I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a GCW-Zero. I’ve had it for about two weeks now and have been playing with it just about every night for a hour or so before bed. I have mainly been playing Link’s Awakening DX, but I have spent a fair amount of time with each system I can emulate.
NES via FCEUX: Perfect. Tried a bunch of different games without issue. Made it all the way through Super Mario Bros. 1 without a glitch.
Game Boy/Game Boy Color via GamBattle: Perfect. I tried a couple of other emulators at first, both of which had problems with music or colors. (OhBoy notably)
SNES via Snes9x4d: I get the occasional slow down. It’s about like SNES emulation on a 3DS. SuperFX games do not work well such as Star Fox or Stunt Race FX.
GBA via ReGBA: No issues that I’ve seen. Mario Kart plays very well. I’m almost expecting to find something glitchy, but so far so good.
Playstation/PSX via psx4all: PSx4All is an unofficial port and the only PSX emulator I could find. Every game I tried was very slow and the sound stuttered or was lagged.
Genesis: I’ll confess I’m not much of a Genesis fan and didn’t try it. There are several Genesis emulators available.
Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64: Spec wise the GCW-Zero should be able to emulate these but there are no emulators yet written.
Some Random Notes:
The hardware is nice. It’s cool, in a nerd sort of way, to see Linux boot up on a handheld. The GCW is light and feels good to hold. You can hold it a long time and not get fatigued. The buttons are all easy to reach and have a good feel.
The native games for the GCW-Zero are neat but nothing to write home about.
The one exception to the above is Kobo Deluxe.
ScummVM has a port but most of the games are pretty laggy. Should be all good once the software gets some optimizations.
Quake 1, 2, 3 and Decent 2 run really well. The control scheme made them unplayable for me though.
Doom is supposed to run well but for the life of me I couldn’t get it to work.
Warcraft 2 runs in DOSBox. It’s a little laggy but I was able to play the first mission without wanting to kill myself.
Adjusting the volume by holding the power button and using the D-pad is weird, but does the job.
By trolling Ebay I got my GCW for a lot less than retail. I’m not sure I would pay $140 for it.
The best comparison to the GCW-Zero are the Android handhelds put out by JXD. In my opinion the GCW-Zero has great hardware and questionable software. The JXD devices have questionable hardware (quality control issues) and great software (Android OS). If I knew for certain the JXD handheld I was buying had no hardware quality issues I would buy a JXD handheld over a GCW-Zero. Problem with JXD is no one knows if you’re going to get a device with a jacked screen, buttons, or who knows what else.
If you can find one for less than $100 I would recommend a GCW-Zero. I think in a year the software will catch up and it’ll be an awesome device.
My other thought is that in a year the handheld Android consoles will be a dime a dozen with greatly improved build quality.
5/9/14 Update: With the release of the newest firmware and some updates to the SNES emulators, SuperFX games work pretty well. Stunt Race FX works great!