer

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Just wanted to say that there is an amiga emu now on the caanoo:

http://www.gp32x.de/board/index.php?/topic/59355-how-long-until-we-see-uae4all-amiga-emulator/

Only on the wiz it's a bit faster.

You can always get them both like i did. :)
 
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RupeeClock

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What I personally have to consider was that the d-pad for the Wiz was not all that great, diagonals were entirely too sensitive for reliable gameplay on platforming games like Mario or Sonic.
Just try it out and you find yourself frequently crouching or rolling by accident.

The analogue input of the Caanoo is actually more reliable than one might realise, especially since deadzones can be configured on a per-emulator basis.
I also consider that the Caanoo is not as uncomfortably small to hold like the Wiz was, which honestly makes it the winner in my book.
 

SuperMarcoVer

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Because the Caanoo is bigger it doesn't give me cramps in my fingers (is that correct?) like the wiz does. The wiz is a bit too small.
 

skeezix

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The odd thing is the hardware hasn't really 'improved' at a tech spec level over the generations; one can argue the gp2x proper from years ago was faster in a lot of ways, but its not that easy.. some parts better, some worse. But the gp2x had many woes.. f100 had goofy screen and goofy joystick and more; the f200 had sharper screen, but rediculous controller and random oddities don't need to go into (volume!)

The Wiz was a nice step forward in terms of overall form factor and the lucious screen (it really is a _great_ screen, though many have issues surviving very long); I found it too smallt o hold well at all .. fits nicely in pokcet, but I just can't use it at all (and my hands are not that large really); but a lot of very awesome reliable peopel really like the wiz over the caanoo.

Myself though, I'd take the Caanoo over the prior generations; big and well designed.. its much classier looking imho, and yet not too big so it fits into pocket nicely (even with a acse.) Great ergonomics, and I actually really like the screen.. though the casing cutting off some pixels around is _rediculous_.

Main problems with Caanoo are some design sillyness .. the volume _slider_ is just stupid -- maybe if it was tighter and recessed more so it wouldnt' get hit by everything, and if it was wider and had more granularity so you coudl hit the volume you want.. but in practice any time you put it in your pocket or bag or shelf, and grab it again, the volume will hav changed; further, the volume isn't as granular aas you'd like, so you just can't hit the 'rigth' volume without extreme 1/1000mm precision.

The controller being analog is goofy (if theuy'd gone with a dpad, a volume wheel or digital control, and fixed the screen bezel it'd be perfect.)

But the controller is certainly usable; I dont' care for fighter games (I'ma shmup man),a nd I really think the Caanoo is pretty great. I'd take it over wiz any day. (or over gp2x.. gp2x was just too fidgety imho.)

(Disclosure.. I'm on e of the internal Pandora guys, and I really like Pandora too; but I've been developing for hudnreds of mobiles for 15 years, and like to think I can be fare and honest. I really like the Cannoo, its a prettey decent machine. I'm not comparing it to Pandora, since thats not what you asked for,.)

jeff
 

DocBadwrench

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Some years ago, I started paying attention to the GP32 platform. I felt like it wasn't trouble-free enough for my impatience, but I never really forgot about it because, at heart, I'm a handheld guy. I still have my original Gameboy, somewhere.

Anyway, the Wiz showed up in ThinkGeek for $99 and that got my attention. I'm kind of glad that price bumped back up to its usual $149, because otherwise I wouldn't have chosen a Caanoo.

Personally, I'm a fan of D-Pads, but I'm also a fan of not getting wrist spasms. The newest DS's practically have the width of an NES controller. They're slim, but very hard to hold, so I'm glad to hear that Caanoo is a little on the large side.

In the first video review I watched about the thing, I learned of the bad volume controls. Compared to any other portable device, the delay between the roller and the OS is quite long. And, yes, it looks... very odd. Cheap. A black, serrated wheel would have been better. But, whatever, it's not a deal-breaker.

Don't get me started about proprietary cables. I'm not thrilled about yet another device that uses another custom connector to ritually extract a little more money from consumers. But, the good news is that I now have so many cables, that I can build Cable-tron, Lord of Digital Shadow. I'm going to set him loose in Seattle.

But, those are minor issues. I am a busy man who loves old games, and has (on an average day) two thirty minute bus-rides in which to play games. Last night, I scraped together a bunch of birthday money, and ordered my Caanoo from Thinkgeek. It turns out that I'll get to play my Amiga games, too.

Thanks to all of you for your help and conversation. :) I can't wait to report back.
 

crow_riot

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Getting the Caanoo was a good choice.

I've got both Wiz and Caanoo, and from the form factor and built quality it exceeds the Wiz very much.
 

dnlgreenwood

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DocBadwrench said:
Some years ago, I started paying attention to the GP32 platform. I felt like it wasn't trouble-free enough for my impatience, but I never really forgot about it because, at heart, I'm a handheld guy. I still have my original Gameboy, somewhere.

Anyway, the Wiz showed up in ThinkGeek for $99 and that got my attention. I'm kind of glad that price bumped back up to its usual $149, because otherwise I wouldn't have chosen a Caanoo.

Personally, I'm a fan of D-Pads, but I'm also a fan of not getting wrist spasms. The newest DS's practically have the width of an NES controller. They're slim, but very hard to hold, so I'm glad to hear that Caanoo is a little on the large side.

