Below is my review of the Dingoo open handheld if anyone is thinking of buying one. I note thereís another thread asking about this so will post a link from that to this thread too.
Iíve had a Dingoo for over a week now and have to say Iíve have something of a love hate relationship with it. It started with initial frustration and developed into a deep love. Iíve spent a lot of time with the tiny thing and have to say while it is far from perfect its good points definitely shine through.
I ordered it from www.gbax.com a site I would recommend to anyone Iíve bought a few things from there over the years and Iíve always had good service.
Iíll start with my initial frustration. When my Dingoo initially arrived I eagerly unpacked it and gazed in wonder at the tiny thing in front of me. It looked perfectly formed, it was tiny but felt light yet solid in exactly the say way a PSP light doesnít. I unpacked the USB cable and power adaptor hunted around for my universal plug adaptor and started it charging.
My first frustration was with how long the thing took to charge. It took forever. ĎOK, well it is supposed to have a long battery lifeí I thought so it must take a while to charge. Once it was fully charged I turned it on.
As many other online reviews will tell you the menu system looks like the one on the PSP. I donít have a PS3 so canít compare it to that. I tried a few of the preloaded emulator demos and videos and reasonably impressed.
I then took the USB cable and attached it to my laptop. This is when the frustration started. The Dingoo shows a USB connection icon I looked at my PC screen after some waiting it told me there was an error with my device. ĎOKí I thought Ďperhaps I have to load a driverí. No disk in the box so I turned to the English manual. No information about connecting it to a PC there.
At this point I discovered a unique feature of the Dingoo. If the USB connection fails you have to reset it. That requires pushing a small button through a small hole in the side. I recommend an un-bended paper clip. I had to reset my Dingoo a lot in the first day or so.
I searched online and found that I needed some driver and to put it into USB mode ... but that was to run the unbricking tool. I also found I needed a USBSTOR.SYS driver which after some searching I managed to download. My PC already has the USBSTORE.SYS driver, version 6.<something or other> The one that works with the Dingoo is version 5.1.2600.<something or other>.
This driver lives in ďC:\WINDOWS\system32\driversĒ . ĎIíll just copy one other the otherí I though. Nope Microsoft in its wisdom wonít let you do that ... even if you have admin rights thereís something with more rights called the ďSystemĒ. ĎFine Iíll use the system to install the older version. No again Microsoft in its wisdom wonít let you do that. ĎOK Iíll use the system to uninstall the whole thing and then install the older version. Nope I couldnít do that either.
So I have what looks like a great little open hand held with no way of getting date onto it. ĎWell I know it takes a mini SD card Iíll buy one of those and put data on that.í So off I went to my local Curries to buy one. What I didnít realise was that mini SD cards arenít easy to come by. They appear to have died out. After a bit of searching, 2 hours, I find and universal 2 GB, SD, mini SD, micro SD combination set in an independent camera shop. They actually sold it to me cheep as no one wanted it.
So I put some of the games and emulators Iíd downloaded onto it. Manic miner, both the spectrum emulators and a 2600 emulator. For some reason none of them worked. This wasnít going very well. Iíd had the thing 10 hours and Iíd not been able to play anything on it. Worst of all the one thing I want to play on any device I own is spectrum games and neither of the 2 emulators I downloaded had worked.
ĎWell the thing has so pre built in emulators I know work, Iíve run up the demosí I thought. So I copied some NES, GBA and SNES games to my memory stick and started to play. Thatís when I fell in love. All I can say is that the Dingoo is one of the best games playing pieces of hardware Iíve ever owned. It had the best D-pad of any handheld Iíve ever tried including my GBA original, GBA SP, PSP fat, PSP slim GP32, GP2X and any mobile phone. The buttons are very responsive and have that Ďfeedback feelí you normally only get with a full sized controller.
In short the hardware is terrific. As an example consider this: I have big hands. I worried this would be a problem playing on the Dingoo buy it was much less of a problem than anything else Iíve ever tried. Given how small it is thatís pretty amazing. The control it gives you is just excellent so you don;t end up straining your hands to play the games.
Youíll find lots of online reviews that tell you that the NES and GBA emulation is terrific and they are right. Theyíll also tell you the SNES is lacking and makes the games unplayable. I donít agree. Since I got the my Dingoo I have played Super Metroid all the way through. Iíve only done that previously on the original hardware and a PC emulation with a nice big chunky game pad. Iíve tried and failed on my PSP fat and GP2X. The reason for those failures was that I couldnít get the right control out of the hardware in particular the D-pads.
The SNES emulation does require a bit of frame skip tweaking depending on which game you want to play. Iíd advise keeping away from the auto setting and setting it to what you feel best. While Iím on the subject of emulators other online reviews will tell you the mega drive emulation is bad Ė they are right.
Iíve now found a friend who has Windows XP that I can connect my Dingoo too. Iíve actually put my games onto the internal memory and use the SD card for music and videos. There are online reviews of those functions and the others I havenít mentioned and Iíd say I agree with what Iíve read. That is they are OK but not the best in the world.
I think my summary is that this is a great little piece of kit. I think the problems Iíve described will be fixed over time hopefully soon with firmware updates. If you are considering buying one of these then Iíd say check what version of the USBSTORE.SYS driver you have first and look online for a mini SD card. If you have the right version of the driver and can locate a mini SD then go for it. Even if you canít find the mini SD Iíd consider it.
This is a great little device let down by a few frustrating flaws. I really do love mine and I look forward to the point in the future where I can play Speccy games on it.