In the first video review I watched about the thing, I learned of the bad volume controls. Compared to any other portable device, the delay between the roller and the OS is quite long. And, yes, it looks... very odd. Cheap. A black, serrated wheel would have been better. But, whatever, it's not a deal-breaker.

Don't get me started about proprietary cables. I'm not thrilled about yet another device that uses another custom connector to ritually extract a little more money from consumers. But, the good news is that I now have so many cables, that I can build Cable-tron, Lord of Digital Shadow. I'm going to set him loose in Seattle.

But, those are minor issues. I am a busy man who loves old games, and has (on an average day) two thirty minute bus-rides in which to play games. Last night, I scraped together a bunch of birthday money, and ordered my Caanoo from Thinkgeek. It turns out that I'll get to play my Amiga games, too.

Thanks to all of you for your help and conversation. :) I can't wait to report back.
I know how you feel about the DS... I just went back to my DS after half of a year of not playing it, and it was IMPOSSIBLE to play! The buttons and D-Pad were just too tiny and uncomfortable. My other handhelds; my Game Boy Pocket, Caanoo, Atari Lynx, PSP, and Game Gear all have much larger and more comfortable controls. Well, except for the Atari; the D-Pad is way too stiff when switching between directions.

The Caanoo's joystick does make my thumb sore after an hour of Link to the Past and it often doesn't feel right, but it's tolerable. It's not as bad as playing Gauntlet: The Third Encounter on the original Atari Lynx.

The Caanoo's game menu is at times annoying to scroll through when I have a lot of things on my card; I have loaded pretty much every piece of free software out there for the Caanoo onto my card.

I hope you enjoy your Caanoo! A few words of advice: get a case that it won't fall out of and get a screen protector! My Caanoo has been damaged by falling out of its case. You might enjoy a TV-Output cable. My Wii does a better job with my HDTV, though, so I usually use my Wii for emulation on the big screen. However, the Caanoo is great for watching movies on a CRT.
 
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DocBadwrench

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Well, it arrived yesterday and I'm loading up. Discovering some MAME ROM issues. I know that ROM-builds change over time, so I have to figure that one out. Thanks for the advice. I have a DS case that I can re-service. What type of screen protector do you use? Maybe there's some comparably sized smartphone version you can point me toward.

The Caanoo appears very picky about the particulars of movie file-type. Fortunately, I've found a clear, easy way to convert video to a format more easily handled by the Caanoo. I'll post that to the forums, as soon as I get time.
 

jlenoconel

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I use

http://www.any-video-converter.com/products/for_video_free/

Its pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I usually convert to mpeg4 and make sure its set to Divx and 320x240 under the settings. Its not hard, and you can load several videos at once to convert. I download workout videos from youtube to use at the gym. Pretty nice!

You may have to use this in conjunction with mplayer for Caanoo though but thats no biggie really.
 

Emudude1963

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I debated between the Wiz and the Caanoo for a few days before I settled on the Caanoo. I was going to get the Dingoo (I still Might for Native GBA indulgence), and I was also looking at the Giemie A320. That one still looks tempting since it natively plays MKV and OGM files (Lots of Anime). I'm glad that UAE4All has been released, and can't wait for Vice (C64). I Ordered my Caanoo from Play Asia. I will be getting it today from FedEx as soon as I get off of work. The Grand Total was $138.94 with 2 days FedEx Shipping. Not bad since I ordered it around Midnight on Wednesday and am picking it up on Friday Afternoon. ThinkGeek is selling it for $149 along with the Wiz for the same price. I am waiting for the Dingoo A380 to be released. That one looks interesting too. I will be saving up for a Pandora. A DSXL Sized Pocket Computer with keyboard and Analog/Digital Joysticks is just Awesome. Will be getting that for DosBox to go.
 

Remy803

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It took me almost a year to finally decide to buy my Caanoo. I debated over several devices, and at first picked up one of those cheap chinese Android tablets. For the most part, I liked it, but its lack of controls and good emulator support finally led me back to the Caanoo. I picked it over the Dingoo because I really wanted a portable ScummVM, and I knew the lack of a touchscreen can be a hinderance for it. I also figured the extra bit of hardware kick couldn't hurt.

Whats funny is while I bought it mainly for emulator play, I've spent most of my time with it playing all the great homebrew that's out (that is, when I can get it away from my son who loves the three Zelda homebrew games ported by Rikku2000). The dedicated community was an unexpected surprise, and probably one of the best reasons to pick up an open-source platform over a commercial one.

I shied away from the Gemei A330 because it doesn't seem to have much of a community following. While the creator of Dingux is working hard on a linux for it, it seems Gemei already has another platform out or in the works (the new 760+), and that seems to be his focus. But the recent price drop has made it a little more attractive ( i found it at DX for 68USD here) and definitely something to look at over the JXD line. With all the recent price-drops in Asian-made hardware (tablets, the Caanoo, the Gemei, etc.), I suspect we'll be seeing something out of E3 next week.

The only reason I didn't jump on the Pandora was that I have a hard time convincing myself to spend that amount of money on a device that I'll primarily use for only consuming media(i.e. gaming, watching videos, that sort of thing). While I know it's perfectly capable of producing as well, its not a system I would use for that. That's not to say it isn't worth the price, because it completely is, but its just not for me. At least, not yet. And of course, that hasn't stop me from hinting what a great birthday gift it would make.
 
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